One is the Jagaban of Borgu kingdom in Niger State, the other is the Jagaban Adamawa (call it the looming battle of the Jagabans and you may not be wrong). One was the governor of Lagos between 1999 and 2007, the other was the Lagos State Justice Commissioner within the same period. One has indicated interest to succeed President Muhammadu Buhari, the other is probably bidding his time. The role played by one in getting the other to Aso Rock is a topic for another day, given the controversy around the issue. But our main focus today is the question; has the battle line for the 2023 presidency been drawn among these seemingly estranged members of a political family?
Give or take, the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) has technically solved one of the issues tearing at the heart of the party. Zoning, convention, primaries, congresses have threatened the foundation of the party, giving the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) a reason to smile within.
- 2023 Presidency: The widening gulf between Tinubu and Osinbajo
- 2023: Yoruba leaders should mediate between Tinubu, Osinbajo — Ajulo
But at the meeting that held at Aso Rock on Tuesday afternoon, the ruling party zoned its chairmanship slot to the North, a strong indication that the South will produce the presidential candidate of the party.
While responding to a question asked by Daily Trust’s correspondent at the pre-convention meeting presided over by Buhari, Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna, said, “We have agreed a zoning formula for all the six geopolitical zones and essentially, we swapped. Northern zones will take positions that Southern zones had in the last eight years and vice versa.
“So, it’s a very simple, equitable and fair formula. We will now go back and consult at the zonal level, and look at the positions that are available and the process of the convention preparation will start in earnest. So by the grace of God on the 26th of March, we will have done a national convention.”
Since the formation of the APC, the substantive chairmanship position has been held by Southerners – former Governors John Odigie-Oyegun and Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State. The interim National Chairman, Bisi Akande, is also a Southerner, and according to El-Rufai, a decision has been taken that the position, which is currently being occupied by Governor Mai Mala Buni of Yobe on interim basis, will now go to the North.
If eventually, the presidential ticket goes to the South, will Tinubu and Osinbajo whom are rated among the strongest contenders go head to head? These men have been to palaces in different regions of late; their foot soldiers have been marching on the streets; their opponents have been highlighting the weaknesses of the other, that’s all politics is about but what do coming days have for their supporters? Will one step down for the other? What exactly is bound to happen next? While we may not have immediate answers to the questions, there’s no doubt that zoning the chairmanship slot to the north has brought a new dimension to the 2023 race.