Winning the party’s primary is a major and probably the first hurdle an aspirant for the country’s number one seat needs to jump. Being the ruling party, the tussle for who will fly the flag of the All Progressive Congress comes 2023 will be tough. Asiwaju Bola Ahmad Tinubu, the leader of the party, has blazed a trail by declaring his intention for the challenge. After his declaration, two South-East politicians in persons of the current governor of Ebonyi State, Gov. David Umahi and a former governor and incumbent senator from Abia State, Orji Uzor Kalu, have also thrown their hats into the ring. Undoubtedly, we will get to see more declarations in days to come.
Here are five factors that will determine in whose favour the pendulum swings at the primary:
1. Mr President’s Preference
In the current political dispensation, flag bearers of a ruling party for a presidential race are often the anointed candidates of the incumbent president. This had played out numerous times in the past. President Buhari is a man of few words, but one could say he already has in mind who to support for the presidential bid in APC, considering his comment at a recent interview he granted on the 5th of January. The president revealed he won’t disclose his preferred aspirant now to protect the aspirant from being eliminated. This comment from the president shows how weighty his support for an aspirant could be. Apparently, this is one of the factors that will determine the direction of the tide at the APC’s Presidential Primary.
2. The Governors’ Choice
The Caretaker Committee of the APC, led by a serving governor, Mai Mala Buni, gave the Progressive Governors Forum unprecedented power in the party. The dangling fate of the Electoral Reform Bill that the governors are opposed to can give a hint on how ardent the governors can be in getting whatever they want in the country. Their counterparts in the PDP also displayed their strength at their party’s national convention. They sidelined other big names and totally controlled ‘who takes what’ at the convention. The governors are likely to support one of them for the presidential ticket; however, any aspirant who underestimates the governors’ power will do that at their peril.
3. Rotation of Power
Rotation of power between the southern and northern parts of the country is a factor that will work against many credible candidates from the northern part of the country in APC. Considering the fact that President Buhari, who is enjoying his second term in office, is from the northern part of the country will brighten the chances of candidates from the south for equity, balance and fairness.
4. 2013’s Alliance
Coming together of different groups formed the APC in 2013, and these various subgroups have been a factor that finds its way to their sharing table. CPC subgroup produced President Buhari, ACN, ANPP, new PDP and a faction of APGA that constitute the other subgroups in APC will fancy their chances in the next presidential bid in the party.
5. Money Factor
The role of money at any level of politics in Nigeria cannot be underscored. The refusal of the president to sign the Electoral Reform Bill, which enforces direct primary, will see delegates at the primary have their palm greased. The aspirant with the deepest pocket will definitely be a step ahead of the others.
Of all the aspirants that have declared their intention so far, who do you think ticks more or all of the boxes? There are exciting days ahead.