Nigeria Ruling Party Picks Tinubu as Presidential Candidate
By Bashir Olanrewaju and Sahabi Abdul
Nigeria’s ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) chose former Lagos Governor Bola Tinubu as its presidential candidate in primaries that saw him defeat more than a dozen rivals
Tinubu’s 1,271 votes were more than the combined votes of all his rivals led by former Transport Minister Chibuike Amaechi with 316 voted and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo with 235 votes.
Tinubu, 70, will now face off with former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, 75, the candidate of the main opposition People’s Democratic Party; Peter Obi, 60, of the Labour Party, and; Rabiu Kwankwaso, 65, of the New Nigerian People’s Party, with the economy and internal security being top national issues.
Tinubu’s emergence defied efforts by President Muhammadu Buhari to shape the outcome of the APC primaries and fulfill his desire to choose his likely successor. All manoeuvres to pick a consensus candidate for the party and avoid the ballot were stalled, ultimately yielding to a vote by delegates largely faithful to the acclaimed national leader of the party.
The APC presidential candidate will need to win his southwest home region as well as either the country’s north or its southeast and Niger Delta regions to stand a chance of victory. Similarly, Abubakar will need to win his northern home region as well as either the southeast and the ethnic minorities of the central and southern parts to become president. Peter Obi is hoping to upset both candidates by seeking the votes of younger Nigerians who make up a majority of the country’s population. Kwankwaso on his part will have to beat Abubakar to northern votes to stand a chance of making up with votes from other regions.
Whoever becomes president will have to deal with an economy mired in debt, dogged by low productivity, surging inflation, an unemployment rate that has half of all its youths out of work, a situation that has exacerbated widespread insecurity marked by multiple insurgencies going on simultaneously in Africa’s most populous country.