S’West Comes into Play as APC Yoruba Leaders, PDP Mull Options

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APC VS PDP

• Opposition party considers zoning vice-presidency to region

Tobi Soniyi

As 2019 draws near, some South-west leaders of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) are considering a number of options, including but not limited to an alternative political platform to the APC, in which to pitch their tent.

This is just as some of their counterparts in the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) who have been campaigning nationwide to emerge chairman of the party at its elective convention may have their dreams truncated, as the PDP is now believed to be considering rezoning the post to either the South-south or South-east geopolitical zones of the country, in order to pave the way for the South-west zone to get the vice-presidential slot of the party going into the 2019 elections.

Working under the shadow of what they have termed the “Yoruba Agenda”, several APC South-west leaders are said to be dissatisfied with the way the Muhammadu Buhari-led administration has treated its leader, Bola Tinubu, who doubles as the National Leader of the APC and was one of those instrumental to the establishment of the party and delivering the zone to the APC in the 2015 elections, THISDAY has learnt.
Under the new arrangement, leaders of the APC in various states are expected to take charge since Tinubu, whom they all used to look up to, has in recent months appeared to be more and more subdued and may have decided to back Buhari in the 2019 presidential election.

Tinubu, they also believe, has lost grip of the stranglehold he once had in the South-west, especially outside Lagos State.
Pointing to his inability to foist his candidate in the Ondo governorship election a year ago, his whittled down influence in Ogun and Oyo States, and uncertainty over his role in the Osun governorship election slated for next year, certain stalwarts of the APC have moved in to fill the void.
Names like a former governor of Ogun State, Chief Olusegun Osoba, former acting National Chairman of APC, Chief Bisi Akande, and a former Ekiti State governor, Chief Niyi Adebayo, among others, are being touted to take charge in their respective states.

An impeccable source told THISDAY that another issue motiving the Yoruba leaders of the APC is that they feel let down by President Buhari, given the role of the region in the 2015 elections.
He said: “Buhari has let the Yorubas down. Even if he rolls out board appointments now, we see it as a bait to railroad everybody. He wants to buy our support only to turn against us later. We are not fooled.”
He explained that since they have made it impossible for the Yorubas to operate in the APC and with the manner Tinubu has been treated, there may be no future for a lot of them in the party.

According to him, the concept of the Yoruba Agenda is about exploring their options, including seeking an alternative political platform, possibly the Alliance for Democracy (AD), under which they would operate.
Also, beyond the options being tinkered with by some APC leaders in the South-west is the broader Yoruba agenda to have a strong platform through which they can actualise their desire for the restructuring of the country.
The agenda is non-partisan and has the backing of the leading Yoruba socio-cultural group, Afenifere, which has been at the vanguard for the restructuring of the country.

Another source said that several Yoruba leaders in the party had expected that the National Caucus and National Executives Committee (NEC) meetings of the APC held last month in Abuja would have provided the perfect opportunity to voice their concerns and had they failed to extract certain promises, including pushing for the removal of the National Chairman of the APC, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, the leaders of the South-west would have revolted.
However, they were surprised when Tinubu failed to convey the disappointment of the South-west during the National Caucus and NEC meetings.

Should the plan to break away to another party that could serve the interest of the South-west be actualised, this would not auger well for the APC which is an amalgam of about five political parties.
Already, said the source, managing the disparate interests of the parties has proved to be very difficult.
The thinking in the South-west is that without the support of the region, the APC might have problems winning the presidency, given the near absence of support for the party in the South-south and South-east geopolitical zones.
An APC leader in Ogun State said that nothing was certain yet but that it would be foolhardy for the Yorubas if they do not have a Plan B.

Although the APC NEC meeting passed a vote of confidence on Oyegun, followers of the party in the South-west do not approve of the way he has been running the party.
“They merely allowed the president to have his way,” a leader of the party said.
He also said that had the party adopted Buhari as its presidential candidate for 2019 during the NEC meeting, APC would have been thrown into confusion especially in the South-west.

However, another APC source explained that Tinubu might have other plans up his sleeve, coupled with the fact that it would be difficult for him to oppose Buhari because of his deputy, Yemi Osinbajo.
Another factor that may be paramount to Tinubu, said the source, is the fact that dumping Buhari at this juncture and supporting another Northern candidate for the presidency would mean that the North could end up remaining at the helm of affairs, possibly till 2027.
But if Tinubu and others back Buhari in 2019, this will improve the chances of the South-west zone securing the presidential ticket of the APC in 2023.

“If Tinubu abandons Buhari to back another candidate from North, that means he will be going against Osinbajo. Also, it would amount to handing over the presidency to the North for 12 years because there is a major likelihood that another Northern president may seek a second term in office, come 2023.
“But if Tinubu does not rock the boat and sticks with Buhari, then the South-west will be in the front of the pack to get the ticket of the APC in 2023,” he explained.

The president of late appears to have changed tactics by trying to woo disenchanted elements of his party to his side, with many interpreting this sudden change in disposition to the reality of 2019 elections.
During the NEC meeting, Buhari had promised to appoint more ministers to his cabinet and fill the vacancies on federal government boards with party stalwarts who have been aggrieved that they had been abandoned after working to unseat the PDP and deliver the presidency to Buhari.

Also last Friday, the president assured religious leaders and Nigerians that his administration would address rising concerns of corruption, insecurity and injustices in various parts of the country.
But many in his party see the new promises as a bait to get them to support his 2019 presidential bid.
In the case of PDP, THISDAY learnt that the party may be seriously thinking of jettisoning the zoning of the chairmanship post to the South-west zone and instead zoning it to either the South-south or South-east.

Should the PDP alter the zoning formula, this would improve the chances of a former Deputy National Chairman of the party Chief Uche Secondus, and the Chairman of DAAR Communications, Chief Ramond Dokpesi, who intend to contest for the post, irrespective of the subsisting zoning arrangement.
A party source explained that the reason the PDP is having a change of heart on the current zoning arrangement is so that the party can select a vice-presidential candidate from the South-west.

He said the thinking among party stalwarts is that by fielding a Northern candidate for the presidency and a running mate from the South-west, this will improve PDP’s chances in the 2019 elections.
“The South-west zone remains very critical to any of the parties going into 2019, and as it stands, we will be better off with a Northern presidential candidate, which is not in contention, and a running mate from the South-west.
“This means that we will be evenly matched with the APC and go into the contest seeking to split the votes in the South-west,” he explained.

  • chris

    Whoever thinks that PMB will hand over to his vice in 2023 is yet to understand Nigerian politics. The north felt marginalised during GEJ and OBJ and they need to hold the presidency a little bit further than 2023.

    I don’t see PMB handing over to any southerner for now. His body language so far does not show that. And for those of you that may cry foul, you should remember that not many governors are known for supporting their deputies relection. Therefore this is not strange.

  • atakamosu

    Not all Yoruba follow Tinubu or Afenifere. Buhari will not win election come 2019. He does have blind loyalty in the north east and west, but that’s where it ends. Tinubu only had a hold on Lagos central. Oyo, Ogun, Osun, Ondo and Ekiti are PDP’s to loose if they do not get their house in order. SE and SS are PDP strongholds while NC will be swayed by Saraki. So Buhari has a fight on his hand, while Tinubu does not determine the direction the SW follows. Maybe a new party with clear goals and open fair primaries will determine who wins the presidency. A large percentage of southerners who were die hard Buharists have seen the light and will never vote for him again.

  • princegab

    It’s all at the stage of speculations. Enough time left for political wonders. I wouldn’t want to speculate either. One thing to note is that the progressives are winning the race and true change is coming our way come 2019.

  • LEGACY

    Yorubas in their ‘sophisticated’ nature has made it possible for the North to play the south round about. They will dangle the VP slot among the 3 southern regions in order to divide and rule. It is a fact that people can be educated and still be foolish.
    The yorubas like the north thrive in government patronage and injustice. They teamed up with Buhari/North, not for good governance but to unfairly get more than their fair share of the oil revenue by steeling. The north played along until Buhari become president. Now they are running around for ‘cover’. The way things will turn out will possibly make the yorubas slaves to the North for generations to come. The same mistake Awolowo made, Abiola made Tinubu made will be repeated if the cycle plays out again…Reason is their greed and foolishness. Lack of values.
    The way things may end up is that the east with part of the Niger delta that do not have much oil will be caved out as Biafra while the rest of Niger delta with oil and southwest will be part of the emerging Nigeria which the Housa/Fulani will try to create.
    The Igbo would not mind the reduced Biafra map which will include parts of Rivers and Akwa Ibom states which will provide access to the sea. The ijaw oil with yorubas who do not have the courage to fight the house/Fulani will be Nigeria. Watch out as the game begins to play out. Then you will know how ‘sophisticated’ or foolish you have been.

    • loye

      Go and trace the inglorious history of your people starting from Zik at independence in the first Republic to okadigbo, ekweme and ojukwu in the second Republic, the subordinate role of Igbos in pdp to the north in the 3rd republic.

      Read the statement of Ken Nnamani on how igbos can’t play opposition politcs and so must serve any government in power.

      Read about how igbos who were the most vociferous in condemning apc as a Fulani janjaweed party yet immediately pdp and Jonathan lost they betrayed Jonathan decampnped to apc.

      Read about yoruba opposition to Northern domination in the first second and third Republic until 2 years ago..

      Educate yourself fool

  • Asuk

    “But many in his party see the new promises as a bait to get them to support his 2019 presidential bid” . Exactly. The south west will regret if it takes Buhari ‘s bait of new appointments. They look beyond the bait and chart a new course.

  • Romla

    The message of a possible strong alternative party is good,but the messengers are wrong.The messengers are the same breed who should go into the museum.Their motives are selfish,a backlash against Buhari for sidelining Tinubu.These people’s interest is themselves and their family.

    • Ubong

      The north knew this will happen and there would easily abandon SW and crioss to East for much cherish second class position. Its shameful that a region of purported highly educated population could be a chase game for North. Whether Buhari or not, uts very evident at moment tbat southerners have accepted defeat of ever aspiring for President. The shrewd plots of northern political leaders of PDP/APC and other party to ousted GEJ and get back power is working very well. SW should just accept there were politically outsmart by northerners in 2015, when there were fooled and blinded to believe power will freely leave North once Buhari intrgrity could get the power back to the North. The chase game has started and is either second class position is accepted or the north will go East, knowing the lavk of unity anong southerners.

      • Romla

        Your point is spot on.I voted for the Buhari ticket as I was convinced the APC was sincere.I had voted Jonathan in 2011.However I have accepted that I was fooled by the deceit of a cult of robbers that simply migrated to a different den.They have and will achieve little or nothing.My calculation for 2019 is a new breed in an alternative party or sit at home and pray.
        I also have said that well meaning people in the South needs to put whatever pride,hate,division etc and politically unite for 2019.This is the starting point or we are eternally doomed to a leadership of quarter and half baked crooks,taking well baked decent Nigerians for another ride into total failure.

  • Olusola Olusina Micheal

    The entire writeup is at best speculative..no real substance in it,just flying a kite that will not sail,.the southwest will not dump an osinbajo vicepresidency for a pdp vice precidency rouge.

    • Romla

      This in my view depends on the candidates put up by PDP.The SW has always been unpredictable even when it’s own is on the ticket.More and more people in the SW think Osinbajo is not pulling his weight.

      • share Idea

        according to you ..”more people in the SW think Osinbajo is not pulling his weight”

        So it is no longer that the administration is marginalizing you people but your man is not pulling his weight. Human wants are insatiable.

        During last administration, with all the things he did for SW, he was called names that he marginalized you people, and in this administration where one of your type is ruling, you people still complain. Nigeria we hail thee

        • what makes you think the dude is from south west,read through all the comments on the issue,and tell me where you see a yoruba here condemning the VP,that fellow is not from SW,i am very sure of that,he or she can only come from the wailing tribe!..concerning jonathan era,yes he excluded us,we will continue saying that!.

        • Romla

          My opinion is mine and I am entitled to it.Get it.My opinion,not the opinion of a thousand or a million peopleI have decided to avoid exchanging comments with ignorant people, with all due apologies.

  • Abubakar Bello

    I wish they will back Kwankwaso or Ribadu and the North will have another smooth 8 Years.Malam na Malam Bross any way the coin is tossed its ok with Malam.Buhari Kontiniyo – Excellent, Ribadu/ kwankawso or Sule Lamido or whatever Malam takeover means 8 more years more for d North.

    I bet you The Yourubas will back Buhari in oredr to get they trurn by 2023.

    • papred06

      We South Southerners will back Ribadu. Kwankwaso……hmmmm…I don’t know. But Ribadu isn’t showing interest.

    • Dele Awogbeoba

      Every one in Kano knows that Kwankwaso is of Yoruba heritage. Why would you want a former Yoruba aka assimilated Fulani as your next head of state?

    • UYI111

      We all knows that Kwakwaso is another core Jihadist and we dont need his likes and for your information 8 years is not a must for another candidate when we get to that bridge we will cross it .
      Nigeria is not for the Nut alone but by South -East-West too!!!!

    • chris

      Whoever thinks that PMB will hand over to his vice in 2023 is yet to understand Nigerian politics. The north felt marginalised during GEJ and OBJ and they need to hold the presidency a little bit further than 2023.

      I don’t see PMB handing over to any southerner for now. His body language so far does not show that. And for those of you that may cry foul, you should remember that not many governors are known for supporting their deputies relection. Therefore this is not strange.

  • SpeakUp Naija

    PDP needs to field a strong middle-belt or north central Christian presidential candidate and a strong south-western muslim vice-presidential candidate if the want to win back more southern and middle-belt states from APC.

    This combination will give APC a run for their money assuming both men have impeccable credentials and integrity. PDPs focus for now should be making inroads into Middle-belt and South-west. The Northwest and Northeast are no go arrears for 2019. Any money spent there is in preparation for 2023.

    There are states in the middle-belt that a ripe for the picking particularly if a strong Christian Presidential Candidate emerges from the region. PDP needs 20 states solidly in their corner before they can challenge APC for the presidency. These will need to be states where they can above 70% of the votes. I doubt if they can get 10% of the votes in the Northeast and Northwest so their focus needs to be in the other regions.

    • Romla

      Good thinking and Presidential ticket strategy.Hopefully not under PDP and not the old brigade of political robbers.

    • papred06

      You took the words from my mouth! But his policies will have to be detailed and costed. No doubt, the Middle Belt is wavering at the moment.

    • Daniel Obior

      The problem seems that the Middle Belt eats with both hands and therefore has no incentive to be committed. The region enjoyed substantial attention under PDP during OBJ and GEJ administrations. That did not stop it from jumping ship to vote for APC. The Middle Belt has an affinity to go wherever the wind blows. That is hardly a suitable credential for loyalty to a party.

      • SpeakUp Naija

        The Middle-Belt is the South-South of the North. Its ethnic groups are not as tightly knit as those in the Northeast and Northwest. Ethnicity and religion play a major role there, and the fractures they portend are getting more evident everyday. Currently voters there are divided because of the activities Fulani herdsmen, Boko Haram and perceived complicity of Nigerian security agencies .

        States like Benue, Plateau, Taraba, Kogi can be won by a strong Charismatic Christian middle-belt candidate and a strong southwestern muslim candidate. Osinbajo was not a very strong southwestern Candidate in 2015 but voters in the southwest region that voted on his account did so because of his ethnicity and not his personality. Having said that, the brief period he acted as President has greatly boosted his personality and it is now a major factor in the 2019 elections. However, a very popular muslim candidate from the southwest could still counter any advantage he has gained in popularity in the region.

        The main campaign points APC can dwell on in the middle-belt are security and agriculture. Unfortunately, on those two issues the people of the region score the present administration quite low. Fortunately for the APC, the Governors have capitalized on the security situation to solidify their base. The anti-grazing bills that are being passed are strengthening the people’s faith in their respective state governments. However, there is still time for voters to evaluate the effectiveness of these bills before the elections. If the killings do not abate then these governors may be forced to take a more indifferent if not antagonistic stance to APC’s Presidential Campaign in order to further their own ambitions.

        One thing is for sure, like 2015, there will be landslide victories in the South-south, Southeast, Northwest and probably the Northeast. The Southwest will be divided as usual and so will the Middle-belt. These are the places where the most undecided voters come from and in them lies the path to victory. Victory comes in many ways. The most important one right now should be gaining a majority of states, and narrowing or eliminating the gap in the number of seats in the National and State Assemblies.

        The Presidency is the icing on the cake but it can wait till 2023 if need be. Most of the funds should be directed at making gains in the federal legislature and the state executive in the middle-belt and Southwestern states.

    • Dauda

      There is no strong middle belt candidate. May be David mark could try a bit. Then, he is not as strong as Fayose. Without Fayose, there would not be opposition during this Buhari’s govt. To be president is not being a king. Even kings are criticised within the same country in civilized world. Many people from Spain and UK for example criticise the monarchy as a source of wastefulness to the govt. It makes people ask if Nigeria is practicing democracy.

      If Nigeria had 50 of Fayose, we would progress and develop fast. Say 25 in each of PDP and APC, it would help keep govt on its toes. Our politicians are so confused and think of themselves that is the reason they refuse to talk. Opposition is not insult, it is to keep govt in shape. The mere sacking of Babachir, Oke, and Maina being ferried out is because of opposition. If the PDP and other opposition groups have been following what happens in Germany, America, France, Britain, Austria, South Africa, New Zealand, etc, and are sincere that it is the masses they fight for, they would have been performing the role of opposition. The reason Abdulsalami Abubarkar who is exposed to the world and settles conflicts and mediates in different parts of the world recently lamented that PDP has disappointed Nigerians in their role as opposition. APC can tell thousand lies a day because there is no opposition.
      Without Fayose, Fani Kayode, Abubakar Umar, Wike, Balarabe Musa, Shekarau, Dokpesi, and about two other Yorubas, APC would do whatever they like without recourse to the constitution, the rule of law, moral value and justice. For records, Balarabe and Umar do not belong to PDP. None from the Igbos and none from middle belt.
      At that, because Nigerians are not exposed to democracy, they say Fayose is insulting, talks like a tout, is agbero, etc. If Nigerians have time, let them follow the politics and watch the parliaments in Germany, America, France, Bahamas, Canada, Britain, Austria, South Africa, Jamaica, Trinidad, Guyana, New Zealand, Poland, Australia, Italy, etc
      We have semblance of democracy, what makes it look like it is settling is the last power change which is being monitored closely by the international community to see what Buhari will do to sustain the gain of 2015. Another semblance factor is the little opposition led by Fayose. Perharps the reason American ambassador visited him recently and congratulated him and asked him about his plan for his 2019 ambition to contest for president.

  • How deceitful can the handlers of PDP be!,using this medium to flogs the kite of scheming the south west out of the chairmanship slot of the party is evil!…nduka continue eating dirty from all this kind of cunning news,nonsense!.

  • Raymond

    No zoning formula can displace Buhari. We have to endure our dear ear infected president for another 4 yrs.

    • Lawrenece Ifo

      Good talk.
      They should be contented with what they desired and worked verun hard to get.

    • princegab

      It’s foolhardy to do same over and pver expecting different results. Vote out pmb, enough of a bad President. Atiku top the list of the best for now.

  • Daniel Obior

    On surface, it may be a smart move by PDP to field a Northern presidential candidate and a Southwestern vice, to somewhat split the North and Southwest votes, while the Southeast and SouthSouth are locked in its favour. However, Buhari still has the joker in the form of INEC, if he wished to run. Since coming to power, he has systematically compromised INEC, locking it tightly under his belt. A smart and fiendish move.

    • Romla

      Your analysis of the probable PDP plan is apt.

  • Toby

    If APC presents a Yoruba in 2023 and PDP presents an Hausa-Fulani, who thinks the almajiris in Kano will vote for the Yoruba?

  • Akin Malaolu

    BULLSHIT. No commonsense in this entire writeup. Political leaders my foot.
    When shall we bury ‘Self Regarding Objectives’ for ‘Other Regarding Objectives’ ?