Dear APC, Fashola Is A Shoo-In For The Presidency By Tunde Samuel
As 2015 approaches, talks about the elections have been rife. While President Goodluck Jonathan has not officially declared his intention to seek re-election, the general public seems to have concluded from his body language that he will be giving the Presidency a second shot. He is expected to run on the PDP platform. A party that has been in power since Nigeria regained her democracy in 1999.
Since the formation of APC – the largest coalition of political parties in the history of Nigeria, everyone has impatiently been waiting for their Presidential candidate to be revealed. There have been all kinds of rumours and permutations by journalists, inebriated men at beer parlours, and self-appointed political pundits in the social media.
Most popular of all these rumours is the Buhari-Tinubu combo. While Buhari is respected as an upright and moral leader, his presence on the ticket has every tendency to induce some sort of voter fatigue amongst young electorates. Buhari has tried 3 times and lost in all. You cannot do things the same way and expect different results. Age is also not on his side. He is 71years old, and will be 72 by the time the election starts. President Jonathan is 56years old.
While I don’t believe age is the most important factor to consider when electing a president, APC must take into cognizance the present youth demographic in Nigeria. With 70% of Nigerians less than 35years old, how well do you want to sell a 72 year old president and a 62 year old vice-president to them?
One thing we can never discount is the influence Buhari has up north. He is the ONLY politician than get 12million votes in the north, without coercing, bribing or intimidating anyone. He has a cult-following. He is seen as the Messiah. This comes with good reason because he is the most upright politician in the North. No one comes close, and people love him to bits. Unfortunately, his influence is regional.
How Nigerians voted in 2011
It is the humble opinion of this writer that for APC to win at the first ballot in 2015, they must look away from Buhari/Tinubu in 2015. The question APC should be asking is: Which current opposition candidate is MARKETABLE to different parts of the country with at least 65% success rate? Dear readers, that candidate is Babatunde Raji Fashola, the current Governor of Lagos state.
Fashola’s candidacy comes with tons of benefits for APC. Fashola is the main reason the defunct ACN was able to clear other south west states in 2011. ACN brilliantly sold the “Fashola dream” to other states in the South West and they were able to reclaim the entire South west, safe for Ondo state which is in the firm hands of the progressive Olusegun Mimiko of Labour Party.
Governor Fashola is 50years old. He is even younger than the President. If and only if Buhari and Tinubu can drop their ambitions and support this man, then APC will win the presidential election at the first ballot. All it takes is for Daddy Buhari to campaign with Fashola around the North. Evidently, President Jonathan is not so popular in the North, and they will most likely vote for any candidate apart from the President in 2015.
APC won’t have a hard time selling him to Nigerians. He is undoubtedly the most popular governor in the country today. He is the Governor of the most diverse state in the country. Lagos is home to all. Every ethnic and tribal unit is present in Lagos state. Lagos is the ONLY state that has successfully halved its poverty rate in the last decade. Fashola takes credit for 8years out of this. Furthermore, Lagos already controls 60% of the Nigerian economy.
During my NYSC camp in Jigawa state, my Northern friends use to call me Babatunde “P”ashola. Just because I shared the same first name as Fashola. I was so shocked that he was known there. Then it occurred to me that indigenes of other states reside in Lagos and they all go back home to tell tales of developments in Lagos.
Like every human being, Fashola is NOT a saint, he has his flaws. In politics there are no saints, but it is the duty of every political party to put their best foot forward at all times. Can we just pause for a bit, and imagine a political debate between Governor Fashola and President Goodluck Jonathan? It will be EPIC!
According to the Nigerian constitution,
To become the President of Nigeria, a candidate MUST have the majority of votes cast, AND win at least 25% of votes in two-thirds of the states (approximately 25 states)
Governor Fashola is a moderate politician in the Nigerian context. He is not seen as a bigot. Even though he is a Muslim, his wife and mother are Christians. He is capable of uniting the entire nation. He will pull numbers required to hit two-thirds of the country. He is an excellent administrator. He is very smart and eloquent enough to represent the country at the world stage. APC needs to dump every form of zoning sentiments and pick the best man for the job. Millions of Nigerian youths will rally around Fashola.
Buhari/Tinubu might not win the elections at the first ballot, and this is not really because they are both Muslims. It is because youths can’t relate with them. The Nigerian youths want REAL CHANGE, and unfortunately the likes of Buhari and Tinubu are not the change agents the youths seek. It is dangerous going into run-offs against an incumbent president that invariably controls the Judiciary. Remember the Shagari-Awolowo Supreme Court battle in 1979? Ain’t nobody got time for that!
It is time for Buhari and Tinubu to step back and be fathers of the party. These two overlords should shelve their ambitions for the success of the party. Tinubu is a very savvy politician. He has a special nose for talents, and he is one political godfather that will NOT endorse an incompetent candidate, and you can take that to the bank. Buhari is an Enigma up North. They should join hands to support Fashola, and let history remember them as the leaders that engineered Nigeria’s Renaissance.
Do not hesitate to leave your opinion in the comment section below.
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