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HomePoliticsANALYSIS: Tinubu quest for presidency: The hurdles vs chances

ANALYSIS: Tinubu quest for presidency: The hurdles vs chances

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By Oludare Mayowa

Since the chieftain of the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) and former Lagos Governor, Bola Tinubu returned to the country from his three months medical vacation, the political atmosphere in Lagos and South West generally has assumed new dimension.

His supporters, right from the Lagos Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu to all the foot soldiers in the South West region have launched frontal campaign for the realization of Tinubu’s presidency come 2023.

First was the rousing welcome party organised by Sanwo-Olu for Tinubu after he returned from the United Kingdom where he had gone for ‘knee surgery’, according to some of his supporters. At the party, both the governor and other personalities did not hide their desire to see the former governor of the state assuming the position of the president of the country comes May 29, 2023.

It was an open campaign to nudge Tinubu toward getting the ticket of his party to run for the presidency.

Also, a leader of the ruling party in Ekiti, who also was a minister under President Goodluck Jonathan administration, Dayo Adeyeye, leading what he tagged South West Agenda (SWAGGA) is going all out to canvass support for Tinubu’s ambition to become president after the incumbent President Mohammadu Buhari.

A member of Tinubu political family, representing Lagos in the House of Reps, James Faleke recently said the ex Lagos governor should be given the right of first refusal for the presidential ticket of the ruling party.

From all indications, it appears that all pretences have been jettison while Tinubu, who is also refers to as Jagaban by his supporters seem now impatient to wait till the whistle for politicking is blown.

The ex Lagos Governor is no doubt well qualified to gun for the topmost political position in the country, having been in the senate and also served as governor for two terms. Besides, he has been in the forefront of political restructuring in the country, which led to the capturing of political power by the ruling APC from the now main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in 2015.

Tinubu remains the most visible politician and well-positioned to occupy the highest position in the country going by his antecedent and political trajectory since the advent of democracy in 1999.

He was the arrowhead of the collision that formed the nucleus of the ruling All Progressive Party (APC), which snatched power from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in 2015.

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Many political analysts have attributed the ascendancy to power by the incumbent President Mohammadu Buhari to the political sagacity of Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who is fondly referred to as Jagaban of Borgu by his loyalists across the country.

His tenure as the governor of Lagos state between 1999 and 2007 was eventful as it witnessed a number of innovations in model governance, turning the state into a reference point in governance.

His political sagacity was further enhanced when the then President Olusegun Obasanjo withheld the federation revenue allocations to the state local governments because Tinubu pioneered the creation of Local Government Development Areas (LCDAs) to expand the existing local governments’ structure in the state.

Tinubu fought back through the court and won the case against the federal government, setting the stage for other states in the South West and beyond to adopt the same model of creating LCDAs.

His encounter with President Obasanjo on the LCDA was not the first of such titanic fight. Toward the end of his first term as president, Obasanjo had approached the then Alliance for Democracy (AD) for cooperation to enable him to get a political foothold in the South West.

It was only Tinubu among the six governors elected under AD then that was able to see through President Obasanjo’s political shenanigan and escaped the routing defeat suffered by his other counterparts in the region, who lost their second term bids to the rampaging PDP.

For surviving the Obasanjo’s hurricane, he became the rally point for the ‘progressive’ who now look up to him as a great strategist and leader who can confront the marauding conservatives.

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From being the only surviving governor of the opposition in 2003, he was also able to rally support using his new political platform, the Action Congress (AC) to chase away the PDP governors in Ekiti, Osun and later Ogun states and also help the candidate of the Labour Party (LP) in Ondo State to take back those states from PDP.

However, the manner his loyalists are going about the campaign to get the ticket of the ruling party for him to run for the presidency may have lack necessary ingredient of a known strategist and smack of entitlement spirit.

While they all have the right to launch campaign for their godfather, they should also recognize the fact that their activities may disrupt governance in Lagos in particular and other arms of government where those who constitute the campaign team are currently serving.

Many also considered some of the supporters as men and women who are in need of political rehabilitations and may have latched on the Tinubu for president project to feather their own nest.

For instance, the leader of SWAGG, Dayo Adeyeye has been out of political office and he is seen as one seeking relevance for himself in a bid to relaunch himself back to recogning and position himself to the next governorship bid in Ekiti State.

His outlandish claimed that 16 governors of the ruling APC are supporting Tinubu candidature sound like a common political comic playbook use to deceive the electorate by politicians.

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Also, many people who are playing one role or the other in promoting the candidature of the Jagaban on the social media are the same crowd, who has been drumming support for the present administration of President Mohammadu Buhari in exchange for some form of patronage.

Analysts believed that Tinubu, being a strategist himself is well positioned to understand what it takes to become the flag bearer of the ruling party at the presidential election come 2023.

It would be recalled that his quest to emerge the running mate of Buhari in 2015 was thwarted for the reason of his religion. Many leaders of the APC had kicked against presenting two people from the same religion for the highest position in the country.

The same condition may also work against him this time because it may be a tough call to get a Christian from the North as running mate who would be acceptable to the largely Muslim dominated populace.

Though, Tinubu seem to be the singular person from the south who has what it take to win the primary of the party and even the election proper because of his large chest of resources to prosecute the campaign, but the odds are all against him.

First, his age has become subject of debate in many quarters and with the way Buhari is running the government and wobbled by ill health, Nigerians are craving for a younger person to lead the next dispensation.

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This also brings to focus his recent three months medical sojourn in London, which coincided with the medical tour of the president in the same United Kingdom. Nigerians are skeptical to allow person who may be wobbled by ill health to govern them again after the Buhari’s experience.

Some people also believed that despite his role in ensuring that Buhari became the country’s president in 2015 after futile attempt in the time past, the president is not seen to likely throw his weight behind Tinubu in the race to Aso Rock come 2023.

Tinubu may not be trusted enough by the president and his crowd to sustain his legacy while the cat and mouse relationship between the two leaders since they won the first election in 2015 remains a sign post of what to expect in the run up to the 2023 contest.

Many people expect Tinubu to pull all his weight behind his protégé, and current Vice President Yemi Osinbajo who has a better chance to win the election rather than putting himself forward for the position.

However, Nigerians may not have to wait for too long as the s truggle for the soul of APC will soon crystallize by next year and it would be clear where the pendulum will swing despite whatever the analysts and pundits may have want the whole world to believe.

But whichever way the pendulum swings come 2023, Tinubu will remain a big factor in deciding who carry the day at the APC Convention which will lead to the selection of the flag bearer of the party in the next presidential election.

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