On Your Marks… Here are the 17 Finalists

Adedayo Akinwale

Seventeen of the 18 registered political parties have elected their candidates for next year’s presidential election. One party, Action Peoples Party (APP), will not present a presidential candidate for the poll, as the time given by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for political parties to conclude their primaries elapsed on June 9.

With the emergence of the presidential candidates for the February 2023 general election, the next stage is the choice of their running mates to make up complete tickets, as provided by the constitution.
While the politicking for vice presidential candidates goes on, we familiarise Nigerians with the men, who want to lead the country, perhaps, to help the citizens in their choice of preferred candidates.  
THISDAY presents the 17 men, who seek to succeed President Muhammadu Buhari in 2023.

Christopher Imumolen (AP)
Professor Christopher Imumolen is the presidential candidate of Accord Party (AP). An educationist and entrepreneur, Imumolen holds two doctorates in Engineering Research and Educational Management, in addition to three Master’s and Bachelor’s degrees in Mechanical Engineering.

An indigene of Esan West, Ekpoma, in Edo State, Imumolen started his career as a Plant Engineer at BOC Gases Nigeria Plc in February 2005. In 2009, he established the Joint Professional Training and Support International Limited (JPTS), an educational body that has trained over 30,000 certified professionals. He established the UNIC Foundation in January 2014, as an empowerment and employment scheme that envisions the goal of supporting four million Nigerian businesses every year with grants, and granting reliefs and scholarships to widows and students.

The president of Onshore Offshore Oil and Gas Professionals has served as Senior Technical Adviser to the Akwa-Ibom State government on oil and gas matters, and Technical Safety Consultant to NAPECO Kuwait. He is the founder of Global Wealth System, a business network system, with over 450,000 membership, set up to empower entrepreneurs globally.

Imumolen said he joined the 2023 presidential race because he believed Nigeria needed a new kind of leadership, since things were not working because there was a leadership gap.

Hamza Al Mustapha (AA)
Maj. Hamza Al-Mustapha was Chief Security Officer to the late Head of State, Gen. Sani Abacha. Al-Mustapha was trained as a military intelligence operative and held various command posts in the Ministry of Internal Affairs; Security Group of the Directorate of Military Intelligence (SG-DMI), 82 Division; Army Headquarters; Ministry of Defence; and the Presidency. He was also involved in counter-intelligence activities and at least, two investigations of coup attempts, which brought him to the attention of Abacha. He conducted operations in Chad, Liberia, Bakassi, Gambia, and Sierra Leone.

Al-Mustapha oversaw the reorganisation of the entire territory of Nigeria into six geopolitical zones. In this, he cultivated a vast network of spies and informants across the federation.
He was removed from office and subsequently arrested after the death of Abacha in 1998. On 21 December 2010, Al-Mustapha and his co-defendants were acquitted of most of the charges against them, but they were not cleared of the alleged murder of Kudirat Abiola. On January 30, 2012, the Lagos High Court found Al-Mustapha guilty of the murder and he was sentenced to death by hanging. However, on July 12, 2013, the Court of Appeal in Lagos overturned the high court judgement and acquitted Al-Mustapha of all the murder charges.  

In 2017, Al-Mustapha joined partisan politics and founded the Green Party of Nigeria (GPN). He emerged the presidential candidate of the Peoples Party of Nigeria (PPN) during the 2019 general election.

Yabagi Sani (ADP)
The presidential candidate of Action Democratic Party (ADP), Yabagi Sani, is also the chairman of the Inter-party Advisory Committee (IPAC) and National Chairman of the party.
He started his career as an administrative officer-depot chief at the Petroleum Products Marketing Company (PPMC) depot, Kano, under Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) in 1980. Sani joined politics in 1991, when he was founding member of All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP), and member, Board of Trustees of the party.
In 1999, Sani was the candidate of APP in the Niger State governorship election. He was the financial secretary of the then Nigeria Liberal Convention (NLC/NRC), and also North-central presidential coordinator of the Alhaji Bashir Tofa campaign in 1993.

Sani was the presidential candidate of Action Democratic Party in the 2019 general election.
He began his early education at East School, Bida, in 1961, and went to Technical College, Kontagora, in 1970. He graduated from Harvard University and Institute of Technology, New York, in 1976. He graduated from Columbia University, New York, in 1978 with B.Sc in management engineering.

Omoyele Sowore (AAC)
The publisher of Sahara Reporters, Omoyele Sowore, is the presidential candidate of the African Action Congress (AAC) in the 2023 elections. An activist, Sowore took part in students’ demonstrations against the conditionalities of an International Monetary Fund (IMF) loan of $120 million for use in a Nigerian oil pipeline in 1989. He also led 5,100 students in protest against the Nigerian government in 1992. The protest resulted in the shooting and killing of seven protesters by the Nigeria Police. He was arrested and tortured.

Sowore was also involved in the anti-military protests that followed the annulment of the June 12, 1993 presidential election, which the late Moshood Abiola was poised to win. He was again arrested by the DSS on August 3, 2019, ahead of a planned nationwide #RevolutionNow protest. On September 24, 2019, Sowore was granted bail by the Federal High Court, Abuja.

On September 29, 2019, Sowore made his first appearance in the media since his detention. The court again set Sowore free on December 5, 2019, confirming that he had settled his bail terms. On February 25, 2018, Sowore announced his intention to run for president in the 2019 general election. In August 2018, he founded a political party, the African Action Congress (AAC), under which he contested the election.

Dumebi Kachikwu (ADC)
Dumebi Kachikwu, younger brother to former Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu, caused a major upset, when he won the presidential ticket of African Democratic Congress (ADC), against Prof. Kingsley Moghalu, who many had believed would win the party’s presidential ticket. Kachikwu joined ADC in October 202.
Kachikwu is the founder and Chairman, Roots Television, Nigeria. He was born on December 20, 1970. He promised to initiate wide-ranging public service reforms to eliminate corruption and win the war against terrorism if elected.

Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu (APC)
Bola Tinubu, an accountant and politician, is national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), which was formed in 2013. Tinubu studied accounting in the United States before working abroad for several years. He returned to Nigeria in the mid-1980s and continued working in financial management before entering politics. In 1992, he was the Lagos West senatorial candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SDP).
After Abacha’s dissolution of the Senate in 1993, Tinubu became an activist, campaigning for return to democracy under the National Democratic Coalition (NADECO).

Tinubu was forced into exile in 1994. He returned to Nigeria after Abacha’s death in 1998, during the political activities for the transition to the Fourth Republic. He was Governor of Lagos State from 1999 to 2007 and Senator for Lagos West during the botched Third Republic.

In 2014, Tinubu supported former military Head of State, General Muhammadu Buhari, leader of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) leg of the APC, and in 2015, Buhari drove the APC to victory, ending the 16 years rule of the PDP, and marking the first time in the history of Nigeria that an incumbent president lost to an opposition candidate.

In January 2022, Tinubu announced his intention to run for president under APC ahead of the 2023 presidential election, and in June 2022, he was chosen as the APC presidential candidate.

Peter Umeadi  (APGA)
Former Chief Judge of Anambra State, and presidential candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Justice Peter Umeadi (rtd), will test his might against other political juggernauts in the 2023 general election.

Umeadi retired as chief judge on March 1, 2019, and subsequently joined the party in his ward in the Aniocha area of Anambra State. Umeadi was unopposed in the primary, as his candidacy was affirmed by 150 delegates at a special convention of the party in the Katampe area of Abuja.
In April, while canvassing for the ticket of APGA, Umeadi described himself as the best candidate to win the 2023 presidential election for the party.

Yusuf Mamman Dantalle (APM)
The presidential candidate of Allied Peoples Movement (APM), Yusuf Mamman Dantalle, emerged without a contest. Dantalle, who was the national chairman of the party, was the sole presidential aspirant during the party’s presidential primary.

In March 2022, a faction of the National Working Committee (NWC)of the party had suspended  Dantalle, and the national secretary, Mr. Oyedeji Adebayo, over alleged misconduct. Dantalle described the suspension as being of no effect.

Sunday Adenuga (BP)
Not much is known about Mr Sunday Adenuga, the presidential candidate of the Boot Party (BP). Although a businessman from Ogun State, he had very little media presence, and he may not pose any serious challenge.

Peter Obi (LP)
Politician and businessman, Mr. Peter Obi was the vice presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2019 general election. He was governor of Anambra State from March 17, 2006 to November 2, 2006, before he was impeached. Obi returned to office from February 9, 2007 to May 29, 2007 after the court overturned his impeachment.

Although a fresh election was held on April 29, 2007, Obi was reappointed governor on June 14, 2007, after a court ruled that he should be allowed to complete his four-year term. He was re-elected for a second-term during the February 6, 2010 governorship election.
Obi wrote to the leadership of PDP on May 24, resigning his membership of the party, and subsequently joined the Labour Party, where he won the presidential ticket.

He attended Christ the King College, Onitsha, where he completed his secondary education, and was admitted into the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, in 1980. Obi graduated with a B.A (Hons) in Philosophy in 1984, and went to the Lagos Business School, Nigeria, where he did his Chief Executive Programme. He was also at the Harvard Business School, Cambridge, USA, where he did two programmes. Obi attended the London School of Economics, and Columbia Southwest School, New York, USA, among others.

Okwudili Nwa-Anyajike (NRM)
The presidential candidate of the National Rescue Movement (NRM), Okwudili Nwa-Anyajike, is a relatively unknown fellow, but has been gaining some conscious media exposure. He said during a recent media interview that he had an agenda that would return the country to the path of progress.

Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso (NNPP)
Rabi’u Musa Kwankwaso made his entry into politics on the platform of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), as a member of the Peoples Front faction of the party. In 1992, Kwankwaso was elected a member of the House of Representatives, representing Madobi Federal Constituency.

During the 1995 Constitutional Conference, Kwankwaso was elected one of the delegates from Kano, as a member of the Peoples Democratic Movement, led by the late Shehu Yar’adua. He later joined the Democratic Party of Nigeria (DPN) in the political transition programme of General Sani Abacha. Kwankwaso joined the PDP in 1998, under the platform of Peoples Democratic Movement. In 1999, he contested the PDP primaries alongside Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, Mukthari Zimit, Alhaji Kabiru Rabiu.

He was governor of Kano State from May 29, 1999 to May 29, 2003. He was elected again in 2011. In August 2013, Kwankwaso was among seven serving governors, who formed the G-7 faction within the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). In November 2013, he, alongside five members of the G-7, defected to the All Progressives Congress (APC). In October 2014, Kwankwaso contested the APC presidential primaries, where he came second.

In July 2018, Kwankwaso alongside 14 serving senators of the APC, defected to PDP. In October 2018, he contested the PDP presidential ticket and lost to Atiku Abubakar. But on February 22, 2022, he set up a national movement against the two major political parties and co-opted the New Nigeria Peoples Party as the political wing of the movement. He first became the national leader of the party on March 30, 2022, and subsequently emerged its presidential candidate.

Alhaji Atiku Abubakar (PDP)
Since his entry into politics in 1989, Atiku Abubakar has unsuccessfully contested the office of President of Nigeria five times: 1993, 2007, 2011, 2015 and 2019. In 1993, he contested the Social Democratic Party (SDP) presidential ticket, losing to Moshood Abiola and Baba Gana Kingibe. He was a presidential candidate of the Action Congress in 2007, when he came third to Umaru Yar’Adua of the PDP and Muhammadu Buhari of the ANPP.

Atiku contested in the presidential primaries of PDP during the 2011 presidential election, but lost to then President Goodluck Jonathan. In 2014, he joined the APC ahead of the 2015 presidential election and contested the presidential primaries, losing to Buhari. In 2017, he returned to PDP and was the party’s presidential candidate during the 2019 presidential election, when he again lost to incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari. In May 2022, Atiku was elected the PDP presidential candidate for the 2023 general election.

Atiku worked in the Nigeria Customs Service for 20 years, rising to become the Deputy Director, as the second highest position in the Service was then known. He retired in April 1989 and went into full-time business and politics. He started out in the real estate business during his early days as a customs Oofficer.

Kola Abiola (PRP)
Kola Abiola attended the Colorado State University, where he obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Finance and MBA in Business Administration. He returned to Nigeria and started the University Staff School, Akoka, during which time his mother was a lecturer at YabaTech.
Kola, the son of the acclaimed winner of the June 12, 1993 election, Chief Moshood Abiola, seems set to take off, where his father left off as he emerged presidential candidate of Peoples Redemption Party (PRP).

Adewole Adebayo (SDP)
Presidential candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), Adewole Adebayo, is a lawyer and founder of KAFTAN Television. On January 15, 2022, Adebayo declared his intention to run for the office of the Nigerian president. A public affairs commentator, he provides advice on national issues on occasion and participates in Nigerian politics as a member of the Third Force.

Adebayo began his legal career as a litigation lawyer at Tunji Abayomi and Co in Lagos. After two years of legal practice, he founded his own law firm, Adewole Adebayo & Co., House of Law, in 2002. He sponsored nearly 2,000 young Nigerians in Nigerian to foreign tertiary institutions, in addition to many people he had financially empowered across the country.

Malik Ado-Ibrahim (YPP)
Founder of the Reset Nigeria Initiative, Malik Ado-Ibrahim is presidential candidate of Young Progressives Party (YPP). He was born in Nigeria, educated in the UK and US, and has a strong background in automobiles. Ado-Ibrahim is currently the CEO of NIGUS International and Executive Chairman of NEXT Satellite TV Ltd, which would soon launch NEXT TV Direct-To-Home (DTH), geared towards generating thousands of jobs in the ICT and entertainment sectors.

His tremendous international exposure in private and governmental business and hands-on involvement in generating international finance packages exposed his knowledge of international affairs and conventional and renewable energy. He has a strong international military establishment background and has been involved as a solutions provider in the ECOWAS region.

Involved in high profile deals globally, Ado-Ibrahim is a Kogi prince and founder of Bicernergy. He owns Formula One team, Arrows. The son of the Ohinoyi of Ebiraland (Kogi State), he said there was need for Nigerians to put away religious and ethnic diversity, for collective development.

Chief Dan Nwanyanwu (ZLP)
Dan Nwanyanwu is the presidential candidate of Zenith Labour Party (ZLP), and also Chairman of the party. In 2004, Nwanyanwu was drafted to lead a party, Social Democracy (PSD), formed by the Nigerian Labour Congress, which led to his emergence as its National Chairman. The party was later renamed Labour Party to reflect its new ideals.

Nwanyanwu started from scratch to organise and lead the political party hitherto unknown and at the expiration of his first term, he was re-elected in December 2009 as the party’s national chairman at a convention held in Abuja. Under his leadership, the LP secured governorship of Ondo State, with Olusegun Mimiko.

At the October 2014 convention of the party, he did not put himself up for re-election as the national chairman, having served two consecutive terms of more than 10 years, even though there was no constitutional impediment against his re-election. He was unanimously elected by the convention in session as Chairman, Board of Trustees of the party. In 2014, he represented the Labour Party at the National Conference as one of the 492 delegates, and in February 2015, he resigned as the Chairman, Board of Trustees of Labour Party and also withdrew his membership of the party. He later formed the ZLP.


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