By Temidayo Akinsuyi
Chief Ebenezer Babatope, a former Minister of Transport, said on Sunday that the South-West zone of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) would be fooling itself if it thought the national leadership of the party would zone the presidency to the region in the 2023 general elections.
It has been rumoured that Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, former governor of Lagos State, and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo are both nursing the ambition to succeed Muhammadu Buhari in 2023.
Speaking on the raging debate on whether the Northern region would agree to rotation of the presidency after the completion of President Buhari’s tenure in 2023, Babatope, a member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)’s Board of Trustees (BoT), said it was certain that the APC would field another northerner as its presidential candidate in 2023.
Babatope, in a chat with Daily Independent, said the North would find it difficult to relinquish power after the end of the Buhari presidency in 2023.
“Whatever happens inside the APC is their headache. Some of our brothers in the South-West have been deceiving themselves that somebody from the South-West will be nominated by their party for the 2023 presidential election.
“But they are merely deceiving themselves because the North will not let go easily and, as such, they will not allow the South-West to field a candidate”.
“So, if our South-West brothers in the APC think the North will hand over to them in 2023, they are only deceiving themselves”.
“They will never hand over power to them or allow them to contest election. After Buhari, they will field another Northerner. All I can do is to wish them well.”
On whether the PDP will zone the presidency to the South in 2023, Babatope said: “We of the PDP will contest the election by the grace of God and what we do in our own party will be determined by what happens within the political system in Nigeria.”
“But we want the APC in the South-West to continue to fool themselves that the national leadership will allow them to contest the election. They will never allow that to happen.”