South West APC leaders
Southwest APC leaders

By OLUSESAN LAOYE

The issues of the presidential ticket of the ruling APC may have been finally settled with the proposed zoning of the office to the south, which many see as the southwest given that it is the major partner in the coalition that make of the party.

The battle for leadership of Nigeria in the past eight years has been between these two political parties which also have been ruminating on the modus operandi to adopt in picking Presidential candidates in the next election.

The APC from the look of things may have settled for the Southern parts of Nigeria to pick its presidential flag bearer while the PDP from the body language is likely to settle for the North.

In the South west for instance, several names have been positioned bearing the argument that when the party was to be formed there were agreements that after the incumbent Muhammadu Buhari’s eight years in office, it would be the turn of the South West.

Despite what it was said about the unwritten agreement, there appears to still be a crack in the South West where the APC may eventually pick its candidates after weighing the options.

The consensus about the qualities of the next president is that he must be a person who understands Nigeria and ready to unite it at this crucial period and solve the numerous problems confronting it. In addition, as former military president Ibrahim Babangida said recently, he should also be a man under 60 years of age. It has also been said that he must be a the person with sound health who would concentrate on the affairs of governance and not a person who would spend most of the time looking after his health and neglecting the country to its fate.

Some people also canvassed for technocrats, those from the corporate world who can create wealth with lots of connections both locally and abroad.

Although, the Southern Governors in their last meeting in Lagos agreed that the Presidency should move to the area, there is no concrete agreement on which parts of the South should have it.

Of all the zones in the Southern part of Nigeria, the South West (Yoruba) is the ones who have never hidden their resolve that it must be their turn after Buhari. This position cut across all strata of the society and they are also loud about it.

For the past two years many names have surfaced and these names are still much prominent in the list of those who could put on the cap after Buhari. Those who are being put forward are mostly from the APC. The prominent and the loudest name of those in APC is Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu.

Although he has not made his ambition known officially, it is no longer hidden that he is interested in the race. Even his foot soldiers have gone all out to let people know that he is interested.

Even his outings of recent wooing the North with some key projects are pointers to his determination for the presidency. He is a man described as the most outstanding with all it takes which others in the party and even in the region cannot match.

Yemi Osinbajo

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, who was born in March 1957, is currently serving his second term as the vice president to President Buhari and they have enjoyed a seamless relationship since 2015.

Though the eloquent vice president and Christian preacher has not openly spoken about his presidential aspiration his close friends and associates have started campaigning subtly for his candidature. It however remains uncertain whether he would receive the president’s support having lost out in the power game at the presidency.

What came out in favour of Osinbajo was the way he has been handling the affairs of the country whenever President Buhari was out of the country.To some Northerners he is regarded as a cool headed person who is also loyal and who is capable of turning the economy of Nigeria round and to a sound footing.

Also if the agitation for a Christian to be President holds he is mostly favoured.

KAYODE FAYEMI

At Arewa House’s Centre for Historical Documentation and Research, where he was keynote speaker, the Sultan of Sokoto, His Eminence Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar described Ekiti State Governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi as an adopted son of the late Sadauna of Sokoto, Sir Ahmadu Bello, setting off a possible support for the ambition of the governor, who is said to be eyeing the presidency after he has serve out his second tenure in 2022.

In 2006, Fayemi made his entry into partisan politics, ahead of the 2007 election during which he contested for Governor of Ekiti State on the platform of the defunct Action Congress.

After three and a half years fighting a legal battle, he was on October 15, 2010 declared the duly elected Governor of Ekiti State by the appeal court sitting in Kwara State and that marked the end of Olusegun Oni’s tenure.

In April 2014, Fayemi was endorsed as the governorship candidate of the APC in the state’s governorship elections slated for June 21, 2014. He was however defeated at the polls on June 21, 2014 by Ayodele Fayose of the PDP who won a second term in office.

Fayemi re-contested for a second term as Ekiti state governor on the platform of the APC in the July 14, 2018 governorship election after resigning as the Minister of Solid Minerals Development. He won and has since been governor of the state, for a second term, having defeated Kolapo Olusola Eleka of the PDP.

He is now the Chairman Nigeria Governors’ Forum and hails from the South West.

He is also regarded as an intelligent person fit for the job and he is as well a Christian.

AKINWUMI ADESINA

An economist, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina is currently serving as the President of the African Development Bank. He previously served as Nigeria’s Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development during which he revolutionised the agricultural sector of the country through an e-system that brought many farmers within the agriculture value chain.

Until his appointment as Minister in 2010, he was Vice President of Policy and Partnerships for the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA). He was elected as the President of the African Development Bank in 2015 and re-elected for a second term in 2020. He is the first Nigerian to hold the post.

Adesina is being tipped by a handful of the Nigerian elite, including former President Olusegun Obansanjo, who believes that the next president should be an economist or a technocrat and not a typical politician. He hails from the South West.

NIYI ADEBAYO

Born on February 4, 1958, Otunba Niyi Adebayo is a traditional aristocrat. He served as the first Governor of Ekiti State from May 29, 1999 to May 29, 2003 on the platform of the Alliance for Democracy (AD).

A lawyer by training, Adebayo has extensive experience in a wide range of disputes & legal and advisory work. His more notable achievements have been in the areas of project finance, oil and gas, contract procurement and business facilitation. He had served as National Vice Chairman of his ruling political party, the All Progressives Congress, APC.

Adebayo is currently the Minister of Trade, Industry and Investment. He hails from the South West.

BABATUNDE FASOLA (SAN)

Babatunde Raji Fashola, SAN, was born on June 28, 1963. A lawyer and current Federal Minister of Works and Housing, Fashola had earlier served two terms as governor of Lagos State from May 29, 2007 to May 29, 2015.Fashola is watching the presidential race keenly and would only formally declare if the coast is clear.

He served as a candidate of the Action Congress party and later Action Congress of Nigeria, to succeed his mentor, Bola Ahmed Tinubu. On November 11, 2015, he was appointed by President Muhammadu Buhari to be the Minister of Power, Works and Housing; he was reappointed Minister of Works and Housing in 2019.

IBIKUNLE AMOSUN

Ibikunle Amosun, born on January 25, 1958 is the former governor of Ogun State and a two-term senator. He is the closest person from the South West to President Buhari. Pundits say if the President and the ruling party decide to give the ticket to the South West then Amosun would clearly be the favourite of the president.

After an unsuccessful bid for governor of Ogun State in April 2007, he was elected governor of the state on the platform of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN0 in 2011.

Rotimi Akeredolu

He happens to be the new name being put forward in the South West based on his outstanding performance and his bravery in confronting the issues affecting the region, especially over banditry and the Fulani invasion of the region as the chairman of the governor’s forum in the zone.

He is a lawyer and spending his second term in office as the governor of Ondo State. But he is not likely to receive the support of the north who are angry at his anti-North position.

According to Adeseye Ogunlewe “all of them are members of the same family and that Tinubu is their father and leader, and none of them would be able to stand Tinubu one-on-one in politics.”

The former minister in an interview recently said “Tinubu made them and he can tell them how he has been able to raise them. I prefer Tinubu as president because he has developed a lot of human resource systems.

“We have seen how he was able to place a number of people in certain positions. Look at the composition of the structure of Nigeria. Where is the Vice President from? Where is the Speaker of the House of Representatives from? Did that happen by accident?

He added, “Somebody who was working behind the scene made it possible to place his people in the structure of Nigeria. I am amazed how he was able to achieve that.

“I have been in the system, and I cannot believe that a substantial number of Northerners will vote for a Southwest speaker when we have a Yoruba man as the vice president. I have worked with the Northern people and for them to have agreed to that structure, we should give it to Tinubu.”

Also a prominent lawyer and former National Secretary of the Labour party now in APC, Kayode Ajulo said that although all the people are the most favoured, Tinubu stands out but a survey recently conducted showed that there is apathy against him.

Ajulo however contended that notwithstanding, the APC is the party to beat being the largest party in Nigeria today.