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General News of Tuesday, 9 March 2021


2023: Atiku and Tinubu to battle for president?

The battle for president continues as two strong politicians, former vice president Atiku Abubakar and former governor of Lagos state Bola Tinubu have been hinted to contest for the seat of president of the federal republic of Nigeria in the upcoming election 2023.

Several reports have indicated that the two politicians have been nominated by groups and political supporters as viable candidates for the position.

Although the Abubakar and Tinubu are yet to officially declare their stands as candidates for the upcoming election in 2023, they have also not rebuked the decision to contest.

Atiku in office

Atiku Abubakar served as vice president from 1999 to 2007.
He was sworn in as vice president of Nigeria on May 29, 1999. His first term was mainly characterized by his role as Chairman of the National Economic Council and head of the National Council on Privatisation, overseeing the sale of hundreds of loss-making and poorly managed public enterprises.

His second term was marked by a stormy relationship with President Obasanjo which led to him deflect from the PDP to join the AC. On November 2006, Atiku announced his bid to run for president on the ticket of the Action Congress (AC). On 14 March 2007, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) released the final list of 24 aspirants for 21April presidential election. However, his name was missing from the list as a result of being indicted for corruption.

After winning the court case, Abubakar took third place, behind PDP candidate Umaru Yar’Adua and ANPP candidate Muhammadu Buhari, with approximately 7% of the vote (2.6 million votes).

In October 2010 Atiku announced his intention to contest for the Presidency. On 22 November, a Committee of Northern Elders selected him as the Northern Consensus Candidate, over former Military President Ibrahim Babangida, former National Security Adviser Aliyu Gusau and Governor Bukola Saraki of Kwara State.

On 2 February 2014, Abubakar left the Peoples Democratic Party and became a founding member of All Progressives Congress, with the ambition of contesting for the presidency ahead of the 2015 presidential election.

In 2018, Abubakar began his presidential campaign and secured the party nomination of the PDP in the presidential primaries held in Port Harcourt on 7 October 2018. On February 27, 2019, Atiku lost the presidential election to incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari by over 3 million votes.

Tinubu in office

Bola Tinubu was a protégé of Alliance for Democracy (AD) leaders Abraham Adesanya and Ayo Adebanjo. He went on to win the AD primaries for the Lagos State governorship elections in defeating Funsho Williams and Wahab Dosunmu, a former Minister of Works and Housing.[8] In January 1999, he stood for the position of Governor of Lagos State on the AD ticket and was elected governor.
He served as governor of Lagos State from 1999 to 2007.

Politician Bola Ahmed Ashiwaju Tinubu assumed office as the Governor of Lagos state in May 1999. He promised 10,000 housing units for the poor with little achieved. During the eight-year period of his being in office, he made large investments in education in the state and also reduced the number of schools in the state by returning many schools to the already settled former owners. He also initiated new road construction, required to meet the needs of the fast-growing population of the state.

Tinubu, alongside a new deputy governor, Femi Pedro, won re-election into office as governor in April 2003. All other states in the South West fell to the People Democratic Party in the election. He was involved in a struggle with the Olusegun Obasanjo-controlled federal government over whether Lagos State had the right to create new Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs) to meet the needs of its large population. The controversy led to the federal government seizing funds meant for local councils in the state. During the latter part of his term in office, he was engaged in continuous clashes with PDP Adeseye Ogunlewe powers such as a former Lagos State senator who had become minister of works, and Bode George, the Southwest Chairman of the PDP.

Relations between Tinubu and deputy governor Femi Pedro became increasingly tense after Pedro declared his intention to run for the gubernatorial elections. Pedro competed to become the AC candidate for governor in the 2007 elections, but withdrew his name on the eve of the party nomination. He defected to the Labour Party while still keeping his position as deputy governor. Tinubu's tenure as Lagos State Governor ended on 29 May 2007, when his successor Babatunde Raji Fashola of the Action Congress took office.

In April 2007, after the elections but before Babatunde Fashola had taken office, the Federal Government brought Tinubu before the Code of Conduct Bureau for trial over the alleged illegal operation of 16 separate foreign accounts. In January 2009, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission cleared Tinubu and governors James Ibori of Delta State and Obong Victor Attah of Akwa Ibom State of charges of conspiracy, money laundering, abuse of office and official corruption in relation to a sale of V-mobile network shares in 2004.

Tinubu has been widely perceived as the "Godfather of Lagos", leveraging his political capital in the mega city-state to influence regional and national affairs. His role in pulling the strings of the mega city-state was exposed in The Lion of Bourdillion, a 2015 documentary film highlighting Tinubu's political and financial grip on the city-state. Tinubu filed a N150 billion libel suit against the producers, AIT, and the documentary stopped airing on 6 March 2015.

In 2014, Tinubu supported former military head of state General Muhammadu Buhari, leader of the CPC faction of the APC. Tinubu initially wanted to become Buhari's vice-presidential candidate but later conceded for Yemi Osinbajo, his ally and former commissioner of justice. In 2015, Buhari rode the APC to victory, ending the sixteen-year rule of the PDP, and marking the first time in the history of Nigeria that an incumbent president lost to an opposition candidate.

Tinubu has gone on to play an important role in the Buhari administration, supporting government policies and holding onto the internal party reins, in lieu of his long-held rumored presidential aspiration. In 2019, he supported Buhari's re-election campaign defeating the PDP candidate Atiku Abubakar. In 2020, following an internal party crisis which led to the removal of Tinubu ally and party chairman Adams Oshiomole, it is believed the move was to scuttle Tinubu's presidential prospects ahead of 2023.

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