The 2019 general elections in Nigerian came with some major upsets as some influential politicians “tasted” shocking defeats.
However, as the 2023 general elections approach, there are indications that some of the defeated heavyweight politicians may stage a strong comeback.
Here is five of them:
1. Bukola Saraki
In 2015, Bukola Saraki, a former governor of Kwara state, rose to become the third-most powerful political office holder in Nigeria, against all odds, on the platform of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
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However, unresolved conflicts led to his return to his former party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), in the buildup to the 2019 elections.
After losing the bid to get the PDP’s 2019 presidential ticket to former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, Saraki resolved to go back to the Senate.
However, in what appeared to be the biggest political upset in the 2019 elections, the former Senate president lost the senatorial election to the candidate of the APC.
The ruling APC also recorded a groundbreaking victory in Kwara state, winning the governorship seat and other important political seats.
However, Saraki appears to have bounced back from the defeat as he now plays a prominent role in the PDP’s efforts to oust the ruling APC in 2023.
Whether he decides to return to the Senate or give a shot at the presidency again, Saraki is one to watch out for in 2023.
2. Shehu Sani
Following his failure to get the APC’s senatorial ticket for the Kaduna Central senatorial district in 2019 due to his conflict with Governor Nasir El-Rufai, Shehu Sani left the ruling party for the Peoples Redemption Party (PRP).
He contested for the Senate on the PRP’s platform but lost to the candidate of his former party.
Ahead of 2023, Senator Sani has recently defected to the PDP and may reclaim the Kaduna Central senatorial seat or even go for the state’s governorship seat.
3. Dino Melaye
Senator Dino Melaye, an ally of Saraki, also returned to the PDP before the 2019 elections. He lost his bid to return to the ninth Senate to his political rival and candidate of his former party, APC, Senator Smart Adeyemi.
All his bids to reclaim the seat through court failed.
Since his defeat, Melaye has kept his political influence alive by consistently criticising the APC and its policies. In 2023, Melaye may reclaim the Kogi West senatorial seat.
4. George Akume
George Akume, a former governor, wields a strong political influence in Benue state. He played a frontline role in the emergence of Samuel Ortom as Benue governor on the APC’s platform in 2015 (Ortom has since joined the PDP).
Akume who moved to the Senate in 2007 suffered a shocking defeat as he failed to return to the Red Chamber in 2019.
In 2023. Akume will not only be aiming at returning to the Senate but also returning the APC to the power in Benue state.
5. Atiku Abubakar
Atiku Abubakar’s quest to become Nigeria’s number one citizen started as far back as 1992.
He contested the presidential primary of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) came third in the primary behind late Chief Moshood Abiola who eventually won the annulled June 12 1993 election.
Despite losing four times, the undeterred former vice president made the fifth attempt in 2019. Sadly he lost again.
There are speculations that Atiku will give a shot at the presidency, for the sixth time, in 2023.
2023 presidency: PDP group tells Atiku not to contest
In other news, a group called the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) Action 2023 has asked Atiku not to contest the 2023 presidency.
The group accused the PDP chieftain of abandoning the party for Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE) since he lost the 2019 presidential election.
Though Atiku has not yet declared his intention to re-contest in 2023, his son, Adamu Atiku Abubakar, had months ago said he would contest again.