The 2023 general election promises to be a clash of political titans, as more aspirants continue to declare their intention to succeed President Muhammadu Buhari at the Aso Villa.
While, folk like former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, former Senate President, Bukola Saraki, and other heavyweights rumored to be eyeing Nigeria’s highest political position are yet to formally declare their intention, some leaders of the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) have set the pace by formally declaring their intention to run for President in about 13 months to general election.
The National leader of APC, and former governor of Lagos, Senator Bola Tinubu, had muddied the country’s political waters when he visited President Buhari on Monday in the Presidential villa to inform him of his Presidential ambition.
After the Bourdillon-based political god-father announced his intention, Messrs. Orji Kalu and Dave Umahi, from the Southeastern region of the country, have also come out to announce their intention to represent the APC in the Presidential election.
Governor Umahi of Ebonyi state declared his intention, like Tinubu, by visiting the President in Abuja, while Kalu, a former governor of Abia state and currently Chief Whip of the Senate, announced his intention when speaking with Journalists at the Nnamdi Azikwe Airport in Abuja.
However, Kalu has specifically taken on Tinubu as his major contender for the Party’s ticket saying he could match the latter “in person and in pocket”.
Kalu described the contest for the APC Presidential ticket as a ‘roforofo fight’ alluding to the contest as a bout involving dirty politics.
“I am capable to face anybody. But the party is supreme. I only wait for APC as a party. I am used to roforofo fight; it is a fight which anybody can do,” he boasted.
Meanwhile, Kalu also appealed to ethnic sentiment, making a case for the Southeast region to be given a chance to produce the next President of the country.
He said the other major ethnic regions have had their chances to lead the country except the Southeast.
He said, “I do not see Tinubu’s aspiration having any effect on the President of Nigeria coming from the Igbo area, because we are talking based on what people should believe.
“Obasanjo had been there for 8 years, Osinbajo is doing 8 years as Vice President, but no Igbo man since Independence has been democratically elected President.”
Kalu boasted that he is “the most prepared and formidable candidate for the Presidential position”, hoping that the APC would give him a chance by zoning the Presidential ticket to the Southeast.
“I am not against Tinubu. If it is zoned to his area, and the party says he should go, well, the party is supreme, because I am only waiting for the party, but to run for President, I think I am the most prepared. I have done it before in 2007. I will be the most formidable candidate in Eagle Square. I am ready to face anybody.
“I have nothing against his (Tinubu’s) ambition, but as far as the party is zoning it to the South, Southeast should take preference. That is how it should be and that is what I stand for. I will be very ready to face him in Eagle Square for the ticket, and I will get it to be President.”
By Oluwatobi Odeyinka…
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