- Nigerians will head to the polls in February 2023 to elect new set of leaders across the vast West African country
- Eighteen candidates have presented themselves to succeed President Muhammadu Buhari, who is completing his second and final four-year term in office in May 2023
- Although the presidential succession contest appears to be a race among four main contenders, there are five other heavyweights in the race
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FCT, Abuja - As Nigerians head to the polls in February 2023, political discourse among pundits, media coverage, social media commentary and analysis, centers around four frontrunners, overshadowing 14 other candidates.
However, recent activities in the country's political space suggests that there are five other presidential contenders who are a force to reckon with.
1. Kolawole Abiola (Peoples Redemption Party, PRP)
Whether anyone likes or not, Abiola is a force in Nigeria's politics. Apart from the fact that he is the first child of the late Moshood Abiola, the acclaimed winner of the June 12, 1993 annulled presidential election, he won his primary election against a season politician.
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A political activist and former member of the House of Representatives, Dr Usman Bugaje, was defeated by Abiola during the PRP's presidential primary election, a pointer to the fact thatthe younger Abiola has come of age in politics and can stand the test of time.
His performances in various presidential debates so far have also been top-notch. Abiola reels out practical solutions to the myriad of challenges affecting the country.
2. Adewole Adebayo (Social Democratic Party, SDP)
The presidential candidate of SDP, is an unusual candidate in many respects. One, he is about one of the youngest of the lot jostling to succeed Muhammadu Buhari. Second, he is a quiet achiever that prefers to silently walk his talk instead of hugging media limelight.
He is also steadily structures of his party across the 36 states making the party one of the fastest growing party in the country.
Adebayo is a lawyer and founder of KAFTAN Television. He clinched the party’s ticket after polling 1,546 votes to defeat his closest rival, Kadijah Okunnu-Lamidi, who polled 83 votes.
A member of the International Bar Association, Adebayo is licensed to practise in Australia, Canada, United Kingdom, California, New York, and federal courts in the United States. He will make a good president.
3. Hamza Al-Mustapha (Action Alliance, AA)
The AA presidential candidate was trained as a military intelligence operative and held various command posts, serving as the chief security officer to the late military head of state, General Sani Abacha.
He recently said he will end Nigeria’s insurgency, banditry, and kidnapping within six months if elected as president, saying his experience as a military officer for 35 years and while working with Abacha would enable him tackle insecurity.
He also said in an interview with BBC Hausa that he would stay in Sambisa forest if he became president.
4. Omoyele Sowore (African Action Congress, AAC)
Sowore is a human rights activist and publisher of Sahara Reporters, an online news medium. This is the second time he will be running for the post of the president of Nigeria having contested the 2019 presidential election on the platform of the party, which he founded in 2018.
At 51, he is also one of the youngest in the race and has no baggage like the typical Nigerian politician. His past activities as an activist and pro-democracy campaigner, gives him an edge, especially as he is popular among a segment of Nigeria's vibrant youth popoulatio n
5. Imumolen Christopher (Accord Party, AP)
Imumolen, 39, is an educationist, a professor and entrepreneur. He is the youngest contestant in the presidential race and possesses two PhD degrees in Engineering Research and Educational Management.
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He is the founder of the Joint Professional Training and Support International Limited (JPTS) and UNIC Foundation, a non-profit organisation. He is known for sponsoring the education of thousands of students across Nigeria. His passion and investment in education is unrivalled.
He has the advantage of joining a party that has formidable structures in various parts of the country.
2023: Stick to issues, not sentiments - APC chieftain tells presidential candidates
Meanwhile, an All Progressives Congress (APC) chieftain, Gbenga Olawepo-Hashim recently warned presidential candidates of the various political parties against further widening the existing gulf and divisions in the country in their race and ambition for 2023.
In a statement sent to Legit.ng, the APC chieftain explained that in the quest for power by the candidates, rather than addressing issues that are relevant to our nationhood, the actors have been inflaming the passion of tribal and religious bias among citizens.
According to him, the supporters of the candidates are also driving their campaigns and marketing of their candidates via intimidation, threat, disinformation and blackmail, without any word of caution from their principals.
2023: I pity Nigeria's next president - Sheikh Gumi
On his part, prominent Nigerian Islamic cleric, Sheikh Ahmad Gumi, says he feels pity for Nigeria’s next president.
In an article he wrote and seen by Legit.ng, Gumi said the next commander-in-chief has to act “quickly and carefully” when he assumes office.
The prominent cleric warned that if the country's next president treat terrorism with kid gloves, insurgency will get worse.