As Nigeria gradually draws close 2023, the race for who becomes the country’s next president is fast becoming the major topic within the country’s political space.
Two major political personalities seem to be on the lips of Nigerians – Bola Tinubu, National Leader of the All Progressives Congress, APC, and Atiku Abubakar, former Vice President and ex- Peoples Democratic Party’s presidential candidate.
Atiku started vying for the presidency right from the days of the Social Democratic Party, SDP, in which, the late MKO Abiola defeated him to emerge as the presidential candidate and eventual winner in 1992, but the election was annulled.
Despite his failure to emerge president, Atiku rose to become the Vice President to former President, Olusegun Obasanjo and they were in charge for two terms. After leaving office, the Turaki Adamawa has continued to push for the actualization of his presidential ambition without success.
Atiku who lost to President Muhammadu Buhari in 2015 is believed to be nursing the ambition of running for the presidency again in 2023. However, he is yet to declare his intentions but his supporters are already preparing the ground with campaign posters being sighted in some states.
Similarly, Bola Tinubu, the National Leader of the All Progressives Congress, APC, is believed to be “eyeing” the highest political seat in Nigeria.
Tinubu, known for his human capacity development and political sagacity is believed to be the best candidate to succeed Buhari in 2023. Tinubu’s political tutelage has produced people like former Governor of Lagos State, Babatunde Fashola who is the current Minister of Works and Housing; Tunde Fowler, former boss of the Federal Inland Revenue Services, FIRS, and Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, among others. In some quarters, it’s believed that Buhari won’t have emerged as president if not for the influence of “Asiwaju.”
To this end, the South West Agenda for Asiwaju, SWAGA, had boasted that the former Lagos State governor already has 12 to 13 million votes, ahead of the presidential election.
A chieftain of SWAGA, Senator Adedayo Adeyeye said Tinubu would replicate Buhari’s 2025 feat, when he got 12 million votes from the North.
Adeyeye pointed out that the entire Southwest would put their differences, both politically and traditionally aside and ensure that Asiwaju as he is popularly called emerges Nigeria’s next president.
However, a member of the House of Representatives, Shina Peller, has cautioned Nigerians against picking their next president on the basis of personality traits.
Peller, a member of the ruling APC said Nigerians should rather pick their next president on the basis of a strong institution rather than personality.
He urged Nigerians to put in place a strong institution now from which the country’s leader would be picked rather than relying on personalities.
Peller made the remark while reacting to a question on Tinubu’s aspiration.
In an Instagram interview with Officialsamolatunji 1, Peller said, “We need to build an institution now, we do not need to take any single person and be saying we want to now rally round that person. Let us form an institution, let us identify a criteria and let us see who meets up with the criteria.
“There is no institution that has set up the criteria yet. If the criteria says the next president should be christian, is Asiwaju a christian?
He noted that relying on personalities to save Nigeria was a mistake, adding that the next president should be elected through institutions capable of ensuring the competency of the individuals.
“We have made the mistake two times. There was a time in Nigeria when President Obasanjo was brought from prison and everybody was saying he is the best person that could do this and we started to run around him. The Same thing happened to President Buhari. Everybody was saying Muhammadu Buhari is a saint, he is not corrupt and then everyone starts to run around him, I believe this must stop,” Peller said.
Also, a chieftain of the PDP, who wished not to be named said in reality, Nigeria’s next president should be more of competence not popularity.
He noted that Nigerians would keep making mistakes for relying on popularity in deciding the country’s president.
We need to stop this thing of popularity in picking out president. We did with Obasanjo, the same was repeated with Buhari. They said Buhari would turn Nigeria around because he was a straight forward person, but look at what we are experiencing today. His government is the most biased and sectional which has destroyed Nigeria. We need to do better in 2023,” he said.