Politics

2023: Back younger candidate from Southeast, Okechukwu urges Tinubu

A foundation member of the All Progressive Congress APC and Director General, Voice of Nigeria VON, Mr Osita Okechukwu has urged the national leader of the APC, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu to jettison his 2023 presidential ambition and back a younger candidate from the southeast in line with the zoning convention.

According to him, the former Lagos State Governor should rather deploy his political intellect to unite the APC and also remain a kingmaker.

Okechukwu stated this on Sunday in Abuja on the sidelines of the 2021 Eke Day celebration.

He said; “If one is consulted by our national leader, His Excellency, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu on whether he should run or not for the exalted office of the President of Nigeria in 2023, my candid advice will be that he should use his abundant Almighty God’s endowment to unite the APC, and unite the South and by extension our beloved country, by backing a candidate from the southeast.”

Tinubu by so doing, Okechukwu said, would have united the south forever; as some northerners have complained that why they are reluctant to support southern candidates is because of lack cohesion among the two major geopolitical zones in the south.

The VON boss added that if Tinubu widens his search he would definitely find a credible candidate from the southeast who will easily defeat presumed candidate of the PDP, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar.

According to him, by so doing he would have used one stone to kill two birds – unite the APC, and unite the South and by extension, the entire country.

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Asked why Tinubu should be restricted to only Kingmaker and not the King himself, Okechukwu argued; “the scriptures said there is time for everything which happens on earth. I am one of those Buharists who have tremendous respect for Asiwaju for the critical supplement he added to Buhari’s 12 million Vote-Bank, which resulted in our 2015 presidential election victory. It is not a mean feat, when you consider that with Buhari’s Vote-Bank, we were unable to win in 2003, 2007 and 2011, until the merger of the legacy political parties, where Tinubu played major role.”

On whether there was agreement between Tinubu and Buhari in 2015 to be his running mate in the presidential election, Okechukwu said; “I don’t know of any agreement, however as I said, the scriptures posit that there is time for everything which happens on this planet. All I know is that there was raging debate on the proprietary of Muslim/Muslim ticket as to whether it can guarantee victory of the APC at the 2015 presidential election. This was what to the best of my knowledge denied Tinubu the Vice Presidential slot and not the scanty insinuation of breach of agreement. The scale of Muslim/Muslim ticket was weighty unlike in 1993 Abiola/Kingibe ticket. It was thoroughly debated and dropped for defeat phobia.”

He insisted that President Buhari did not breach any agreement with Tinubu, but it was realpolitik at play.

Asked why should Tinubu support a Southeast candidate instead of his protegè, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, who is meters away from the coveted seat of the presidency, he maintained that the rotation started from the South-West in 1999 and therefore, going by equity and natural justice the South-East should be allowed to produce the President in 2023.

“One, it is because of the zoning convention which has governed the 4th Republic since 1999, a convention which states that the president should rotate between north and south. It started in 1999 from the southwest, with Chief Olusegun Obasanjo as president. Secondly, our brothers in the south south had their turn to preside over Nigeria. Southeast is the only geopolitical zone in the south which has not presided over Nigeria except the six months of General Aguiyi Ironsi’s stint. This uncommon statesmanlike Tinubu’s gesture will unite the south, for many had bemoaned the lack of synergy among politicians from both the South-East and South-West geopolitical zones.”

On whether he is ruling Tinubu out because of age, Okechukwu said far from it.

“Whereas one cannot canvas age in any particular manner; we, at the same time need generational transformation.”

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