Days before the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) lifts ban on campaigns, BIYI ADEGOROYE writes that 22 presidential candidates are firing salvos against the incumbent in their bid for Aso Rock come February 2019
The emergence of the presidential candidates of some of the nation’s 91 political parties ahead of the October 18 deadline of the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC), for the submission of candidates’ names for the various political offices has elicited various reactions from many quarters.
As regards the presidential elections, the stakes are very high. Beyond the numbers, Nigerians are eager to know the background, experience in the public or private sector and skills of the various candidates are bringing to the table in their quest to govern the most populous black nation in the world are also of great importance.
At least 22 candidates from various political parties are jostling for the presidency, exhibiting their pedigree, plans and programmes for addressing the nation’s peculiar contemporary needs, which cut across security, infrastructural decay, economy and the rest.
Within the groundswell of opposition is alignment, realignment and fence-mending ahead of the elections, the stage seems set for an epic battle. But first, a peep into their emergence and the issues that wills hope the elections.
President Buhari, APC
The All Progressives Congress, (APC), candidate, President Muhammadu Buhari emerged with relative ease as the sole aspirant, polling 14,842,072 votes in the party’s direct primaries conducted across the country last week. Hence, last Saturday’s event at the Eagle Square in Abuja was an affirmation of his emergence.
Buhari received the votes from APC members in a direct primary announced by the Ekiti State Governor-elect, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, who was the Chairman APC Presidential Primary Election Committee.
The result was later affirmed by no fewer than 7,000 delegates from across the federation and the FCT through a ‘yes vote.’ Buhari, not new to power, is a former Head of State and incumbent President who is seeking reelection in 2019, thanked all eligible members of the party who stepped down their ambition to allow him emerge as the party’s sole aspirant and now its candidate.
Having been in power since 2015, President Buhari had previously served as the nation’s head of state, but since 2015, his battle against insecurity and consequent recovery of 14 local governments from Boko Haram has been his major achievement. His agricultural revolution through increase rice production, ban on rice importation, school feeding programme and the introduction of Tradermoni which has provided over N300billion to medium and Small Scale Industries are some of his successes.
He has also recorded a measure of success in the anti-corruption war, which to large extent has been anything but across the board. However, his unimpressive understanding of national economy, disregard for rule of law and parochial anti-corruption war might be his albatross ahead of the elections.
Before is election in 2015, Buhari has made vain attempts at ruling the country as civilian president four times, in 1999, 2003, 2007 and 2011 but lost to Olusegun Obasanjo twice, Umaru Musa Yar’Adua and Goodluck Jonathan, only to defeat the latter by over two million votes in 2015.
Atiku Abubakar, PDP
The opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) elected former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, on his part, emerged the candidate for the February 2019 presidential election.
Atiku became the PDP candidate against all odds at the PDP presidential primaries which began at the Adokiye Amasiemeka Stadium in Port Harcourt, capital of Rivers State, defeating Governor of Sokoto State and former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal, to the second place.
With his victory, Atiku who polled an overwhelming 1,532 votes to beat Tambuwal to second place with his 693 votes, is taking a fifth shot at the presidency, having aspired for the office every election cycle since leaving office as Vice President in 2003.
Atiku’s experience as a former Vice President and Chairman of the National Economic Council, an urbane politician and as an astute investor, he is said to possess a fair understanding of the economy, and a huge employer of labour. A former Customs officer, Atiku, 72, has pandered into the demands of the country by being an advocate true federalism which, according to him, will hasten national development.
Though a highly cosmopolitan Nigerian, his frosty relationship with his former boss, is said to be a snag, but he seemed prepared for that as he acknowledged upon his election: “I wouldn’t have been standing where I am today if my former boss, President Olusegun Obasanjo, had not made me his Vice President. Under his tutelage, I learnt quite a lot, and I believe the experience I have got is going to impact on how I eventually govern this country. I wish to pay my personal tribute to him.”
A very experienced politician, Atiku first took a shot at the presidency in 1993 and came third after Chief Moshood Abiola and Babagana Kingibe in the Social Democratic Party primaries. He was however, elected governor of Adamawa State in 1999 on the platform of the PDP only to be selected by the party’s presidential candidate then, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo as his running mate.
He had taken a shot at the presidency in 2007 on the platform of the AC, but lost to Yar’Adua, only to return to the PDP in 2009 but was defeated in the primaries for the 2011 election. In 2014, he moved to the APC, but lost the primaries to President Buhari, coming a distant third behind Senator Rabiu Kwankwanso
A former governor of Cross River State, Donald Duke picked the ticket on the platform of the Social Democratic Party (SDP).
Duke polled 812 votes to defeat his close rival, former Minister of Information, Prof. Jerry Gana, who polled 611 votes at the party’s National Convention held at Old Parade Ground, Abuja.
The Convention Returning Officer, Dr. Abdul Isiaq, declaring the results of the presidential primary election said Mr. John Dara, former Special Assistant to Lt. General Theophilus Danjuma, former Defence Minister, scored 104 votes.
Dike, a two-term governor said he left the PDP because it had derailed and lost its values and was not the same party he joined back then. Duke’s tenure in Cross River is remembered by many Nigerians for massive projects like the Tinapa Resort and the Obudu Cattle Ranch, both of which have been mired in controversy since his exit.
Duke expressed delight with his emergence, saying politics is not a game but the greatest human occupation “because it grounds every other occupation.”
Politics is not a game, ordinarily it is the most human occupation. So whether you are a doctor or teacher, at the end of the day, politicians will guide you on how to perform. It is supposed to be the most noble occupation.
“I think it’s no longer news that I am vying for the office of the president of Nigeria. I am running for president on the platform of SDP,” he said.
Former Governor of Ondo State, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko is the candidate of the Zenith Labour Party (ZLP), having emerged a consensus candidate at the party’s National Convention in Abuja.
The Chief Returning Officer and Chairman of the party, Dan Nwanyanwu, said that Mimiko fulfilled all the party’s requirements and obeyed the constitution of the party.
Mimiko, a former Health Minister, governed Ondo State between 2009 and 2016 on the platforms of the Labour Party (LP) and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), respectively.
He had earlier declared his presidential ambition on the Labour Party but later defected to the ZLP. The presidential hopeful said that he would leverage on the party’s social democratic ideological orientation to convince Nigerians to work with him.
He said that with the party’s pedigree and those of its leading lights, he would not have trouble convincing Nigerians why the party is the preferred option for them in the 2019 elections.
“As a social democratic party committed to the enduring principles of good governance, utilitarianism and a restructured federal system for Nigeria, ZLP is set to capture the imagination of Nigerians.
“The party will lead the process of renewing the Republic. I am resolutely committed to a programme of restructuring the Nigerian federation. This is with a view to affording every segment of the country the opportunity and privilege of development at its own pace.This will be done in such a manner that the age long beauty in competitive development will be fully tapped.”
Mimiko said that he was persuaded beyond any doubt, that such restructuring would give vent to the spirit of Nigerians. His success in the health sector in Ondo State with the Abiye project is said to be a pointer to one of his projections for the nation.
Former Minister of Education and co-founder of the ‘Bring Back Our Girls’ movement, Dr. Oby Ezekwesili, emerged the presidential candidate of the Allied Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN).
Apart from serving in different positions during the Olusegun Obasanjo administration, Mrs. Ezekwesili, a former Vice President of the World Bank, is best known for leading the movement that has been demanding freedom for all girls kidnapped by the Boko Haram terror group.
The 55-year-old Ezekwesili, who christened her campaign mantra as “Project Rescue Nigeria,” said: “I bring you a message of hope, that I and millions of supporters will march in solidarity to ensure that Nigeria gets a new focused leadership in 2019.”
Oby Ezekweseli is a leading chartered accountant who was co-founder of global anticorruption group, Transparency International. She has held several keys positions within the Nigerian government including Senior Special Assistant to the President of Nigeria on Budget Monitoring and Price Intelligence, Minister of Mineral Resources and Minister for Education. During her time as Education Minister, she led an extensive and comprehensive reform program of and her blueprint for overhauling the sector is reference document from which other countries in Africa have borrowed ideas. Ezekwesili’s career is defined by a pursuit of transparency, accountability and policy reforms in Africa, encompassing, governance, economics, education and natural resources endowment for Africa.
A former Vice-President of the World Bank’s Africa Region, Ezekweseli was recently, a Senior Advisor on Africa Economic Development Policy at the Open Society Foundations, New York assisting the Mano River governments with economic policy reforms. She now runs the fully incubated and independent policy advisory initiative as the Senior Economic Adviser to a number of presidents on the continent of Africa while at the same time developing a graduate School of Public Policy in Abuja.
Economist and former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Prof. Kingsley Moghalu, emerged the presidential candidate of the Young Progressive Party (YPP). Moghalu, from Anambra State, emerged at the party’s first National Convention and presidential primaries obtaining 243 votes from 253 accredited delegates to beat his only opponent, Donald Igwegbu, who stepped down for him.
Mogbalu said Nigeria needs a leader of international repute, not politicians that had failed the country. “More than ever before, Nigeria needs to be driven by a vision, informed by a worldview that determines everything else.
“Up till about 40 years ago, China was viewed as a basket case; overpopulated, unproductive and ruined economically by policies of the decades prior to that. Today, they snap their fingers and nearly every single African Head of state shows up in China with their hands out, eager for Chinese largesse. That’s what a country driven by a worldview can achieve.
“In accepting the presidential ticket of this great party, I stand here before you to say that Nigeria is fully capable of achieving greatness at home and abroad in our lifetimes. But this cannot happen with the normal way of doing things, the so-called Nigerian way.”
Moghalu said he joined the YPP because he believed the party would live up to its name of being progressive, as well as be an agent of raising standards across the board for politics and policy. He said that it was time for the country to close the era of waste, corruption, and incompetence that held Nigeria back from achieving its potential.
“It is a choice between remaining a mere fractious assortment of ethnicities and religious on one hand and building a real nation on the other. It is a choice between freedom and slavery under our recycled and corrupt politicians; between poverty and prosperity for our masses of the poor, and the unemployed, and between stability and continuing instability of the Nigeria state.”
Moghalu’s expertise in risk management, and what turned out to be a fortuitous move into the private sector, eventually led to an invitation and his appointment as a Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) by the President of Nigeria, Umaru Yar’Adua in 2009. Risk management skill and knowledge was much in demand after the global financial crisis of 2008.
For five years at the Central Bank of Nigeria from November 2009 to October 2014, Chiedu Moghalu managed the systemic risks to Nigeria’s financial system, made sure the system remained stable, and led the team that executed the controversial banking sector reforms initiated by then CBN Governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi.
It was a demanding and stressful time as the nation’s financial system was negatively impacted by the global financial crisis of 2008. Nigeria’s banks were hit by their lending exposures to oil and gas companies after oil prices crashed. The oil revenues, which government deposited in banks, dropped to a trickle, and the stock market, to which banks were also exposed through margin lending, nearly collapsed in 2008. As Deputy Governor in charge of Financial System Stability (FSS), he was also a member of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) and the Bank’s board of directors. His understanding of the economy is said to be a strong factor.
Publisher of SaharaReporters, Omoyele Sowore, an indigene of Ondo State, emerged the presidential candidate of the African Action Congress (AAC) party and has since put the logo of the party on his twitter handle.
According to the Director General of the TakeItBack Movement, a socio-political group propelling his candidature Malcolm Fabiyi, Sowore is the choice of the political party, hence he urged Nigerians interested in the progress o f the country to embrace the party.
Noting that the official unveiling of the party would take place at the AAC headquarters in Abuja on Wednesday, Fabiyi also said the TakeItBack Movement would announce members of its “Coalition of Authentic Progressive Parties and Organisations (CAPPO)” at the official unveiling.
He added: “With our own dedicated party platform, we are now able to match up a pacesetting movement with a transformative political platform.
“We call on progressives and youth everywhere to embrace the AAC. Our party is the authentic platform for political transformation in Nigeria. Our party’s slogan will be: Take it Back – Action,”
The Alliance for New Nigeria elected Mr. Gbenga Olawepo-Hashim as the party’s candidate at its special National Convention/ presidential primary election held at Ibeto Hotel in Abuja with 593 delegates in attendance.
Gbenga Olawepo-Hashim, on the political platform of ANN, whose commitment is grounded on a clear ideological foundation that has its history in the avant-garde politics that was nurtured and tempered in the social milieu of the nation’s tertiary institutions, beginning from the mid-80s.
That solid political background, coupled with 66 years of successful business history especially in the oil sector, has not only prepared him for ideological national politics but has also set the tone for his strategic and surefooted quest for the nation’s topmost job.
Indeed, the entirety of his commitment-both ideologically and financially to the burgeoning countrywide movement, defines who he is: a politician with a passion to redirect development narrative through provision of transformational leadership and inspiration of a national rebirth. Significantly, he pursues his mission and vision on the basis of those essential principles. In showing fidelity to principles, he does not care if he stands alone in the process.
Al-Mustapha for PPN
Major Hamza Al-Mustapha was elected the presidential candidate of the Peoples Party of Nigeria (PPN), by polling 3,564,262 votes to beat other presidential aspirants, Dr. Imuetinyan Igbinnosa who got 2,183,856 votes against Chief Isiaka Olorunnimbe’s 1,400,755.
The Chairman, PPN’s Presidential Primary Elections Committee, Hon Dare Adekolu, announced this in Ado Ekiti recalled that Al-Mustapha is a former Chief Security Officer (CSO) to the late military Head of State, General Sani Abacha.
Al-Mustapha, who was represented at the occasion by Zakaria Husseini, promised Nigerians good leadership and pledged to salvage the country and put it back on the path of growth and prosperity.
Husseini, described the PPN flagbearer as a detribalised, patriotic Nigerian and experienced administrator, assured that Al-Mustapha would “provide the missing link in governance in Nigeria and ensure better lives for the citizenry in all spheres of the economy”.
A United States of America-based media practitioner, Mr. Ishola Balogun, is the presidential flag bearer of the United Democratic Party (UDP), elected at the party’s special Convention in Awka, Anambra State.
The 59-year-old Molecular Biologist and television programme host who owns and runs Amen Radio/Television in USA said he would make job creation, youth/women empowerment, security and unity his main priorities.
He also called for the de-emphasis on money in the nation’s polity so as to enable the best hand/brains come forward and partici pate actively in nation building, even as he lamented the state of affairs in the country today, blaming past and present leaders for running the nation aground.
To him, the present system of government has no definition but an admix of confusion orchestrated by a host of confused mostly illiterate persons who lacked the zeal, love and tenacity to lead themselves or families let alone a nation like Nigeria. He urged all the patriotic sons and daughters of the nation who believed in the nation not to despair as he was willing and ready to harness their great budding potentials to give the nation’s growth a real push when he wins the election next year.
Ahmed Sakil, UPN
The Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN) elected Alhaji Ahmed Sakil, an agro-businessman as its presidential candidate with a promise to restore the nation’s lost glory in the education and health sectors.
The Gombe State-born candidate is also an animal husbandry professional who is into cattle, poultry and horse care. His vision is that Nigeria has the potential to be a developed nation and lead the way for other African countries to follow, stating that this can only be achieved however, with a genuine leader that would prioritise the major sectors of the economy that will spur development.
“I am the man that will do the job. I promise to transform all the sectors and declare free education and healthcare systems.” Sakil, a graduate of Ahmadu Bello University Zaria, Kaduna State, urged Nigerians to collect their voter cards ahead of the 2019 elections to enable them to exercise their franchise.
Prof. Bankole Okuwa, National Chairman, UPN, said that the party was not an ethnic one even though one of its pioneer members was from the west.
Okuwa said that the candidate had better plans to transform the nation if elected, adding that Nigerians needed to embrace the party that would develop the nation.
He said that the nation ought to be turned around and much more modernised than it presently was. He said that the party’s ideas would be made into policies that would bring the required progress for Nigeria if chosen. “So as we go into 2019, I urge all citizens to make the right choice for a better nation, “he said
Moses Shipi, ABP
Mr. Moses Shipi, is the presidential candidate of the All Blending Party (ABP). Shipi, who emerged at the party’s National Convention held on in Abuja, described his emergence as a “divine mandate”.
He said that he was prepared and confident to fly the party’s presidential flag in contest with candidates of other political parties in the 2019 general elections.
He said that his agenda was in line with that of the party aimed at fighting poverty in Nigeria. “Permit me to say it is not all about age but about grace. I am chosen by grace, not because of who I am and the mandate is divine. If you are called you will be given instruction, as I said earlier, I am chosen by grace. The question is not all about what I’m going to do for Nigeria, but the question is what God wants to use me to do for Nigeria. We have been given one mandate, go against poverty, only one mandate.”
Usman Alhaji, NRM
The National Rescue Movement (NRM) has Mr. Usman Alhaji as the party’s candidate at the party’s convention held in Abuja, with a pledge to enhance food security and employment for youths.
The 48-year-old Usman Alhaji was born in Makurdi, Benue, but he is an indigene of Kebbi, Kogi State. He is a graduate of Library and Information Science from the University of Maiduguri and a professional educationist. He attended Army Children’s School, North Bank, Makurdi from 1976 to 1982 and Government Secondary School, Barracks, Makurdi, from 1982 to 1987.
Alhaji had served in many places among which is the National Library of Nigeria (NLN) where he served as Head of Digitisation and Digital Collection.
Apostle Sunday Chukwu-Eguzolugo is the presidential candidate of Justice Must Prevail Party (JMPP). Chukwu-Eguzolugo, who polled 14 votes in an election monitored by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Abuja, defeated Eze Odioyenma who got two votes.
Chief Charles Otis, the National Coordinator of the 16-member committee of wise men that formed the delegates, described the election as excellent. According to Otie, all the wise men took oath that they will never be influenced by any one.
Apostle Sunday Chikendu Chukwu-Eguzolugo is from Idemili North Local Government Area of Anambra and was born on August 20, 1979, and he was the Chief Executive of his clearing and forwarding agency, Phildelson W. A Ltd at International Trade Fair Complex, Lagos, until 1995 when he started experiencing supernatural encounters indicating a divine assignment for the rescue of the nation from corruption and self-destruction and her restoration into a glorious future beyond human imagination.
The National Action Council (NAC) , has its National Chairman, Dr. (Mrs) Rabia Cengiz as its presidential candidate for the 2019 general elections. He emerged through a consensus vote by the delegates to the party’s National Convention held in Abuja.
Cengiz said she was fully prepared to go into the next stage of consulting with Nigerians to achieve her vision of been the first Nigerian female president. She said she was not afraid to face candidates of other political parties in the 2019 contest, especially men with money bag politics.
“It is a shame for our leaders to still be promising health, electricity, infrastructure, agriculture and others. This time around I believe woman can do those things that were left undone. I am prepared to achieve them.”
Cengiz is the founder and president of Rakad International School, Hotoro, Kano State, President, World Organisations for Early Child Education and also President and founder of Northern Women Political Enlistment Campaign.
A retired engineer with Nigerian Meteorological Agency, Elder Williams Olusola Awosola, is the presidential candidate of the Democratic Peoples Congress.
Awosola emerged the DPC candidate, defeating Mrs. Seiyefa Sounie Eches by 45 to nine votes by delegates.
Awosola said the party made history by conducting the first presidential primary election since the party was registered in 2015.
He pledged that the party’s manifesto he handed over to Awosola would be implemented to the later by his administration after his emergence as President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
The All Grassroots Alliance (AGA), elected Mr. Tony Nwachukwu, a lawyer, as its presidential candidate for the 2019 general elections. Prof. Edwin Opara, the party’s Returning Officer, declared Nwachukwu winner of the election with 4,681 valid votes out of 4, 698 available votes.
The National Chairman of the party, Dr. Olukayode Oshiariyo, who spoke after the election in Gwagwalada, Abuja, said that Nwachukwu was elected according to the dictates of the part’s constitution.
He said that the candidate ought to have been given automatic ticket but it had to go by voting following the rules of the party. He said that the party adopted indirect primary because “it is cost-effective and an antidote for money influence or vote-buying’’.
Oshiariyo also said that AGA would have to ratify the election of the candidate on November 11 as stipulated by part’s constitution.
He described the party’s convention as the best, explaining that the policy of the party “ensures regular payment of salary, fight against corruption, reduction in cost of governance and change in the National Assembly from bi-camera to uni-camera system’’
A professional engineer in the oil and gas industry, Sani Yabagi Yusuf Sani, is the presidential candidate of the Action Democratic Party (ADP)
Sani emerged the ADP candidate after an election by party delegates during its convention across the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory, witnessed by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) officials.
At the ADP convention held across the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory, out of 5,336,433 voters accredited, Sani scored 5,242,346 votes.
During the ADP affirmation of presidential flag bearer in Abuja, Sani was given the certificate as the party’s presidential candidate for the 2019 elections.
He said: “Nigeria needs a new dimension of leadership that would be focused, proactive and determined in improving the nation’s security through effectiveness. We will create a new direction toward positive change in the economic, infrastructure development, health and education.”
A former Commandant of the Nigerian Army Education Corps, Major Gen. John Ogbor (rtd), is the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA).
Ogbor, who was elected during the party’s primary election in Abuja, has Mr. Jerry Chukwueke as his running mate.
He said he was contesting for president in order to restructure the country so that it could become a developed nation.
“I want to be your president so as to fix Nigeria; my government will be unequivocally committed to a unified and prosperous nation where no one and no place will be left behind. Right now, Nigeria is confronted with many challenges such as insecurity, unemployment, poverty and illiteracy,” he said.
Ogbor said that the time had come for Nigerians to feel the impact of leadership, adding that He said that APGA would produce a leadership were all lives and property would be protected, adding that Nigerians needed not to despair because hope had come.
He said that he would transform Nigeria with his five-point agenda of true federalism, social reconstruction and security also listed economic reconstruction, youth and women empowerment as part of the agenda.
The Peoples Democratic Movement (PDM) has picked Pastor Habu Aminchi as its candidate for the 2019 presidential election.
The party at its 2018 elective convention which ended in Abuja on Sunday, affirmed Aminchi’s candidature through a unanimous voice vote of delegates from the 36 states of the country and the FCT.
Chairman of PDM, Chief Francis Igwebuike said the National Executive Council (NEC) and the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party would continue to uphold the ingenuity of its founding father, late Shehu Musa Yar’Adua.
Igwebuike noted that it was the first time PDM as a party was presenting a presidential candidate, adding that it would mobilise to dislodge the All Progressive Congress (APC) in the 2019 general election.
He explained that a 10-point agenda which include revitalising the economy, standard education system, security, agriculture and quality healthcare, would be his major focus if elected. He also promised to restore the dignity of Nigerian workers through enhanced and prompt payment of salaries.
Though several names have also been bandied by various political parties as presidential candidates, Nigerians are waiting for the release of the authentic list any time from October 18.
However, for most pundits, the contest should be a straight fight between the PDP candidate and the ruling APC, even as INEC has promised to ensure a level-playing field to all the parties. Already, the brickbats have commenced between the PDP and the APC as they try to outsmart each other even before the commencement of the campaigns.
Executive Director of SERAP, Adetokunbo Mumuni said the long list of aspirants was indicative of how incurably optimistic politicians can be. “In no time, things will shape up because everyone knows that it is a straight battle between APC and PDP. My only concern is that the campaign must be issue-based and the electorate must pin the candidates down to their promises which must be people-oriented.”
Speaking earlier, Bishop of the Latter Rain Church, Pastor Tunde Bakare has said the emergence of Atiku as PDP candidate will engender a robust contest in 2019.
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