2023 Presidency: The Contenders, The Pretenders

2023 Presidency: The Contenders, The Pretenders

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), in the adjusted timetable for the 2023 general elections, has slated the presidential election of 2023 for February 25, the same day elections into the National Assembly is expected to hold.

By the new timetable, the presidential election is less than a year, that is, less than 365 days calendar days.

Going by the enormity of work to be done by politicians with an ambition to become president, it is expected than serious work, preparatory work, that is, should be going one in earnest at the moment.

Before now, Nigerians witnessed a flurry of declarations from people who said they want to be president, in such a way that many believed it was becoming unwieldy and appearing like all comers affair.

However, after the declarations, which appeared more like a copycat move or a forced action after the National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu openly declared his ambition, not many of the supposed aspirants is doing much to actively put them out before Nigerians as serious contenders for the office of President.

For many, who have indicated interest in running for the office of President, it’s just another opportunity to throw themselves into the limelight, enjoy a bit of attention momentarily and then drop off the radar.

Below are some of the known aspirants and NaijaNewsNow verdict on their aspiration:

Anyim Pius Anyim

Anyim is a former member of the Nigerians Senate, where he served as Senate President. He was latter appointed by former President Goodluck Jonathan as the Secretary to Government of the Federation (SGF).

Anyim represents the powershift agitations of the South-East as political leaders from the five South East states—Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu, and Imo—have expressed their support for Anyim.

Though Anyim’s pedigree as a political performer and ability to deliver as President has not been tested, he seems to be one of the serious contenders on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). He has been going around making ‘consultations’.

For not being docile about his aspiration, he is considered as a contender, though largely limited by his chances in securing the ticket of the PDP.

Yahaya Bello
Yahaya Bello, the Governor of Kogi State governor, is one of the earliest to give Nigerians a clue as to his interest in becoming President after the incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari. However, Bello, for many never showed any seriousness the office requires, especially with the several joke like calls by supposed youths on him to contest, sometimes accompanied with threats of protests if he does not declare to contest.

For many Nigerians, such calls and the many visits to Bello to convince him to throw his heart into the rung, were mere staged managed shows to give a semblance of acceptability and popularity.

The premise upon which the ‘deafening’ were premised is also suspect, as Bello has always that Nigerians want him to come to the centre to replicate the good works he has done in Kogi State as governor. For many Nigerians, this may not be true, as Kogi remains one of the most backward in the country, a den of robbers and kidnappers, where civil servants are lucky to get a fraction of their monthly salary, if it ever come!

Aside the above, Bello has largely remained silent, with no active national structure that can position him as a serious contender for the ticket of his party, not talk of winning the February 25, 2023 presidential election.

For us at NaijaNewsNow, Governor Yahaya Bello is one of the prominent and serious pretenders for the office of President.

Orji Uzor Kalu
Though Senator Orji Uzor Kalu, by his pedigree as a former two term governor of Abia State and sitting Senator, he is expected to be a major contender for the office of President and frontrunner for the presidential ticket of the APC.

However, the Senate Chief Whip seems to be getting things right, after starting on a perceived wrong footing.

For many, Orji Kalu declaration was more of a reactionary action, prompted by that of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu. Aside his perceived reactionary declaration, Orji Kalu has struggled to justify his ambition viz a viz his famed relationship with Tinubu.

What is however making many observers to believe and rightly so, that Orji Kalu may afterall belong to the class of serious pretenders, is the fact that aside granting some interviews where he struggled to allay fears that he may not have any chance agaisnt Tinubu, nothing much has been heard or seen from him.

For a man of his status, the former Abia governor’s inactivity has placed him among the pretenders for the office of President.

Kingsley Moghalu
There is no controversy that Kingsley Moghalu became the first to announce his intention to again contest for the office of President among those who have declared, which he did in October 2021.

There is also no doubt that he has what it takes to be President but it also true that he lacks the political network, a viable political party platform and the financial war chest to prosecute his ambition.

Politics in Nigeria is not the same as the rest of the world, and if you don’t have all what it takes, you may just be consigned to the category of the Best President Nigeria Never Had’.

Also, Moghalu seems largely unprepared for the humongous task ahead, as he has yet to make any serious move in actualising his ambition. While some others have continued to make noise and consult, Moghalu seem held up in his cocoon, silent and inactive. This no doubt also puts him in the category of pretenders!

Dele Momodu
It is no longer news that popular journalist, Dele Momodu has indicated his interest in running for the office of President. What is however news is how prepared and serious is he.

Though Momodu, who went to his village in Edo State to declare his ambition will tell whoever cares to listen that he means business, his chances of clinching the ticket of the PDP, where he had aligned himself seems herculean.

It is doubtful if he belongs to any power block in PDP and he obviously do not have the national network of political associates who could have made his journey smooth and less cumbersome.

For us at NaijaNewsNow, Dele Momodu may just be another sincere pretender!

Chukwuka Monye
If Competence, education and good intellect automatically makes one President of Nigeria, then Chukwuka Monye may just be on his way to Aso Rock.

Unfortunately, none of the above can take Monye, the founder of Ciuci Consulting, a multinational operations management consulting firm, to the presidency!

Monye is no doubt a green horn in politics without any affiliation to any political party, as he intends to run as an independent candidate. It is however a tough one, as politics in Nigeria is never really about the person but his party. This is the reason the best candidates for any office are never elected in Nigeria.

For the above, Chukwuka Monye, for now is a sincere pretender for the office of President.

Bola Ahmed Tinubu
The Tinubu for President project started more like a rumour, though many who could read between the lines were quick to point it out that it is no rumour or ruse!

Tinubu, the national leader of the ruling APC is passionate about becoming President, and as he put it, it has been his life long ambition.

Tinubu has no doubt showed the kind of seriousness expected of a presidential aspirant in an election holding holding in less than a year. While some have recoiled into their private recesses, Tinubu, despite his famed political network, contact and reach, has been traversing the length and breath of the country consulting, building additional structures and conversing for the endorsement of prominent figures, including traditional rulers.

There is no doubting the fact that if the APC presidential ticket primary holds today, Tinubu will be the man to beat, as he has shown far more seriousness for his ambition than all others combined.

NaijaNewsNow declares unequivocally that Asiwaju Bola Tinubu is a serious contender for the office of President.

Rochas Okorocha
The presidential ambition of this former Imo State Governor seems to have hit the rocks before taking off effective.

Smooth talking Okorocha, the first to have a formal declaration of his ambition, which held at the International Conference Centre, Abuja, had in the carnival like event, rolled out what he intend to do as President of Nigeria.

However, the wind appears to have left his sail, since the anti-graft agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), on the same day, filled fraud related charges against at an Abuja Federal High Court.

Though he did his initial customary ‘gragra’, alleging that he was being targeted because of his presidential ambition, Okorocha has since recoiled, with nothing coming out of his camp on his ambition, which seems to be dead on arrival!

Senator Rochas Okorocha makes the list of NaijaNewsNow presidential pretenders.

Sam Ohuabunwa
Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa, the founder and former chief executive officer of Neimeth Pharmaceutical, is aiming to become president under the platform of the PDP, and made his intentions known.

It is however important for the former President of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) to note that board politics is not the same with Nigerian political environment.

Ohuabunwa most definitely does not cut the picture of someone who can play and survive in the Nigerian political environment and the way he has gone about his ambition, albeit so natively silent, bears testimony to this fact.

Ohuabunwa may just be another sincere pretender for the office of President.

Bukola Saraki
In 2019, former Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki would have probably made the list of NaijaNewsNow presidential contenders, but current realities may have denied him of that.

Strangulated and denied of a home base, which is Kwara State, where he once reigned supreme, Bukola Saraki can no longer boast of having a viable structure needed to prosecute his presidential ambition.

Aside his fractured base, Saraki may find it hard to actively contest the ticket of the PDP with the likes of Atiku Abubakar, who has a more robust political network.

It may seem harsh, but Bukola Saraki, unfortunately, makes the list of NaijaNewsNow presidential pretenders.

David Umahi

David Umahi, the Governor of Ebonyi State defected from the PDP to the APC primarily because of his ambition to be President but feelers from the current happenings showed that despite that, he still remained an outsider of some sort in the APC power equation.

Umahi, who is also facing stiff opposition in his state since his defection, many analysts say, is merely making the numbers of presidential aspirants, insisting that he cannot get the ticket.

And as if he knows the odds are agaisnt him, the Ebonyi governor has not been active in his bid since after visiting President Buhari to inform him of his intention.

For now and in agreement with the above, Governor David Umahi is another prominent member of the group of presidential pretenders.

Atiku Abubakar
Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar is one of the frontrunners for the presidential ticket of the opposition party, PDP, the same ticket he got in 2019.

Though many believe he is getting too old for the office of President, Atiku believes to the contrary, choosing to throw in his hat yet again.

Despite many Nigerians believing that Atiku is the brightest chance of the PDP in reclaiming power, the PDP 2019 presidential candidate has been up and doing, working hard on his ambition, refusing to be complacent.

With the way Atiku is going about his ambition, he may just again secure the ticket of the PDP and be on the ballot for the third time, as he qualifies as a major contender for the office of President.


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