2023 PRESIDENCY: OSINBAJO LEADS IN THISDAY OPINION POLL
As conversations around who emerges Nigeria’s next President in 2023 gradually takes centre stage, pundits and analysts are positioning Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, ahead of other eminent Nigerians listed in a poll published by ThisDay newspaper on July 9, 2021.
The poll followed an interview of former Head of State, General Ibrahim Babangida conducted by Arise TV on who should be Nigeria’s President in 2023.
Aside educational qualification, Babagida cited age and experience as important determinants for selecting Buhari’s successor in 2023, stating categorically that an energetic individual in his 60s should be considered by Nigerians for the job.
The poll published by ThisDay on Monday listed eminent Nigerians, leading with Prof. Osinbajo as qualified persons to occupy the top position.
Others listed include, President of African Development Bank, Dr Akinwunmi Adesina; former CBN governor, Prof. Chukwuma Soludo; current CBN governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele; UN Deputy Secretary General, Mrs Amina Mohammed; former CBN deputy governor, Prof. Kingsley Moghalu; WTO DG, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala; former Anambra State Governor, Mr Peter Obi, and Ekiti State Governor, Mr Kayode Fayemi, among 22 others.
Building their analysis on the criteria established by former military leader on the Arise News Channel on Monday night, former Chairman of the Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), Dr Sam Amadi, said Prof. Osinbajo is eminently qualified above the other 30 personalities listed in the ThisDay report.
According to him, “in normal situations, there should be a line of succession. Prof. Osinbajo has the quality, and maybe what he needs to build more is the courage because Nigeria needs somebody who can speak up and intervene more often in crisis facing the people.
“He is a good candidate and ought to be the number one contender for that position.”
Dr Amadi acknowledged the fact that Prof. Osinbajo possesses some of the criteria outlined by IBB in an earlier interview conducted by Arise TV. He said other candidates will face stiff challenges.
In the same vein, Arise News analyst, Mr Mahmud Jega agreed that the current Vice President has all the credentials to succeed President Muhammadu Buhari in 2023, noting that “Anybody who has been Vice President for eight years should be a frontline candidate.”
“Beyond this, Osinbajo is extremely capable technocratically to lead this country in 2023. He has all the qualities and is naturally in the lead ahead of the others.”
Jega also said Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has a strong international background but weak grassroot connection, noting that the perception of her management of the economy will also count against her if she were to run for the presidency.
IBB had hinted at the qualities majority of Nigerians should consider in their choice of the next President. He suggested that individuals in their 60s should be the focus of Nigerians as potential presidential candidate in 2023.
Further, IBB said such persons should have deep knowledge of the economy, must have contacts across the nation and must have been traversing the geo-political zones, marketing their acceptability and capacity.
Compared to the other candidates listed in the ThisDay report, Osinbajo is the most eligible to take over from Buhari in 2023. Aside being a Christian of the Pentecostal denomination from the Southwest and in his 60s, the VP can conveniently combine both politics and the economy as he has done previously when Buahri was away on medical vacation.
Regardless of his political base, it is also unarguable that he might have learnt on the job, and his understanding of the nation’s economy is not in doubt.
A point both Amadi, Jega and even IBB have alluded to is the VP’s experience working as PMB’s deputy for eight years.
For the sake of continuity, according to the ThisDay poll, “no one can sell the programmes of the APC administration better or able to sustain the programmes of the regime, better than Osinbajo.”
In the course of discharging his responsibilities, the VP has over the years interacted with Nigerians in the grassroots in ways unprecedented in the history of the country.