2023 Presidency: Northern Senators, Reps begin fresh moves to stop Tinubu; lobby Buhari to replace Lawan, Gbajabiamila
Lawmakers on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) are now divided over the party’s insistence to field Senator Ahmed Lawan as Senate President and Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila as Speaker of the House of Representatives in the incoming 9th National Assembly.
Recall that the APC had in April backed Lawan and Gbajabiamila for the roles, with the majority of party stakeholders throwing their weight behind them.
However, Herald Nigeria learnt that some of the senior party members are now divided along ethnic lines over suspicion that the endorsement could determine who succeeds President Muhammadu Buhari in 2023.
Some of the senior party members, especially from the North, who are considering dumping the party’s idea are worried that supporting the two candidates, who are known allies of a former governor of Lagos State and National Leader of APC, Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu, would amount to giving unlimited political powers to an individual.
According to them, giving unlimited powers to an individual is inimical to the country and the Presidency of Muhammadu Buhari.
Tinubu has been in the news for plotting to succeed Buhari in 2023 even though he has serially denied the claim. To realize the objective of stopping him, however, the northern senior party members, have initiated moves, reaching out to other leaders in the North.
The plan is to storm the Presidential Villa any time soon to arrange a new set of candidates for the two topmost offices of the 9th National Assembly.
The whole idea was also fulled by arguments against godfathers being sponsored by some northern leaders in recent weeks.
Recall that Kaduna state governor, Nasir El-Rufai had at an event in Lagos last week, said, “Godfatherism! This is Lagos. 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
“Those were the godfathers of Kaduna politics and you had to carry them along and, you know, the three words, ‘carry them along’, mean paying them regularly.
“But we chose a different path and the long and short of it now is that after this election in 2019, we have retired all of them; we had to.
He went ahead to encourage his audience to replicate the same in Lagos, which some believed was a subtle attack on Tinubu.
Similarly, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, while delivering a keynote address at a conference organised by the #NotTooYoungToRun# Movement for young lawmakers elected at both the national and state levels, on Tuesday in Abuja, spoke against godfatherism.
He said: “Unfortunately, the leadership model we have practised so far is the kind of leadership that produces sycophants who are expected to serve their political godfathers and not the people. Our so-called leaders have mastered the art of political witchcraft so much so that if you are independent-minded, you are automatically disqualified and, if for any reason you are picked, then you have to surrender your soul for them to eat in small bites until you become their worshipper.
Sunday Vanguard reports that some powerful individuals around the President, a couple of northern governors, some emirs and lawmakers in the National Assembly have already keyed into the plan.
It was gathered that the leaders are rising in unison, regardless of their political leanings and religious backgrounds, against what they considered as an individual from the South becoming too powerful in Nigerian politics.
The objective is to adopt candidates that would not be seen as allies of a godfather.
But while the resentment is still low in the Senate probably because the zoning of the Senate Presidency to the North-East is right, many members of House of Representatives feel that the seeming micro-zoning of the speakership to Lagos State, South-West, which already has the Vice President, was a call for disenchantment.