By Biodun Busari
The standard bearer of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu is the candidate to beat in the 2023 presidential election. Tinubu, undoubtedly, understands politics and many have referred to him as a political strategist.
Tinubu knows how to read the moves of his political opponents and when to act. It will be calamitous for his contenders to underestimate him and call his bluff when it comes to negotiating and scheming to win political battles.
Asides from his track record as the former governor of Lagos state and becoming a political godfather, Tinubu has weathered storms in his own party. He has survived the hostility of many of President Muhammadu Buhari’s allies, who sidelined him after the party came to power.
The National Leader of the APC has also had to battle his own caucus at some points. But here he is, still standing strong in the political arena.
Many Nigerians — both his cronies and rivals — know he has a great chance of becoming the President of Nigeria, just like his main challengers — Atiku Abubakar and Peter Obi of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the Labour Party (LP), respectively, have as well.
And like many politicians in Nigeria, Tinubu has some challenges to scale in emerging as the nation’s leader despite his popularity. And there are two major ones he has to surmount even as campaigns began on Wednesday, September 28.
Ruling APC as stumbling block
The Lagos political godfather in 2013 championed a cause of forming a political party that would end the 16-year PDP rule, especially when the government of former President Goodluck Jonathan faced the biggest obstacles of Boko Haram.
Tinubu collapsed his Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and sought an alliance with the Congress of Progressive Change (CPC) which was in power in Kogi and Zamfara states; the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) and the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA).
With their bubbling campaigns laced with lively music and sugar-coated promises, APC stakeholders made Nigerians believe that it was capable of doing better than PDP, and in 2015, it sat in the centre to rule the most populous black nation.
Without mincing words, APC has not only failed in its promises, but it has engineered a retrogression of the country, especially in the areas of security and economy. There are disturbing statistics on fuel, debts, unemployment, inflation, insecurity and others.
The unemployment rate was 8.19% in 2015 when APC took over, but now it is 33.3%. A US dollar is exchanged at N720 in the parallel market now. It was N198 in 2015. While the country’s debt status was N9.8 trillion in 2015, it stands at N41.6 trillion and the list is endless.
These are the extent of damage that the APC has wrecked and Tinubu is using the same platform for his campaigns. It is with keen interest that the Nigerian people await the campaigns to commence.
Many have asked how Tinubu will campaign to make Nigeria better when he was the chief campaigner alongside former Transportation Minister, Rotimi Amaechi, telling Nigerians in 2014/15 that APC and Buhari’s government would alleviate the suffering of the people.
As stated earlier, Tinubu has hurdles to cross, but he should know that Atiku and Obi are not his primary headache. His biggest hurdle is the party he formed to take over power from PDP in 2015 — APC.
ASUU and Nigerian youths
One of the longest strikes ever embarked upon by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) is ongoing as Buhari’s APC government has failed to meet the demands of the lecturers. The industrial action began on February 14 and has reached its seventh month.
The National Industrial Court of Nigeria (NICN) has ordered the union members to go back to classrooms, but the striking varsity teachers disagreed. They appealed the ruling instead.
When two elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers, so Nigerian youths who are believed to be future leaders are the victims of the federal government and ASUU face-off. Nigerian youths are angry about it. They are angry about many things, deficiencies and anomalies pervading the country.
And if these students are going to have a chance to sack the party that has inflicted pain on them through their votes at the polls, what do you think they will do? The answer lies with every right-thinking Nigerian. And, among the three front liners, Tinubu has more job than Atiku and Obi to tell Nigerian students why they should vote for him and his party, even as campaigns commence.
The former Lagos governor, after his victory in the APC presidential primary election in June, said that he would build on Buhari’s legacy. Buhari’s legacy?!
“I’m experienced from the private sector to public sector and ready to hit the ground running same day and not mess up the legacy of progress and honesty that is left behind and handed over to me by President Muhammadu Buhari,” Tinubu said.
These disgruntled students have brothers, sisters, cousins, and friends who are dissatisfied with the state of the nation and how our leaders continue the suffering of the people.
These youths are over 8 million young Nigerians that have registered to vote next year. The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) published that 8,784,677 youths completed voter registration ahead of the 2023 general elections. They are the ones Tinubu will convince to queue behind him in 2023.
Tinubu’s APC cannot say Nigeria is fine under its rule, and Nigerians are waiting for the ruling party at the polls, and it is the party that Tinubu formed as a platform to achieve his lifelong ambition. How he will achieve that is his strategy. He is a political master strategist, anyway.
Maybe Tinubu knew what was ahead of him since June when he said the hard work to win the election had just begun. “All APC family members should celebrate in a limited manner. We just began. The hard work is ahead. To win the victory for our party is a hard one and we will win,” Tinubu said.
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