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13.03.2020 Feature Article

Presidency 2023: As Tinubu Swallows Orji Kalu, Okorocha, Akpabio, El-Rufai

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The strongman of Lagos State and National Leader of APC, Bola Tinubu has been strategically swallowing all his potential political opponents, vis Orji Uzor Kalu, Rochas Okorocha, Godswill Akpabio and Nasir El’Rufai ahead of the 2023 presidency.

Bola Tinubu is a man loathed by professionals and feared by politicians. He has held Lagos State in firm grip since 1999 till date and has installed whomsoever he wished as governor. Tinubu has equally extended his grips to states in the South West where most of the governors, either past or present, are his boys. Therefore, you can ignore Tinubu at your own peril.

Buhari’s emergence as President in 2015 and 2019 has Tinubu playing a major role in swaying South West votes to the Katsina born general. It took the blackmails of people like former Senate President Saraki and ex-Governor Rotimi Amechi to stop Bola Tinubu from being running mate to Buhari in 2015.

Tinubu has made it clear with body language that he wants to rule Nigeria come 2023 and he is ruthless about it. Many top contenders for the position or their acolytes have bitter tales as Tinubu marches with his plan. His effort to make Lawan the Senate President and Gbajaiala Speaker in 2015 were botched by Saraki and the former Senate President paid dearly for it. Tinubu ensured that Saraki was retired politically in Kwara in 2019.

Tinubu knew that Orji Uzor Kalu, a bosom friend, was among top choices from the South East quest for presidency. Kalu jumped from PDP to PPA, back to PDP and moved to APC. He contested and won the Senator-ship of Abia North. He wangled his way until he became Senate Chief Whip, after efforts to become Deputy Senate President failed. Orji Uzor Kalu was basking in his new found position as Chief Whip, when he was whipped into Kuje Prison to spend 12 years due to graft.

Kalu knew where his problem came from. Speaking to AljazirahNigeria at the Kuje Prison last month, he specifically mentioned the leader of the APC, Ahmed Bola Tinubu as using the EFCC to fight him because he is afraid that he will contest against him for the presidency in 2023.

Another 2023 Presidential hopeful and former Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State had a taste of what I believe as Tinubu treatment when INEC refused to give him certificate of return following his victory as Senator-elect representing Imo West. Okorocha, a most valuable favourite for Igbo Presidency 2023 was interested in becoming the Senate Minority Leader, in preparation for his Presidency bid. It took the court order of June 6th for Okorocha to be returned as a Senator and was issued the certificate on June 12th after the elections of all officers of the National Assembly. Since he managed to enter the legislative chamber, the vociferous ex-governor had cooled down. Okorocha had told people that he knew Tinubu and Oshiomhole wanted him out of the way.

Another Presidential hopeful from the South-South zone and former Governor of Akwa Ibom, Godswill Akpabio, joined the ruling APC on the ground that he will become the Senate President, and help deliver Akwa Ibom to Buhari. This runs contrary to Tinubu’s plan and Akpabio had to be checkmated. Akpabio is also a favoured alternative to Tinubu as far as the cabals are concerned. Unfortunately, the INEC Resident Commissioner, Charles Igini, an Urhobo man, was allegedly detailed through his kinsman Senator Omo Agege to ensure that Akpabio does not near the Senate chambers.

Akpabio had to lose Akwa Ibom South Senatorial Zone. Yekini Nabena, Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC), urged the Independent INEC to remove Mr. Mike Igini. All attempt by Akpabio to get Igini removed failed because Oshiomhole and Bola Tinubu did not buy the idea. Akpabio had told close friends that his political travails were induced by Tinubu and Oshiomhole.

Another Presidential hopeful whom Tinubu had put in the cooler is the Kaduna State Governor Nasir El-Rufai. Angered by Tinubu’s interference in who becomes Chairman of Nigeria Governor’s Forum, El Rufai asked Lagosians to dethrone Tinubu as godfather and gave them formula on how to do that. Tinubu had to flex his muscles by ensuring that El-Rufai’s bid to succeed Ex-Gov Yari as NGF Chairman was scuttled. Instead, Kayode Fayemi was selected. Since then El-Rufai had known that Tinubu’s strongman-ship is not an exaggeration and the progressive governor have shelved his presidential ambition and thrown weight behind a southern candidate.

To the best of my knowledge, Tinubu’s long hands is in the ordeals of late Senator Uwajumogu representing Imo North, the only ranking Senator from the South East, who could have become a Senate President of principal officer in the National Assembly. INEC refused to issue him certificate of return till July 25th after a court compelled them to do so. The shock of his certificate being withheld, just as in Okorocha’s case, got the man sick and he never recovered till he slumped and died.

Tinubu installed Yemi Osibanjo as Vice President, Ahmed Lawan as Senate President, Femi Gbajamiala as Speaker of House of Reps and Oshiomhole as Party Chairman. He is ruthlessly decimating potential contenders and they have sorry tales to tell.

Can Tinubu make a good president? I think he can. Tinubu managed Lagos when former president Obasanjo withheld the State allocation for up to four years. Thus he ran Lagos without Federal allocation and did not overtax the people.

While Facebook and twitter critics are calling him all manners of names, the man is strategically implementing his plans. It is courtesy of Tinubu that the APC crisis have not engulfed Oshiomhole despite the cabals being against the embattled party chairman.

Can Tinubu win the presidency in 2023? With the formidable structures, formidable contacts within INEC and Judiciary, and ruthlessly strategies he has used to swallow up potential obstructs, including Orji Uzor Kalu, Rochas Okorocha, Godswill Akpabio and Nasir-El-Rufai, only God can stop him.

(Obinna Akukwe wrote via [email protected], facebook.com/obinnaakukwe)

Obinna Akukwe
Obinna Akukwe, © 2020

The author has 180 publications published on Modern Ghana.Column: ObinnaAkukwe

Disclaimer: "The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author(s) and do not neccessarily reflect those of Modern Ghana. Modern Ghana will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article."

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