Deep down, as an APC faithful, I have harbored a genuine fear of having to contend with an ‘ATIKU’, as the flagbearer of the PDP in the 2023 polls. The man is a sagacious politician, a ballot veteran and a professional linguist of the Nigerian language and mentality. Woe betide you, if you dare underestimate his political prowess and war-chest. The legendary 12 million votes man, PMB, narrowly escaped Atiku’s onslaught at the ballot, in the 2019 general elections, and many believed that, had the elections not been postponed, he would have won. His continued attempts at the Presidency for over 30 years, have made him a veteran and master-strategist at the polls. One can never tell; but he just might finally clinch it this time — if the APC does not take good care.
The younger, vibrant, robust and more technocratic aspirants have all been floored or edged out of the PDP primaries. One of them withdrew and surrendered his huge support-votes that finally tilted the race in Atiku’s favor. PDP has actually presented its most formidable candidate in the last 24 years, since OBJ of 1999. The APC, morphing through different party names over the same period, had PMB as their best. Atiku rightly takes over from OBJ, as the next finest, from the PDP hightable. The APC has a similar array of the younger and vibrant stock of aspirants, just as those of the PDP. The huge poser here is, can they match or tackle Atiku? Do they have the spread, the wings and the flight time? Can they safely land to a thunderous ovation by their passengers as they pilot their parties to victory? Are they his mates politically?
There is only one aspirant in the APC shed that can match Atiku, and even surpass him, in as far as talking politics, and election victory are concerned. Aside the base, the spread, the political might both in strategy and resources; Tinubu is light years ahead of Atiku, in terms of achievements, and dividends of a life long political struggle. Tinubu was once the rallying point of all pro-democracy activism against the military, back in the 90s. Tinubu succeeded in pulling the rug from under the PDP in the South West, when it was at its strongest hour. Tinubu is the father of the IGR drives and templates that are being replicated across the country, from a Lagos model/ prototype. Tinubu’s school of politics has the best professors in the country today, and is still graduating world class surgeons, engineers and barristers. Tinubu’s sacrifices politically, outclass that of any other politician worth his salt nationally. Almost single handedly building parties and party structures from scratch, is no mean feat and hardly can his rivals boast of the same achievement.
APC must honor its unwritten agreement of power shift, in the spirit of federal character and rotation. Tinubu as a southerner, is the only politician, that has exhibited the Northern brand of inclusiveness in politics. A former Northern governor and serving Senator, Kashim Shettima of Borno, is leading his campaigns. An honorable member from Kebbi state, Aminu Suleiman bought his forms for him and is mobilising groups for him across the North. Three quarters of the National Assembly are rooting for him. Quite a number of the Northern governors have his support and a huge chunk of the delegates voting in the primaries, especially those from Kano, are already in his corner.
We all observed the PDP Presidential primaries. It was democratic and strategic. It had pure lessons of politics and its machinations. It is obvious that stalwarts put their heads together, to produce a biological weapon of polls destruction, specifically modified for the 2023 polls of Naija. Will the APC do the same and even better? The who blinks first game has come to an end and PDP has blinked out its star — a shooting star at that. There is no doubt whatsoever, about its star’s brilliance and luminance. The APC needs a counter to that move. Someone with the prudence, the might, and the mind. Someone with antecedents as plain as day. A developer of capital, both human and financial. There is no reason why every state in the country cannot be a mini Lagos or even Lekki, and be self-subsistent. It will take time, a lot of innovation and resources. Above all, it needs a leader that can deliver. Infact, a leader that has delivered!
Tahir is Talban Bauchi.