Resolving the APC presidential conundrum
There is a growing clamour for a president of southern Nigeria extraction in 2023. The issue divides opinion, stirs emotions, and adumbrates the political differences among the Nigerian elite.
But the argument about a president of Southern Nigeria origin is rooted in equity, justice and fairness, which are the tripods upon which the All Progressives Congress was founded in 2014.
So far, a Northerner, Muhammadu Buhari, has concluded two terms of eight years and many people say it will be impolitic and unconscionable for the party at this emotionally charged period of Nigeria’s chequered history to consider a citizen from the North for that position next year.
Amid valid arguments for a president of Southern Nigeria roots, there is a critical question as to who among the southern candidates has the aura, general appeal and traction to fly the party’s flag.
Of all the Southern aspirants, the former governor of Ogun State, Ibikunle Amosun, provides an intriguing scenario. He is the only candidate who has done more, among other candidates, to attract direct investments into Nigeria. Within seven years of his administration, Governor Amosun attracted 304 manufacturing and agro-processing companies from Lagos, China, the United Kingdom, the United States and other parts of the world to Ogun State.
Within the time he was governor, he created incentives for investors by lowering taxes and creating the enabling environment in Agbara, Igbesa, Ota and other parts of Ogun State with the view of attracting jobs and making Ogun an industrial hub. This point is often understated, but never in the history of Nigeria has the importance of investment been more critical than now when 24 states lost billions of investments, jobs and revenue in 2021, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.
Amosun’s industrialisation pedigree is attested by local and international investors who have invested billions in Ogun because of his understanding of realities of his time.
A vastly experienced political maestro with ample experience in deft but under-the-table management of temperamental political issues, Amosun is also a chartered accountant, with vast professional experience and network as well as a thriving accounting practice firm. He therefore represents an important bridge between the business and political worlds. As an acclaimed talent groomer and discoverer, his liberal political leaning has facilitated the emergence of some brilliant government appointees at both state and federal levels from under his wings.
His role in 2015 in breaking the logjam that threatened the emergence of the current vice president has been well exposed and is uncontroverted by any of the dramatis personae. Ditto how he facilitated the emergence of a former minister of finance and another minister currently in office. Amosun is today, one of South West’s astute political ground breakers with wide and strong network across the Northern part of the country. Yet, even as a power broker of immense stature, he has managed to remain largely behind the scene.
With his pedigree, Ibikunle Amosun seems to be the only one among the aspiring options that presents the only near perfect profile of a change agent that possesses the persona, contacts, network, vision, level-headedness, discipline and charisma that could help Nigeria navigate the post Buhari challenges that stare the country in the face.
He is, comparatively, the best bet the South can present to assure the trust and deep respect of the North, calm nerves and engender national reconciliation quickly.
He is also largely admired by Nigerians of other ethnic groups, including Igbos, whom he created the industrial atmosphere to thrive during his tenure. There were very few ethnic tensions in his time and his resolution of crisis sustained the confidence of the investing public. Mention Amosun in Onitsha, Kano, Abaji or Rumuola, what you get is public acceptance,
However, the question is, will APC see the danger ahead and present the right man for the task? May 31st will tell.