These People Want to Lead Nigeria But Who Are They?

January 17, 2022

And just like that, we are headed towards another election season. While elections are not expected to officially kick off until February 18, 2023, a couple of familiar faces (and one new face) have indicated an interest in replacing our dearest President Buhari. But before you get bombarded with billboards and promises, we decided to do a little research and introduce you to some of these politicians.

1. Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu

Finally, after months of guessing and speculation, the Jagaban of Lagos, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu has officially thrown his fila into the 2023 presidential race

What you should know

Tinubu has been running things in Nigeria, especially Lagos, for a long time. He was a senator in 1992, served as governor twice, handpicked all the governors that came after him, pushed his wife to the senate and created the All Progressive Congress (APC) which got Bubu into Aso Rock. So far, there have been questions surrounding his source of wealth, educational background and whether or not he’s as old as Dumbledore.

Let’s not get into the health concerns that had him in London for the better part of 2021. It’s giving Buhari 2.0. 

2. Orji Uzor Kalu

Former Abia state governor and current Chief Whip of the Nigerian senate (the whip is not a BDSM thing o), Orji Uzor Kalu has also indicated an interest in the 2023 presidential elections. 

What you should know

While Kalu has done well for print media with The Daily Sun and The Telegraph, we can’t ignore the ₦7.1 billion fraud case that was brought against him in 2007. Despite the case still ongoing, he was allowed to run for and win a seat in the senate in 2019.

Kalu was eventually convicted and sentenced to 12 years in jail in 2019, but before he could really start sweeping cells in kirikiri, a Supreme Court judge nullified his conviction in May 2020. Interesting. 

3. Yahaya Bello

This man announced his intentions as far back as 2020, less than a year after he won his second term as Kogi state governor. Apparently, Nigerian youths, celebrities and elites were “pressuring” him to run. 

What you should know

Yahaya Bello is no stranger to the news. When he’s not dancing in the gym, he’s being criticised for owing salaries in his state, despite receiving a ₦20 billion bailout from Sterling Bank to pay said salaries. He was also allegedly involved in the mistreatment of Barrister Natasha Akpoti, the only female candidate to run against him in the 2020 Kogi state governorship polls. It’s giving bully with a side of misogyny. 

4. Dele Momodu

Remember Ovation Magazine? Yes, this is the man behind it. Famous publisher and media personality, Dele Momodu has also offered to lead us to freedom

What you should know

This isn’t his first time at the rodeo. Momodu previously ran for president in 2011 under the National Conscience Party (NCP), however, despite that loss, he has decided to run again. This time, he intends to run under the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). While his beefs with Davido and KWAM 1 might be more popular than his lack of experience in office, it feels good to see a different face in the race, even though it’s a face we already know. 

5. Bukola Saraki 

Former Senate President, Bukola Saraki has also made his intention known about 2023

What you should know

Before becoming a senator and then Senate President, Bukola Saraki served as governor of Kwara State from 2003 to 2011. Saraki has switched parties so many times, it’s hard to keep up. Starting out with the PDP, he switched to the APC before switching back to the PDP.

He intended to run for this job in 2019, but eventually settled as the top man in charge of Atiku Abubakar’s presidential campaign. From corruption cases to armed robbery, Saraki has had his fair share of run-ins with the law. However, he has continued to maintain his innocence. Has anyone ever accepted that they’re guilty? 

6. Anyim Pius Anyim 

One of the most vocal aspirants from the South-East, Anyim Pius Anyim was a Senate President during the era of Olusegun Obasanjo from 2000 to 2003. He also served as Secretary-General of the Federation under Goodluck Jonathan from 2011 to 2015. 

What you should know 

During his time as Senate President and Secretary-General of the Federation, Anyim racked with Samuel Ominyi Egwu and Martin Elechi, two sitting governors from Ebonyi state (his state).

In 2021, he was also invited and interrogated by the EFCC in connection with a ₦780 million corruption case involving former Minister of Aviation, Stella Oduah. Again, nothing new. 

7. Khadijah Okunni-Lamini 

Nigerians have discovered a brand new candidate and the first woman to officially throw her hat into the ring for the 2023 presidential elections. Khadijah Okunni-Lamini (popularly known as KOL) has stated that she is joining the race out of a strong desire to rekindle hope and make Nigeria work for all Nigerians. 

What you should know

KOL is one of the lesser-known candidates to have shown interest in joining the presidential race this year. While she might lack political experience, KOL is a media personality and the brain behind Slice Media Solutions, an advertising agency based in Lagos Nigeria. She is also behind some social impact initiatives such as Water Relief Nigeria, Help Our Youth (HOY), To Better Nigeria & Project: Bridge the Gap.

8. Kingsley Moghalu 

Kingsley Moghalu, a 2019 Presidential candidate is also making a comeback to the race next year after previously losing to Bubu. 

What you should knowMoghalu served as the Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria from 2009 to 2014. He was one of the youngest contenders in the last elections, where he contested under the Young Progressives Party (YPP). Next year, he will be joining the race again, this time, under the African Democratic Congress (ADC)

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