2023 Presidency: Who does the cap fit

Year 2022 is perhaps the deciding year for the 2023 general elections in Nigeria. Interested individuals are however, not leaving anything to chance as they have started announcing their plans to be part of those that will steer the ship of the nation from 2023. For the office of the President, some key political players have either come out to express their interest in the coveted office or they are being encouraged to give the contest a trial. Among these are Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, former vice president Atiku Abubakar, former governor Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who doubles as the National Leader of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Senate Chief Whip and former Abia State governor, Senator Orji Uzor Kalu, Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State, Governor Dave Umahi of Ebonyi State, Senator Rochas Okorocha, Professor Kingsley Moghalu among others. Among these contenders for the office of the nation’s president are some who have since become serial contestants, and some that are coming out for the first time. A member of the APC, Mr. Adewale Ishola, told Saturday Telegraph that the issue of who would succeed President Muhammadu Buhari is delicate, adding that all hands must be on deck to ensure that the nation does not miss it this time around. Ishola stressed that Nigeria is searching for good Leadership amidst serious issues confronting the nation such as insecurity, economic problem among others. “Nigeria must not leave anything to chances at this material time. We must choose right and pray for God’s guidance to choose the best for the nation. “We have experimented enough and it is time to get more serious and choose the best leader for the office. “Nigeria is sleeping giant, all we need to do is get it right and our a round peg in a round how so that we can move to the next level as we have been saying,” he said.

The Gladiators:

Yemi Osinbajo:

The nation’s Vice President is regarded as an astute public officer, who has performed excellently well since he got into office in 2015 and was re-elected with President Muhammadu Buhari in 2019. Though Osinbajo has not announced his interest, many people believe that he has the quality needed to be the nation’s president and that the likes of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu should support his candidature for the office. According to a former Chairman of the Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), Dr Sam Amadi, Prof. Osinbajo is eminently qualified above the other 30 personalities recently listed by a national newspaper. According to him, “in normal situations, there should be a line of succession. Prof Osinbajo has the quality, and maybe what he needs to build more is the courage because Nigeria needs somebody who can speak up and intervene more often in crisis facing the people.

Atiku Abubakar:

Former Nigerian Vice president, Atiku Abubakar has become a regular presidential contestant dating back to 1992 during the days of Social Democratic Party (SDP). He was elected as Chief Olusegun Obasanjo’s vice in 1999, shortly after he won the Adamawa State governorship poll under the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Having fallen out of favour with Obasanjo in their second term, Atiku decamped to the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), on which platform he contested the 2007 presidential election, which he lost to the late Umar Musa Yar’Adua. In 2010, after returning to the PDP, Atiku lost the party’s ticket to former president Goodluck Jonathan ahead of the 2011 contest. In 2013, Atiku moved to the APC. His search for the party’s ticket did not materialise as Buhari was chosen as the APC candidate for the 2015 poll. Atiku contested the 2019 presidential election after he rejoined the PDP and became their candidate for the election. Atiku has since declared his interest in the 2023 Presidential election under the PDP.

Asiwaju Bola Tinubu

Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu is no doubt a top contender for the office of the Nigerian president under the APC. The former Lagos State governor, who has started moving round the country after meeting President Muhammadu Buhari about his plan is seen as the main contender and an aspirant to beat for the office in the party. Having worked for the successful merger of former opposition parties to form the APC, Tinubu is believed to have had an agreement with Buhari that he would be made the candidate of the party after the president must have served for two terms. While some Nigerians believe that Tinubu has the capacity, others are saying that he is worn out and that he might not be able to cope with the demands of the office. Several groups have started campaigning for Tinubu including the South West Agenda For Asiwaju (SWAGA) under the leadership of Dayo Adeyeye. There is also Bola Ahmed Tinubu (BAT) group apart from other groups and individuals that have been campaigning for the National Leader of the APC through different fora.

Senator Orji Uzor Kalu

A former Abia State governor and Senate Chief Whip, Senator Orji Uzor Kalu is seen as another reliable contestant for the office of the Nigerian President from the South East. Senator Orji Kalu said recently that he was ready to contest the APC ticket with Asiwaju Bola Tinubu if the party zones it to the South. Speaking with reporters, Senator Kalu said while he had nothing against the aspiration of Tinubu, he believed that the South East is ripe for the Presidency and that it should be the turn of the region to produce the next President. “I do not see Tinubu’s aspiration having any effect on the President of Nigeria coming from the Igbo area. Because we are talking based on what Nigeria should be. We are talking based on what people should believe. Olusegun Obasanjo has been President for eight years. Osinbajo is doing eight years as Vice President. And no Igbo man since Independence has been a democratically elected President. So it is always good to think of what is reasonable and what will be more sellable. “I’m the most prepared Presidential candidate in Nigeria. I’m capable healthwise, I’m capable as a person, I’m capable in my pocket. I’m capable to face anybody. But the party is supreme. I only wait for APC as a party. “For me, contesting for President is not the issue. The issue is who is going to lead the country into an economic miracle, into a turnaround. I’m not against Tinubu. If it’s zoned to his area and the party said he should go. Well, the party is supreme. I’m only waiting for the party.” Many Nigerians also believe that it is the turn of the South East and that the likes of Orji Kalu have what it takes to lead the nation to the Promised Land from 2023.

Yahaya Bello

Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State is another gladiator that has shown interest in the 2023 presidential poll. Bello, a graduate of accounting from Northern Nigeria’s premier university, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria has since started campaigning underground for the office under the APC. The 46-year-old politician was quoted to have said that he was running for the 2023 presidency to give expression to the Not-Too-Young-To-Run Act that paved the way for young people to participate in the leadership of the country. Most notable among the group of people working for the ‘Bello for President Project’ are the state’s lawmakers elected on the platform of the governor’s party, APC. Those supporting Yahaya Bello said that he is young, vibrant and agile and as such will be able to rule the country with vigour and energy.

A youth group has declared that it would force Bello to declare his interest to be the next occupant of Aso Rock, while another, North Central Coalition for Leadership (NCCL), promised to buy the APC expression of intent and nomination forms for the governor. Bello’s supporters, mostly in their 30s and early 40s, argue that it is the turn of the North-central zone to produce the president and that Bello is better than others in the zone for the office. His supporters recalled that the Northern Governors’ Forum chose him to head the forum’s security committee because of his achievements in the sector in Kogi.

Dave Umahi

Ebonyi State Governor, Dave Umahi has also declared his 2023 presidential ambition. Umahi is contesting under the APC. Speaking at a press briefing after meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari, Umahi said his presidency will replicate his progressive efforts in Ebonyi at the national level. He said that he intended to bring a business-like spirit into governance. According to him, President Buhari responded to his interest by asking him to seek the support of the people. He is seen as another top contender for the office from the South East.

Prof. Moghalu

Kingsley Moghalu, a former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), enjoyed the demographic support of young people when he joined the 2019 presidential election. Moghalu, ran with a promise of innovative leadership and paradigm shift, insisting that old politicians must give way to the new for the country to make progress. Since the former CBN chief resigned his membership of the Young Progressives Party (YPP), upon which platform he contested the 2019 poll, he is yet to announce his new platform, even as massive mobilisation of funds and support is ongoing on his behalf across the country, particularly in the North. Moghalu’s selling point is said to be the age of his ideas and non-attachment to any ethnic bloc. Having founded the To Build A Nation (TBAN) political movement, Moghalu wants to be the face of the new Nigeria in the presidential contest.

Rochas Okorocha

Senator Anayo Rochas Okorocha is one of the oldest presidential contestants that are still in the race. Recall that in 2003, Okorocha went all over the country in search of votes on the platform of Action Alliance (AA). He later left the PDP and picked the presidential ticket of the AA for the 2003 Presidential poll. After contesting and winning the Imo State governorship in 2011, Okorocha joined the merger process that led to the the APC. Okorcoha, who currently represents Imo West in the Senate, is embattled within the APC and only time will tell if he would be preferred for the coveted office from the APC. Despite the supremacy war between the former Imo State governor and the incumbent, Senator Hope Uzodimma, Okorocha’s supporters are mobilising support for him to pick the APC presidential ticket for the 2023 ticket. But while a chieftain of the APC, Senator Adeseye Ogunlewe wanted those interested in the office to come out and tell the people their plans, a leader of the Pan-Yoruba Group, Afenifere, Chief Ayo Adebanjo said that Nigerians should forget about the 2023 general elections if the nation fails to change its the current constitution. Adebanjo said that there is need to amend the Constitution, adding that the current constitution was made by the military, and that it is not addressing the fundamental problems of the country. The elder statesman insisted that “Nigeria should go for restructuring rather than talking about any election in 2023.”




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