The race for the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential ticket appears to be dividing into a three-horse race between Rotimi Amaechi, the Minister of Transportation, Bola Tinubu, the party’s National Leader, and Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo.
Others have declared, including Kogi State Governor Yahaya Bello, Ebonyi Governor Dave Umahi, Cross River Governor Ben Ayade, Sen Orji Uzor Kalu, and Sen Rochas Okorocha, but the momentum appears to be with Tinubu, Amaechi, and Osinbajo.
Several of these candidates have turned the ticket fees into a sign of popularity, with wealthy individuals announcing plans to purchase tickets for their preferred candidates.
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All of the candidates will compete for the party’s 7800 delegates. It looked at all of the candidates’ chances in the race.
There are 1,924 delegates in the Northwest, 1,568 delegates in the Southwest, and 1,278 delegates in the Northcentral.
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Other delegates include 1,212 from the North East, 838 from the South East, and 927 from the South South.
Because the majority of the candidates are from the south, with the exception of Yahaya Bello and Garba, who are from the north, the north will be the battleground.
Some of the major candidates have begun making overtures to northern politicians. Amaechi named Ali Ndume as his campaign’s Director-General, while Kano politicians are enraged over Tinubu.
In addition, with the exception of the Vice President, the majority of the candidates have prior experience with delegate electioneering. He was chosen as Vice President after the primaries in 2015, and he was not associated with any serious contender.
Each state in the South-East has a contender: Kalu hails from Abia, Okorocha hails from Imo, Ken Nnamani hails from Enugu, Dave Umahi hails from Ebonyi, and Ngige hails from Anambra. Except for Okorocha and Ngige, some of these aspirants are expected to receive the support of their State’s delegates.
In the case of Okorocha, his tense relationship with Governor Hope Uzodinma may prevent him from receiving bloc votes from Imo delegates, while Ngige may face difficulties due to the APC’s Anambra State chapter’s crisis.
It may be difficult for aspirants from the zone to mobilise votes from the region unless the region agrees to a consensus arrangement. It’s possible that those candidates won’t be able to get home support.
Tinubu’s voting bloc in the South-West has dwindled.
On a daily basis, the race in the Southwest becomes more intense. Bola Tinubu, the former Lagos State Governor, now has several heavyweights fighting for delegates in the region.
Tinubu may face a challenge from Yemi Osinbajo’s entry into the race, as well as a possible run by Ibikunle Amosun and Governor Fayemi.
Tinubu still holds Lagos and Osun States out of the six states in the region. The APC in Oyo State, where there is no governor, is in disarray over the election of a State Chairman. Finally, it will come down to individual candidates lobbying the delegates.
Senator Teslim Balogun appears to have a firm grip on the state’s executive branch. Other stakeholders in the state, including Minister of Sport and Youth Development, Sunday Dare, Sen Fatai Buhari, and others, are currently challenging the other camp for control.
Ordinarily, one would expect Osinbajo to receive all of the delegates from Ogun State; however, the Vice President’s polling unit has been in Victoria Garden City for a long time, rather than Ikenne, his hometown. Furthermore, if Governor Ibikunle Amosun runs for president, Osinbajo will face a new challenge, as will the Tinubu factor in the state. Gbenga Daniel and Segun Osoba, both former governors of Lagos State, will assist the former governor. This is going to be a battleground, whatever it is.
Kayode Femi, who is rumoured to be interested in the race, is expected to garner delegates from Ekiti State, but Babafemi Ojodu and Dayo Adeyeye are expected to sway some voters to Osinbajo and Tinubu, respectively.
Ondo State is another battleground in the region. Governor Rotimi Akeredolu’s relationship with Tinubu is tumultuous. Tinubu, it should be remembered, did not support Akeredolu’s re-election and instead backed Segun Abraham. Tinubu called for the removal of John Oyegun, the party’s chairman at the time, after the primaries in that election.
It’s unclear whether the two men have completely reconciled. Although, when Tinubu was hospitalised in London last year, Akeredolu referred to him as the “Capone of the Southwest,” stating that all 2023 decisions would be made once Tinubu returned.
The Southsouth region has grown in power over time, but unlike the Southeast and Southwest, it is a multi-ethnic society that is not bound by language.
The position of delegates here will be determined by a number of factors, one of which is whether Amaechi is able to galvanise the region in the same way that Goodluck Jonathan did in 2011 and 2015. However, if Jonathan decides to run the race on the APC platform, this will be difficult.
If Jonathan does join the race, as some have speculated, Amaechi could suffer serious consequences. Apart from that, Magnus Abe, who leads a faction of the party in his state, is openly supporting Tinubu.
Abe is running for the APC governorship ticket against Tony Cole, Amaechi’s consensus candidate.
It should be remembered that Magnus Abe’s factor cost the APC the entire 2019 election in the State, as the court barred the party from running.
The second issue in the South is that the region only has one APC governor, Cross River’s Ben Ayade. Governor Ayade has already entered the race, denying Amaechi a block of votes from the region.
Although Adams Oshiomhole attended Amaechi’s declaration in Edo State, it has been reported that the former APC Chairman did so because he was told the gathering was a thanksgiving service. Oshiomhole and Tinubu have a long history together, dating back to Oshiomhole’s first term as chairman of the ACN.
Sen Ovie Omo-Agege, who is currently running for governor of Delta State, appears to have complete control of the party structure. His support for any of the candidates is crucial. Here’s where the president comes in: because Omo-Agege has always presented himself as Buhari’s son, whoever gets the president’s approval will have Omo-support. Agege’s
The camp loyal to Sen Godswill Akpabio and John Akpanudoedehe in Akwa-Ibom State is deeply divided. The crisis is still going on; all aspirants can benefit from it by reaching out to delegates individually.
David Lyon appears to be the party’s leader in the oil-rich state of Bayelsa. He has the ability to sway delegates.
If the people of the South-South see the election as a regional agenda, Amaechi may be able to take the region. This strategy, however, may go against what Amaechi’s camp preaches. Senator Ali Ndume, Amaechi’s campaign director, claims that Amaechi’s candidacy is a national one, not an ethnic one.
While appearing on Channels TV’s Politics Today, Sen Ndume stated that the other candidates have a regional focus, but Amaechi is the only “Nigerian candidate.”
At this time, none of the candidates appears to be on the verge of gaining a majority in the south. In the next instalment of this series, we’ll look at the candidates’ chances in the 19 northern states and the FCT.