(By Iheanyi Ezinwo)-The news of President Muhammadu Buhari’s victory in the 2019 presidential election did not come to many Nigerians alone, it was accompanied by another news of Asiwaju BoLa Tinubu nursing the ambition to succeed him. While some Nigerians dismissed information as one of those rumours and a wishful thinking, others saw it as a possibility, after all, anything is possible in politics.
From all indications, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu is eminently qualified to aspire for the office of president of Federal Republic of Nigeria. A former senator, two term governor of Lagos State and national leader of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, in the last four years or so, Senator Tinubu is eminently qualified for the office he is said to be eyeing in 2023.
Interestingly, Nigeria’s constitution, which gives every Nigerian without legal impediments the right to aspire for political office and also vote for others is in support of his aspiration. Tinubu has proved to be a politician of all seasons, and knows very well how to win elections and keep his territory based on his accomplishments in the south west for close to two decades, and his strategic contributions which gave birth to the All Progressives Congress and victory for the party in the 2015 and 2019 elections respectively. Besides, In Lagos state, he has demonstrated tremendous influence.
It is therefore not surprising that politician after politician are beginning to buy into the vision of Tinubu for 2023. His aspiration is being given a boost by his broad political, religious and social networks across Nigeria, an important requirement for any politician desiring to occupy the highest office in the land.
The story is all over the place that Senator Adeseye Ogunlewe, former minister who was not on the same page with Tinubu politically is another addition to the swelling number of people endorsing Asiwajus’s 2023 aspiration.
From all indications, more of such endorsements will be seen in the days ahead, and the . message is that, another round of politics has began, albeit informally, and any one nursing a similar ambition should begin to have idea what to expect on the road to 2023.
It should be noted that since 1999, there have been this idea of power rotating between the north and south, and it seems to have been the tradition: meaning that power is shifting to the south at the end of President Buhari’s four years in 2023. And considering that the south west, where Senator Tinubu comes from has had eight years of President Olusegun Obasanjo and another likely eight years of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, there is this feeling that the office should, this time, go to the south east, who are yet to occupy it since the return of democracy in 1999.
However, we are told that politics is not about sentiments but about negotiations and strategy. The early emergence of Asiwaju Tinubu is a challenge as well as an opportunity to the south east and presidential hopefuls from other parts of the country, including, may be the south south. It is a challenge because, with his clout in the APC and the country at large, Tinubu might be lucky to mobilize the needed support to get his party’s presidential ticket in 2023, a development that will crowd out the presidential aspiration of the south east in the APC.
On the other hand, his said early indication of intention could guide the south east, if they are committed to the project, in targeted consultation and negotiation, with a view to winning the support of other stakeholders to lead the country like other zones of the country. Senator Ahmed Bola Tinubu’s intention to run for the highest office in the land, in opinion of many observers is not a sudden flight, but an aspiration which he has been nursing and working towards for sometime.
He also has the resources to make it happen, all things being equal. The message to others who might be nursing similar ambition is therefore that, the game has started. And that political power is not given but taken. Any one therefore, who feels seriously that he has what it takes to make Nigeria a better place for all, is knowing early that the 2023 ride will be very competitive. And that preparation is the key because 2023 is just two days away. At the appropriate time, Nigerians will choose who leads them.