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OPINION: 2023 PRESIDENTIAL RACE, APC AND ROTIMI AMAECHI FACTOR

Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Ameachi
Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Ameachi
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Little by little, the haze on the political landscape is clearing. The race for the apex and most coveted political office in Nigeria, the largest democracy in Africa, is gathering momentum. With regards to the awaited primary election of the All Progressives Congress (APC), the emerging picture of what to expect has now gone beyond the domain of speculation.

It is by now, crystal clear that the APC is leaving nothing to chance in its efforts to secure another term of four years in 2023. This is evident in the frenzy and horse-trading that preceded its recent national convention at the end of which Senator Abdullahi Adamu emerged victorious among party chieftains who had jostled for the post of National Chairman.

The decision of the APC strategists to settle for the two-term governor of Nasarawa State is telling. Politically an old war horse, Abdullahi Adamu at 75, however, remains a sturdy political warrior with the muscles and pedigrees required by the party to wade through the turbulent waters that lie ahead. Known for his focus and single-minded commitment in the political arena, not a few in the opposition camps and, even within the APC would have been rattled with the coming of a man reputed to suffer no fools gladly in political duels.

From the array of the aspirants angling to fly its presidential flag in 2023, another obvious indication on the direction the APC is headed is that the party has settled the question of zoning its ticket in favour of the southern part of the country. It is conclusive therefore, that the ultimate winner and candidate of the party will be one from among those that have declared their intentions from any of the zones in that region. Beyond the geopolitical zone from where the flag bearer comes from, the APC also looks ardently focused on the choice of a wining horse in the historic contest. The overriding interest in success at the polls surpasses all other considerations.

The party will try to put its right foot forward by not just trying to fulfill all righteousness by sticking to the unwritten but solemn article of faith on “power shift”. After all, in the presidential election, the battlefield will be the entire country and that implies that whoever the candidate is, must be one with a national aura, reach and acceptance. That is, in other words, the game plan must be aimed at killing two birds with one stone.

Another emerging discernible picture on the APC canvas  is the spectacle of pretenders, those in  the garbs of grandeur that do not reflect who they truly are. There are the jesters and the gamblers who are, perhaps, simply prancing the space for the kick and fun of it, in the hope that the pendulum could mystically swing their way. There are also the smart mercantilists, the carpetbaggers, cleverly jostling for recognition and relevance with the aim of being reckoned with at the end of the day in the sharing of the spoils of victory.

Going into the serious business of the forthcoming election, however, are a number of top quality materials from the horde on the APC platform currently aspiring to take over from President Muhammadu Buhari. The task before the party’s leadership and members is not, of course, made easier by this fact. The options may be few, but dexterity and painstaking calculations must be deployed in ensuring that it is the finest of the best that is thrown up in the long run.  This demands that sentiments, deafening propaganda, intimidation and blackmail by aspirants, groups or enclaves of vested interests are not allowed to blur or distract attention on the ball.

Placed on the template of the exigencies of the nation and the APC’s desire for victory, Mr Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, the present Minister of Transportation has been adjudged by political pundits, within and outside the APC circle, as one of the party’s surest picks of the basket.

Beside meeting the criterion of an outstanding member of the party from the South where the party’s presidential flag has been conclusively zoned, he as well, fits the clamour of a cross-section of citizens, including notable elder statesmen, for a generational shift in the political leadership of the country. At 56 years, he stands as a fitting bridge between the old and younger generation of the nation’s crop of frontline political actors.

The APC, like any other political party that is seriously hoping to take over the reins of power at the centre in 2023, its standard-bearer in the coming race must be one with an awe-inspiring background as an astute politician and an achiever in public service.

Crucially, Nigerians will want to interrogate the next President’s ability to tackle the pervasive insecurity in the land. For a people so polarised along the divisive lines of religion, ethnicity and region, among other primordial fault lines, citizens are most disposed to the candidate known for his honest and remarkable tracks as a pan Nigerian because so much is expected of him on the task of healing and fence mending.

That is just as the past achievements of a prospective national leader next time around, must illustrate convincing records to show his capacities in fixing the nation’s cascading economy, the resultant monster of poverty, spiraling youth unemployment, tardiness in the educational system, crises in the power and energy sectors, among other challenges facing the country.

A two term Speaker of the River State House of Assembly, an eight-year stint as governor of the same state, followed by his present position as the Minister of Transportation, from 1999 to date, Chief Rotimi Amaechi is literally a colossus in competition with Lilliputians in the contest for the APC presidential ticket and, against the others so far lining up in the opposition camps for the decisive ultimate race.

*** Dahiru Maishanu, a political analyst and commentator, can be reached via  Moyijoh62@yahoo.com.