The race for 2019 presidential election might begin sooner than anticipated as major actors are aligning their interests for the number one job ahead of the next general elections.
This is so if the rumours that have been making the rounds that President Muhammadu Buhari might not contest for two terms in office.
This has thrown open aspiration of big names within the fold of the All Progressives Congress to fill the void.
There might been some governors in his party who are nursing the ambition of succeeding him. Though, these governors have not openly made their interests known, strong indications have shown they may be discreetly conducting campaigns, melting loose wall with foes and strengthening existing relationship with friends and allies. Just the way President Buhari did in the build up to the 2015 general elections.
Naij.com brings you top five APC governors that might replace Buhari in 2019
1. Aminu Tambuwal
The Usman Dan Fodio University trained lawyer who is the current governor of Sokoto state has not hidden his ambition to become the number one citizen of Nigeria.
He is a charismatic leader and rarely talk but allows his antecedent to speak for him. No sooner that he officially decamped to APC, his associates had to cough out N27million for the party presidential nomination form.
But, he could not continue his presidential ambition as elders from his state, Sokoto and other parts of the countries might have told him to exit from the race for Buhari and instead vie for the state governorship ticket.
The governor selling point for the 2019 presidential election would be his ability to maintain peace in the House during his tenure as Speaker of the House of Representatives. More so, his leadership style that many associates termed ‘inclusive’ could be another advantage for Tambuwal . He was able to carry on with his duties as Speaker even when many PDP members jumped ship to APC thus making the later to have a slight majority.
Another strong point of Tambuwal is his ‘dove’ disposition as a peacemaker, when the then minority leader, Femi Gbajabiamila and his colleagues wanted to upturn the PDP leadership from majority to minority, he calmed them down through his soothing words. Tambuwal might be the man to watch out for in 2019.
2. Nasir El-Rufai
The technocrat turned politician is not new to Nigeria’s political landscape. He came to the consciousness of Nigerians in his days as the minister of the federal capital territory, Abuja. He was different things to different people, to his close friends and associates, giant, a reference to his small size, some nicknamed him privatisation czar. This was due to his work as the director general of the Bureau of Public Enterprises in the administration of former president Olusegun Obasanjo.
The restoration of Abuja master plan that saw to the demolition of houses earned him the tag ”Mr Demolition”. He ha a tough battle with the senate prior to his confirmation as a minister, where he alleged that certain members of the upper chamber had approached him for ‘hand shake’ before he can be confirmed.
Aside these controversies that have trailed his person, El-Rufai has proved himself as a democrat.
He was with President Buhari during the days of struggle in the now defunct, Congress for Progressive Change (CPC). He is a close ally of Buhari. During the build up to the 2015 general election, it was learnt that the president practically forced him on Kaduna APC as there were other candidates in the party that could have clinched the ticket.
El-Rufai has proved his mettle as a governor. Few months into his administration, he has showed signs of performance and he may want to replicate same at the centre come 2019.
3. Aminu Masari
He is quiet politician but very effective. Masari is a very experienced in the intricacies of the Nigeria’s political firmament. He is President Buhari’s kinsman and the present governor of Katsina state. He is also a former speaker of the House of Representatives.
The governor was able to lead the house successfully without rancour between 2003 and 2007. In the build up to the 2011 general elections, he ran unsuccessfully for his present position on the platform of the defunct CPC.
Being President Buhari kinsman might be an advantage for him if he decides to launch his presidential ambition. He may through his calm disposition win the heart of Nigerians in the run up to 2019 general election.
4. Rochas Okorocha
Okorocha has never hidden his ambition to rule Nigeria. He has tried severally unsuccessfully. He has contested for the position in the Peoples Democratic Party and the defunct the All Peoples Party (APP) where he vied for the presidential ticket of the party in 2003 and lost.
As a savvy politician and two term governor on the platform of the APC, he might once more contest for the party presidential ticket for 2019.
He is the voice of the south-east geopolitical zone at the centre and chairman of the APC governor’s forum. This could be an advantage for him but the issue of zoning may work against him if the party decides to use that in picking the party’s flag bearer in 2019 as the ticket might possibly return to the north.
However, being a tactical politician, he might make a case for Ndigbo and be compensated with the vice presidential slot.
5. Abdul’aziz Abubakar Yari
Abdul’aziz Abubakar Yari is a second term governor of Zamfara state. He has been politically active since 1999 when the military relinquished power to democratically elected government.
He seems to be influential amongst his colleagues which could suggest why he was elected chairman of Nigeria Governor’s Forum. He might be eyeing the president comes 2019.
So far, Yari’s emergence as the chairman of Nigeria Governor’s Forum, has brought about peace to the forum after it was locked in a battle of wit in the previous administration.
He might ride on this influence and with the help of his colleagues to contest for the position of the president in 2019.