As the political temperature heats up in the country ahead of 2019 general elections, JONATHAN NDA-ISAIAH in this report, takes a look at some presidential aspirants who may spring up surprises in the forthcoming presidential poll.
To an average Nigerian, the names of President Muhammadu Buhari and former Vice President Atiku Abubakar readily come to mind when the idea of identifying presidential hopefuls is the bone of contention. The trend, however, may not continue as new aspirants have joined the fray as over 10 aspirants have signified their intention to unseat the incumbent president come 2019.
It is becoming clearer by the day that President Buhari will seek reelection in the forthcoming presidential poll. Apart from his body language, the president has been throwing hints in this regard. On Monday in Makurdi, the Benue State capital, he quipped rather jocularly that he may come back to the state for campaign if he decides to contest.
As it stands at the moment, the president still remains the man to beat and political analysts hold strongly that the opposition may still be labouring under a delusion going by the calibre of the people who flaunt themselves in the political arena as presidential aspirants. But there are those who contend that Buhari’s chances may be bleak if herdsmen killings, restructuring, corruption and the economy are the major factors that will determine the 2019 presidential election.
Below are some of the presidential aspirants that may spring surprises at the presidential poll.
Senator Yusuf Datti Baba-Ahmed
Senator Datti Baba-Ahmed is full of confidence that he has what it takes to be the next president of Nigeria. For those who may not remember, Senator Baba-Ahmed was a member of the House of Representatives from 2003 to 2007. He was also elected Senator on the platform of the defuncg Congress dfor Progressive Change (CPC) in 2011 in what was arguably the biggest upset in Nigeria’s elections when he defeated former Kaduna State governor, Ahmed Makarfi.
He got his BSc and MSc Economics in 1991 and 1995 from University of Maiduguri. Got MBA in 1996 from University of Wales, and his PhD from University of Westminster in 2005.
Other courses among many others include Portfolio Management and a certificate course from London School of Practical Economics in 1996and 1997.He was awarded Fellow of the Science Association of Nigeria(FSAN) in 2012 at ABU.
In 2015, he completed Senior Executive Program at London Business School, and in August 2017, he completed a highly selective course on International Security at the Harvard Kennedy School. He is currently part of a 3 year OPM Program at Harvard Business School.
Sen. Baba-Ahmed personally single handedly began Baze University in 2008 after about 12 years of planning.The university is regarded as one of the top private universities in the country.
At 49, he fits the bill of a modern politician- urban and suave. Some analysts aver that it will require someone who is successful in Business in the mould of Donald Trump to be the next president of Nigeria.
During the administration of former President Olusegun Obasanjo, he was among lawmakers who opposed the third term agenda. In May 2006, he said he would not seek reelection unless action was taken to investigate allegations that members had been bribed to support the constitutional changes needed for a third term presidency. In 2007 he took the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to court over conduct of past elections. He was known for speaking out against corruption.
Besides, he is from Kaduna, one of the strongholds of President Buhari. The PDP has zoned the presidency to the North and Senator Datti believes he has what it takes to clinch the PDP ticket. It is being speculated that the PDP is looking for a candidate who is below 55 years to fly its presidential flag. Some keen observers of the polity believe that Senator Datti just might be PDP’s joker .
Don’t get it twisted here. Ahmed Buhari is not related to President Buhari in any way. While the president is from Katsina State, the young Buhari is from Niger State. The 39-year-old Lagos-based businessman has vowed to do all it takes to wrestle power from President Buhari in 2019. According to him, his decision to contest the presidency in 2019 is informed by the desire “to take Nigeria out of the quagmire to a destination that will benefit all Nigerians.
“I am ready to slug it out with President Muhammadu Buhari and other candidates in 2019. I am still consulting on which platform to use in contesting but for now. I am of the view that most of the major political parties do not share ideologies that conform with mine and that of my numerous followers,” he added.
Ahmed Buhari is the CEO of Skylar Inc., a Lagos-based ICT company. He studied at the Federal University of Technology, Minna, Niger State where he obtained his B.SC degree in Geology. He also bagged a Master’s Degree in International Trade and Marketing from Cavendish College, London. He furthered his Studies at the Manchester Metropolitan University where he acquired training as a Geographic Information System and Spatial Analyst.
Inspired by the political disruptions in France, Canada and Greece, which witnessed the emergence of leaders under the age of 45, namely Emmanuel Macron, Justin Trudeau and Alexi Tsipras respectively, Ahmed Buhari believes that can happen in Nigeria.
“Youths who have prepared themselves with the relevant qualifications must take over the mantle of leadership because this struggle is about the future of Nigeria, not its past. Strong, knowledgeable guidance is needed, and I offer myself for service with a solid track record of leadership”.
The above were the words of former deputy governor of the Central Bank Of Nigeria (CBN), Kingsley Moghalu, when he declared for presidency recently. Though he has not mentioned the political party he intends to realise his ambition, his candidature is already gaining traction in the social media.
He obtained an LL.B. (Honours) degree in Law at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka in 1986, and the B.L. (Barrister at Law) from the Nigerian Law School, Lagos. Moghalu obtained an M.A. degree at The Fletcher School of Law of Diplomacy at Tufts University, where he was the Joan Gillespie Fellow and Research Assistant in the International Political Economy (IPE) Program, in 1992. He later obtained a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in International Relations at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) at the University of London, UK, and the International Certificate in Risk Management from the Institute of Risk Management (IRM) in London.
The 54-year-old who is a political economist, lawyer and former United Nations official is also Professor of Practice in International Business and Public Policy at The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He is the Founder of Sogato Strategies LLC, an emerging markets risk, strategy and macroeconomic advisory firm and a Senior Adviser of the Official Monetary and Financial Institutions Forum (OMFIF). He is also a Contributory Editor of Central Banking Journal. In 2016, Moghalu founded the Institute for Governance and Economic Transformation (IGET), a tink tank focused on the achievements of inclusive economic growth and effective public policy in developing countries.
Moghalu served as deputy governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria from 2009 to 2014.
When declaring for Presidency, Moghalu said, “We must stop recycling failed politicians and regenerate our leadership ranks with competent and experienced young men or women. My fellow Nigerians, to quote the immortal words of the late US president, John F. Kennedy, ‘politics is too important to be left to the politicians’.
“The world is changing: time and tide have in several countries swept away old orders and brought in new, more dynamic ones. Nigeria must not remain stuck in its past. We, you and I, can do it for our country too.”
One of the famous motivational speakers in the country, Fela Durotoye, has also thrown his hat in the ring for the Nigerian Presidency come 2019. Durotoye who was born in 1971 is considered as a builder of the nation, corporate strategist, and one of the most successful businessmen.
He attended Obafemi Awolowo University where he obtained Bachelor of Science Degree in Computer Science with Economics, Masters degree in Business Administration (M.B.A), Master of Philosophy Degree (M.Phil) in Strategic Management. He is also a graduate of the Kennedy School of Government at the prestigious Harvard University (USA). When he studied there, he founded ‘The Pool Bar’.
On reactions that trailed his declaration for the presidency, he said, “I’m so grateful for all the feedback offline & the comments online … pleasant, unpleasant and sometimes downright nasty … I am grateful for all. Like the political analysts often say, no Comment is the worst comment in political space. Why? because it lacks energy.
“You see …positive comments carry positive energy and can be directed into action (campaigning/volunteering/donations & ultimately voting). Interestingly, negative comments also carry energy but you only need to find ways to get to the essence and redirect the energy for positive action.
“No comment carries no energy and therefore cannot be directed or redirected. So THANK YOU everyone for LIKEing, REPOSTing, RETWEETing and COMMENTing. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, concerns and excitement with me. Your opinions are important to me and those tough questions are helping me learn faster and ultimately preparing me to be a better aspirant. Love you all. God bless your week ahead with great success”.
A former governor of Cross River State, Donald Duke, wants to be Nigeria’s president come 2019.
According to him, “I am entitled to run for the presidency of this country. I am entitled to it. Only on right circumstances I will aspire for it. I don’t shy away from responsibility, only the right circumstance, I will aspire for presidency of this country. I have what it takes to be president of this country.
“It was high time Nigerians begun to project people with the technical know-how to take the country to the Promised Land. I hear young people say to me that why would there spend hours queuing and casting their votes when at the end their votes won’t count. And I tell that if their parents conceived them they never gave up on them considering the high mortality rate so why would there not take a chance in building this nation?
“We had young leadership at one stage or the other. Even in our first republic, besides the likes of Awolowo, Tafawa Balewa, M. T. Mbu was in his twenties when he became a minister.
“Gowon was 30 when he became the head of state. It comes back to the disaster therein because most of them didn’t have experience in governance, which led us into war. We need the combination of both. What I think we should be doing is to a government that is youth friendly to provide opportunities because we need to groom the next set of leadership.”
Duke received LLB degree in 1982 from Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria – Nigeria, B.L in 1983 from the Nigerian Law School, Lagos and the L.L.M. in Business Law and Admiralty in 1984 from University of Pennsylvania
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