Following the declaration of national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu and Ebonyi State governor, Dave Umahi, to contest the 2023 presidential election, other presidential hopefuls have played down being under pressure to publicly declare.
The aspirants within APC and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) told LEADERSHIP that they were still consulting and weighing the options vis-a-vis the outcome of events in their respective parties.
In the APC, those expected to declare their intention for the top seat soon are former Vice President Prof Yemi Osinbajo; governor of Ekiti State and chairman of Nigeria Governors Forum, Kayode Fayemi; Business Mogul, Gbenga Olawepo-Hassim, and minister of state for Education, Hon Emeka Nwajiuba.
When contacted, a source in Nwajiuba’s camp told LEADERSHIP that the minister is still consulting on the matter.
The source who pleaded not to be named as he was not authorized to speak on the minister’s presidential bid said, “This process requires elaborate consultation. The former Lagos State governor who just declared has clearly done his consultations.
“But you can be sure that at the appropriate time, the minister will make his intentions known. But for now he is focused on his current assignment. We are also conscious of the times”.
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Another presidential hopeful on the platform of APC, Senator Rochas Okorocha, said he was not in a rush to formally declare his intention.
Speaking through his media aide, Sam Onwuemodo, Okorocha said there is no rush to make declarations because other people have.
“Everyone has their own programme which they are working with. There is no need to rush because some others have. Let’s keep our fingers crossed and watch what happens. That is what I can say”, Onwuemodo said.
He refused to give an insight into their plans, saying events will unfold.
Okorocha had last week Wednesday while reacting to the failure of Governor Hope Uzodimma to name sponsors of criminality in Imo State, said he would contest the presidency of the country.
He said Uzodimma was against him because of his presidential ambition.
However, former presidential candidate in 2019 and business mogul, Olawepo-Hassim, will declare his ambition after the national convention.
An authoritative source within his camp said the presidential hopeful will make his ambition known after the APC national convention.
The source said, “By the Grace of God after the APC national convention.”
In the PDP, the former Vice President Atiku Abubakar is expected to formally declare his intention in the first quarter of this year.
However, a top source in former Senate President Abubakar Bukola Saraki’s camp dismissed claims that Saraki had declared for the seat last November during his visit to the governor of Benue State, Samuel Ortom, in Makurdi.
The source said the former Senate president is yet to make a formal declaration, explaining that what happened in Makurdi wasn’t a formal declaration.
He said, “There was no declaration when Dr. Saraki met Governor Ortom. He only went to consult the governor on his ambition and the governor said he had scheduled a meeting of party leaders who were already waiting for him.
“He then said Dr. Saraki should accompany him to the meeting so that he can tell the party leaders in Benue why he came to see him. That actually is not the way a man of Dr. Saraki’s calibre will declare presidential ambition. When it is time to formally declare his ambition, everybody in the country will know”.
So far, those who have formally declared their intention formally are Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa and former Senate president, Anyim Pius Anyim.
Meanwhile, former deputy governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Prof Kingsley Moghalu, was the first to openly declare his presidential ambition.
The 2019 presidential candidate of Young Peoples Party (YPP) has since pitched his political tent with the African Democratic Congress (ADC) ahead of the 2023 contest.