Come 2023, it appears from all indication that the All Progressive Congress (APC) will field a Southerner, while the People's Democratic Party (PDP) will present Nigerians with a Northern candidate. This is as, according to Governor Seyi Makinde, Former Vice-president Atiku Abubakar and Governors Tambuwal and Bala Mohammed have indicated interest in the PDP. On the part of APC, Tinubu and Osinbajo seem to be the favourites to clinch the presidential ticket.
Photo credit: Vanguard News, The Africa Report.
Among all the names mentioned, perhaps the most popular due to their longevity in politics is the duo of Atiku Abubakar of PDP and Bola Tinubu of APC. Apart from their recognition and sphere of influence in Nigeria, they are also among the oldest candidates vying for the 2023 presidency. Perhaps so old that the forthcoming election could well be their last opportunity to contest.
Photo credit: BBC, Premium Times Nigeria.
At the moment, Atiku Abubakar, born on the 25th of November, 1946, is approaching 75 years of age. Come 2023, he will be 77. Surely, he does not have much time left for active political participation. Additionally, he has been trying for decades to be president, after turning down an opportunity given to him in 2003 before Obasanjo's second term in office.
This would explain why he protested strongly when it seemed the zoning of PDP's National Chairmanship position to the North, would deprive him of an opportunity to clinch the presidential ticket. It equally explains why he advocated for the ticket to be thrown open at the time.
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As for Tinubu, though he is younger than Atiku, being 69 years old, he will be 71 in 2023. While older candidates have contested for the presidency and even won, as seen in the case of President Buhari who was about 77 in 2019, the trend of the elderly contesting for and occupying elective offices is begining to lose its appeal in Nigeria.
This is especially after the frequent medical trips embarked upon by President Buhari, which have drawn criticism from many corners. Tinubu himself only recently returned from medical treatment in London, which included surgery. While he was away, many people speculated that his ailment had a lot to do with his age.
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Also, some people like Dele Momodu have expressed displeasure at the prospect of Atiku contesting in 2023, citing his age as a hindrance. Former military head of state, Ibrahim Babamosi Babangida, has also frowned at the election of any presidential candidate who is not in his 60s, effectively disqualifying both Tinubu and Atiku.
Photos credit: Newspot, The Guardian Nigeria.
It is for this reason that party sentiments may see Atiku and Tinubu emerge as their respective party's flag bearer in 2023, since, given their status, age is not on their side to wait much longer. Even as such, only one of them can win and the other will be forced to wait for, at least, 4 more years before being due to contest again, if age and policy permits.
What do you think about this article? Will age be a consideration for parties to choose presidential candidates for 2023? Can Atiku and Tinubu continue to contest if they fail to be nominated or win in 2023?
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