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Fashola’s comments raise tension, may alter 2023 presidential permutations if…

There seems to be no uniformity of purpose on futuristic calculations bordering on zones and presidential slots following what can be seen as clash of direction on 2023 presidential permutations even though 2019 is yet to come.
Whereas a number of top government officials in the present administration had over the years been dangling shift of presidency to South East if president Muhammadu Buhari goes second term, only weekend, the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola told Nigerians at a South West Town Hall meeting that it is better to vote in Buhari for second term so that the zone will produce the president come 2023.
Fashola said besides, the massive investments by the Buhari administration on infrastructure across the country and in the South-West particularly, the region would benefit politically by voting for Buhari.
The minister, who spoke in Yoruba language said: “Do you know that power is rotating to the South-West after the completion of Buhari’s tenure if you vote for him in 2019?
“A vote for Buhari in 2019, means a return of power to the South West in 2023. I am sure you will vote wisely.”
No doubt, the card is very clear. Possibly, there may have been a plan to front the current Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo come 2023 not minding any recourse to balance of power amongst the major regions of the country.
However, analysts say the above scenario can only play out if President Buhari wins in 2019.
On the other hand, if Buhari loses to Atiku Abubakar, the PDP presidential hopeful who has a South Easterner as running mate, another line of permutation for South East will emerge.
In line with the latest outburst by the Minister which the federal government has not denied, analysts say the comment may become a strong factor that will shape the pattern of voting come 2019.
Former Secretary General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Dr. Joe Nworgu, who queried when Fashola and Ngige were made the spokespersons for the Yoruba and Igbo in the country, explained that the interest of the zone was how to go about 2019 and ensure the restructuring of the country.“Our focus is 2019 and restructuring. Whatever anybody is saying is just a ploy from the same table. Fashola spoke, Ngige spoke, but I want to know when they became spokespersons of the various zones where they come from. The Yoruba and the Igbo should work together to ensure that they achieve restructuring, and 2019 election is a referendum between those who want restructuring and those against restructuring. We have already known the feelings of the two leading political parties, and it is clear what they represent on the issue,” he said.
Responding to the trending issue, a chieftain of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Chief Clem Nlemigbo said: “We are not surprised. We have always believed that the APC has no Igbo interest at heart and will always frustrate the zone. It is sad for anybody to begin to believe that only when Ndigbo vote APC will they have the opportunity to become president of the country. APGA is not worried, but is focused on winning the Presidency in 2019 using its candidate.”
President Emeritus of Aka Ikenga, Chief Goddy Uwazuruike in his reaction averred that “It’s possible for South West to get the presidential ticket of APC in 2023. This is because APC is an amalgamation of North West and South West political lords. All the other zones are joiners. For record purposes, the APC was the brainchild of Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, but at the crucial meeting where the substratum of the party was decided, he was excluded. South East political leaders in APC are mere hangers-on in the corridors of power.
“The power brokers belong to the kitchen cabinet either of the president, or of the party chairman. The Igbo APC leadership merely pretends to be in a position to influence things. Telling the South East that power will shift to it is nothing but lies from the pit of hell. Nobody else made that promise. Even the statement of Boss Mustapha was mere palliative; it is like a mere pat on the back as the party has never made that promise.”
He added further that “the entire APC arrangement ab initio never had any worthwhile position for the South East. The South West had the VP, the speaker and the national leader slot. The North West had the president, the North East had the Senate president, the North Central and the South South were ignored. Ndigbo have said it loud and clear that only the party that presents what we want should expect Igbo support. I am in agreement with that.”
In his submission, former Minister of Information, Chief Tony Momoh, is of the view that whoever ever wants the Presidency must work hard for that to come to pass. He recalled that APC and President Buhari didn’t get up to 200, 000 votes out of the estimated nine million votes cast in the South East in 2015 because it calculated that PDP will win, while the South West supported the president.
Continuing, he claimed that “To give the Presidency to any region depends on the support of the zone because power is not, and cannot be given on a platter of gold. Nobody is going to tell the Igbo to vote for APC because in the next general election, three political parties will be prominent in the South East- the APC, PDP and APGA. If the Igbo people decide to support PDP and APGA and the ruling party eventually retains power till 2023, it would be unthinkable to believe that the Presidency would be conceded to the Igbo at the expense of the Yoruba that gave their support.“For now, even if they support the former vice president (Atiku Abubakar) in next year’s election, that would still not guarantee the region getting the presidency in 2023. The onus is on them to decide whatever they want in the coming presidential election,” he said.