CENTRAL Bank of Nigeria (CBN) governor Godwin Emefiele is reported to be planning to stand in next year’s presidential elections with some political insiders saying that his candidacy has been warmly received by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Although not constitutional, Nigeria’s component parts have a gentleman’s agreement that the presidency will rotate between the north and the south of the country. President Muhammadu Buhari’s tenure will end in 2023 and being a Fulani northern Muslim, it is expected that the next president will come from southern Nigeria.
Since the return to democracy in 1999, the southwest has produced President Olusegun Obasanjo and the south-south President Goodluck Jonathan, so come 2023, the presidency should automatically go to the southeast. Despite being of Igbo stock, Mr Emefiele, however, is from Delta State in the south-south geo-political zone.
A technocrat with no political experience, Mr Emefiele has never even been a member a political party before. It is those not clear how he will stand or how President Buhari will manage to secure him the presidential ticket of his All Progressives Congress (APC).
One political watcher said, however, that in the APC strongholds across the northeast and northwest of the country, President Buhari’s supporters will listen and follow him anywhere and everywhere. Apparently, those behind Mr Emefiele’s candidacy have considered it to be a one-stop solution to a two-pronged problem of agitation for power shift from the north to the south.
Without being perceived to condescend to the Igbos, an Emefiele ticket would be seen as a perfect fit to the jigsaw puzzle. He is considered an Igbo native of Delta State and a good bridge to the core Igbos and is believed to be trusted to keep the patronage of the north alive without rocking the boat.
For now, former Lagos State governor Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, has met with President Buhari to intimate him of his desire to succeed him. Other candidates include former Imo State governor Senator Rochas Okorocha, Ebonyi state governor David Umahi, Senator Orji Uzor Kalu and Senator Bukola Saraki.