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Nigeria 2023 Elections: Possible Candidates

Nigeria will hold general elections on February 18, 2023, to elect the President, Vice President, House of Representatives, and Senate. The election winners will be sworn in on May 29, 2023, which was previously designated as Democracy Day. 

President Muhammadu Buhari is ineligible for reelection because he has been elected twice to the office of president. In July 2021, national APC Caretaker Chairman and Yobe State Governor Mai Mala Buni supported the consensus approach of nominating a presidential candidate over the more traditional direct or indirect primary methods. 

There has been no declared formal zoning agreement for the PDP nomination; nevertheless, certain politicians and interest groups, including the Southern Governors’ Forum, have called for the nomination to be zoned to the South because the APC’s Buhari, a Northerner, has been elected twice.

2023 Election Candidates 

The names of candidates for the 2023 elections aren’t official. However, here are some prospective candidates: 

  • Yemi Osinbajo 

Even though he says he has no interest in running for president, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo is dubbed the ‘most qualified’ to succeed Buhari. Several groups have sprung up to promote the VP as Nigeria’s messiah. According to one of them, Osinbajo is the future of Nigeria. 

OGO National Convener Foluso Ojo said Osinbajo had shown competence and ability to govern Nigeria on several occasions. The vice president is described as a leader of impeccable character who can build on President Muhammadu Buhari’s achievements.

Giving Osinbajo the APC ticket would be the best assurance of stability and progress for existing developmental objectives. The Nasarawa State governor endorsed Osinbajo as the best candidate to succeed Buhari when he met with the PCG on September 20 at Government House Lafia. 

Osinbajo is the most qualified and sellable candidate to succeed President Muhammadu Buhari in the 2023 presidential election, Nasarawa governor said. Despite Osinbajo’s spokesman’s assurances that he will not run for president in 2023, election campaign posters featuring him and Borno State Governor Babagana Zulum have raised eyebrows. 

  • Ahmed Bola Tinubu 

Former Lagos State governor Ahmed Bola Tinubu is likely to be involved in Osinbajo’s 2023 plans. Osinbajo served as Lagos’ attorney general and commissioner for justice under Tinubu. Tinubu’s campaign appears to be well underway, and all that remains is for him to officially declare his candidacy. 

The Nigeria Diaspora for Asiwaju (NDA) claimed supporting Tinubu’s presidential bid in 2023 was a common job for all Nigerians, regardless of tribe or religion. In a statement, NDA Director-General Akin Badeji stated that Tinubu has the finest resume to consolidate the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration’s next level milestones. 

Apart from being sold as the best prepared to build on Buhari’s successes, it has also been stated that Buhari is morally compelled to pass over to Tinubu due to an agreement that he would succeed him in 2023 when his second term ends. 

Rufai Hanga, a former CPC National Chairman, said the deal paved the way for Tinubu’s support for Buhari’s 2015 and 2019 elections. 

  • Atiku Abubakar 

Like Tinubu, it appears Atiku Abubakar has already begun campaigning for the 2023 presidential race. In the 2019 presidential election, Atiku lost to the incumbent – APC candidate Buhari. In August, Atiku sent a note to the PDP leadership expressing his desire to run for president again in 2023. 

He thanked PDP members for their support in the 2019 elections and said the party was now better prepared to win in 2023. On September 19, a day after governors of the 17 southern states demanded that the region provide the next president, 17 political parties and civil society groups in Delta State announced that they have endorsed Atiku for the 2023 presidential election. 

  • Yahaya Bello 

Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State expressed interest in running for president in 2023, saying he would accept requests from Nigerians, including youngsters, women, and the ‘very objective elite’. The Christian Youth Leadership Network, one of Bello’s supporters, called him “the sole suitable choice for a president who can actualise Nigerians’ collective ideals.” Bello is also portrayed as a young leader ready to take on the country’s myriad difficulties. 

  • Rotimi Amaechi 

Rotimi Amaechi, Minister of Transportation, is rarely mentioned in presidential election talk in 2023. To the contrary, former Senator Alex Kadiri, who represented Kogi East from 1999 to 2003, recently endorsed Amaechi as the finest replacement among Buhari’s probable successors. 

  • Kingsley Moghalu 

Kingsley Moghalu, a former CBN deputy governor, ran for president in 2019 but lost to Buhari’s YPP. Moghalu received 26,039 votes, placing him 14th against 15 million votes for Buhari. Moghalu expressed his desire to run for president again in 2023, citing his compassion for suffering Nigerians seeking an alternative to the current quo. 

  • Bukola Saraki 

In April, Dr Abubakar Bukola Saraki For President 2023 was launched in Daura, Katsina State, to promote former Senate President Bukola Saraki’s presidential ambition. The organization, founded by Abubakar Nuhu Adam, suggested Saraki, a former governor of Kwara State, should be Nigeria’s next president for his work with young people. 

They lauded Saraki for passing the ‘Not Too Young To Run’ measure during his Senate presidency. 

  • Aminu Tambuwal 

Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State has not proclaimed his desire to run for president in 2023, but Northern Youths for Tambuwal is now campaigning for him. Tambuwal has the qualities needed to lead Nigeria to compete with other industrialized nations, said the group’s North-East Coordinator Ibrahim Inuwa. 

  • Goodluck Jonathan 

From 2010 through 2015, Goodluck Jonathan was Nigerian President. He was Vice President under Umaru Musa Yar’Adua from 2007 to 2010, but became President after Yar’Adua died in 2010. Jonathan lost to Buhari of the APC in 2015. 

Buhari’s acceptance as ‘messiah’ in 2015 stemmed from widespread perceptions that then-president Goodluck Jonathan was underperforming. In contrast to the other candidates mentioned in this report, Jonathan has not expressed a desire to run for president in 2023. However, it is expected that he will be the APC’s presidential candidate in the upcoming election. 

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