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Perspectives for 2023

By Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa
02 May 2022   |   3:55 am
That time has finally come when the biggest question in our political life will be asked and answered. Who succeeds Buhari? It is the million dollar question that everyone is trying so hard to answer.

INEC

That time has finally come when the biggest question in our political life will be asked and answered. Who succeeds Buhari? It is the million dollar question that everyone is trying so hard to answer. It should not have been this difficult but for the nature of the President, who is for ‘everybody and for nobody’. He seemed to have outsmarted us all, as if we were all caught unawares about the issue of his successor. The body language did not give him out so clearly, this time around, thus making the task of unravelling the man/woman to succeed the President to be an arduous task, even for the politicians. The two dominant parties, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP and the All Progressives Congress, APC are both in deep quandary in determining their presidential candidates. Governors from the Southern part of the country are insisting on zoning, in line with clear provisions of the constitution of the parties and that of Nigeria. Their counterparts from the North have indicated their preference for a level playing field for all candidates to be given the fair opportunity of aspiring to the highest office in the land. The race is more intense in the APC, not for any special reason other than the fact that it is the ruling party that produced the current President.

There is absolutely no reason for the PDP to seek to jettison its own constitution to favour any particular candidate. Article 7 of the Constitution of the PDP provides as follows:
“7. (1) The Party shall have a manifesto which, subject to the provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, shall be implemented by all organs of the party and governments elected under its platform.
2. The Party shall strive to –
b promote federalism and an equitable revenue sharing formula.
3.The Party shall pursue these aims and objectives –
c adhering to the policy of the rotation and zoning of Party and Public elective offices in pursuance of the principle of equity, justice and fairness.”

The above provisions are very clear and unambiguous. It is not open to the leaders of the PDP to seek to maneuver their ways out of the constitution of the party. As light follows day, the presidential candidate of the PDP must come from the South. So far, I have not seen any serious contender for that post, save His Excellency, Mr. Peter Obi. Extending the theory of zoning to its logical conclusion, the PDP should narrow down its choice for the 2023 presidential ticket to the South-East zone for many reasons. Since the party was founded, that zone has demonstrated uncommon faithfulness in loyalty, support and voting. There is no other way to reward the Igbos other than for PDP to concede its ticket to that zone. To do otherwise would be totally uncharitable and immoral. Why Peter Obi? By available records, he has served as head of Fidelity Bank, where he distinguished himself without blemish. He served meritoriously as governor of Anambra State for eight years and he has no pending issues with his administration, as at the time of writing this piece. Many accounts have surfaced of his frugality, his commitment to the common good and his love for transparency and accountability. To my mind, he can easily be trusted with the affairs of Nigeria and I fear no challenge on this point at all.

Comrade Omoyele Sowore is another viable contender for the office of the President, under the platform of African Action Congress, which he co-founded and has nurtured. Many have asked about the experience of Sowore to lead a complex nation like Nigeria. Believe it or not, University of Lagos or indeed any other university in that class, represents the totality of Nigeria. The Students’ Union of the old generation universities, is akin to the government of Nigeria, consisting mainly of the Executive Council, the Students’ Representative Council and the Judicial Council, all functioning together but performing independent roles as leaders of the students. I have been there and I can say very boldly that anyone who has led a complex institution such as the University of Lagos can lead Nigeria. What is more, Sowore has run Sahara Reporters successfully for so many years, creating a new regime in news reporting, daring the status quo and going where no one else dared to tread. He has by his sheer acts of courage redefined the concept of investigative journalism and has truly brought to bear the provisions of section 22 of the Constitution by holding the government accountable to the people. His RevolutionNow struggles have incurred upon him the wrath of the powers that be, for which he has paid heavily in constant arrests, trumped-up charges and severe persecutions, all of which he has weathered with so much courage and a sense of purpose. I consider Sowore as a serious contender for the presidency in 2023. What is needed is for all revolutionaries, all our comrades, the labour and civil society coalition, students, activists, market women/men and all lovers of freedom to team up together to support Sowore to defeat the enemies of Nigeria, for once.

To be continued tomorrow

Adegboruwa is a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, (SAN).