Noah Ebije, Kaduna
Barely three years to the presidential race, a chieftain in the All Progressive Congress (APC), Senator Abubakar Girei, has said that North will support the South West to produce the next President in 2023 general election, advising northern interest groups to keep off the race because it is a done deal for the South West.
Senator Girei, who represented Adamawa Central zone during former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s administration, however, reserved comment on chances of South East for the presidency.
He was the immediate past Vice Chairman, Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), the northern socio-cultural mouthpiece.
In an interview with three select journalists, the former lawmaker said since South West helped in bringing President Muhammadu Buhari, a northerner, to power in 2015, “it is going to be pay back time for Northerners to help in bringing to power a man from South West to be our president in 2023.’
This was even as he blamed the former National chairman of the ruling APC, Adams Oshiohmole, for the party’s loss in the just concluded governorship election in Edo State.
He said ‘Oshiomhole made it impossible for the APC to win the governorship election in Edo State. His handling of the party affairs caused APC to lose elections in other States, apart from Edo.
‘Oshiomhole’s actions destroyed the party but for quick intervention of Mr. President, he would have sent APC into extinction. He was not adding any value to the party.’
Apparently advising Northern politicians to forget 2023 presidential race, Senator Girei said he saw potential presidential material in the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo.
‘APC and the entire north must support South West to produce the next president for this country because the South West supported the north to bring Buhari to power in 2015.
‘And I can see in the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo as a good material for the presidency. He is a professor, well educated and younger than any other person that may want to take a short at the presidency from that zone.
‘Well, for PDP, it will also have no alternative than to continue with Atiku Abubakar as it’s Presidential candidate in 2023.
‘So, I can tell you categorically that the 2023 presidency is already settled, a done deal. It is for the South West and north will support them to produce the President.’
Speaking on insecurity in the country, Senator Girei said President Buhari should yield to calls by Nigerians to sack the Service Chiefs because they may be responsible for increased insecurity in across the country.
‘There is nothing to justify the continue stay in office of the service chiefs. They have over stayed for too long.’
‘However, as bad as the situation may be today, it is better when compared to 2014 and towards 2015, and we supported Buhari because we thought he was going to make things better.
‘But Buhari has done much very well more than every op other past administration.’
On the fight against corruption and the ordeals the suspended chairman of Economic and Financial Crime Commission(EFCC), Ibrahim Magu is passing through, Girei said Magu was being witch-hunted by cabals in the Corridors of power.
The ACF Chieftain noted that the greatest mistake Buhari made was to remove Magu from office because ‘Magu may not be a saint but he is actually helping the country to fight corruption. Another two other persons that are helping to fight corruption are the President Buhari himself and the Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee on Anti-Corruption (PACA), Professor Itse Sagay.
‘So the cabals are fighting Magu because President Buhari was about to resend his name to the National Assembly for confirmation as the EFCC boss.’
On the country’s 60th independent anniversary celebration, Senator Girei said if not for COVID-19 challenges, it would have been celebration galore for Nigeria at 60 years of attaining freedom from the colonial masters because ‘our country is better than what it was in 2013 and 2014.’