Analysis Nduka Orjinmo BBC News, Abuja
Few politicians in Nigeria can declare their intention to to run for the president at the country’s presidential villa Aso Rock, but that is what Bola Tinubu did on Monday – a testament to his standing as the leader of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) party.
His “age-long” ambition has been an open secret since he played a central role in dislodging People’s Democratic Party (PDP) from power seven years ago, and working to secure President Muhammadu Buhari’s victory twice at the general elections.
Considered a master tactician and kingmaker, he is highly influential in the south-west where he is from, and was involved in the struggle to end military rule in Nigeria before 1999.
With President Buhari due to step down at the end of his two terms next year, Mr Tinubu wants the top job and here is a sense that he feels entitled to it.
It is likely Mr Tinubu is banking on close associates within the APC to win him the party primaries and lead him to victory in next year’s general election, especially supporters in the country’s north, seen as key to the votes to secure Nigeria’s presidency.
But he faces competition from within his party, including rumours that current Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, a close associate, is considering running for the top job.
There is also competition from the opposition PDP that seems to be on the resurgence after years of internal upheavals.
At 69, Mr Tinubu represents the old guard of Nigerian politicians and many young people are not keen on another septuagenarian succeeding Mr Buhari, whom many accuse of being out of touch with the complexities of governing a modern state.
The former governor has pointed to the eight years he led Lagos as proof that he can govern Nigeria successfully, and while he built a reputation for being a dogged politician and administrator during that time, his critics say he failed to transform its infrastructure to befit a megacity.