By Sadeeq Sheshe
It’s finally 2022 and politicians around Nigeria have already started releasing the outcome of their calculations. The dangling of these politicians would surely be around the ruling APC and the opposition PDP. The better calculator has a possibly direct correlation with victory depending on the position he or she is rooting for.
Former Lagos State Governor, Bola Tinubu will likely be the first person in the ruling APC to declare interest in succeeding President Buhari. With his declaration, it is expected that more people including “Political Jokers” would also declare whether they will like to join the race.
However, the candidacy of Tinubu, the Jagaban of Borgu, is surrounded by a lot satisfying and unsatisfying factors. Jagaban is no doubt a political warrior particularly within his region, the Southwest, and the country in general. His alliance with Buhari was considered the reason for Buhari’s ultimate emergence as the President In 2015. He was a former Governor of Lagos State and has already set up an empire in the state that could be difficult to bring down.
However, a hell of work needs to be done by the Tinubu and APC strategy team if they really need a victory.
It is currently a substantiated fact that President Buhari has lost a significant percentage of his popularity and especially in his Northern strongholds and that has affected the APC. As such there is the need for the APC to field a candidate that could miraculously revive the somewhat 2015 and 2019 APC’s political prowess. Tinubu, though the Jagaban, will and is probably not the candidate for that considering the taste of his name in the regions.
In his South west stronghold, he will surely conquer a lot or more likely, the majority. His political sons are the key performing politicians in the Southeastern states (except Ekiti State maybe) and success in that region looks inevitable.
The South East looks very unpredictable or unreliable for the Jagaban. The region is already in lock horns with everyone in country as they continue to claim that it is their turn to produce the next President of the country. It will take a lot for Tinubu to get his way out in the South Eastern part of the country. Already some of its socio-cultural groups have already started rejecting the candidacy of Tinubu. Additionally, the proscription of IPOB and detention of its leader Nnamdy Kanu had all made APC more unpopular in the region and it will require a lot of magic by the Jagaban to revive and get this region behind him.
The South South however, might decide to go with Tinubu. Fortunately, APC’s performance in the region is a bit significant and they might have no problem with Tinubu.
In the North, the calculations are very critical! The North is the most populous of the 2 regions and its Northwest and Northeast sub-regions (Geopolitical zones) contain the largest deposits of votes (due to their population size).
Right from the onset, Tinubu has not been popular in Northeast and Northwest. His days as Lagos State Governor had left some painful marks within the populace in these regions. The worst of it all for Jagaban is that they have cultural and religious affiliations. The Ethno-religious crisis during his term as Lagos state Governor could probably hunt him. Many people including Islamic clerics and elders have that notion that the state of government led by Tinubu enabled the killings of Northerners in Lagos during that crisis. Already, an old clip made by a very popular Islamic cleric is going round which is a spell of Doom for Jagaban Borgu. Once these kinds of games are played, then all is probably lost.
Tinubu could probably not make it out in these two politically important regions. In addition, North Central could be split along for the Jagaban as states like Kwara, Benue and likely some parts of Kogi might go for Tinubu, the rest would surely go with the opinion in the “core Northern” states.
A fundamental problem for Tinubu in the North is the religious inclination politics. Tinubu is a Yoruba Muslim and that could mean his running mate could have to be a Northern Christian. This will certainly not sit well with the population in the core North and will automatically results to failure. For a chance, a Northern Muslim has to be his running mate which could also put his whole candidacy in dilemma due to the Muslim-Muslim ticket national politics. Either way, it is a headache for the Jagaban and his candidacy.
Possible Way Out
Considering the whole political calculations, a possible way out for the APC and Tinubu is to Drop the Tinubu idea and go for his political godson, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo. Professor Yemi seems to be the most suitable candidate looking at the political calculations. He is from the Tinubu camp and so invariably, it is like the Jagaban‘s presidency; Thus the South west is in their bags. He will have no problem in the South South and can easily pull out significant acceptance in the South east as well.
In the North, he will be acceptable particularly if his candidacy is paired with a notable popular politician like Former Kano State Governor Engr Rabiu Kwankwaso or Current Borno State Governor Prof Babagana Zulum.
Either way, the Anti-Tinubu rhetoric could be eliminated and could even culminate in to a success.
However, the calculations here are independent of who the possible candidate of opposition party, the PDP is. The outcome can easily change with PDP fielding Atiku, Saraki, or even possibly; returning former President Goodluck Jonathan.
As the political scene continues to fold, more and more analysis and calculations would continue to be done and by early 2023, the best calculator emerges.
Sadeeq Sheshe writes from Bangkok and can reached via Sadeeqsheshe@yahoo.com