There is a coded movement within like-minded governors within the All Progressives Congress, APC, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and the business community to push for the candidacy of a neutral south-south person, preferably, a technocrat in the 2023 Presidential election.
Several names were put on the plate but Godwin Emefiele, the current Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, is top on the list as he was said to possess all the qualities the group wanted in the next President of Nigeria.
The secret meeting which was packaged by Nduka Obaigbena, an Emefiele ally and media business mogul at the behest of Africa’s richest man by Forbes ranking, Aliko Dangote, held in Lagos with a code name ‘Who’s Who.’
An insider said the spirit at the meeting was high on optimism and expectation as the group sought a path to “rescue Nigeria.”
While the source did not name the governors, it was learnt that governors who attended the meeting were no fewer than 14 and they cut across the two main parties: APC and PDP.
The group openly claims its agenda was to “rescue Nigeria”, but our source said it was beyond rescuing the nation.
“The gathering was first and foremost to work for the installation of a president who understands the ease of doing business, the plight of the private sector and the undercurrents of international business in the 21st Century and out of all the names considered, Emefiele was the preferred candidate of the influential group.
“Some of the governors who attended the maiden edition of the meeting were development and progressive-minded governors who understand the critical role of the private sector in growing a nation’s economy. It wasn’t just any governor,” our source said.
Emefiele topped the group’s shopping list because, in the rating of the group, he would help protect their business interests and he’s better placed among other candidates to re-connect the missing links in the nation’s economy.
“The choice of Emefiele was unanimous. First, he’s from the south-south part of the country, he’s not a ‘professional’ politician hence does not carry the moral burden of partisan politics. He was also highly rated for the job he’s doing at CBN where he has been able to steer the ship of the national economy at the most challenging time in Nigeria’s history when the global price of crude oil crashed to an all-time lowest.
“The meeting also considered the interventions he has been making, over 30 of them, through the CBN to reflate and diversify the economy. It’s believed a pairing of Emefiele with a northern politician would help navigate the country out of her pathetic economic situation,” the source said.
It’s not clear how the group intends to push through its agenda as the leadership of both the PDP and APC, two parties with nationwide structures, are believed to have gone far in their politicking to pick their flagbearers in the crucial 2023 election.
Recently, the PDP has come out to say there would be no zoning with regard to its Presidential ticket. This throws the party’s ticket wide open with some strong elements in the party pushing for a northern candidate. Their argument is that only a northern candidate can guarantee them victory in 2023.
On the other hand, the APC is yet to officially make pronouncement on zoning of its presidential ticket but the likes of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Bola Tinubu, Dave Umahi, all from the south are believed to be strong contenders.