The National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu, may be regretting his decision to support President Muhammadu Buhari back in 2015, as he looks increasingly likely to lose support from the North should he eventually emerge as the APC presidential candidate for the 2023 elections.
Tinubu’s presidential ambition is no longer a secret, and his determination to clinch the APC party ticket remains solid, but he would first have to brush aside other prominent politicians including the likes of former Zamfara State governor, Ahmed Yarima, who among others is in the race to succeed Buhari in 2023.
However, winning the party ticket is one thing, while winning the heart of a region which seem unwilling to allow power shift back to the south, is another matter altogether.
President of Arewa Youth Consultative Forum (AYCF), Yerima Shettima, has made it clear (assuming the group would stick to its words), that the era of ‘recycling old, tired citizens as presidents of the nation,’ is over.
In a statement apparently targeted at Tinubu who is determined to succeed Buhari as President in 2023, the group said it “will never allow the recycling of old, weak and sick citizens as leaders of this nation, more so in a fast-changing and competitive world.”
“Much as democracy gives everyone the right to contest for any elective office, it does not encourage the emergence of tired, weak, politically compromised, sick and overly unproductive persons as leaders of this modern society,” it added.
But the AYCF is not the only Northern group taking aim at the APC leader.
Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG), has taken the more bizarre approach by accusing the South of being responsible for Buhari’s emergence as president, contrary to what the North had wanted.
The accusation by the CNG is quite odd considering the unprecedented support Buhari enjoyed from the North before and during the 2015 presidential election.
It is also worth noting however, that the only region Buhari had enough support to guarantee him victory from the south, is the southwest, where Tinubu played major role in ensuring the Jonathan government comes to an end.
Abdul-Azeez Suleiman, who is the spokesman for CNG, claimed President Muhammadu Buhari may have enjoyed support from the North, he was however, not the North’s preferred candidate in 2015.
According to the group, Buhari was packaged by southern political forces right from the merger that produced All Progressives Congress (APC) to his victory at the primaries.
The CNG said, “We all can testify that the North has been the major casualty of the policies of the Buhari administration while the South is the major beneficiary. As far as the North is concerned, Buhari was not the candidate for the North but an arrangement made by the South to suit certain interests.”
The group also said the North has suffered far more than the South throughout Buhari’s presidency, which according to the group, confirms its claims that Buhari’s emergence as president was to serve Southern interests and not the North, despite claims of lopsided appointments by the current government.
“This (appointment of northerners into critical positions) cannot be a yardstick for judging a people’s development or prosperity,” it added.