By Lateef Taiwo:
The race to succeed President Mohammud Buhari may have started in earnest with the array of aspirants lined up for the nation’s top political job.
Notable early birds in what promises to be a crowded race are sitting Governors in the All Progressives Congress (APC) and other Chieftains of the party.
It might be too early to separate the boys from the men in the contest, the aspirants are keeping their winning strategies close to their chest while quietly recruiting
campaign personnel and at same time assembling the necessary logistics required for a nation wide campaign.
There are nevertheless, names which have continued to echo as strong contenders for the Presidential ticket in the major political parties.
Checks by DAILY ASSET revealed that leading the pack is Aminu Tambawal, the former Speaker, House of Representatives, presently Governor of Sokoto state. Another serious contender is Mallam Nasir el- Rufai, former Federal Capital Territory, FCT Minister, during the Olusegun Obasanjo ‘s administration , presently the Governor of Kaduna state. Those who contested the ticket in 2015 are also back into the race. They are former Senator Musa Kwankwaso, former governor of Kano state and former Vice President Atiku Abubakar.
Others are Senator Bukola Sarki, President of Nigerian Senate and Senator Ahmed Makarfi, a former Governor of Kaduna state between 1999-2003, former Senator and National Caretaker Chairman of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) and Alhaji Sule Lamido, the former Governor of Jigawa state.
While the aspirants have commenced consultations underground, former Vice President Atiku, may have embarked on a subtle campaign for the presidency.
While the presidency and APC leadership has continued to maintain the position that the party did not promise Nigerians devolution of powers and restructuring, the former Vice
President has used every fora to canvass the restructuring of the polity.
According to him “restructuring of the country is in the interest of the North in particular and the Country in general.”
“What I found unhelpful is the argument of those who said that the Country’s unity could not be renegotiated,” he ws quoted to have said.
Atiku, is on a familiar turf. He had contested all the presidential elections in Nigeria since 2007.
The Adamawa- born politician has not given up.
There are fears among political gladiators that the Wazirin Adamawa, may run for the presidency in 2019.
Leading the opposition against Atiku is Mallam el- Rufai, who is also eyeing the presidency.
While the President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, a former Governor of Kwara state and Presidential aspirant on the platform of the PDP, has not yet declared his intention, even within the
APC, Analysts believe that his eyes are fixed firmly on the nation’s top job.
According to a highly placed APC leader, who does not want his name in print “all his activities in the Senate point towards the presidency. He constituted himself and the Senate as another opposition party to APC, because he wants to be president in 2019”.
source hinted Bukola, el-Rufai and Atiku, were strategically placing themselves as beautiful brides if Buhari, decides not to run in 2019.”
DAILY ASSET gathered that a group of Northern youths, who have been meeting in Kaduna, to promote Kwankwaso’s candidacy will soon go public with his campaign. The youth group was believed to have concluded all arrangements but only waiting for the right time to step out.
In the PDP camp, DAILY ASSET learnt that only Sule Lamido, the former governor of Jigawa state has so far publicly giving an indication that he would run for the presidency.
But those familiar with the situation have said Ahmed Mohammed Makarfi, the Caretaker Committee Chairman of PDP who contested for the presidency in 2007 may throw his heart into the ring.
or of Gombe, Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo is believed to be seriously consulting underground for the top job but would prefer his ambition to remain confidential until the appropriate time he would make public statements.
From all indications, more aspirants will join the race in the next few Months ahead and then the real politicking would start.