2023 PRESIDENCY: How Godsons, Allies Will Work For, Against Tinubu
The declaration of national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu, to contest for the 2023 presidential election has stirred the political waters in the country.
LEADERSHIP checks, however, indicate that while the former governor and kingmaker still enjoys formidable followership from some of his political sons, he may not enjoy as much backing from others whose political interests seem to have taken different paths.
However, besides the support of his political godsons, the former Lagos State governor will bank on the support of some of his political allies.
In this report, LEADERSHIP looks at those who may or may not support the Tinubu 2023 project.
The minister of information and culture has remained a staunch Tinubu supporter over the years. Having served as Tinubu’s chief of staff when the later was governor of Lagos State, Mohammed’s political career has since been intertwined with the APC leader. Although he lost the 2003 Kwara State governorship race on the platform of defunct Alliance for Democracy (AD), the minister’s political bond with Tinubu continued as he served as the spokesman of the then opposition APC before the came to power in 2015.
Checks reveal that the minister, despite his travails in the Kwara State chapter of the APC, will back Tinubu going into the election.
The former secretary to the government of the federation is an unapologetic Tinubu supporter. He had as far back as the year 2020 declared his support for a Tinubu presidency in 2023.
Senator George Akume
The minister of special duties has been a strong ally of the former Lagos State governor. His political trajectory with Tinubu became stronger when he joined the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) in 2011 and rose to become the Senate minority leader under the platform of the party.
Governor Umar Ganduje
The political romance between Tinubu and the Kano State governor, Umar Ganduje, has become quite strong in recent times. Little wonder the former Lagos governor has made more visits to Kano in recent times than before.
However, checks also reveal that some other political godsons and allies of the APC national leader might be put to the test due to unraveling political realignments ahead of 2023.
Prof Yemi Osinbajo
With the campaign for his 2023 presidency gathering momentum by the day, it is expected that the vice president will square up with his former boss at the APC presidential primaries.
Osinbajo, widely regarded as one of Tinubu’s brightest political proteges, served as attorney general and commissioner for Justice, from 1999 to 2007 when the latter held sway as Lagos governor.
Although Tinubu largely influenced his emergence as Lagos State governor, Babatunde Fashola, who now serves as minister of Works and Housing would need to address the perception of doubt over his support for the Tinubu 2023 project.
Although he also served as Tinubu’s chief of staff and was also popularly referred to as honourable commissioner to the governor’s office at the time, his political relationship with Tinubu seemed to have soured over time.
Governor Kayode Fayemi
Fayemi was also of the political family of Tinubu on whose platform he contested and won the Ekiti State governorship election in his first term, but with his ambition to contest the 2023 presidential election also at play, the Ekiti State governor and chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum is likely to face his political godfather at the APC primaries.
Minister of interior and former governor of Osun State is regarded as one of Tinubu’s political allies. He was a ranking member of the Alliance for Democracy and was later director of the Bola Ahmed Tinubu Campaign Organisation (BATCO), who drove the electoral victory of Bola Tinubu in 1999 as governor of Lagos state. On the platform of the Independent Campaign Group, he ensured the re-election of Tinubu for a second term in office.
However, his recent rift with the incumbent governor and successor, Gboyega Oyetola, over the control of APC in Osun State would put to test his continued support for Tinubu ahead of 2023 due to the kinship between Tinubu and Oyetola.
Speaker of the House, Femi Gbajabiamila, is an unapologetic supporter of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu. The speaker who has been elected five consecutive times since 2003 owes his political success to the former governor of Lagos State as the speakership position was unofficially reserved for him on the strength of Tinubu’s goodwill.
It is also believed that many lawyers from Lagos and Kano states who were appointed to head many sensitive committees in the House are favourably to the Tinubu project.
Senate President Ahmad Lawan hails from Yobe State but emerged as Senate President with the support of the former national chairman of the APC, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, another Tinubu supporter.
Tinubu had, in the 8th Assembly, made an unsuccessful bid to ensure Lawan emerged Senate president but lost to Abubakar Bukola Saraki. It is believed that with Tinubu’s declaration, it is now a payback time for the Senate president.
Ovie Omo-Agege is a two-term senator and emerged Deputy Senate President through the support of Tinubu.
Omo-Agege is also nursing an ambition to contest the Delta State gubernatorial election in 2023. Many believe that Omo-Agege will work for Tinubu’s emergence as the candidate in his political party.
Mukhail Adetokunbo Abiru
Senator Mukhail Adetokunbo Abiru represents Lagos East Senatorial District in the National Assembly. Tinubu has supported him immensely in his political career and many believe he would work hard to ensure Tinubu success.
Abiru was one of the senators who visited Tinubu in a London Hospital on 10 September, 2021.
Senator Opeyemi Bamidele
Senator Opeyemi Bamidele hails from Ekiti State and was in the small entourage that visited Tinubu at a London Hospital.
Opeyemi, who is the chairman, Senate Committee on Judiciary and Legal Matters, is also contesting for the APC ticket in the Ekiti gubernatorial elections. It was gathered that Opeyemi will support the Tinubu presidential ticket.
Senator Adeola Solomon
Senator Adeola Solomon is the chairman, Senate Committee on Finance. He is known to be a Tinubu supporter and has attained an influential height in politics as a result of Tinubu. The Lagos senator, it was gathered, will work to ensure Tinubu gets the ticket to run in the presidential election.
Senator Adelere Oriolowo
Senator Adelere Adeyemi Oriolowo represents Osun West Senatorial District and is an ally of Tinubu. The APC member who is also an engineer, it was gathered, will work for the success of Tinubu. He was among the few senators that visited Tinubu at the London hospital.
Senator Mohammed Sani Musa
Senator Musa represents Niger East Senatorial District of Niger State in the National Assembly. He is also contesting the national chairmanship position of the APC.
Musa, who was among senators that showed solidarity to Tinubu when he was at the London Hospital, it was gathered, will support Tinubu presidential ambition.
LEADERSHIP reports that many other senators will soon make their positions known on their support for their party leader to take the flag for the 2023 presidential election contest.
The lawmaker representing Ikeja Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives, James Faleke, is the arrowhead of the Tinubu-for-president campaign in the House of Representatives. Faleke had said that Tinubu stands a better chance to win APC presidential ticket for the 2023 general election.
Faleke has organised some forums to support the Tinubu presidential project.
The member representing Suleja/Tafa/Gurara Federal Constituency of Niger State, Abubarkar Lado Suleja is one of the most visible loyalists of Tinubu in the House of Representatives.
Lado has never hidden his support for a Tinubu presidency and during the visit of the Northern Caucus of the House to the APC national leader, he referred to him (Tinubu) as Mr President.
Lado said that Tinubu had everything it took to continue with the legacy of President Muhammadu Buhari.
“We are praying for him to become the president of Nigeria come 2023. We have only one president, President Muhammadu Buhari, who is the leader of our party and our mentor.
“But we are praying for Asiwaju to be the next president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and continue from where President Buhari will stop.”
The member, Koko/Besse Federal Constituency of Kebbi State, who is the chairman of House Committee on Airforce is also a known supporter of Tinubu. He was once seen addressing Tinubu’s wife, Senator Oluremi Tinubu as the in-coming First Lady.
Muhammed Garba Datti
The chairman, House Committee on Sports and Habour, Hon Muhammad Garba Datti is also a supporter of Tinubu. Our correspondent gathered that Datti at different private meetings expressed his support for the APC national leader. He was also said to have challenged lawmakers from the Southwest to support their own.
The House Leader was part of the northern caucus delegation to visit Tinubu in London. The delegation was led by the deputy speaker, Idris Ahmed Wase. Although many lawmakers from Kano State are believed to be favourably disposed to the Tinubu 2023 project, Doguwa is said to be a very slippery politician whose position cannot be easily ascertained.
Dr Femi Hamzat
Dr. Femi Hamzat is currently the Deputy Governor of Lagos State. He is an accomplished academic and a technocrat of proven ability.
Hamzat’s arrival in the public service from an illustrious private sector career was announced by his appointment as Commissioner for Science and Technology during the tenure of Tinubu in August 2005. In 2011, Dr Hamzat was appointed Lagos State Commissioner for Works and Infrastructure
Mr Tunji Bello
Tunji Bello is the current Lagos State Commissioner for Environment and Water Resources. He is a journalist, lawyer, politician and administrator. The Tinubu political foot soldier has been an indispensable factor in the socio-economic progress the state has made since the 1999 return to democratic governance.
As an accomplished administrator, he has served in the Lagos State government since 2003, starting with the administration of Tinubu, till date.
Senator Musiliu Obanikoro
Let no one be deceived, former Minister of State for Defence, Senator Musiliu Obanikoro is a Tinubu loyalist that would support his ambition. He was also the chairman, Lagos Island Local Government.
He was appointed Lagos State Commissioner for Home Affairs and Culture in 1999 by Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and served for four years before he was elected Senator of the Federal republic of Nigeria.
Musiliu Obanikoro was elected senator for Lagos Central in the April 2003 elections, under the platform of Alliance for Democracy (AD) led by Asiwaju Tinubu.
Demola Seriki is former Minister of State for Defence between 2008 and 2009 and chairman of Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC). He is always devoted to any aspiration of Asiwaju Tinubu.
Rt. Hon. Mudashiru Obasa
Rt. Hon. Obasa is the Speaker, Lagos State House of Assembly. Obasa with the backing of the national leader of the All Progressives Congress, Tinubu, was elected unopposed. He is a die-hard political apostle of Tinubu.
Like Tinubu, Umahi Informs PMB Of His Intention To Run
Meanwhile, Tinubu’s declaration has caused some reaction in the polity.
Ebonyi State governor, Dave Umahi has told President Muhammadu Buhari he is interested in contesting the 2023 presidency.
This came 24 hours after former Lagos State governor, Bola Tinubu, informed Buhari of his presidential ambition.
Speaking to State House correspondents yesterday after meeting with Buhari, Umahi said the president told him to consult widely.
He said, “We discussed politics as well as the growth of our party, APC, in Nigeria, and the South East. And, of course, you know, the interest of the South East for the seat of the presidency in 2023.
“And, of course, I told Mr. President that without prejudice to whatever will be the decision of the party, which we shall abide by, if the party throws the ticket open or zoned to the southern part of Nigeria, that I believe that with what I have put in place in the past six years plus, I’ll be running for the presidency on the platform of APC.
“So, I told him and, of course, he believes that whoever wants to run for president of this country must consult widely, go to all the leaders and that we must do everything to remove ethnicity and religion in our politics, so that this country can grow.”
When reminded of the calibre of other contestants eyeing the presidency on the platform of the APC, Umahi said he was in a contest with himself.
“The Bible that I swore with 1 Samuel says that by strength shall no man prevail, and that power and might belong to God. He chooses whomever he will and he will do that in 2020. I’m not in a contest with anybody, I’m in a contest with myself,” he added.
The Ebonyi governor also said he has consulted widely, saying: “I wouldn’t have done that without first coming to clear with Mr. President, that there is this feeling that the South East has not been president and that people feel that those of our leaders in the various political parties should indicate interest to contest.
“And this is fair, this is important. But at the end of the day, it is God Almighty and the political parties that will also decide.”
When asked if he had informed Ohanaeze Ndigbo about his presidential ambition, Umahi said the socio-cultural organisation should not dabble into politics.
According to him, “Ohanaeze leadership should not play politics. Yes, they can speak for the interest of the South East, they can speak for fair treatment to the South East as a people, but as a matter of equity, justice, and fairness, and leaving a level playing field for all the political parties and the aspirants.
“They should not dabble into politics or whom to support or whom not to support. I think that they hear it just like they hear other political parties’ aspirants. We will also write to them to notify them that, yes, they have capable sons and daughters that, if God wills, could do this job.
Explaining further he said, “It’s all about fear of God; it’s all about bringing in our experience to bear. I have been into construction since I graduated. So, I have a lot to give in terms of how to run governance as a business because you have to have the heart to help the people and that’s what we’ve demonstrated in Ebonyi.
“We also believe strongly that we’ll be able to continue with what Mr. President has done. One of the greatest problems we have in this country is ethnicity, religion, and unpatriotic features of a lot of people. And I think that there is a need to engage starting from where Mr. President would have stopped.”
The Ebonyi governor also insisted on a political solution to the matter of the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu.
“Let me also add that as the chairman of South East Governors’ Forum, that I support a political solution to insecurity in the South East. And of course, I mentioned it to Mr. President.
And so we are willing to engage, to see that we have, you know, an amicable settlement, and rebuild the economy of the South East.
“So, I strongly believe that a political solution would be far better than the process which may last for a very long time,” he stated.
Osinbajo Better Prepared For 2023 Presidency – Loyalists
A political pressure group, Organised Private Sector for Osinbajo (OPS 4 Osinbajo) has declared that President Yemi Osinbajo is far better intellectually equipped than any current presidential aspirant for the task of leading Nigeria’s economic rejuvenation towards future greatness.
“With Osinbajo, Nigeria’s organided private sector has much basis for optimism about post-2023 economic activities,” the group’s spokesman, Alhaji Abdulrahman Farouk stated in Abuja on Monday.
While emphasising that Vice President Yemi Osinbajo’s consistent focus and insider knowledge of the objectives and challenges related to the Buhari administration’s economic programmes are great advantages towards Nigeria’s economic rejuvenation, he emphasized that Osinbajo’s candidature offers much hope for citizens who have high expectations about job creation, increased earnings and growth.
“Even though an aspirant has informed Muhammadu Buhari about his 2023 ambition, the most credible option still appears to be Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and for the organised private as well as the citizenry, Osinbajo offers much fertile ground for hope to rapidly germinate.”
In a statement issued at The Progressive Project (TPP) office in Wuse, Abuja, on Monday, the group stressed that rather than mere sentiment, Nigerians must carefully weigh the past and current potential of various candidates and use their voter’s card responsibly in the 2023 election.
“Getting Nigeria’s economy to grow faster than the population is going to take a lot of consistent planning, discipline and integrity, as well as great consistency in implementation but with his sharp focus, Professor Yemi Osinbajo is expected to do well,” he stated.
“No declaration by any number of aspirants can douse the patriotic passion associated with those championing the cause of an Osinbajo presidency in 2023, the Progressive Consolidation Group (PCG) has declared.
According to chairman of PCG, Dr. Aliyu Kurfi, plurality of candidates and political parties are necessary for a robust democracy and a rich array of strong contenders will only deepen the legitimacy of Osinbajo’s eventual victory.
“As genuine democrats who believe in the ;progressive ideals that Vice President Osinbajo stands for, we welcome others into the race because we strongly believe that a plurality of candidates and political parties only enhances the robustness of our democracy.
“As to the chances of success, we are very confident that Osinbajo will enter and win the race by virtue of all his good qualities and citizens’ expectations to see him build on the foundation laid by President Muhammadu Buhari,” Dr. Kurfi stated.
Tinubu Not Osinbajo’s Threat – Campaign Group
Ahead of the 2023 presidential election, a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Trustee, Osinbajo Grassroots Organisation, Engr Michael Oluwagbemi, has said the declaration of the party’s national leader, Bola Tinubu for the presidency is no threat to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.
He stated this yesterday while speaking on LEADERSHIP Podcast’s live show, ‘Inside Nigeria.”
He noted that, despite Tinubu being a legend of the party whom everyone looks up to, the party would present the best man that is most suitable for the job.
“First and foremost, I want to say that, indeed, any affair regarding the nomination of a flag bearer for our great party is a family affair. Every one of us in APC, we are one family.
“Asiwaju Tinubu is our legend within our party. He is our leader; he is the man that we look very much up to when we enter into the field of politics. So, in any case we have to remember that this is one family and at the end of the day our hope is that the best man that is most suitable for the job is chosen by APC and that is why we are rooting for the Vice President.
“So, I do not think the declaration of Asiwaju in any way threatens the candidacy of the vice president. In fact, I think it will boost the candidacy of the vice president.”
However, he noted that the declaration of Tinubu is legitimate but stressed that the next president of Nigeria should be someone who is focused on Nigerians, which is the vice president.
Orji Kalu hints on running for President after Tinubu’s declaration
Also, former Abia Governor and the Senate Chief Whip, Orji Uzor Kalu, yesterday said he would run if the APC zones its presidential ticket to the South-East.
Kalu spoke in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, yesterday.
The lawmaker thanked individuals and groups urging him to throw his hat into the ring as the next general elections draw near.
Kalu noted that the development meant the people found him worthy to deliver good governance to Nigeria.
On campaign posters bearing his image sighted in some cities, the former governor said the final decision would be made known in due course.
“I want to continue to thank people who are putting up my posters all over Nigeria. I have not made up my mind whether to vie for president or not.
“But if opportunity is given to the South-East, I will think again to see if there is room because the party has not said where they are zoning the president to”, Kalu added.
The Senator expressed confidence that the APC will produce a President who will work for the unity of the country.
PDP’ ll generate revenue from secretariat when completed – Ayu
National chairman of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Senator Iyorchia Ayu, yesterday said the party will generate funds to run its affairs on the completion of its national secretariat in Abuja.
Ayu, who stated this when members of the PDP National Working Committee, NWC, accompanied him on an inspection tour of party facilities in the FCT, promised to explore any legitimate option to generate funds to complete the project.
Made up of 11 floors, construction work on the edifice, which is located at the Central Business District, has dragged on for years and eventually stalled when the party lost power at the centre in 2015.
Addressing newsmen at the national secretariat building, Ayu commended the quality of work done, noting that the project has reached an advanced stage, preparatory to completion.
“After so many years, we have lost a lot of revenue. The building is on 11 floors – two underground floors, and nine floors off the ground.
“The PDP will occupy three floors, and the rest will be commercialised to generate revenue for the party, and this is the Central Business District, so not completing it means we have lost a lot of revenue.
“The structure is complete. The briefing I have is that it is actually getting to finishing stages, and most of the critical components on ground have been moved for safe keeping.
“At Wadata Plaza, we are challenged by a lack of adequate office space. So the party will now discuss with all stakeholders of the party and explore the necessary avenue for completing this edifice.
“We believe that apart from the critical holders in the party, we’ll look for other ways advised by experts to look into commercial considerations. I think it is possible to look for ways in the commercial sector to complete this building,” he said.
“Every option will be considered. It is too premature for me to say categorically that this is exactly what we will do, but we will consider every possible option to make sure that this building is completed and use it to generate revenue for the party and provide sufficient offices for the party.”
Senator Ayu was accompanied on the inspection tour by Samuel Anyanwu, Iliya Damagun, Debo Ologunagba and Stella Effah-Attoe, national secretary, deputy national chairman (North), national publicity secretary and national woman leader of the party respectively.
Ohanaeze Praises Umahi’s Record
In its reaction, the national publicity secretary of Ohanaeze, Alex Ogbonnia, said Umahi’s declaration is a welcome development, adding that he has an impressive record as governor.
He saluted Umahi’s audacity, and described him is a good politician who has done a lot, adding that the EBUBEAGU outfit he launched and other projects show he is a good politician whose ambition is a welcome development.