Ahead of the 2023 Presidential election, over thirty prominent politicians have either directly or indirectly indicated interest to seek their parties’ tickets to run for the presidency. While there are agitations for power shift to the South, especially the South East yet no political party, including the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) and the main opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP), has zoned the plum job to any section of the country, thereby throwing the race open to all sections. So far, the following personalities are jostling or said to be showing interest in the highest office in the land.
Peter Gregory Obi
He is a politician and businessman, who was the vice presidential candidate in the 2019 Nigerian general election under the People’s Democratic Party (P.D.P). He is also a presidential aspirant of the 2023 Nigerian general election. He was the former governor of Anambra State serving from 17 March 2006 to 2 November 2006, when he was impeached and from 9 February 2007 to 29 May 2007 after his impeachment was overturned. Although a fresh election was held on 29 April 2007, he was reappointed governor on 14 June 2007 after a court ruling that he should be allowed to complete a four-year term. He was re-elected to a second-term in office during the 6 February 2010 gubernatorial elections.
He is Nigeria’s former Vice President who first indicated interest to wrest power from his then boss, President Oluesgun Obasanjo in their second term in 2023. Atiku could not succeed with the plan and again settled for the number two seat. His quest for the presidency took the Adamawa-born politician to the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) in 2007, but was not successful.
Still not relenting in his ambition, the former Customs Officer returned to his former party, the PDP, and was made the Northern consensus candidate for the 2011 Presidential ticket of the PDP but was defeated at the primary election by the then incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan. In the build up to the 2015 general election, Atiku jumped ship to the newly-formed APC and contested for its Presidential ticket but lost the bid to Muhammadu Buhari.
Just like in 2011, the serial Presidential contender returned to the PDP and won its ticket for the 2019 general election, but was defeated by Buhari of the APC. Now, with the PDP yet to zone the slot, the old horse in the game is once again, positioning himself to struggle for the party’s ticket in readiness for 2023 contest. His ambition is an open secret as his posters flooded Eagle Square, Abuja, venue of the last PDP National Convention while many support groups continued to spring up for him.
But like most Nigerian politicians, Atiku is not stable. He has shown this by moving from one party to another in a space of years, which borders on lack of ideology. The former vice president is from Adamawa State, North East. He is a strong believer in fair play and rule of law; and he preaches equity. That being the case, analysts say he should yield ground for a South Easterner to occupy that post which is overdue.
Anyim Pius Anyim
Anyim is a former President of the Senate and Secretary to the Government of Federation. He has since openly declared his interest to contest the Presidency of the country under the PDP platform.
The Asiwaju, as he is fondly called, is a former Lagos State governor and National Leader of APC, the party he was instrumental to its formation in 2014. Tinubu was also a senator in the botched Third Republic. The political ‘godfather’ in the contemporary Yourubaland, deciding who gets what, when and how, has tentacles spread across the country. He has continued to play the godfather role since after leaving the Lagos State Government House in 2007 at the end of a two-term of eight years.
The Jagaban of Borgu had positioned for Vice President ahead of the 2015 general election but that ambition was thwarted due to the opposition to a Muslim-Muslim of himself and Buhari. Now, the permutation for power shift to the South with the South-west seriously agitating, Tinubu is considered the arrow head, especially within the APC fold.
Although he has not openly declared for the race, his campaign posters are everywhere and consultations by him and for him are said to be going on while support groups are springing up by the day for his Presidency. One of such is Tinubu Support Group (TSG), an umbrella organisation, housing an amalgam of sibling groups.
He has built bridges across the country and understands Nigeria very well. But many Nigerians say the country can ill-afford another president whose precarious health can be a huge burden. Moreover, as a die-hard professor of equity, he should allow other geo-political zones in the South that have not had a bite on the apple since 1999.
He is the incumbent Vice President and former Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justsucceed Buhariice in Lagos State. Currently, there are many groups championing his cause for the upcoming Presidential election on the platform of APC. Osinbajo’s veiled ambition which is yet to be heard from his very mouth is hinged on permutation for the South-west to take over the Presidency after Buhari whose exit is due on May 29, 2023.
A support group under the aegis of the Progressives Consolidation Group (PCG) had recently, at a rally in Ikeja, Lagos, called on the APC to adopt him as its consensus candidate for the 2023 Presidential election.
He is a former President of the Senate and former governor of Kwara State, the period within which he was the Chairman of the ‘powerful’ Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF). He is the son of the late Olusola Abubakar Saraki who too was Senate Leader in 1979. The younger Saraki has obviously continued the dynasty of his father in Kwara State and at the national level as he currently stepped into the exalted shoes of the Waziri (Prime Minister) of Ilorin held by his father while alive.
He has garnered so much experience in the area of governance by virtue of the positions he has held. He also has all it takes to rub shoulders with other global leaders. But Saraki’s rolling stone nature seems to cast doubts in the minds of many Nigerians on his political ideology. Saraki has so much moved and shifted loyalties too many times that he appears to have lost the followership of many of his admirers. Although he has declared interest in the post, it is left to be seen if the PDP will zone the slot to North Central.
He is a former governor of Imo State and a serving Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. He was the chairman of the Progressives Governors’ Forum (PGF), an umbrella body of governors of the APC fold. Okorocha is seeking APC Presidential ticket and many groups such as the Coalition of Bishops and Imams have endorsed his ambition. He is fearless and courageous, attributes needed to lead in Nigeria. But with his activities in Imo when he governed the state, analysts say that he must need to purge himself of the “acquisitive spirit” that came into play while leading a state that was a cynosure of all eyes when the likes of Sam Onunaka Mbakwe was in charge.
Bello, the incumbent governor of Kogi State, has for a very long time announced his aspiration. He was amongst the first whose posters flooded the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and some other parts of the country. He is vibrant and fits the bill of the age bracket that Nigerians want for the presidential job, not geriatrics. But some of his activities as governor, including the non-payment of salaries of civil servants, do not show he is the right man to succeed Buhari, except there is a drastic change. He is from North Central and his party is yet to zone the ticket to anywhere.
Amaechi is a former governor of Rivers State and the current minister of Transportation. He was also the Speaker of the House of Assembly of the oil-rich state. He is one of the ministers under the Buhari administration who could not be said to have failed in their assignments to their boss. After he defected along with others as a governor on the platform of the PDP to APC, the erstwhile NGF Chairman was Director-General of the Campaign Organisation that brought Buhari to power in 2015 and handled the same assignment in 2019. There is clamour for Amaechi to run for the APC Presidential ticket ahead of the 2023 race. But analysts say he is a very controversial politician with little or no regard for ideology. They also feared he could love neighbouring countries above Nigeria, judging by some of the projects his ministry is currently handling.
He is a former Speaker of the House of Representatives and incumbent governor of Sokoto State as well as the chairman of PDP Governors’ Forum. He had vied for the 2019 Presidential ticket of the PDP and is rumoured to be in the race for the position as evident in his posters that flooded the Eagle Square Abuja venue of the last National Convention of his party. He came very close to clinching the PDP ticket in 2019. He is intelligent and experienced enough to lead the country. But critics say that the manner of his past defections does not show him as a man committed to ideology, but rather driven by the aphorism, “The end justifies the means.”
He is a former Minister of State for Education, Local Government Chairman and Chief of Staff to a former governor of Rivers State and has been the sitting governor of the oil-rich state since 2015. Hardly does any month passes without him commissioning a project. His outspokenness appears to have drawn friends and foes on equal measures. Some analysts believe that a Nyesom Wike-presidency would be a blessing to Nigeria, but it is too early to have another South-South president after Jonathan.
Lawan is currently the president of the Senate and he is from Yobe State. He is said to be positioning himself to move from number three to number one citizen of the country on the platform of the APC. Lawan has been in the National Assembly since the return of Nigeria to civil rule in 1999. He transited from the House of Representatives to Senate in 2007. But it would appear his manner of running the National Assembly, which many Nigerians have dubbed “a rubber stamp” legislature, is not a good sign of a man looking for a higher post and needing the people’s votes.
He is a former deputy governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the 2019 Presidential candidate of the Young Progressive Party (YPP). The Professor of Political Economy has since declared to contest for the 2023 Presidency when he joined Democratic Congress (ADC). He is believed to be a technocrat with the intellectual wherewithal to salvage Nigeria from the shackles of socio-economic malaise. Many Nigerians yearn to see a day someone like Moghalu would become the president of the country. It is believed that Nigeria needs a president with international exposure that could rub shoulders with other refined presidents of other nations. The major problem of Nigeria is economy. While it may amount to naivety to think that a Moghalu-presidency may be cure-all; but with his background as an astute economist, and having played at a very high level in that field, he can change the narrative for Nigeria. He hails from Anambra State in the South East, a geo-political zone that now clamours to produce the President in 2023.
He was a former governor of Kano and senator. He is aspiring for the 2023 Presidential election on the platform of PDP. Kwankwaso was Buhari’s closest rival in the 2014 race for Presidential ticket of the APC and came fourth to Atiku in the 2018 PDP Presidential ticket contest. He had also served as Minister of Defence under the administration of Olusegun Obasanjo. Prior to that, he was a member and deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
A former senator, FCT Minister and incumbent governor of Bauchi State, the Kauran Bauchi is in the race for the 2023 Presidency under the PDP. The journalist-turned politician had his ambition expressed through posters that have flooded many cities, especially in states across the north.
He is the governor of Ebonyi State who had defected to the APC last year when he dumped his then party, the PDP. Umahi had dumped PDP in a controversial manner, an action that attracted opprobrium, not only from his state, but across the country. Although he stands a good chance with the clamour for power shift to South East, he may have serious contentions, even within the APC on that front