There are clear favourites who are expected to win the tickets of the two main parties: the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). This is not an article about them.

Thanks to 2023 presidential elections, the game of musical chairs for Nigeria’s presidential seat is reaching a fever pitch. Dozens of aspirants have been travelling all over the country promising heaven and earth if they’re elected.

To make it to the big stage for the main election in February 2023, these aspirants first have to win the tickets of their parties. 

This is a look at the aspirants who would need to fast 40 days and 40 nights to beat the favourites to the tickets of the APC and PDP.

Emeka Nwajiuba, 54

Emeka Nwajiuba believes in his presidential aspiration so much that he was eager to resign from Buhari’s cabinet as the Minister of State for Education. Despite his eagerness, he remains only a dark horse in the race for the APC’s ticket even though he has a decent track record in politics. He has previously served as a lawmaker in the Federal House of Representatives between 1999 and 2003. Nwajiuba also participated in the Imo State governorship election in 2003, 2007 and 2011. He won an election to return to the House in 2019, but he left that position to become a minister

Mohammed Hayatu-Deen, 68

Mohammed Hayatu-Deen was one of the first aspirants to jump into the presidential queue with his eyes on the PDP ticket. The economist commands decades of experience across multiple Nigerian industries and has worn many hats. His campaign rests on economic and social reform, insecurity, health and Nigerian youths. But he’s going to need more than a campaign website to win the ticket.

Yahaya Bello, 46

The governor of Kogi State, Yahaya Bello, is one of the youngest aspirants involved in the preliminary stages of the presidential election. He’s been shouting about his ambition from the rooftops long before most of the frontrunners were even in the picture. The governor is adamant that only a young president can take Nigeria into the future that many citizens want to see. His campaign hasn’t reflected much of that and it’d take a miracle to see him end up with the APC’s ticket.

Anyim Pius Anyim, 61

Anyim Pius Anyim is a former Senate President who’s also currently eyeing Nigeria’s top seat via the PDP. He served as the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) between 2011 and 2015. He once unsuccessfully contested to become the party’s chairman but is revered as an elder statesman in the PDP. He’s going to need more than that respect to nick the ticket from the party’s frontrunners.

Adams Oshiomhole, 70

Oshiomhole used to be a fearsome labour union leader and was the president of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) between 1999 and 2007. He moved on to become Edo State governor in 2008 and served two terms until he left office in 2016. Oshiomhole was then elected the APC’s national chairman in 2018 until he was forced out of his position in 2020 following internal party issues. As a former party chairman, Oshiomhole would typically be considered a frontrunner for the presidential ticket, but even he’s not that confident of victory. He’s contesting for president and a seat in the Senate at the same time and filled nomination forms for both. He doesn’t just want to eat his cake and have it; he wants to throw a party with it.

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Dele Momodu, 62

Dele Momodu is widely known as the CEO and publisher of the Ovation International magazine. He worked with the Moshood Abiola Presidential Campaign Organisation in 1993 and invited trouble from the then military government. He fled Nigeria following political persecution from General Sani Abacha and didn’t return to the country until after the death of the dictator. Momodu was the candidate of the National Conscience Party (NCP) for the 2011 presidential election and finished with less than 27,000 votes. He’ll need better luck and a truckload of prayers to win the PDP’s ticket for the 2023 presidential election.

Godswill Akpabio, 59

Godswill Akpabio is another aspirant that resigned from Buhari’s cabinet in a bid to become the guy that takes over his seat in 2023. He was the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs from 2019 before his resignation in May 2022. Before that, he’d been a senator between 2015 and 2019 and governor of Akwa Ibom State between 2007 and 2015. Before he became a governor, he’d served as a commissioner in the Akwa Ibom State cabinet between 2002 and 2006. But he doesn’t have the political momentum that other favourites do.

Bala Mohammed, 63

Bala Mohammed was a senator between 2007 and 2010 before he was appointed the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and stayed in the role for five years. He’s the current governor of Bauchi State. Having served only one term as governor, you kind of get the feeling he’s only running for president to sound out his name and not necessarily to win the PDP’s ticket.

Tunde Bakare, 67

Tunde Bakare is one of those aspirants who’s always teasing their intention to run for the presidency every three market days. He was the running mate to Buhari in the 2011 presidential election that was won by Goodluck Jonathan. Now he believes he has divine clearance from God and is confident he’ll be the one taking over from Buhari in 2023. He just needs to grab that APC ticket first. No pressure.

Ayo Fayose, 61

Ayo Fayose is one of the most combative aspirants in the crowded field of presidential hopefuls. He was first elected the governor of Ekiti State in 2003 but was impeached in 2006. Fayose made a comeback and was re-elected for a second term as governor in 2014. He wasn’t impeached this time around, but he made a transition from the Government House to the custody of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) the day his tenure expired in 2018. That’s how this image happened.

No one expects that Fayose ends up with the PDP’s ticket, but nothing’s ever boring with the guy so, now we wait.

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