The trio of Jonathan Zwingina, Hafsat Abiola and Femi Fani-Kayode are to lead the presidential compaign of Governor, Yahaya Bello as he declares on Saturday in Abuja.
Hafsat Abiola-Costello, daughter of the presumed winner of the June 1993 presidential election, late Moshood Abiola, is to lead the presidential campaign organisation of the Kogi State governor, Yahaya Bello, as its director-general, PREMIUM TIMES has learnt.
Also, the Director General of the M.K.O. Abiola Campaign Organisation and former Senate Deputy Leader, Jonathan Zwingina, has been named the national coordinator of the Yahaya Bello Presidential Campaign Organisation and a former Aviation Minister, Femi Fani-Kayode, as deputy national coordinator.
The appointments were made ahead of the formal declaration of Mr Bello for the presidency on Saturday in Abuja.
Mrs Abiola-Costello, 47, is a human rights and democracy activist and founder of Kudirat Initiative for Democracy (KIND), which seeks to promote democracy in Nigeria. The organisation was named after her mother Kudirat, who was killed in June 1996 during the struggle to actualize the presidential mandate of her husband.
The Harvard-trained activist also served as Special Adviser MDGs in her home state, Ogun.
Mr Zwingina, 68, hails from Adamawa State. He was at various times Information Committee chairman and Senate Deputy Leader while in the upper chamber between 1999 and 2007.
Mr Fani-Kayode was the Director of Media and Publicity for the President Goodluck Jonathan Campaign Organisation in 2015. He rejoined the APC last year.
Mr Bello, 46, will complete his second term in office as governor in 2024.
He was first elected governor in 2015 but assumed office on January 27, 2016. He began his second term in office on January 27, 2020.
Before now, supporters of the governor had been going round the country soliciting support for his presidential ambition.
Mr Bello’s party, the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) has not formally zoned the presidential ticket to any party of the country.
It is not clear if the party will zone it to any particular section of the country or leave it open to all aspirants.
Mr Bello hails from the North-central zone as the new National Chairman of the party, Abdullahi Adamu.
It is being speculated that with the zone producing the national chairman, the APC may not zone the presidency to the north, comprising the north-central, north-west and north-east zones.
The current president, Muhammadu Buhari, is from the north-west zone. Therefore, it is most likely that the party would favour its presidential candidate in the 2023 election coming from the south, which comprises the south-west, the south-east and the south-south.
At present, most of the party’s presidential aspirants are from the south. They include the party’s National Leader and former Lagos governor, Bola Tinubu; former Imo State governor and serving senator, Rochas Okorocha, and the governor of Ebonyi State, Dave Umahi.
Although they are yet to disclose their presidential ambitions, the posters and billboards of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo; Transport Minister, Rotimi Amaechi; former Abia governor and serving senator, Orji Uzor Kalu; and the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele adorn strategic places in some Nigerian cities.
It is also rumoured that the Minister of Science and Technology, Ogbonnaya Onu, may join the race.
However, it is also likely that the party may throw the position open by allowing any candidate from any zone to run for president.
Mr Yahaya, the youngest state governor in Nigeria, is one of the aspirants seeking this position.
“APC has no zoning formula as far as the party’s law is concerned, no zoning formula as far as the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is concerned. Poverty. Insecurity, lack of infrastructure has no zoning.
“These are the problems we are confronted with today, and they have no zoning. The party delegates would vote for me.
“I would prefer that we go by merit and vote for who can get these problems solved,” he said in a recent media interview.