2023: Who Leads Nigeria? | THISDAYLIVE

•With 559 days to election, search for a new president begins

Obinna Chima

With exactly 559 days to the 2023 presidential election, the search for a new leader for Africa’s most populous country and largest economy – Nigeria – has begun.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had early in the year announced Saturday, February 18, as the date for the 2023 general election.

Former Military President, General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida (IBB), had curiously opened up a new angle to the 2023 debate, when in an interview on the Arise News Channel, last week, hinted at the qualities a majority of Nigerians should consider in their choice ofthe next occupant of Aso Rock, the Presidential Villa.

IBB as Babangida is fondly called, had suggested that individuals in their 60s should be the focus of Nigerians as potential presidential or vice presidential candidates in 2023.

Further, IBB said such persons should have deep knowledge of the economy, must have contacts across the nation and must have been traversing the geo-political zones, marketing their acceptability and capacity.

“If you get a good leadership that links with the people and tries to talk with the people; not talking on top of the people, then we would be okay. I have started visualising a good Nigerian leader. That is, a person, who travels across the country and has a friend virtually everywhere he travels to and he knows at least one person that he can communicate with.

“That is a person, who is very vast in the economy and is also a good politician, who should be able to talk to Nigerians and so on. I have seen one, or two or three of such persons already in his sixties,” the Minna-born former military leader said.

With this submission, the former military president, was believed to have ruled out a former vice president, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and a former governor of Lagos State, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, from the 2023 presidential run, because they would be in their 70s by the next election.

Owing to the mood of the nation, the expectation is largely that the person should be from the southern part of the country. But that is not a given, especially, when the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) argues otherwise in its search for a suitable presidential material.

However, given this situation, political pundits have identified a number of Nigerians, who would be under 70 years by 2023 and have the capability to add value to the society, judging from their contributions in either the public or private sectors.

Any of the identified individuals, experts believe, has the skills and competence to steer the country towards realising its much-talked about potential as well as address the socio-economic challenges that have over the years plagued the country.

Here are some eminent Nigerians who may very well fit the bill of IBB’s description of the person to be next President or Vice President in first name alphabetical order.

Abdul Samad Rabiu

Abdul Samad Rabiu was born on August 4, 1960 in Kano State. He is a billionaire businessman and philanthropist. He is the founder and Chairman of the BUA Group, a Nigerian conglomerate concentrating on manufacturing, infrastructure and agriculture. He attended Capital University in Columbus, Ohio and returned to Nigeria at the age of 24 to oversee his father’s business.

Due to his business interest, Rabiu has establishments across the country. In June this year, the French President, Emmanuel Macron inaugurated the France-Nigeria Business Council – a private sector initiative to enhance business relations between the two countries and announced Rabiu as the inaugural president of the council.

But Rabiu is one of the politically green individuals on the list. With near zero political credentials, it does appear tough for Rabiu to sit in this category, but not impossible.

Abdullahi Sule

Born in December 1959, Abdullahi Sule, is a Nigerian entrepreneur, businessman and politician, who is the current Governor of Nasarawa State. He was elected governor in 2019.

He attended Roman Catholic Mission (RMC) Primary School, Gudi Station in 1968; Zang Secondary School in 1974, and later Government Technical College, Bukuru in 1977. He left Nigeria on a scholarship to study at Indiana University, Terre Haute, Indiana, where he obtained a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Technology and a master’s degree in Industrial Technology.

As a governor and businessman in his early sixties, he appears to fit the bill, especially, coming from a liberal northern region – North Central – and having managed Dangote Sugar at some point. But with the clamour for a southern president, it may be a tough call for him. Besides, will gamble his near certain re-election for the uncertain presidency?

Abubakar Bagudu

Senator Abubakar Atiku Bagudu is the eighth Governor of Kebbi State, who assumed office on May 29, 2015. The Governor has a lifelong commitment to public service and the proven leadership skills to make government work for the people of his state. Prior to his election in May 2015, he represented Kebbi Central at the Senate.

Under his leadership, the state entered into a partnership with the Lagos State government on the establishment of a commodity value chain that will give a quantum leap to food processing, production and distribution. This partnership, which is the first of its kind in the history of the Nigerian agricultural sector, is aimed at bringing about national food sufficiency and food security.

He had his tertiary education at the Usman Dan Fodio University, Sokoto State, where he obtained his B.Sc in Economics. He proceeded to the University of Jos, Plateau State, where he had his Master of Science in Economics and thereafter, went to Columbia University,where he obtained his M.A in International Affairs.

However, coming from a core northern state – North West – it is almost a difficult gamble at a time southern presidency is the issue.

Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede

Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede was born in September 1966. He is a Nigerian banker, investor and philanthropist. He is the former Group Managing Director of Access Bank Plc as well as the founder and Chairman of Coronation Capital Limited, its affiliates, Coronation Asset Management Limited and Trium Limited.

He founded Africa Initiative for Governance (AIG) in 2014, and he is the Co-Chairman of the United Kingdom-Nigeria Capital Market Task Force and a board member of TCX Investment Management Company Netherlands. He hails from Edo State and studied law at the University of Benin, where he graduated with LLB degree in 1986. He holds an MBA awarded jointly by the London School of Economics, New York University, and HEC Paris.

Although boasts sound economic background, his politics is however nil. It may be another hard nut to crack, albeit not impossible.

Akinwunmi Adesina

Akinwunmi Adesina was born on February 6, 1960. An economist, who is currently serving his second term as the President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), had previously served as Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development.

Until his appointment as Minister in 2010, he was Vice President of Policy and Partnerships for the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA). He is the first Nigeria to be elected AfDB President and hails from Ogun State in South-west Nigeria.

Clearly, Adesina has distinguished himself in the business world with sound economic literature, nothing however shows he is able to manage the political side of governance. He also stands a good chance, coming from the Southwest.

Aliko Dangote

Aliko Dangote was born on April 10, 1957. He is the President of the Dangote Group,which has wide interest in the manufacturing sector. He is Africa’s richest man with an estimated net worth of $11.1 billion as of May 2021. Dangote hails from Kano State and obtained his bachelor’s degree in business studies and administration from Al-Azhar University, Cairo.

Many Nigerians believe that if given the opportunity, he could reflect the successes recorded in his companies, which he established as a small trading firm in 1977, and presently have grown into multi-trillion-naira conglomerate with many of its operations in Benin, Ghana, Nigeria, Zambia and Togo, among others.

The Dangote Group also dominates the sugar market in Nigeria and is a major supplier to the country’s soft drink companies, breweries, and confectioners. The Dangote Group is on the verge of completing its refinery. But, apart from being from the north, Dangote is believed not to have the temperament for politics, although he has friends across all interests. He is currently building one of the largest refinery and petrol chemical plant in the world in Lagos.

Amina Mohammed

Ms. Amina Mohammed was born in 1961 in Kaduna State. She is presently the Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations and Chair of the United Nations Sustainable Development Group. Prior to her appointment, she served as Minister of Environment in Nigeria, where she steered the country’s efforts on climate action and efforts to protect the natural environment.

Mohammed first joined the United Nations in 2012 as Special Adviser to former Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon with the responsibility for post-2015 development planning. She led the process that resulted in global agreement around the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the creation of the Sustainable Development Goals.

She began her career working on the design of schools and clinics in Nigeria. She served as an advocate focused on increasing access to education and other social services, before moving into the public sector, where she rose to the position of adviser to four successive Presidents on poverty, public sector reform, and sustainable development.

There’s no gainsaying that this is coming at a time the call to give women a chance has attracted a global attention. Whilst working at the UN might give her some political leverage, being from the north is a major mark down.

Aminu Tambuwal

Aminu Tambuwal was born in January 1966. The current Governor of Sokoto State, he served as the 10th Speaker of the House of Representatives. He attended Usman Dan Fodio University, Sokoto, where he studied Law, graduating with an LLB (Hons) degree in 1991.

He completed his one-year compulsory legal studies at the Nigerian Law School, Lagos, obtained his BL and was called to the Bar in 1992.

Tambuwal is a leader, who understands how to manage the country’s diversity and has friends across the spectrum of the country’s diversity, leveraging more on his days as Speaker. He is, no doubt, well positioned to manage the nation’s many tendencies if given the opportunity.

Atedo Peterside

Atedo Peterside, born in July 1955, is an entrepreneur, investment banker, and economist. He is the founder of Stanbic IBTC Bank Plc, Anap Business Jets Limited (Anap Jets), and Anap Foundation. He holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Economics from the City University, London.

He went on to obtain an M.Sc. in Economics from the London School of Economics and Political Science in 1977. Peterside founded the Investment Banking & Trust Company Limited (IBTC) in February 1989 at 33 and served as the bank’s CEO until 2007.

In 2007, IBTC Chartered Bank Plc merged with Stanbic Bank Nigeria Limited to form Stanbic IBTC Bank Plc, and he was elected Chairman of Stanbic IBTC Bank in October 2007, and he resigned in 2017.

Although he has always held strong political views, it doesn’t make him politically inclined, much as he is from the southern part of the country, which seeks to produce the next president.

Babatunde Fashola

Babatunde Raji Fashola was born in June 1963 and presently the Minister of Works and Housing. He served two terms as Governor of Lagos State from May 29, 2007 to May 29, 2015. In 2015, he was appointed by President Muhammadu Buhari as the Minister of Power, Works and Housing.

He studied law at the University of Benin, from where he graduated with a Bachelor of Laws, LL.B.(Hon), degree in 1987.

Fashola, a Notary Public of the Supreme Court of Nigeria, was the second law graduate from the University of Benin and the first member of the Nigerian Law School graduating class of 1988 to be conferred with the professional rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN).

With his stellar performance as governor of Lagos State, which put the state on the world map, Fashola is easily one of the few generally adjudged as fit to run Nigeria, almost effortlessly.

Apart from boasting capacity and competence, he is also a southerner from the Southwest to be precise. He is loved and respected by his friends for his discipline and political maturity. He is an exceptionally brilliant mind and aptly fits the bill.

Benedict Oramah

Dr. Benedict Okey Oramah has been the President and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the African Export–Import Bank (Afreximbank) since September 2015. Under his leadership, the pan-African institution has been playing a leading role in supporting businesses and countries on the continent.

Oramah was the Executive Vice President in charge of Business Development and Corporate Banking from October 2008. In that position, he supervised the business development departments and units of the Bank, namely, Trade Finance and Branches; Project and Export Development Finance; Syndications and Specialised Finance; and Corporate Finance and Advisory Services.

He joined Afreximbank as Chief Analyst in 1994 and was promoted to the position of Senior Director, Planning and Business Development in 2007. Prior to joining Afreximbank, he was an Assistant Research Manager at the Nigerian Export Import Bank from 1992.

He holds M.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees in agricultural economics, obtained in 1987 and 1991 respectively, from the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife. He bagged, also, a B.Sc. degree in agricultural economics, from the University of Ibadan in 1983. There’s no doubting the fact that he has sufficient private sector experience, but same cannot be said for politics.

Bukola Saraki

Dr. Bukola Saraki, a former President of the Senate, was Governor of Kwara State from 2003 to 2011; and was elected to the Senate in 2011. Saraki was born in December 1962, in London. He attended Cheltenham College, a public boarding school in the United Kingdom from 1979 to 1981.

He then proceeded to London Hospital Medical College of the University of London from 1982 to 1987, where he received a Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery.

Saraki worked as a medical officer at Rush Green Hospital, Essex and had been a Director of Société Générale Bank (Nigeria) Limited. In 2000, President Olusegun Obasanjo appointed Saraki as his Special Assistant on Budget.

In addition, Saraki had since the passing of his father, Dr. Olusola Saraki, taken over the political machine of the man mimicked the strongman of Kwara politics and has continued to manage it.

It is evident that Saraki has grown not only to understand the nuances of both the private and public sector, but also has a good hand of the game of politics. Indeed, many people believed IBB had Saraki in mind, when he gave his description of those eligible to lead Nigeria in 2023.

Nothing, however, affirms Saraki’s capacity to effectively lead Nigeria than his four years as Senate President. Although from the North Central region, Saraki is one presidential hopeful believed to stand astride between the South and the north and suitable for the job, if and when a northern joker is to be thrown up in 2023.

Chukwuma Soludo

Chukwuma Soludo was born in July 1960. An economics professor and former Central Bank of Nigeria Governor, he is presently the factional gubernatorial candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance. He is also a member of the British Department for International Development Advisory Group.

Soludo has been a visiting scholar at the International Monetary Fund, the University of Cambridge, the Brookings Institution, the University of Warwick, and the University of Oxford as well as a visiting professor at Swarthmore College (USA). He has also worked as a consultant for a number of international organisations, including The World Bank, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, and the United Nations Development Programme.

A southerner from the East and combining both the private and public sector experience, Soludo is currently obsessed with his governorship ambition in Anambra State and may not have considered the presidency as an option. However, he also fits the bill.

Godwin Emefiele

The current Central Bank of Nigeria Governor, Godwin Emefiele was born in August, 1961. He holds a B.Sc. in Finance (1984) and an MBA in Finance (1986), both from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. He is also an alumnus of Executive Education at Stanford University, Harvard University (2004) and Wharton School of Business (2005).

Having run Nigeria’s leading bank, Zenith Bank Plc., for eight years and the Central Bank for six years, he knows exactly what is wrong with the economy. His Anchor borrowers programme has greatly helped poor farmers all over the country, particularly in the North where is well liked.

He is also well regarded in the Southwest where he was born and known as Omoluabi. Emefiele speaks Yoruba fluently. And he is Igbo speaking from the South-South. Fitting perfectly to the clamour for an Igbo speaking president. Emefiele would be a good fit for president.

Godwin Obaseki

Godwin Obaseki was born in July 1957 and is currently the Governor of Edo State. Before becoming governor, he had served as the chairman of the Edo State Economic and Strategy Team inaugurated by former Governor Adams Oshiomole in March 2009.

He holds post graduate degrees in both Finance and International Business and is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Stock Brokers. Obaseki served as an executive board member of several private companies including Afrinvest.

As governor and businessman, he clearly has both the private and public sector experience. Perhaps, he needs to do more in terms of disposition and capacity to manage tendence. But, he is pretty much close to the rudimentary requisite.

Herbert Wigwe

Herbert Wigwe was born in August 1966. He is the Group Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Access Bank Plc, one of Africa’s fastest growing financial institutions. Wigwe has a degree in accountancy from the University of Nigeria, an MA in Banking and Finance from the University College of North Wales (now Bangor), an MSc in Financial Economics from the University of London, and is an Alumnus of the Harvard Business School Executive Management Programme.

However, apart from his relationship with politicians, his political credential is nothing close to the requirement of the office of the president except he learns on the job. His current job also gives him contacts across the divides and interests.

Ibikunle Amosun

Ibikunle Amosun, a former governor of Ogun State and two-term senator, was born in January 1958. Amosun attended Ogun State Polytechnic, graduating with a Higher National Diploma (HND) in 1983.

He became an Associate member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) in 1990 and went on to become a fellow of the Institute in 1996. He also became an Associate member of the Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria (1998).

Today, in Ogun State, Amosun is the single most important issue in the body polity. With a closeness to President Muhammadu Buhari that is beyond human comprehension and a relationship with others across the bridges of the nation, Amosun is largely considered the president’s number one preference from the Southwest if he were given the privilege.

Aside being in a vantage position with the part of the country he hails from, Amosun also boasts both the private and the public sectors experience, leaving him with considerable advantage for the job.

Kayode Fayemi

Dr. Kayode Fayemi, born in February 1965, is currently serving as the Governor of Ekiti State. He previously served as governor between 2010 and 2014 and was also the Minister of Solid Minerals Development in President Muhammadu Buhari’s cabinet from 11 November 2015 to 30 May 2018, when he resigned to contest for a second time as governor.

He obtained degrees in History, Politics and International Relations from the University of Lagos and University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University). From 1989 to 1992, he earned a Doctorate in War Studies from King’s College London, specialising in civil-military relations.

Put on a scale, Fayemi is believed to be about the most advantageous from the Southwest, being a Christian with high political leverage. His chairmanship of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) confers an unequalled advantage on him, making him have the ears of his colleagues.

And with the ongoing extrapolation of a majority of the northern governors, who are largely Muslims, paring with a Christian southern governor is the only gamble they want to take, more so after they had allegedly resolved to ensure that both the offices of the president and the vice president were occupied by governors – former or current. Fayemi fits the bill.

Kingsley Moghalu

Professor Kingsley Moghalu is already a 2023 presidential aspirant. A lawyer, author and former deputy governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, he taught at Tufts University as Professor of Practice in International Business and Public Policy at The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy from 2015 to 2017.

He was the presidential candidate of the Young Progressives Party (YPP) in the February 2019, general election. He is the founder of Sogato Strategies LLC, a global investment advisory firm, and the president of the Institute for Governance and Economic Transformation (IGET), a public policy think tank. He is a potential candidate for the office of the president – skilled largely in private sector experience. He once took his chances in an election, even though he was barely noticed from the votes tabulation.

Leo Stan Ekeh

Leonard Stanley Ekeh was born in February 1956. He has strong knowledge of the economy, especially, how to use technology in transforming an economy. He is the founder and chairman of Zinox Group and also the chairman of Konga.com, a leading e-Commerce company.

During his early years, he wanted to own the biggest transport company in Nigeria. He later went to India for his university education, where he received a Bachelor of Science degree in economics from Punjab University.

Ekeh believes that studying in India was a great turning point in his career, because he found the economy of India to be realistic. He also earned an MSc in Risk Management from the University of Nottingham.

He too has a strong network of friends across the country and affiliations with some of the global tech companies. But like some of his contemporaries in the business world, his connection to the political class is limited and indeed, defined.

With many of the factors in his favour, his poor understanding of politics is a minus that counts. But whether or not Nigeria wants him that way is a different kettle of fish for as long as votes count.

Nasir El-Rufai

The Governor of Kaduna State, Nasir El-Rufai, was born in February 1960. He was aMinister of the Federal Capital Territory from 2003 to 2007; and the director of the Bureau of Public Enterprises. El-Rufai attended Ahmadu Bello University in Zaria, where he received a bachelor’s degree in quantity surveying with first class honours.

In 1984, he received a Master of Business Administration from the Ahmadu Bello University. He has since attended several professional and post-graduate programmes, including the Georgetown School of Foreign Service of Georgetown University in Washington, D.C and programmes on privatisation and leadership.

El-Rufai, no doubt has always had his eyes on the presidency, even though he too believes a younger person is better off on the nation’s number one seat. Interestingly, he has been an advocate for power to return to the south almost since the beginning of this dispensation. Whether or not he would accept to deputise anyone is another ball game altogether.

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala was born in June 1954. She is an economist and the serving Director-General of the World Trade Organisation. She is the first woman and first African to lead global trade body. A two-term former Minister in Nigeria, she sits on boards of Danone, Standard Chartered Bank, Twitter, Mandela Institute for Development Studies, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security, One Campaign, GAVI: Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation, Rockefeller Foundation, among several global institutions.

She is another woman, aside Amina, that many people feel deserve a chance to lead the country from the doldrums. Okon-Iweala has no doubt distinguished herself in service to fatherland and indeed, the world.

However, she may suffer a different fate as Amina. While she is from the south and might benefit from the agitation for zoning, the question of whether or not Nigeria is ready for a female president never goes away.

Peter Obi

Peter Obi was born in July 1961. He is a politician and businessman, who was the vice presidential candidate during the 2019 general election. A former governor of Anambra State, Obi obtained his first degree at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, graduating with a B.A (Hons) in philosophy in 1984.

He attended Lagos business school, where he did his Chief executive programme; Harvard business school, Boston, USA, where he did two programmes; London School of Economics, Columbia southwest school, New York, USA, Institute for management development, Switzerland, where he also got two certificates in Senior Executive Programme and Chief Executive Officers programme. He also attended Kellogg graduate school of Management, USA, Oxford University: Said business school and Cambridge University’s George business school.

A Christian from the Southeast zone of the country, Obi has everything going for him, including the understanding of the issues as well as the capacity to sell them. Whether or not the Southeast could get it, is a question the whole of the South would have to answer as the battle for zoning to the region rages. But, yes, he fits the bill.

Rotimi Amaechi

Rotimi Amaechi, born in May 1965, is the current Minister of Transportation. He served as Governor of Rivers State from 2007 to 2015 and Speaker of the State House of Assembly from 1999 to 2007 – back to back.

Amaechi received a Bachelor of Arts degree (Honours) in English Studies and Literature from the University of Port Harcourt in 1987. He is currently studying law at a university in Nigeria.

Of all the ministers in President Muhammadu Buhari’s cabinet, Amaechi is one of the few, who have distinguished themselves in terms of performance, and curiously, has become the face of the administration as its poster child.

But, again, apart from fitting the bill of the president Nigeria needs, Amaechi is one of the few actors, who have not hidden their desire to be president. Not only is he working to achieve this goal, he is also building bridges to that effect.

With stellar record of performance as minister and a network of friends across the country, a situation made easy by his position as Buhari’s campaign DG for the two times, Amaechi is also believed to have the capacity to muster the needed war chest to prosecute a presidential electoral battle.

Besides, he is also a Christian of the Catholic denomination, whom many of the Northern Muslim governors might want to deputise for a balanced presidential ticket.

Sanusi Lamido Sanusi

Sanusi was born in July 1961. He is a former Emir of Kano. He is a former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria as well as a former Chief Executive Officer of First Bank. Sanusi is a prominent traditional and religious figure as the leader of the Tijaniyyah Sufi order in Nigeria, the second largest Sufi order after the Qadiriyya Sufi order. He received a bachelor’s degree in Economics from the Ahmadu Bello University in 1981 and a Master degree in Economics. Sanusi has both private and public sector experience and he has a rich network of friends across the country. He understands the workings of the economy.

Segun Agbaje

Segun Agbaje, born in 1964, is the Chief Executive Officer of Guaranty Trust Holding Company. He is also a Director of PepsiCo and member of the Mastercard Advisory Board, Middle East and Africa. Agbaje attended the University of San Francisco, California, where he earned Bachelor of Accounting and Master of Business Administration degrees.

He started his career working for Ernst & Young in San Francisco and left in 1991 to join GTBank. He rose through the ranks to become an Executive Director in January 2000, and Deputy Managing Director in August 2002.

Agbaja has always played in the private sector with no profile on the political turf and thus, combining both might be quite difficult, since his only option, which is to learn on the job, might be too costly for the patience of the Nigerian people. A Christian, Agbaje is however within the age range of those being sourced, including coming from a privileged zone – Southwest.

Seyi Makinde

Seyi Makinde, Governor of Oyo State, was born in December, 1967. A businessman, politician and philanthropist, he is an engineer and until his election, he was the GMD of Makon Group Limited, an indigenous oil and gas company.

He established his first oil and gas private business called Makon Engineering and Technical Services, (METS) at the age of 29, in 1997, after earning years of work experience with international oil and gas companies. He obtained his first degree in Electrical Engineering at the University of Lagos. In 2000, he had training in automation.

In 2002, he studied Fundamentals of Crude Sampling at Jiskoot Auto Control Training Centre, Kent, England. Also, in 2005, he studied Understanding and Solving Complex Business Problems at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), USA.

Armed with both the private and public sector experience, Makinde, ticks practically all the boxes of qualification for the job, to which a competent hand is being sought. But like some of his colleagues on the list, will he be willing to leave his near-certain re-election for the uncertain presidency.

Importantly, being in the opposition PDP might serve as a disadvantage for him in case his party throws the ticket open and not directly zones it to the South and Southwest to be precise.

Timipre Sylva

Timipre Sylva was born in July 1964 and is presently the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources. He had a stint as governor of oil-rich Bayelsa State. Sylva graduated from the University of Port Harcourt with distinction in English (Linguistics) in 1986.

At the time, he was the best graduating student from his department and departmental valedictorian. He was subsequently awarded a Doctor in International Relations (Honoris causa) by the UBIS University in 2011.

Sylva was awarded his second Doctorate (Honoris Causa) in Public Administration on the 2nd of December 2020 by AiPA (African Institute of Public Administration, Leading Edge Foundation and LBBS.

Over the years, he has developed a network of friends across the country and as a former governor currently holding a political office, there’s no debating the fact that he understands both the business and politics of governance.

Interestingly, those said to be looking in the way of Sylva were believed to be considering him as an option to neutralise the influence and weight of Amaechi in the Niger Delta. Although Sylva and Amaechi were believed to have closed ranks sometime back, it is not certain they would not resume another round of hostility as 2023 inches close.

That said, Sylva comes close in the category of potential presidential material.

Tony Elumelu

Tony Elumelu was born in March, 1963. He is an economist, entrepreneur, and philanthropist. He is also the chairman of Heirs Holdings, the United Bank for Africa, Transcorp and founder of The Tony Elumelu Foundation. Elumelu was named among Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People of 2020.

He hails from Delta State and has two degrees in economics from Nigerian universities: a bachelor’s degree from Ambrose Alli University and Master of Science degree from the University of Lagos.

A shrewd private sector actor, Elumelu’s political inclination appears not sufficient except he learns on the job too. Although he also carries with him some street smartness, which could provide some leverage, how much of contacts he has is definitely not in doubt. With age, knowledge, experience, money and influence, he may not be a bad choice after all.

Udoma Udo Udoma

Udoma Udo Udoma is a former Minister of Budget and National Planning. He is the founding partner of Udo Udoma & Belo Osagie – one of Nigeria’s oldest and largest commercial law firms.

He attended St. Catherine’s College, Oxford, England, where he obtained a B.A. (Law) degree in 1976 and a B.C.L. degree in jurisprudence in 1977. He was called to the Nigerian Bar Association in 1978, after obtaining a B.L. degree at the Nigerian Law School.

Evidently in his sixties and with experience in both the private and the public sectors, Udoma has a lot to offer, especially, with his disciplined disposition. A Christian too, he might have to battle internal party antics to get any close. But, without a doubt, he has distinguished himself as worthy.

Yemi Osinbajo

Professor Yemi Osinbajo was born in March 1957 and is currently the vice president. A professor of law, he had his undergraduate degree at the University of Lagos, where he obtained a Second Class Honours (Upper Division) Degree in Law.

In 1979, he completed the mandatory one-year professional training at the Nigerian Law School, whereon he was admitted to practice as a Barrister and Solicitor of Nigeria’s Supreme Court. In 1980, he attended the London School of Economics, where he obtained a Master of Laws degree.

Given a different field of play, Osinbajo should have been the most eligible to take over from Buhari in 2023. First, he is a Christian of the Pentecostal denomination. Two, he is from the Southwest. Three, he is in his sixties. Four, he can combine both politics and the economy for a smooth run governance.

Although he is believed to have zero political base, which is understandable, it is also arguable that he might have learnt on the job, whilst his understanding of the nation’s economy is by every inch not in doubt.

Above all, having walked with Buhari for eight years, no one can sell the programmes of the administration better or able to sustain the programmes of the regime, whose CHANGE mantra is predicated on the tripod of economy, corruption and security – the three major monsters still confronting the nation till date, than Osinbajo.

Unfortunately, Osinbajo is believed to have had it pretty much rough with some of those believed to be controlling other levers of power – a friction that has created an irredeemable level of mistrust. That, of course, appears his only but major undoing as he continues to stealthily eye the presidency.

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