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2023: South-West Worried Tinubu May Die In Office If He Becomes President

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Farooq Kperogi, a media scholar, on Saturday, October 8, 2022, said that many persons of South-West extraction are worried that Bola Tinubu, the presidential candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), may die in office if he becomes president of Nigeria in 2023.

Kperogi said the South would not like to experience the late president Umaru Musa Yar’Adua scenario again.

Analysing the race for the 2023 presidency, Kperogi also said there is “a progressive acceptance” of the candidacy of Peter Obi, the flag-bearer of the Labour Party.

According to him, the former Anambra State governor is quietly making inroads into the Muslim North.

Furthermore, the prominent public commentator stated that although, Tinubu, a former governor of Lagos State, is dominant in Nigeria’s Southwest, “many people in the region who genuinely want him to be president have worries that he may die in office and allow the North to take over power again”.

The incumbent Nigerian president is Muhammadu Buhari, a Northern Muslim. He will complete his two terms of four years on May 29, 2023.

“There is a trend I’ve been observing in the last few weeks. Although there is still a lot of indifference to—and, in some cases, resentment at—Peter Obi in the Muslim north, I am sensing a progressive acceptance of his candidacy,” Kperogi said in his weekly column.

“There are broadly five voting blocs in Nigeria: the Northern Muslim bloc (which is sometimes not based on contiguous geography and can spread across the three subdivisions of the region), the northern Christian bloc (which is also not always based on contiguous geography and can encompass a wide stretch of the region), the southwest bloc (which is entirely Yoruba and customarily unaffected by religious identification, although this is changing), the southeast (which is entirely Igbo) and the southern ethnic minority bloc.

“To win a presidential election, a candidate needs to win at least four of these blocs. No candidate, for now, dominates in four voting blocs.

“Bola Tinubu appears to be dominant in the Southwest, although I sense that his health challenges are chipping away at his advantage there. Many people in the region who genuinely want him to be president have worries that he may die in office and allow the North to take over power again. Well, some northern Muslims had said that of Buhari (based on what happened to Umar Musa Yar’adua), and the man seems to be on the mend and looking way healthier than he has ever been.

“Atiku Abubakar seems to be the favorite among Muslims in the Northeast (except in Borno and Yobe) with a potential to expand his reach to other parts of the Muslim North. His problem is that because he has always been liberal, cosmopolitan, and not delimited by religion, he doesn’t excite northern Muslims who define their identities in religious terms.

“It’s precisely why he used to be more popular in the South (and in the Christian North) than in the Muslim North. But Peter Obi has stolen his thunder in his erstwhile electoral base, and this was the basis of a joke I saw on social media that says Atiku has in the bag all the votes he needs to be president in 2023—except that Obi is holding the bag.

“Obi appears to have a lock on the votes in the Southeast, the South-South, and in such predominantly Christians states as Benue, Plateau, and even Taraba. Christians in southern Kaduna and Southern Kebbi seem more favorably disposed to him than they are to any other candidate. The major challenge of his popularity in the Southeast is that it may not translate to high voter turnout in light of the continuing violence and threats of violence by IPOB.

“Muslims in the North-central and the Northwest appear to be the only noncommittal, persuadable voting bloc because they have no sentimental investment in any of the three major presidential candidates. They can swing in any direction.

“Because Obi is making a mark, however imperceptible, in these regions where he was previously unknown, we should recognize that he is no longer the underdog that he once was.”

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