The Race to Aso Rock: Who Can Stop Tinubu? By Sola Olatunji

Nigerians are too familiar with the popular and historical race to Nikki. Yes, the  race was a clever and commercial design by the colonial strategist, Sir Frederick Luggard to outsmart the French colonial masters to acquire Nikki, the capital of the Borgu, traditional emirate in Niger State. France and Britain eventually settled their territorial claims to Borgu by a Convention of 1898. And the rest is now history.

Like the race to Nikki, the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, on Tuesday blew the whistle for the politicians whose dream is to occupy the Aso Rock Villa, Nigeria’s seat of power after the expiration of the President Muhammadu Buhari’s eight year tenure in May next year, which I have aptly titled ‘The Race to Aso Rock” here.

The race to Nikki was between the British and the French colonial scavengers. But the race to Aso Rock has become a titanic battle between the All Progressive Congress, APC, standard bearer, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, his People’s Democratic Party, PDP, counterpart, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and the Labour Party, LP, candidate, Peter Obi. Three horse race, if you like and without prejudice to the other presidential candidates who are mere orbiter dictum, as the lawyers would say.

Just as we have the Emir of Borgu in Nigeria today, who will be the King of President in Aso Rock in May? Your guess is as good as mine. In spite of the swirling criticisms that will be unleashed after this publication, I can say without fear that the other candidates have the mountain to climb to dislodge Tinubu in the race. Tinubu, known as the master strategist, has  positioned himself on the best track that leads directly to Aso Rock with mere pebbles on his way while others have their tracks laced with thorns and thistles, high hurdles which they must scale.

Like the oracle with the power of clairvoyance, Tinubu started this Aso Rock journey long ago, precisely after he resigned from Exxon Mobil corporation in 1992 . He contested for  Senatorial seat and won in Lagos and proceeded to contest for the gubernatorial  ticket of Lagos State in 1999. And he won.

Another strategic move by Asiwaju since he joined politics that carved him out is his ability to build people, even across borders.  His transformation of Lagos State during his eight years tenure and succession plans has continued to stabilize the politics of Lagos State and accelerate her growth as the 4th largest economy in Africa. . This accounts for why Nigerians are clamoring for his presidency in every nook and cranny of the country.

In the north, the sing song is JAGABAN. In the south, it is the EMILOKAN syndrome spreading like the wild fire during the harmattan season. Same in the churches and even mosques and the reason being the fact that the people have trust and belief in his capacity and capability to fix Nigeria just as he did in Lagos

He is  the most prepared  candidate for the 2023 presidential election amongst the three leading candidates.  Emilokan has brought new changes into our political space since he joined politics in 1992. His branded cap has become a political signature today and his philosophy of building people across the political regions of this country is legendary.

What’s more! Tinubu  is the most discussed personality amongst the presidential candidates with political tentacles spread across the country.  Another strong factor that is going for BAT is that he is the  candidate of the ruling party with 22 governors in their kitty and with less party acrimony unlike the major opposition party ,PDP that is riddled with yet unresolved issues which has already positioned the party to fail.

BAT is the most experienced candidate for this race  in terms of intellect and capacity to deliver the deliverables, in terms of human and necessary logistics to prosecute 2023 presidential election to victory.

As we count down towards the flag off of campaigns by INEC, we expect the political space to be dominated by issues-based campaigns that will solve our collective problems and not bullying and disparaging comments about any  competitors because we expect to celebrate democracy and vibrancy and entertainment should dominate the political space .

Nigerians should see the significance of this election and be careful with our choices of words during campaigns. We should all remember this philosophy that the worse democratic rule is better than any benevolent military authority.

BAT, at the end has a date with history as the most prepared, most experienced, most talked about and most popular  candidate in 2023 presidential election.

.Otunba Sola Olatunji, Chairman Ikale Heritage Development Association, writes from Lagos


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