Why It Could Be Difficult If Not Impossible For A Southerner To Become The APC Flag Bearer Come 2023

It is becoming more interesting by the day as politicians from the North, West, South-South and South East are preparing ahead of the 2023 presidential election. It may interest you to know that consultations and political meetings have began with relevant stakeholders and political parties on who becomes the next President of Nigeria. Arguably, the next President would succeed the incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari, whose administration would expire in 2023.

However, it is not clear which part of the country the next President would emerge from. Although the Southern region has been clamouring for a Southern President to succeed President Buhari in the upcoming election. It could at this point be recalled that the 17 Southern governors had in their last meeting in Lagos State, a follow-up to the "Asaba Declaration" agreed that the Southern region should take a turn in producing the next President of Nigeria. 

Arguably, the Southern region has been boiling for the past few months, and as it stands now, it is debatable to say that the Southern region may find it difficult if not impossible to have a candidate that would be widely accepted by the other regions of Nigeria. As a matter of fact, the Southern region deserves a turn to produce the next President, this is owing to the fact that the North would complete its remaining four years in 2023. And it is expected that power would return to the Southern region.

In that regard, the Southeast region has been clamouring for an Igbo Presidency, owing to the fact that the South-South and South West geopolitical zone had ruled the country for twelve (12) years (Chief Olusegun Obasanjo and the immediate past President, Goodluck Johnathan). However, for equity and fairness to prevail in the region, it is arguably true that the Southeast deserves to produce the next President of Nigeria, owing to the aforementioned analysis. 

Against this background, this article seeks to explain why it could be difficult if not impossible for a Southerner to become a preferred candidate of the ruling All Progressive Congress flag bearer in the 2023 election. This is not to say that the party does not have interest in a Southern President. But the question is, how prepared is the Southern region to produce the next president after President Buhari leaves office in 2023?

First, it could be recalled that some days ago, the Arewa Youth Consultative Forum (AYCF) said that the North still has four more years after the administration of President Buhari expires in 2023. The group through its national President argued that the Southern region had ruled the country for fourteen years. Adding that the untimely demise of former President Yar'Adua denied the North the opportunity to complete its four-year term and a possible second term. Again, they went further to explain that by the time President Buhari’s APC led administration ends, it would be ten (10) years since the Northern region ruled. 

As a matter of fact, it is logically accurate to say that the North still has four more years to rule Nigeria, and that would complement the twelve (12) years Southerners have been in the position of authority at the federal level of government. The question is, would the party choose the next President from the North to complete the remaining four years as they stated in that statement? 

Second, the party has a final say on who becomes the flag bearer: the ruling APC has the final say in this regard, and the choice of candidate would arguably be determined by his personality, popularity and experience in the Nigerian political scene and other measures. The party has performed satisfactorily in almost all the key sectors. The next President that would succeed President Buhari in 2023 would be decided by the party and not any regional government.

It is an ideal thing to clamour for a Southern President by the Southern governors. It is arguably true that they did not have a consensus on which part of the region in the Southern Nigeria should produce the next President. In that regard, it is arguable to say that this development could cause conflict of interest among top political gladiators in the region. It is worth mentioning that the party remains supreme, and the electorate also has a say on who should be voted for as the next President of Nigeria. 

Suffice to say that if the Southern governors had unanimously agreed on which part of the Southern region would produce the next President, the party would have had a smooth sail in the choice of candidate in that regard. But as it is now, the party would be very careful with the choice of candidate and the region to work with in the coming elections.

Overall, the ruling APC would decide who would fly the party flag at the right time. The party has done well in the past few years of ruling the country through President Buhari, and we expect him to do more before the end of his administration. So many people believe that the Nigerian government is yet to fulfill its promise of change. 

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