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Nigeria: 365 Days to Presidential Election, Aspirants Begin to Emerge

Today makes it exactly a year to the 2023 presidential election and aspirants in the two main political parties – the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party

Today makes it exactly a year to the 2023 presidential election and aspirants in the two main political parties – the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) – as well as some other parties, are positioning for the most coveted office in the land. They have started to throw their hats in the ring to indicate their interest.
Even though the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has yet to blow the whistle to signal the start of electioneering, the political space is buzzing with the activities of potential aspirants who have started doing the leg work early – meeting critical stakeholders in an effort to sell their aspiration and win critical endorsement.
Although about 11 individuals from diverse backgrounds have formally declared their intentions to vie for their party’s ticket, many of the big names being touted as nursing presidential ambitions are yet to make a formal announcement even though their footprints are all over the political space. Every occasion, official or unofficial is now a rally of sort with political undertone.
In the next few months the political space is expected to be crowded with the big names currently holding consultations in secret and in not so secret places – finally coming out to formally make their pitch.
Here are those who have declared so far.Bola Tinubu
Since the former Lagos State Governor, Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu informed President Muhammadu Buhari of his desire to succeed him, he has been busy moving round the country and consulting with different interest groups and individuals. Already, groups such as SWAGA, the acronym for “South-West Agenda for Asiwaju,” populated by Tinubu’s acolytes and yes men, are already touring the length and breadth of the country to sell his candidature.

Sam Ohuabunwa
The immediate past president of the Nigerian Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria, Sam Ohuabunwa, has declared to contest the position of the President in the 2023 general elections on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Ohuabunwa who had lamented worsening socio-economic and political conditions in the country, strongly believes he has what it takes to transform Nigeria. He said the greatest challenge that propelled his presidential ambition was the need to produce a new Nigeria where injustice is ruled out.

Anyim Pius Anyim
The former Senate President, and one time Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Ayim Pius Anyim has declared his interest in the presidential race. He feels it was time for someone from the South-east to lead the country and has vowed to contest, whether the presidential slot is zoned to his zone or not.  He strongly believes the next president should be able to rebuild, protect lives and property, revive the economy, create jobs and rehabilitate the collapsed educational system. According to him, the task ahead called for a candidate who possesses the political pedigree, vision and credentials to lead the PDP to accomplish the tasks. He believes he has what it takes to govern the country, particularly in these trying times.
Pius Anyim

Dele Momodu
Dele Momodu last month declared his presidential ambition in his hometown, Ihevbe, Owan East Local Government Area of Edo State. According to the journalist and publisher of Ovation International magazine, he remains the most qualified among those aspiring to take over from Buhari next year. He insists that he might not have been a governor, senator, minister but he has sat with the high and mighty, adding that he’s qualified to become the president of the country.

Dele Momodu

Kingsley Moghalu
A former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Kingsley Moghalu has also declared his intention to contest for president in 2023. Moghalu had said his decision to contest again for president was driven by concern for suffering Nigerians who seek an alternative to the status quo. The former CBN deputy governor contested the presidential candidate of the Young Progressive Party (YPP) in 2019 and has since moved to the African Democratic Congress (ADC).

Chukwuka Monye
43-year-old technocrat, Chukwuka Monye, in January, said the time to take over the governance from the older generation is now. To this end, the Delta State-born social innovator has declared his intention to contest for the president in the 2023 general elections. Monye whose slogan is “our future is now” wondered how the founding fathers would be content with Nigeria’s current state. Monye, is however, yet to state the party platform which he intends to contest.

Rochas Okorocha
The Imo West senator, Rochas Okorocha, recently made known his interest to contest for the office of the president in the 2023 general elections. In a letter to the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, dated January 25, the former Imo State governor said what Nigeria needs right now is someone who is “detribalised” and can unite the country. This would be the third consecutive time the politician who claims to have built several schools for under-privileged Nigerians across the country would be throwing his hat in the ring.

Aminu Tambuwal
Aminu Tambuwal, is the current Sokoto state governor. The politician would be seeking to realise his ambition under the Peoples Democratic Party. The former Speaker  of the House of Representatives, who declared his intention after a high-level stakeholder meeting in Sokoto, recently, said that he is not only well prepared but also ready to fix the numerous problems of the country. Generally perceived as urbane, Tambuwal will face off against other contenders in the opposition party during the party’s convention.

David Umahi
The present Ebonyi State Governor , David Umahi, declared his 2023 presidential ambition at the State House, in Abuja, coming about 24 hours after former Governor of Lagos State, Tinubu, also indicated an interest in the race. Both men are members of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC). Umahi, speaking at a press briefing after meeting with Buhari, said his presidency will replicate his “progressive efforts” in Ebonyi at the national level. The Chairman of the South-east Governors’ Forum said he intends to bring a business-like spirit to governance, claiming that Buhari responded to his interest by asking him to seek the support of the people when he met with him to intimate the president of his intention.

Yahaya Bello
The Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello, was one of the earliest Nigerians to have shown interest to aspire for the 2023 presidency under the banner of the ruling APC. Bello, however opened up in Bauchi, while addressing APC legislators as well as women groups from the North-east during an extraordinary meeting held in Bauchi at Hazibal hotel sometime ago.
The Kogi governor who has always touted his youthful age as an advantage, has described the task ahead as an enormous one.

Yahaya Bello

Sani Yerima
The ex-Zamfara governor, Sani Yerima, has also declared his intention to govern the country. The politician while speaking during a BBC Hausa Service programme “Gane Mani Hanya” monitored in Gusau, said since Buhari is ending his second term, he (Yerima) would continue to pursue his presidential ambition.
“If God spares my life, by 2023 I would go into the contest for the post of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria ” Yerima said.

Khadijah Okunnu-Lamidi
An entrepreneur and youth development advocate, the young Khadijah Okunnu-Lamidi, has promised to make Nigeria work for its diverse populace if given the platform to do so. She promised to harness the power of Nigerian teeming youths to unleash the country’s latent potential, which she described as a force to be reckoned with globally. She is the daughter of former Federal Commissioner of Works and Housing, Lateef Femi Okunnu (SAN).

Some of Those Yet to Declare…

Yemi Osinbajo
With the increasing number of groups expressing support for the vice president, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, and urging him to join the 2023 presidential race, there are expectations that he would declare his interest in the coming days. Osinbajo clearly comes across as someone, who wants to run for president, but appears to be keeping his cards close to his chest for now. His body language says as much. However, Nigerians are watching to see how Osinbajo would go toe-to-toe with his mentor, Tinubu, to actualise his ambition.

Yemi Osinbajo

Atiku Abubakar
Despite the seeming opposition against his candidature, former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar wants to run again for the presidency in 2023. Atiku’s son, Adamu, had disclosed that his father would contest for president in 2023. While some interest groups recently advised the former vice president not to contest and have labelled him the serial presidential aspirant, Atiku does not seem to care. He is simply interested in becoming the president of Nigeria.

Atiku Abubakar

Godwin Emefiele
There has been an increasing call for the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, to join the presidential race. A technocrat with alluring pedigree – No doubt a breath of fresh in the political arena. Although Emefiele has not confirmed to anyone that he is running for president even as he is constitutionally qualified to so do, he has said he remains focused on his job and would continue supporting the Muhammadu Buhari-led federal government’s economic recovery drive. Emefiele also believes it’s the prerogative of President Buhari to plan his succession for the continuing peace and progress of Nigeria.

Bukola Saraki
The former Governor of Kwara State has not held any elaborate event to declare his ambition, but he has hinted on several occasions on his active Twitter and Facebook accounts, that he would likely be running for the most-sought-after position. On one occasion recently, the former President of the Senate, relayed an encounter with a follower on Twitter, who charged him to run and in his response, hinted at the possibility.
“Earlier, I replied to a follower of mine on Twitter, who like thousands of you, has been clamouring for a united front to #RescueNigeria. As we prepare for the journey ahead, I hope we can all join hands to get the ticket of our great party, PDP, and build a nation that works for all of us,” he had said.

Rotimi Amaechi
Even though former Rivers State Governor, Rotimi Amaechi has not declared his intention, some interest groups in the country have been nudging him to throw his hat in the battle to succeed the president. Some believe that at 56, Amaechi does not have the burden of old age-related health challenges associated with some aspirants. Many people have linked the 2023 presidency to his recent coronation as: Dan Amanah Daura, which translates to mean the ‘Trusted son of Daura.’

Bala Mohammed
Bauchi State governor, Bala Mohammed has said he is likely to run for president in the 2023 election under the PDP. Presently, he is consulting with stakeholders across the country and recently met with former president Goodluck Jonathan.

-Obinna Chima and Emmanuel Addeh in Abuja

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