Here are Nigerians who have declared their intention to challenge President Muhammadu Buhari at the poll, though the president is yet to indicate he would contest.
While some of the aspirants have indicated the political parties on which they want to contest, others are yet to do so. Also, some of them declared their interest believing that the National Assembly will ultimately amend the Constitution reducing the age limit to run for president from 40 to 35. The list contains some serious aspirants and some who are probably just playing to the gallery by their declarations.
1. Donald Duke
Donald Etim Duke was the governor of Cross River State between 1999 and 2007 on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party. He had served as Commissioner for Finance and Planning in the administration of Governor Clement Ebri between 1992 and 1993.
Born in September 1961, Mr. Duke graduated in law from the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria in 1982 and took his LL.M in Business Law and Admiralty in 1984 from University of Pennsylvania.
In 2007, the former governor had shown interest in running for president. In May last year, he hinted of his plan to run for the position.
“I do not have the flair for the legislature; standing up and sitting down at the chambers to raise a point. That was why I did not contest for the Senate but the presidency, after serving out my term as governor.
“I have contested the presidency before; I will still give it a shot when the opportunity presents itself. I believe I still have the energy in me,” he said at a programme in Lagos.
Although Mr. Duke belongs to the PDP, it is not clear if he would run on the party’s platform as he recently identified with the Coalition for Nigeria Movement founded by former President Olusegun Obasanjo and launched on January 31.
Mr. Obasanjo had said in a letter to President Muhammdu Buhari that neither APC nor the PDP could salvage Nigeria. As one of the leaders of the CNM launched on January 31, Mr. Duke may dump the PDP.
The former had also joined forces with former CBN governor, Chukwuma Soludo, Pat Utomi, Olisa Agbakoba and Oby Ezekwesili to float Nigeria Intervention Movement (NIM) which said it would rescue Nigeria from PDP and APC.
2. Kingsley Moghalu
Kingsley Chiedu Moghalu is a former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria. Born in 1963, Mr. Moghalu, a political economist, lawyer and former United Nations official, hails from Anambra State.
He is a graduate of the London School of Economics. He also read Political Science at the University of Nigeria Nsukka.
He is currently a professor of practice in International Business and Public Policy at The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University in Massachusetts, U.S.
While at CBN between 2009 and 2014, Mr. Moghalu served as deputy governor for financial stability as well as operations.
He recently announced his intention to run for president though he did not disclose under what party he would do so. Undoubtedly, this is his first political outing as he is not known to have run or occupied any political position before now
He said he would not be deterred from joining the race, in spite of speculations that 2023 was the year slated for Igbos to have a shot at the presidency.
“It is the turn of any competent Nigerian to aspire for the post of presidency because career politicians have failed Nigeria,’’ he said.
3. Olufunmilayo Adesanya-Davies
Olufunmilayo Adesanya-Davies is a professor of Language and Communication Arts at the Rivers State University of Education. She has taught in the school for the past 30 years.
Mrs. Adesanya-Davies was born on October 1962 in Ira, in Oyun Local Government Area of Kwara State. She studied at the Universities of Ilorin and Port Harcourt as well as North-western University, USA. Apart from teaching, she is also a cleric. She is founder of the Agape Bible Church.
Recently, she declared her interest in the 2019 presidential race. Interestingly, she is nursing her ambition on the platform of the PDP, which has zoned the position to the North.
“I am aspiring to be the next president of Nigeria. I am out to put laughter and joy on the faces of Nigeria,” she said.
“The tension is getting too much. The agenda is almost fully mapped out. Moreover, we have paid the price in Kwara State as the “State of Harmony” and it is going to happen from the North-central by the grace and mercy of the Almighty God.
4. Remi Sonaiya
Mrs. Sonaiya belongs to KOWA party. She was the party’s presidential flag bearer in the 2015 election. In that election, Mrs. Sonaiya, the only female candidate then, polled 13,076 votes representing 0.05 of the total votes cast.
Born in 1955 in Ibadan, Oyo State, Mrs. Sonaiya, retired as a professor of French Language and Applied Linguistics at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife before joining politics.
In an interview with PREMIUM TIMES, Mrs. Sonaiya hinted of her plan to vie for the post of president again.
“Of course, it is the person who emerges as the party’s candidate after we must have conducted our primaries who will represent the party in the presidential elections. Who knows, maybe it would be me,” she said when asked if she would run again.
She said she was motivated to join politics partly because of her “concern about falling standards all around, especially as I had studied in the same university where I was teaching.”
Thomas-Wilson Ikubese was born in Lagos on November 22, 1970. He hails from Delta State but practices medicine in Ondo State.
He graduated from the University of Benin in 2000 and he is currently the Chief Medical Director of Sckye Hospital and Diagnostics Limited, with a vision to render charitable medical service to residents of Ondo State.
He is also currently the state vice chairman of Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) and the association’s national social/publicity secretary.
Mr. Ikubese hinted he wants to run for president on the platform of the National Conscience Party (NCP). He said he decided to join politics in other to salvage the country from hardship and place it on the same level with global counterparts in terms of development.
He said he wrote a book titled “My Prescription for Nigeria,” in which he stated the 23 a
reas that must be addressed for Nigeria to become the “nation of our dreams.”
“Seeing that our present crop of political leadership might never implement these recommendations, I have decided to run for the office of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, so that I can put machineries in place for the actualisation of these recommendations, which will birth the New Nigeria of our dreams,” he said.
The presidential hopeful, who uses ‘YesWeFit’ as his political slogan, recently visited former President Olusegun Obasanjo in his Abeokuta residence to inform him about his plan to unseat Mr. Buhari.
During the visit, the aspirant warned that any coalition that throws up “ex-this and ex-that” as its presidential candidate cannot qualify to be a “third force.”
6. Ahmed Buhari
Ahmed Buhari was born on April 7, 1978 to a soldier father and a housewife. He hails from Kontagora in Niger State.
Mr. Ahmed holds a degree in Geology from the Federal University of Technology and master’s degree in International Trade and Marketing from Cavendish College, London. He was also trained as a Geographical Information System and Spatial Analyst at Manchester Metropolitan University.
He is the chief executive of Skylar Incorporated, an Information Technology outfit with over 50 staff.
In an interview with BusinessDay, Mr. Ahmed said he decided to run for president to ensure that Nigeria regains its status as the giant of Africa.
“In 2016, I decided to stop standing on the sidelines and pass comments of displeasure. I decided to understand why a country we have continually failed to progress alongside other aspiring nations. I decided that the only way to make a difference is to participate in the process that gives us our leaders,” he said.
“I also want to use this movement to motivate as many young Nigerians as possible to get involved in leadership and politics. Constitutionally, I have the right to contest for the office of the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and my vision is to have a unified country where the people are secure, power is decentralised and economically viable.
“I want to run a government where the lost hope of the younger generation is restored, fears of the older generations are erased, dignity and prosperity of our dear country regained and Nigeria becomes the giant of Africa and the best economy in the world. All this can be achieved if we adopt a technologically-driven system.”
The president’s namesake is yet to decide what party he would use to realise his presidential dream though he said he has “been approached by some parties.”
7. Adamu Garba
The 35 years old Adamu Garba hails from Jimeta, Yola North LGA of Adamawa State. He is the founder/chief executive of IPI Solutions Nigeria Limited, a leading cloud computing company.
Mr. Garba 11 graduated in Electrical and Electronic Engineering from Kano State University of Technology.
Although, he is yet to indicate the party on whose platform he would contest, the aspirant said he would make Nigeria great if his ambition materialises.
“I think Nigerians should start to prepare for a new Nigeria dream by our great Nigerian renaissance project where each citizen will transparently measure our government in four key metrics, namely better education and training for our children, better standard healthcare facilities for all Nigerians, better market to transact in goods and services, and more money in their pocket as a result of improved trade,” he said in a media interview.
Mr. Garba said, if elected, he would discontinue with FAAC (Federal Account Allocation Committee), noting that with the creation of special geo-economic zones in each state, “we will support them to create their revenues locally and run their government.”
On education, the aspirant said, “We will take over the control of primary school education and transfer it under presidential task force of federal government. We will focus on training on skill-based, rather than academic-based training so that we can graduate young innovative minds.”
In an interview with SaharaReporters, Mr. Garba said he would not only increase the number of the geopolitical zones to nine from six but also privatise the NNPC in other to make it more efficient and combat fuel scarcity.
According to him, “NNPC is supposed to be one of the largest Nigeria strategic and diplomatic asset. We need to think NNPC like a big, state-owned enterprise that should be able to further Nigeria’s interest globally. NNPC should completely be run by the government but privately managed, put it on the stock exchange and allow private people to buy it.”
8. Fela Adetokunbo Durotoye
Mr. Durotoye was born in Ibadan, Oyo State in 1971. He is a graduate of Business Management from the Obafemi Awolowo University and holds a master’s degree in Business Administration/Strategic Management from the same university.
Mr. Durotoye, a motivational speaker and leadership coach, is running on the platform of Alliance for New Nigeria (ANN) which he joined formally on February 22.
At the forum, FD, as he is fondly called, said he was a critical change agent and mobiliser, adding that his foray into politics would not be a threat to his commitment to time-tested values and principles, required for good leadership and good governance.
The presidential hopeful, at another forum, said the problem with Nigeria is that “we have not yet seen a system that produces good people in governance,” adding “the leadership system we have in Nigeria is what I call “kleptocracy.”
He described “kleptocracy” as a system “whereby access to the position of authority and power is to a large extent determined by a few people who have a higher interest in themselves and their own selected interest that they have in the interest of the general public.
9. Yul Edochie
He is the last child of the renowned actor, Pete Edochie. Yul, 36, attended the University of Port Harcourt where he read Theatre Arts
Yul, like his father, is a popular actor who stunned Nigerians when he declared his intention to vie for the November 2017 election in his native Anambra State on the ticket of Democratic Peoples Congress (DPC).
He lost woefully in that election as he could only muster 145 votes losing to the incumbent, Willie Obiano. But this did not deter him from aiming higher.
Recently he dropped the hint that he might run for president.
“So, it is my birthday today, 7th of January, 2018. So, happy birthday to me,” he said in a video posted on Instagram.
“2018 is just unfolding. We pray for more blessings. So let’s just keep our fingers crossed. Who knows, I may just decide to run for president of Nigeria this time in 2019, and I will win.”
10. Bright Okpocha aka Basketmouth
He is a comedian and actor. He was born in September 1978 in Lagos though he hails from Abia State. He is a University of Benin graduate of Sociology and Anthropology.
Mr. Okpocha indicated his plan to vie for the nation’s top political job since 2016. He had said on his media page that he would run for president if Donald Trump emerged victorious in the U.S. presidential election.
After Mr. Trump’s victory, the comedian released his first portrait photo as well as his intention to contest.
He said, “My esteemed people, in fulfilment of my threat/promise regarding the outcome of the just concluded U.S presidential election, I am announcing my candidacy for the Office of the President of our dear country in the 2019 general elections. Consultations are ongoing and I will announce at a future date under what party. #MakeNigeriaBrightAgain.”
Since this declaration, Mr. Okpocha has not done anything significant to pursue the ambition, an indication that he might just be plying his trade as a comedian.
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