By Stanley Ebube

The rumour that the 2023 presidential ticket of the ruling All Progressives Party (APC) is being dangled before former president Goodluck Jonathan has been around for a while now. But that rumour has thickened in the past few weeks, with Jonathan needing to respond to a siege on his office by ‘supporters’ calling him to declare for 2023.

The fact that some influential elements in the ruling party are propping Jonathan for 2023 is not entirely misplaced; he is from the South and it appears that the APC has put to rest the question of where – North or South – its presidential ticket is headed.

However, the choice of Jonathan as APC presidential flag bearer will not address the most fundamental issues around the 2023 election.

In my article of March 14, 2022, I argued that the biggest nuisance in contention ahead of the 2023 presidential election – whether the presidency should go South or retained in the North – may have been resolved by both the APC and the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), because the voices of presidential candidates from both parties have been distinct, loud and clear.

An indication is also in the presidential candidates who have so far declared to run within both parties.

Those backing Jonathan’s candidacy could argue that since the South-South had a one-term shot at the presidency it should be allowed to complete its cycle. It is based on this argument that other candidates, such as Transport Minister Rotimi Amaechi, have declared interest in the race.

The question, however, is if Jonathan is a true representation of a consensus and if throwing him into the race answers other questions.

I said in my article then that, “Indeed, those in support of candidates from the South-South have a strong point, especially since the two major parties don’t seem to be keen on candidates from the South-East. However, the choice of Jonathan or Amaechi could narrow the argument down to a mere attempt at political correctness.”

By attempting to put Jonathan forward, the elements in the APC supporting him for 2023 want to kill two birds with one stone: succumbing to the consensus that power should head south, while ensuring that it returns to the north in four years’ time rather than in eight. We all know that, constitutionally, Jonathan has only one four-year term left in him. Simply put, the choice of Jonathan is a self-serving one for some powerful lobbyists in the APC.

I mentioned then and I’m reiterating now that a much suitable option who ticks all the boxes is the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) governor, Godwin Emefiele.

To start with, Emefiele’s eligibility, competence and track record are not in doubt. If he decides to run and is given the ticket to do so, Emefiele will do so from a vantage point, as he ticks all the geographic, demographic and social considerations in addition to his tremendous achievements as the nation’s reserve bank’s boss.

For instance, Emefiele is 60, from Delta State and whose middle name is ‘Ifeanyichukwu’. Perhaps, he represents a workable option of a candidate acceptable in the South by both understandably agitating South-East and South-South.

Ebube, a public affairs analyst, wrote from Abuja

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