As I wrote earlier, PDP had to choose between equity (geopolitical balance) and reclaiming the presidency. Out of political expediency, they chose the latter by jettisoning zoning. They did that by choosing Atiku Abubakar because there is no candidate with the structure, pedigree and financial muscle to wrestle the presidency from APC.
Fortunately for us in the APC, we don’t face that dilemma. In fact, the reverse is the case. All the 3 frontline presidential candidates (Tinubu, Osinbajo and Amaechi) are from the South, making it convenient for the party to zone the ticket to southern Nigeria for the sake of equity and fairness. I believe all the 3 have what it takes to lead APC to victory in 2023.
APC can make two grave mistakes. Fielding a northern candidate or fielding Jonathan. There’s no northern candidate among the current contenders within APC that can match Tinubu or Amaechi or Osinbajo. The talk of SP Ahmad Lawal is merely opportunistic. Politically, he can’t measure up to the southern APC troika and he can’t measure up to PDP’s Atiku either.
The idea of fielding Jonathan is just ridiculous, and he will lose in both north and south. The fact that it is being contemplated is insulting, a stinking political abomination and a scandalous unravelling of the Buhari project. If APC makes that mistake, Jonathan would be the first politician to lose in both PDP and APC.
Personally, I don’t care where the president comes from, only what he can deliver. But I also believe that competence is evenly distributed. There are suitably qualified Nigerians in every part of the country with the competence, experience and character to excel in any given responsibility. Therefore, competence and zoning are not mutually exclusive.
Above all, it has long been proven that where the president comes from doesn’t translate to benefits for his people. Buhari’s presidency didn’t make the north better, nor was Jonathan’s presidency able to make Niger Delta better. The only beneficiaries are some sections of Nigerian elites across the two divides.
But political equity goes beyond who gets what. It fosters a sense of belonging and shared ownership. And when done correctly, it doesn’t impede development. It only enables it. For this reason, the APC should present a southern candidate (who’s not Jonathan). And I believe with the right mix of politics, and taking advantage of the crisis in the PDP, we shall coast to victory in 2023.
As APC stakeholder, I’m interested in the quality of candidates that opposition parties like the PDP will present especially at the national level. Because even if my party decides to take Nigerians for granted by fielding the wrong candidates, I will take consolation in the fact that Nigerians will find better alternatives elsewhere.
Ahmed Musa Husaini is a public affairs commentator. This is solely his opinion, and to which The Realm News does not necessarily subscribe.