The recent birthday celebration by Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu has dominated the politics of Nigeria with its focus on the 2023 presidential election.
While Tinubu has dominated the politics, it is not a coincidence that the permutations over who will succeed President Muhammadu Buhari in Aso Rock has resumed in earnest and the birthday celebration was a modest way of having his intention known even without speaking.
To stress again, one politician whose rumored presidential ambition has attracted the widest attention and commentary is Tinubu, the national leader of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), especially as the party continues to boast of staying in power beyond 2023.
The June 25 2020 decision of the APC’s National Executive Committee (NEC) to dissolve its National Working Committee (NWC), on which Tinubu and his allies had a clear majority and could choose the party chair, gives him a boost ahead of the race that is yet to begin.
However, despite having a seemingly clear chance of having his intentions come true as the APC flag bearer, there are oppositions as huddles identified by KaftanPost, unknown to the former Lagos State governor which he must conquer to have his age-long dream come true.
A number of things are likely to play out that will challenge his emergence, aside from the fight in the poll.
Firstly, considering the political setup of the country, which requires a Christian/Muslim ticket, or vice versa, the difficulty of having a strong Christian politician as vice from the North will be challenging to the ACP Chieftain.
It won’t be a surprise this is already a headache to Tinubu, having allegedly suffered a similar fate when he reportedly made moves to emerge as President Muhammadu Buhari’s running mate.
Secondly, despite being a figure to reckon with in the South West, power-play could also be witnessed as the the likes of former President Olusegun Obasanjo and others yet to be identified could stand in the way of Tinubu’s emergence.
Political commentators also allege that loyalists of former Lagos Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, who are still hurt by how he was muscled out in 2019, could fight back when least expected. A highly critical audience is, as a result of this, not happy with what they call his “strangle-hold” on Lagos State and its resources.
A ploy by some northern elites for power to remain in the region is another reason for Tinubu to be concerned. The Northern elites, including the Kaduna State Governor Nasir El-rufai might have advocated for power to return to the South but there are alleged secret plots to retain power in the North. Time will tell.
It’s unclear how far Tinubu and Buhari trust each other and whether Buhari would support Tinubu as an APC candidate for the next presidential election. This is not expected to play out until the president will be forced to name his candidate.
Also, the failure of the “Tinubu generation” and call for a new Nigeria with a youthful president is one of the hurdles Jagaban must face in his bid in becoming a president.
The #EndSars protest in October 2020 is historic and expected to decide the shape of the 2023 presidential election. The insinuation that the Nigerian youth are now awake and politically conscious cannot be taken for granted.
Tinubu was also fingered in the Lekki Gate Shooting as part of those who ordered soldiers to fire live ammunition on protesters which reportedly led to the death of some Nigerian youths. That will not be forgotten by the younger generation that makes up about 60% of the Nigerian population.
Nigerian youths have severally opined that the older generation, to which Tinubu belongs, have failed and will only demand a younger president for a new Nigeria.
This takes us back to where we started; Tinubu has just celebrated his 69th birthday, which is obviously not a young one. Will this last chance become his best chance?