PDP Presidency: Kwankwaso vs Tambuwal, who will swing into the driver’s seat?
With Atiku Abubakar out of the country and gladiators who are interested in the Presidency in 2023 stumping the ground, two aspirants are attracting serious attention within and outside the PDP.
They are Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso and Governor Aminu Tambuwal. Both men in contrast to Atiku are younger.
They are throwing everything into the ring in a bid to emerge as the beautiful bride despite feelings in some quarters that the North has no business in the Presidency after the two – term tenure of President Muhammadu Buhari.
Tambuwal is the leader of the PDP Governors Forum. Insiders say the position is exposing him increasingly to most party leaders who are busy shopping for a presidential candidate.
The current Sokoto State Governor has served as the Speaker of the House of Representatives. And there those who think he would have the support of past and present members of the National Assembly, particularly Reps.
Senator Kwankwaso, former Governor of Kano State believes he has what it takes to serve as the president of Nigeria.
He has been a two term governor and a Senator with a vast experience and appropriate exposure.
Kwankwaso, a colorful politician and leader of the “red caps” is widely liked and respected in the North.
All attempts by elders including former President Olusegun Obasanjo to get them to agree to a deal has failed. None of them is willing to shift ground or make any sacrifice in the interest of the party and its sponsors.
Obasanjo slipped into the Caliphate recently under the guise of commissioning projects. He had a pack of offers in his bag.
His mission which included persuading former military Heads of State who are still very influential to back his plans failed.
Lobbyist acting on behalf of the two aspirants are stepping up their efforts at wooing support, especially against the backdrop of a growing feeling that younger presidential aspirants who are energetic and articulate may receive the support of an active youthful population in 2023.
Besides, within the APC, younger persons who have served as State Governors at one time or the other are making waves in the race which is likely to open in 2022.
According to speculation, they include Rt. Hon Rotimi Amaechi, Minister of Transportation and former Governor of Rivers State, Governor Nasir El-Rufai who is believed to have a friendly pact with Amaechi, Governor Kayode Fayemi and Governor Bello.
PDP strategists reckon that if the party were to produce an older candidate to contest the presidency against a younger candidate, their political platform may not stand a chance, not to talk of winning.
“The scenario that is playing out in the APC is interesting to watch”, a well placed PDP member in the South South pointed out, “We would be digging a grave for the PDP if we do not see that younger candidates with requisite experience and exposure would fly higher in 2023.”
Some PDP Governors seem to tow this line of thought and there hints like minds are teaming up to pursue this interest.
Incidentally, both top aspirants in the PDP who are struggling for the presidency in the name of the North are from the North West, a situation which may be interpreted to mean that, that part of the North which has repeatedly taken a shot at the country’s leadership may not be ready to yield grounds to the North East and North Central zones.
It would be interesting, analysts posit, to see how both men would overcome the groundswell of opinions within the PDP which are beginning to favor an Igbo presidency.
Insiders close to the two men disclose that there are serious cleavages between the two northern politicians. This, they say, would make reconciliation really impossible.
“It has turned into an ego problem between the two”, a Northern federal lawmaker told the Telegraph, “Both of them are competent, both have strong following in the north. But they should not underrate the South which wants the presidency.”
The lawmaker may be right. There are calls for restructuring, accusations of ethnic exploitation and agitation for a split of the country.
The thinking, according to a Southern politician who spoke under conditions of anonymity “is that most people feel shortchanged. They feel they can’t have justice. They cry out against the lobesided distribution of wealth, the massive stealing that is taking place and the fear that Nigeria is not working for everybody.
“The bloodshed, hate speeches, insurgency, kidnapping, clashes between farmers and herders, tension between Christians and Muslims, and calls for separation are all signs of growing frustration.”
Most Nigerians think that the nation could be placed on a path of national revival if the principle of power rotation known in local parlance as ‘turn by turn’ is respected by the major political parties and the country’s power centres.
Yet there are persons who believe it is time to do away with zoning and other power sharing modes that they allege encourages mediocrity, lack of transparency, efficiency and progress.
Most young turks within the PDP like Governor Nyesom Wike think that restructuring the party’s machine, replacing former national officers of the party with new hands might pave the way for changes that are likely to shape the future of the former ruling party.
In the meantime, both front runners who have come to national prominence because of Obasanjo’s failed expedition continue to jostle for advantages on the political turf, with Tambuwal appearing to have a firmer handshake across the River Niger in comparison to Kwankwaso.
Unlike Tambuwal, Kwankwaso has run more presidential campaigns. His supporters hope this time, they would be able to scale the hurdle.
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