The waves of politicking for the 2023 election year, have started hovering over the nation, as political actors have started alignments and realignments in subtle forms, Page 36 learnt.
Political Observers have said that the most intriguing and high point of the game, will be how and from which zone political parties, and especially the “big” ones, the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, and the leading opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, field their Candidates for the Presidential election.
Recall, that President Muhammadu Buhari’s nephew, Mallam Mamman Daura, on Tuesday, ignited the new agitation, when he said that there is no need for zoning of the Presidential ticket by the parties to any part of the country, thereby, suggesting that competence of the Candidates should be given priority.
Nonetheless, the two big parties have rebuked him, saying that, his call is not binding on them.
Nigerians are already keen and enthusiastic about who replaces President Buhari, and from which zone the Presidential Candidate will emerge, as his tenure elapses in 2023.
The PDP, formed in 1998, has a history and culture of power rotation between the North and South, which is enshrined in its constitution.
On the other hand, the APC, founded in 2013, is also being expected to show its approval of the rotation formula, at the expiration of Buhari’s tenure.
Credible sources said that political parties are strengthening their structures nationwide, and navigating the political murky waters to reach decisions that will not spark crisis ahead of 2023, regarding the choice of Presidential Candidates.
It was gathered that other “small” political parties are also eyeing the revered throne, and preparing grounds to field Candidates for the Presidential and other elections.
Some Analysts have however, predicted that the APC and PDP would end up fielding their Presidential Candidates from the North, even though they are still undecided on zoning.
A Second Republic Lawmaker, Junaid Mohammed, recently stated that the North may not return power to the South, and asked the latter to perish the thought of succeeding Buhari in 2023.
His words: “Look at what Afenifere said, that next time it would be a Yoruba person. Their understanding of rotation is between the North and the South-West, or the North-West and the South-West, that cannot be. How can you say that?
“Now we have a President who is from the North-West, and his Deputy, who is from the South-West, and that next time it will be the turn of the South-West to produce the President of this country. What are we talking about? I do not want to hear about this equity and justice; that is sheer nonsense.”
A former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, Chief Olu Falae, chimed in: “It will be unfair and provocative to allow the Presidency to continue in the North, post-2023.
“If the President were from the South now, and people are saying it should remain in the South, it will be unfair to other Nigerians.”
These reactions are coming on the heels of the South making a case, that there should be power shift to the region.
Support groups in the South have already started rooting for a former Governor of Lagos State and National Leader of the APC, Bola Tinubu, and a former National Vice Chairman (South-West) of the PDP, Chief Bode George, among others, to replace Buhari.
A Political Analyst from the South, Chief Jackson Lekan Ojo, said in a telephone call, that there are strong indications that the North would retain power in 2023.
Ojo said: “I foresee a situation where any Candidate who comes from the North, will still carry the flag in 2023. Today, I am a Chieftain of the APC, but if the APC zones it to the South, and the PDP zones it to the North, I am going to follow the Northern Candidate, because I will not follow a loser.
“I sympathise with the entire South of this country. It is like up till now the South does not know the political arithmetic of this country. The North has a unifying factor; they have something in common that brings them together. If you want to look at it region by region, the South can never rule this country any time, except the North wants it to happen.”
Similarly, an APC stalwart who craved anonymity, said: “If PDP zones to the North, and APC zones to the South, the APC will lose power in 2023, because the Northern political cabal will align with the Northern Candidate; and you know they are in the majority.
“Out of the 36 States, the North has 19, and the FCT, summing up to 20. In the entire South, how many States does the APC control? How many Governors does the APC have in the entire South?
“So, I am confident that the PDP will zone to the North, and if that happens, then the APC will equally zone to the North, because the PDP spent 16 years in power, so the APC cannot afford to spend only eight years.”
The Adamawa State Commissioner for Works and Energy, Adamu Atiku, who is a son to a former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, while presenting the score card of his Ministry recently, said that his father would contest in 2023.
Also, a support group for a former Senate President, Bukola Saraki, began a campaign for his 2023 Presidential ambition on their various social media pages.
The Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the APC, Yekini Nabena, disclosed that the party would do its zoning at the appropriate time.
The National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Kola Ologbondiyan, also said that only zoning would determine the fate of any Aspirant seeking for the party’s ticket.
The National Convention of the APC, is expected to hold in the last quarter of 2020, while that of the PDP will hold in the last quarter of 2021.
The two Conventions will throw up new members of the National Working Committees, NWC, of the mega parties, who will then lead the electoral battle in 2023.