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AMAECHI & TINUBU's Loyalists Plan Towards MARCH 26

 •As Both Aspirants Eye APC Presidential Ticket


The All Progressives Congress (APC) has hinted that the presidential candidate for the 2023 election is expected to come from the southern region of the country, and indications that the new caucus is backing the transportation minister, Rotimi Amaechi. Two days after the dramatic sack of the CECPC Chairman, and Yobe State Governor, Mai Mala Buni, Malam Nasir Elrufai, Kaduna State Governor granted an interview on Channels Television that suggests the possibility of a presidential candidate from the South-South. He particularly mentioned that “Our expectation is that our presidential candidate will come from somewhere in the south.”

What is also noteworthy in the conversation is that the Kaduna Governor volunteered to run alongside the transportation minister, Rotimi Amaechi if push comes to shove Nasir el-Rufai, says he will “reluctantly” contest the 2023 Presidency in a joint ticket with Rotimi Amaechi if President Buhari insists.

Aside from Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo who are at the forefront of the presidential candidacy battle, Rotimi Amaechi has been rumoured to be interested in running for president, and he seems to have his interest sufficiently represented in the current APC committee. When El-Rufai was asked about the rumoured presidential bid of Amaechi, El-Rufai confirmed that the Minister of Transportation is interested in being President.

 ”Rotimi Amaechi is interested in running for president. He has the right to do so but I’m not running for anything. I’m not going to be on his ticket.” But when he was asked of his potential response if Buhari directs him to run for office or become the running mate to Amaechi, El-Rufai said he will oblige if the President insists.

 ”I’m tired. I’m not tired of serving the nation. I’m just physically tired because I do take my work seriously and in the last seven to eight years, I have worked flat out,” he added. “I’m not young anymore. I will be 63 next year so I prefer to look at other options to contribute to the development of my country.

“But of course, as you said, I did not want to run for Governor, the president insisted that I should run. If the president insists I should do something, I have so much regard for him and his judgement that I will do it — even reluctantly.”

With the new development in the party structure and the newly reinforced cabal, it can be said that the battle has just begun in the APC camp as factions are set to rise in the interest of the candidacy of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and the transportation minister, Rotimi Amaechi.

It is an open secret that the new APC CECPC chairman, Governor Abubakar Sani Bello of Niger state is a die-hard loyalist of Asiwaju and has on many occasions declared his unwavering support for the Jagaban himself. The relationship between Governor Bello and Asiwaju spans beyond the political arena. Gov Bello has become more like a brother and son to Asiwaju.

A key member of the new caretaker committee who maintained that the committee will display a high level of professionalism, transparency and neutrality during the convention, also hinted that Asiwaju’s interest overrides that of any other aspirant in the APC as of now. He however maintained that the committee will not influence any form of permutation to favour anyone.

Now that El-Rufai has embraced the position of second fiddle, that places Asiwaju in good stead. This means his influence can only be mildly effective at the committee level, however, he will play the role of a stern watchdog to ensure that his preferred candidate is picked as a consensus candidate.

The cold war between Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinunu and Malam Nasir El Rufai has gone way back before the latter expressed his reservation for Asiwaju two years ago.

Speaking at a webinar in commemoration of the 63rd birthday of the Minister of Interior and former Governor of Osun State, Mr Rauf Aregbesola in 2020, El-Rufai, noted that Aregbesola remained his man any day but that Tinubu was not his man. This, he said, was due to the differences between him and the former Lagos Governor. El-Rufai’s statement came as a subtle confirmation of the disagreement between him and Tinubu.

Tinubu has never made any public statement about their seemingly frosty relationship and El-Rufai had also been conservative on the issue except for very few occasions. A year before then, El-Rufai was in Lagos and he spoke at an event where he advised Lagosians on how to defeat godfatherism in the state.

He said: “Let me tell you something, sir; you know Kaduna State used to be like that. There were three or four politicians in Kaduna that you could not become anything unless you had them on your side.“I assure you if you can connect with the people; the tin godfather, you will retire him or her permanently. But it is hard work; it requires three to four years of hard work. So, if you want to run in 2023, you should start now. Many of the godfathers are either on paper or in the mind of people in politics. They are defeatable” he said. His statement was greeted with hard responses by concerned youths in the southwest who believed El-Rufai does not fall in the same political league as Asiwaju.

The question on the minds of Nigerians is if Rotimi Amaechi is a worthy contender in the scheme of things.

El-Rufai only hinted that the President is interested in who becomes the party Chairman, but did not disclose if he’s interested in who becomes the president. Buhari has however maintained that the identity of his preferred candidate cannot be disclosed for fear of assassination of the aspirant.

Will Amaechi battle Asiwaju for the ticket in the primaries? Will El-Rufai’s influence override Gov Sani’s Bello’s decision? Will Asiwaju just fold his arms and watch the drama unfold? These questions will get answers in a matter of days.


-Joseph Seun Emmanuel


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