2023: APC Presidential Hopefuls; A Dilemma of Choice ~ Ikenda Elechi. One of the provisions of the Electoral Act as amended, if signed into law, is that political parties must submit names of their candidates atleast 180 days before the elections. This directly means that with the elections scheduled in Feb 2023, the list of candidates have to get to INEC on or before Sept, 2022. Considering the flurry of activities that occur before Primaries, one would then understand the sense of urgency parties have come under.
The urgency notwithstanding, the APC must think its future very clearly, as any mistake would cost her a fortune politically.
So far, only Bola Tinubu, Orji Kalu & Gov.Umahi have indicated interest in flying the APC Presidential flag.
Nigeria is a country with natural divisions; Geographically divided between North & South, ethnically divided amongst Hausa/Fulani, Igbo, Yoruba, the Minorities, etc; Religiously divided between Christians & Muslims & Socially divided between the ‘Big & Poor Men’
Of the divisions, those of Ethnicity & Religion are the sharpest. In the South, there’s the fear of an imaginary ‘Fulanization’ or put directly, Islamization Agenda, a reference to an age-old perception that the Muslims want to take over the country to the exclusion of other religions.
Whether this fear is valid or not, it commanded and still commands a huge chunk of the minds of Southern Nigerians, especially, with the emergence of Boko Haram & ISWAP terrorists who have not hidden an agenda of Islamic Caliphate in Nigeria.
As early as 2015 when APC was formed, the major campaign against the then young party was that it’s a party of & for Muslims and that her few Christian members are just used for camouflage. This perception amongst Southerners was so strong that despite series of assurances from fellow Southern Christians, they wouldn’t just buy it.
Whatever the case, the point is that by 2023, APC would have successfully done 8years of her Presidency.
As Nigeria’s ruling party, the APC must prove to every Nigerian that she’s not just a sectional or religious party, but a National Movement open, available & accessible to every Progressive Nigerian. And there’s no better way of doing this than by being responsible, responsive and sensitive to the feelings of Nigerians. The APC must take deliberate & conscious decision that reassure Nigerians that she’s truly a vehicle for National Revival and to do this, she must maintain that much needed National balance at all times, especially in her first post Presidency elections in 2023
This brings in the issue of her choice candidate for the next general elections. Would APC give credence to the allegations of being a sectional or religious party with an agenda or would she take her pride of place as Nigeria’s vehicle towards National Attainment?
The Northern Muslim having done her 8years already, the most realistic option open to the party is to open her wings to a Southern Christian Presidency. This option meets all known National Goals & Aspirations as well as re-echoes the much needed National balance. To do otherwise is to score own goals.
One truth the party mustn’t gloat over is that a Muslim-Muslim or Christian-Christian ticket is completely inconceivable talk more of being practicable in today’s Nigeria. While i can’t say so of the North in the likelihood of a Christian-Christian ticket, there’s not a single Nigerian alive who can sell Muslim-Muslim anywhere in the entire Southern Nigeria today, not a single one. Not even the Catholic Archbishop.
Assuming the party picks a Southern Muslim & a Northern Christian Running Mate, it would be a hard sell in both the North & South. This is because it would be much easier for a Southern Christian to mobilise Southern votes just the way it would be easier for a Northern Muslim to mobilise the Northern votes. The path APC should take is already staring her in the face, whether she can grow above selfish interests is what only time can tell
@realsirice writes from PH