It is no longer a secret that the national leader of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu has an ambition to become the president of Nigeria in 2023, after President Muhammadu Buhari must have completed his second term in office. While the man himself is yet to openly declare his intentions to run in 2023, nevertheless, his supporters from different parts of the country have started clandestine campaigns for him, with those who are bold enough among them even opening campaign offices, with branded materials and posters displayed in strategic locations.
Although not officially stated, it is said that part of the reason for Asiwaju Bola Tinubu throwing his weight behind President Buhari in 2015 was the agreement among the leaders of their part to have the presidency zoned to the Southwest and Tinubu given the party’s presidential ticket in 2023.
However, the major obstacle to Tinubu realizing his presidential ambition come 2023 may not come from anywhere else but his own very region, the Southwest. According to those in the know, one of the people who have an axe to grind with Tinubu is former Ogun State Governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun. He is said to be still very bitter for the role Tinubu played in his losing the party’s machineries and structures in the state to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, which eventually led to his choice of successor, Adekunle Akinlade losing out in the race to the Oke-Mosan seat of power in Ogun State to Governor Dapo Abiodun.
Amosun is reported to have begun underground moves to build momentum towards declaring for the presidency in 2023. Those close to him says the former helmsman in Ogun State, who is reputed to be quite vindictive is well aware that he may eventually not become president but is ready to jeopardize Tinubu’s aspiration too by dividing the party in the Southwest. It is an open secret that Amosun is one of the closest, if not the closest person to Buhari in the Southwest. Their closeness dates back to their days in the Congress for Progressive Change, CPC. Buhari contested as the presidential flagbearer of the CPC in 2011 and lost to Goodluck Jonathan of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP.
Part of the reasons why the supporters of Tinubu are getting jittery with the news of Amosun’s intentions is the perceived soft spot President Buhari has for Amosun. In the thick of the last presidential campaign, the president was humiliated in Ogun State, right in front of Amosun when his supporters booed and pelted the presidential campaign team at the MKO Abiola Stadium at Kuto, Abeokuta. Before then, Amosun had gone ahead to register another party, the Allied People’s Movement, APM and openly campaigned for and funded the aspiration of Adekunle Akinlade, to the chagrin of the supporters of APC.
Not a few people expected President Buhari to have cautioned him for anti-party activities, but rather than that, he was pictured with Akinlade and President Buhari at the Aso Rock presidential villa.
Should Amosun make good his threat and run in 2023, it may well be true what is being hushed that the cabals have used and dumped the current strongman of Southwest politics and may be ready to use one of his own kinsmen to checkmate his presidential ambition.