Osinbajo, Tinubu, Umahi, others’ presidential bid hots up as Adamu emerges as APC National chairman 




After the intrigues and power play that characterised the National Convention of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Saturday through Sunday morning, the battle for the presidential ticket has commenced in earnest.

The convention affirmed a Nasarawa state governor and serving lawmaker, Senator Abdullahi Adamu as the  national chairman via a consensus arrangement.

Adamu, who was President Muhammadu Buhari’s choice ahead of the convention, joined the team of aspirants as a late entrant.

He emerged after the other aspirants namely; Senator George Akume, Senator Umar Tanko Al-Makura, Senator Mohammed Sani Musa, Mallam Saliu Mustapha, former Zamfara state Governor Abdulaziz Yari and Mohammed Etsu, all wrote to  consent to Adamu’s candidature.

With the event over, the tempo of 2023 presidential race has suddenly heightened. 

More conspicuous at the venue of the national convention was the plethora of groups drumming support for their choice aspirants. 

Likely aspirants

Virtually all the APC presidential aspirants, namely; Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Rochas Okorocha,  Dave Umahi, amongst others, were present at the convention ground with their numerous supporters calling attention to their aspirant as the best to succeed Buhari. 

As at the last count, a few party chieftains have publicly declared their intention for the nation’s top job.

The list include Asiwaju Tinubu, Umahi,  Okorocha and Kogi state Governor Yahaya Bello.

Although the duo of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and Central Bank of  Nigeria Governor (CBN) Godwin  Emefiele are yet to make similar pronouncement, there are strong indications however that the duo would also join the race on the APC platform.

Some of the gladiators and their supporters spoke during and after the convention, thus signalling intent to hit the ground running after the Sunday event.

Osinbajo

Addressing the gathering, Vice President Osinbajo  said in  line with its vision and mission of improving the economy, security, and the fight against corruption, the Buhari government remains focused and determined in creating more jobs for Nigerians, increasing access to healthcare, building more infrastructure, and a united and strong nation.

The VP delivered his remarks ahead of Buhari’s speech where the president emphasised the achievements of his government in infrastructure, social investments, economy, security and fighting corruption.

Addressing the gathering, Osinbajo said: “We will actualise the pledge of universal health coverage for all. We will continue undaunted in the task of building infrastructure that will be the foundation of the great modern economy of our dreams. We will continue in the task of building a strong, United, fair and just Nigeria; a Nigeria where every young man and woman can find opportunities to work, and prosper.”

On ways out of poverty, he said: “Our eyes must remain fixed on three things: one – jobs. Two – jobs and three – jobs.”  

He further urged leaders of the party to, in the coming months and years, “remain resolute, committed and focused on the vision of Mr. President to deliver on the economy, security for all and the fight against corruption.” 

He added: “We must focus on the objective of taking 100 million out of poverty in this decade, as promised by this government under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari.

“We will not relent; we will not look back and we will not falter. And by the grace of God, this party, our party, the All Progressives Congress, will in the coming decades lead Nigeria and its great peoples to its manifest destiny.”

According to the VP, despite the challenges, including insurgency and the COVID-19 pandemic that affected global economies, the Buhari Administration in the past eight years, made great strides in ensuring national development.

Tinubu

Also, a Tinubu support group in the 19 northern states- Disciples Of Jagaban (DOJ)- in collaboration with Arewa Forum for the 2023 presidential race, urged Buhari to declare outright support for Tinubu’s presidential project.

The group, in a letter to President Buhari, called for his open support for Tinubu in view of the fact that it was the former Lagos state governor that stood firm behind him in 2014 presidential campaign that won the election.

The letter, which was signed by the national coordinator, Comrade Abdulhakeem Adegoke Alawuje, and made available to newsmen Sunday, said the reason that motivated the open letter, was the same reason that  ignited the collaboration between Buhari and Tinubu in 2014/2015.

They said: “In as much as you are entitled to your personal interest, you must critically ponder over what disunity in this country may lead to. Except you are playing a political gimmick, we enjoin you not to openly work against Tinubu’s interest. As a leader, your responsibility is to to provide a level playing ground. Making Tinubu to go through too undue stress to win the 2023 ticket is not in the interest of your integrity.

“Many have contended without equivocation that your integrity is fake, saying you will eventually betray Tinubu. We have severally replied them that the Buhari we know is a man of integrity and won’t in anyway betray the trust reposed in you. You should not only allow the most popular candidate to emerge as the APC presidential candidate, you must also ensure you bequeath a story party that is devoid of acrimony to the nation. You have reiterated this in the past and we believe you are a man of your words.

“No doubt you have eventually had your way with the choice of our new chairman of the party against all odds, despite more popular candidates, but doing so with the choice of presidential candidate may throw the party into a serious crisis.

“It is crystal clear that, as I type these words, Tinubu remains the most popular candidate among those who have signified interest in stepping into your shoes. At least, if you cannot manifestly deploy your support for Tinubu, please, do not clandestinely work aganist his interest, no matter your reservations. You don’t have to win all wars, particularly the one that its consequences may be too devastating.

“This is because it was Tinubu that Almighty God used to achieve your victory against Atiku and Kwankwaso at the Teslim Balogun stadium in 2014 during the heated contest for the presidential ticket of the All Progressives Congress (APC). God also use Tinubu to assist your victory in the election in 2015 and 2019 after losing the three previous elections.”

Umahi

Similarly, Governor Umahi revealed what Nigerians should expect if allowed to succeed President Muhammadu Buhari come 2023.

Umahi said if given the chance as president, Nigeria would witness great peace and unity.

The serving governor boasted of the infrastructural development in Ebonyi state under his administration, vowing to replicate same if he emerges next president in 2023.

Speaking on the just concluded convention,  the governor said: “What I have done in Ebonyi state will be the microcosm of the macrocosm of what Nigerians should expect if God puts me on as the next President of Nigeria.

“If you come to Ebonyi state, you will see the infrastructure, you will see the unity, you will see the future of Nigeria, it is coming from that rising sun of Ebonyi state.”

Okorocha 

Also speaking on his aspiration after the convention, Owelle Okorocha said  if the possibility of a Bola Tinubu and Rocha’s contest emerged ahead of the 2023 presidential election, he would clinch it.

He said: “Uncle Tinubu and I are most likely to be. I know that at the appropriate time, it may be because he is the one pushing up in the South-West and I am in the South-East.

“So, let us see what happens between us, and if that is it, I will ask him to relax a bit so that we can move this section forward.

“The people naturally love me and I think it is because they believe I care, they believe I love and have sympathy for humanity, they believe I am detribalised.

“They believe I do not know religion or tribe, Muslim Christian, Igbo or Hausa, Yoruba, all I see is a human being and that is what makes the difference on my side.”

 ‘Emefiele another Obasanjo’

Also writing from USA on the APC and Emefiele, an Havard-trained economist, Oliver McPherson, was marvelled at the crowd of supporters rooting for Emefiele at the convention.

He said: “It’s not very often that a sitting central bank governor is lauded by throngs of singing and dancing supporters, but backers of CBN governor Godwin Emefiele may have just made history at this weekend’s APC national convention. The political theatre, whether organic or facilitated, is a quirky tribute to a technocrat whose celebrity status usually doesn’t stretch past the Davos city limits. In a crowded field of candidates for the APC’s presidential nominee, however, it’s unsurprisingly necessary to pull out all the stops to get ahead of the pack.

“Emefiele, for his part, has so far kept silent on whether he will formally run. While others are quick to throw their hats in the ring, the CBN governor appears to be taking the route of a diligent-but-humble public servant who may be pressured into running. Although that path above the fray is well-trodden, Emefiele’s powerful, current position has ruffled plenty of feathers.

“In February, Premium Times ran an editorial calling on Emefiele to either resign and run, or remain in his post and repudiate any electoral ambitions. Similarly, just days ago the main opposition party, the PDP, offered a 21-tweet salute accusing Emefiele of having “desecrated the sanctity of his office as CBN Governor.” If the governor were to formally enter the arena of partisan politics, there would be intense pressure upon him to resign his tenure as the country’s top banker.

“Aside from his powerful post, why does Emefiele draw so much lightning? The APC is expected to select a candidate from the South for the 2023 ticket (some say the south west, specifically, but that remains to be confirmed). Born in Delta state, Emefiele is described as having “a candidature with South South and Igbo background.” His professional experience is also strong. He came to the apex bank with 20 years’ of experience in the private sector, most notably as managing director of the household name Zenith Bank. Additionally, appointed under PDP President Goodluck Jonathan in 2014, Emefiele has worked with (and survived in his post under) governments led by both major parties.

“This mix of fortuitous zoning happenstance, noteworthy private sector experience, and political longevity at the height of national politics makes Emefiele a serious contender. But no one plays in the big league for that long without controversy. Over the years, Emefiele has faced accusations of impropriety, lawlessness, and mismanagement. And that’s all before he was considered a potential presidential candidate.

“The glaring lacuna in Emefiele’s resume is electoral success. Rotimi Amaechi and Nasir El-Rufai—potential rival candidates within the APC—have both proven that they can win elections at the state-level. Is it necessary? Well, both Umaru Yar’Adua (Katsina) and Goodluck Jonathan (Bayelsa) won gubernatorial elections before winning the presidency. But both Olusegun Obasanjo and Muhammadu Buhari served in unelected national-level positions, before eventually prevailing in nation-wide polls. If the APC ticket will indeed be led by a candidate from the south, could Emefiele be the next Obasanjo?”

Further boost for CBN boss

Equally, a pro- Emefiele group stormed the convention venue to promote the CBN governor whose ambition is still within the realm of speculation.

The group-  Unified Northern Nigeria Youth Forum- displayed various  placards, with inscriptions such as, “MEFFY please run.”

The group also mounted billboards in strategic parts of Abuja in places like Aminu Kano Crescent by Zenith and UBA banks, Wuse 2, Shehu Shagari way, Kashim Ibrahim junction, Maitama. Wuse market, as well as along Barnex near Nigerian to Turkey School.

Also inside Eagle Square, the group’s message calling on Emefiele to contest was seen on special digital banners and posters on the screen inside.

Convener of the group, Mohammed Salihu Danlami, said: “Our supporters are in Abuja to attend the convention of our great Party and also to beg members of our great Party to call on Dr Godwin Emefiele to contest for the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria come 2023.”

Wike declares 

And amidst all this, Rivers state Governor Nyesom Wike has described as evil the APC-led government, and vowed that the PDP would wrestle power from the ruling party in 2023.


Wike was in Makurdi, Benue state, to formally declare his intention to contest the presidential election on the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) platform.



Addressing journalists and some PDP chieftains, the governor said:  “I have the capacity to face this evil government, give me the mandate. “I will speak the truth to power and nothing but the truth. I have the capacity to move this country forward.”


“I’m declaring today to contest for President of this country for the first time in Benue. Many things have gone wrong, we can talk about security in this country. Terrorists have taken over. The security situation has gone beyond farm now, it’s in airport where people can’t land.


“Security will be my priority. I did that in Port Harcourt. We will sit down and talk. Any police man killed in terms of fighting crime in the state, we are there for them.


“Within the next three or six months, everything will be done. It’s not about sitting in the office and fishing out directive.”



He queried those founding fathers who ran away from the party and still wanted to be recognised, saying, ” by the time you ran away, you sold your share as a founding father so you can no longer retain your position of founding fathers.



“I stood for this party. I work for this party since 1998. I have nowhere to run to and that’s why anything that happens to this party I take it personally. I have never relented. Today, they are crying but some of us stood and said PDP will not die.

“Some people want to use Nigeria to buy back their personal business. They talk about private sector – mention the private business that survived.”


Speaking at the event, the host governor, Samuel Ortom  said said Wike stood for Benue state during its trying times.

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