Politicking has begun in earnest. Already the gladiators have started realignment and rapprochement ahead of the 2023 election.
President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday in an interview with Channels TV said he has a favourite successor in 2023, but he will keep the identity of the person secret.
Pressed on whether he has any favourite in the APC, he added: “No. I wouldn’t because the person could be eliminated if I mention it. I better keep it secret.”
We take a look at the likely favourites of the president to succeed him.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo
No doubt, as vice president for eight years, Yemi Osinbajo knows the inner workings of the presidency and will be in good stead to succeed the president in 2023.
Recall that President Buhari had previously commended Osinbajo during his birthday in 2018 for being a loyal and dependable partner to an enviable position.
The President posted: “Happy 61st Birthday (Vice President) Yemi Osinbajo.
“Thank you for being a loyal and dependable partner on this journey. I join millions of your friends and well-wishers around the world to wish you many more years of service to God, Nigeria, and humanity.’’
It is instructive to note that in December, Emir of Daura, Dr. Umar Farouk Umar, during the turbaning of President Buhari’s son, Yusuf, in Daura, Katsina State, showered praises on Prof. Osinbajo.
He said: “We extend our appreciation to His Excellency, the representative of the President. He the VP is a nobleman who keeps his promises and a trustworthy person who has so much patience and knows what to do at any given time.”
Speaking further, the Emir said he was referring to the VP who “is sitting next to me, He is a very good man, He is my favorite person but I always forget how to pronounce his name properly. He is a very nice person”.
Getting such an endorsement from the traditional ruler of the president is seen by some political analysts as an endorsement from the president.
In developed countries like the United States of America, the sitting vice president usually has the right of first refusal to succeed his boss. Could that be the case in 2023?
Former President Goodluck Jonathan in recent years have suddenly become one of the favourite people of President Buhari.
President Buhari uses any opportunity to commend Jonathan for easily accepting the result of 2015 presidential election.
Similarly, Jonathan has become a regular visitor in the presidential Villa and has become the president’s go-to guy in resolving the crisis in the ECOWAS region.
The former president also attended the wedding of President Buhari’s son in Enugu. Also, former First Lady, Patience Jonathan had become close to the First Lady Aisha Buhari.
Pointedly, stories of Jonathan contesting the 2023 presidential election have been gaining traction in recent weeks.
Former Lagos State governor and chieftain of the All Progressive Congress Congress (APC) Bola Tinubu is arguably one of the favorites to clinch the ticket of the party.
Tinubu has left no one in doubt that he is going to contest the 2023 presidency. After being a kingmaker, he wants the throne. He has proved his political sagacity beyond reasonable doubt and is already getting endorsements from unlikely sources.
No doubt, the merger of the APC in 2015 combined with Tinubu’s political machinery in the South West gave President Buhari the presidency. Political associates of Tinubu have called on the president to repay the favour in 2023.
The Ekiti State governor, Kayode Fayemi is one of the president’s favorite persons no doubt.
As a minister, President Buhari was always extolling the virtues of Fayemi. The governor will end his tenure this year and LEADERSHIP checks reveal that he is the APC governors’ favorite to succeed Buhari in 2023.
It remains to be seen if he will throw his hat into the ring. The governor has already raised the alarm over plots to smear his name ahead of the 2023 election.
Minister of Transport and former governor of Rivers State, Rotimi Amaechi is a dark horse in the 2023 presidential race.
According to reports, Amaechi is one of Buhari’s favorite ministers as he is pleased with the ministers’ zeal in carrying out the railways’ revival in the country.No doubt, Amaechi has been one of the performers in Buhari’s cabinet.
Also, some people in the presidency were not too pleased with the performance of the president in the 2019 election in the South West. According to them, having a national leader in the region with many sitting governors, the president performed below expectations in the region. Some persons are alleging sabotage in the southwest.
They aver that since power is going to the south, it should be the south-south or south East.
Amaechi being one of the party’s leading men in the south-south is in good stead to clinch the ticket. Already some northern groups are already endorsing his candidacy.