The political configuration in the build up to the 2023 general elections has continued to be altered by the ruling leading parties, particularly, the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
There are emerging indications that leaders of the ruling APC are plotting against the frontline presidential aspirant of the party, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, at the national convention, and planning to push up the President of the Senate for the presidential ticket of the party, 9news Nigeria gathered.
A source from the ruling party disclosed to 9news Nigeria that the northern elite have made an agreement to retain power in 2023, and this could go either way between the two dominant parties in the country, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the ruling APC. The party source said that APC leaders are making their calculations on what the intelligence or reports they get from the arrangements in the PDP. In their observation, “the PDP is likely to give its 2023 presidential ticket to former Vice President Atiku Abubakar. And if this happens, APC leaders believe the north will go with Atiku and vote massively for the PDP. Thus, they are plotting to give the APC presidential ticket to Senate President Ahmad Lawan to confront Atiku and the PDP in the 2023 presidential election to share the northern votes,” the party source said. Both Atiku and Lawan are from northeast Nigeria, a zone also agitating for president like southeast Nigeria.
Just like President Muhammadu Buhari was projected in the build up to the 2015 elections to have 12 million votes even before the presidential election, Atiku is also being projected to have 11 million votes before the 2022 elections. The projections were deduced from their respective performance in previous presidential elections which they lost to the incumbent.
The projection gave Buhari leverage, the calculation then that he needed a marginal 3 million votes, which the party leaders believed could be delivered by the party members and supporters. The projection worked out as articulated ceteris paribus.
The same political projection is being propounded for the coming of Atiku, who in his case would require 4 million marginal votes for victory, which the PDP is believed to be capable of delivering.
This projection might suffer a huge disappointment as the bulk of the mulch talked about vote for Atiku comes from Southern Nigeria that are strongly agitating for the president in 2023 and might punish the PDP should they fail to give them the ticket of the party.
The northern elite have since the southern agitation for power shift in 2023, were said to have made an agreement on how to retain power in the north. They placed a high political premium on Atiku.
Apparently, Atiku had at different times been given unprecedented unique recognition and attention by the northern elite across party lines.
The Northern Governors Forum, for instance, during the birthday of the former vice president, and PDP presidential aspirant, celebrated Atiku’s leadership and political virtues, praising Atiku for his achievements and contributions to Nigeria’s nation building. The well wishes of the Northern Governors Forum were transmitted through a statement by the NGF chairman, Governor Solomon Lalong of Plateau State.
Before then, Atiku had been ‘nominated’ to represent President Buhari at the wedding of his son, Yusuf, standing in as father of the President’s son. President Buhari and Atiku are perceived to be having very cordial relationships behind the scenes, despite the partisan divides.
Moreover, Atiku has not been deeply critical of the president. Whenever, he criticizes. He often refers to the APC government, and not the president.
President Buhari had also told APC stakeholders at certain meetings that those contesting for president should know that he did not win in his first attempt, he had to be consistent in four elections, three before winning in 2015. Coincidentally, all presidential aspirants in the APC are neophytes.
Meanwhile, our party source hinted that the APC leadership may get other aspirants to step down for Lawan at the national convention. In other words, the ruling party may adopt a consensus candidate.
APC leaders were also said to be watching the arraignments in the PDP in the nomination of the presidential candidate. The ruling party will delay their primaries and wait until the PDP elects a candidate for the presidential election.
Lawan is considered an associate of Tinubu, who the party leaders were said to believe his nomination as APC presidential candidate may not generate much resistance or conflicts from Tinubu and his loyalists. Tinubu was instrumental in making Lawan become Senate President against the contender, Senator Ndume.
However, Senate President Lawan has at all time been assuring Tinubu of his support since the commencement of the race for the APC presidential ticket. The game is beginning to change suddenly with many waiting with bathed breadth.