Nigerians are beginning to draw their personal inferences and come with their diverse theories as regards the nation’s polity and leadership.
Major actors have reportedly started aligning their interests for the role ahead of the next general elections in 2019.
This would be so if the rumours making the rounds that President Muhammadu Buhari might not contest for another term in office.
Though some of these politicians have not openly made their interests known, there are strong indications that they may be discreetly melting loose wall with foes and strengthening existing relationship with friends and allies.
NAIJ.com brings you 9 strong candidates who many Nigerians on social platforms believe are potential candidates for the 2019 presidential election:
1. Atiku Abubakar
Abubakar was the second elected vice president of Nigeria from 1999 to 2007, on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) under the administration of former President Olusegun Obasanjo.
The former vice president left PDP to join the All Progressives Congress (APC) on February 2, 2014. There are reports that Atiku will be seeking to contest for the Nigerian presidency in 2019, on the party’s platform.
This would be making it his fourth attempt as he had contested for presidency 3 times in 1992, 2006 and 2011.
2. Yemi Osinbajo
Osinbajo is arguably the most popular Nigerian politician today, especially giving his performance as Acting President while the president is away on vacation.
The possibility that the vice president may run for the 2019 presidency cannot be ruled out, and those who do not see him as a potential candidate for the next presidential election might be shocked.
Many hold the belief that Osinbajo carries out his duties professionally and diplomatically, in recent times he is seen as the best vice president in Nigeria’s democratic history. Nigerians are of the view that given the deep bond that exists between himself and his principal, the president wouldn’t mind giving him a chance to succeed him in 2019.
If the zoning formula does not play against him, Osinbajo stands a great chance at becoming the nation’s commander-in-chief.
3. Muhammadu Buhari
Although the incumbent president has not declared his interest in seeking a second term, the possibility that he will do so cannot be ruled out as his loyalists and political associates have continued to fly that kite enthusiastically.
The presidency also seem to believe that the earlier they begin to woo Nigerians for Buhari’s re-election, the better. One of the presidential spokesmen, Malam Garba Shehu, had also last year expressed confidence that the electorate would not abandon Buhari in 2019.
Garba claims that the president’s “enormous” goodwill remained strong because the people were convinced that he was acting in their best interest.
4. Bola Tinubu
Those who propagate propaganda will surely have you believe that the Jagaban Borgu wields great political power and has his eyes on the presidency, having served in the capacity of Senator and Governor.
It cannot be overstated that it was Tinubu’s influence that saw the emergence of APC. He was the strong hold behind Buhari’s emergence as presidential candidate because much of the northern voted were decided among Buhari, Kwankwaso and Atiku.
Some are of the view that if northern candidates (the likes of Atiku, Kwankwaso, Saraki who might contest) were to divide their votes in 2019, a lone Asiwaju from the south could clinch the ticket.
5. Peter Obi
Recently stakeholders of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) in Idemili South local government area of Anambra State have called on Obi, to return to his former party and contest the presidential election in 2019 on its platform.
The group told Obi that returning to APGA could be better for him than remaining in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) because he has no chance of making any meaningful political gain there.
6. Goodluck Jonathan
Former president Goodluck Jonathan has said that he will not contest for the presidency in 2019.
Jonathan became the first sitting president to be defeated in an election and he made history by handing over to Buhari of the All Progressives Congress without contesting the result in court.
There were reports that the former president had allegedly declared his presidential interest but he has come out to deny this. Ikechuwkwu Eze who is the media aide to Jonathan said the report was false.
7. Nasir El-Rufai
A member of the APC, El-Rufai was the former director general of the Bureau of Public Enterprises. He was reportedly in self-exile during the administration of former President Umaru Yar’Adua.
El-Rufai was with President Buhari during the days of struggle in the now defunct Congress for Progressive Change (CPC). He is a close ally of Buhari. During the build up to the 2015 general election, it was learnt that the president practically forced him on Kaduna APC as there were other candidates in the party that could have clinched the ticket.
8. Ayo Fayose
The Ekiti state governor is seen as a fearless person as a result of his controversial comments and leadership style.
Fayose’s declaration of presidential ambition on February 21, 2017, was seen by commentators as a joke, but he seems to be serious about it.
The 56-year who also serves as the chairman of the PDP Governors Forum, expressed his interest in the presidency in the near future, saying he will take over the mantle to lead the nation as his future was tied to the presidency.
9. Rochas Okorocha
Governor Rochas Okorocha is not a stranger when it comes to taking shots at the nation’s presidency. The Imo state governor had moved to the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) but was unsuccessful in his quest for the party’s ticket for the presidency in 2003 and then returned to the PDP.
In 2005 Okorocha formed the Action Alliance (AA), planning to become its presidential candidate for the 2007 elections. However he returned to the PDP again and in September 2007 indicated that he was interested in becoming PDP national chairman.
While Okorocha said he will not contest in 2019, citing the successes of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration, he is still seen as interested in taking another shot at the presidency in the event Buhari will not contest.