September 4, 2020

The Igbo 2023: The potential candidates


Igbo 2023 Presidency

Igbo 2023 Presidency

By Charles Adeyinka

The Southeast (Igbo) is staking the 2023 Nigerian presidency as a do or die, on the strength that they are the only major ethnic group that is yet to produce a democratic president. But who does the crown fit among the Igbos?

After substantial analysis, we succeeded in narrowing down the candidacy to the following potential aspirants, drawn from both within and outside Nigeria.

After substantial interviews across Nigeria, we succeeded in narrowing down the following people:

Dr Ogbonnia Onu

Onu cuts across as an ideal candidate for a Nigerian president of Igbo extraction. He is of steady character, experiences, disciplined, astute intellect, visionary, and avoids controversy. He is one of the major opposition leaders that midwife the emergence of APC in 2013 and his retention as a two-time minister tells much about the trust that he enjoys from President Buhari. However, but the big question is does Onu’s candidacy have the political sagacity to garner broad support?

Peter Obi

The former governor of Anambra State benefited from a national outing, during his vice-presidential candidacy in 2019, alongside Atiku Abubakar who was the PDP presidential Candidate. A conservative businessman, Obi has carried on as one who could solve governance problems.

Okey Samuel Mbonu

Mbonu is a Washington-trained legal professional and author, whose experiences in the international environment may be an advantage in solving Nigeria’s problems. Mbonu appears humble and down-to-earth, especially for someone who previously served a high-profile role, as a Commissioner in the United States.  Mbonu is well-known in the Diaspora, and has deep ties at the US Congress; he was briefly a Presidential Aspirant under the “Labour Party (LP)” in 2019.  It is not clear whether being a non-typical politician in Nigeria will be a disadvantage or an advantage in 2023.

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Dr Chris Ngige

Ngige was a former governor of Anambra State, former Senator, and currently two-time minister of Labour. Though his governorship stint was short-lived, he was able to execute an array of projects in a short period of time. He is also charismatic and seems to enjoy goodwill from the ruling APC.

Chief Orji Uzor Kalu

He was a former Governor of Abia State and currently the Senate Chief Whip.  He is detribalised, and his support cuts across geopolitical boundaries. Chief Kalu is probably more popular in the north than his native Igbo region.

Dr SKC Ogbonnia

He is a dark horse with a rare combination of academic and political aptitude, charisma, and the means. Ogbonnia is the Chairman of First Texas Energy Corporation and an Adjunct Professor of Leadership in the United States and has the capacity to garner the resources needed to mount a serious presidential bid. Although he is a new-breed politician who is not known to have held any political office, he is dynamic, and his transformational visions are never lost in his writings. Yet, his foray into 2019 presidential politics was ill-advised, as many in APC may not be in a haste to forgive his constant criticisms of the leadership of the ruling party.

John Nwodo

Chief Nwodo is a two-time minister, former presidential aspirant, and currently the President of Ohaneze Ndigbo. He is a very charming figure and enjoys tremendous popularity not only among the Igbo elites but also in the entire South and the Middle Belt.

Though he is not known for his individual wealth, the Ohaneze chief will not have much problem garnering sponsorship from Igbo money bags. However, Nwodo may face stiff opposition from Igbo youths, particularly those who identify with Biafran agitation, because of his differences with their leader Nnamdi Kanu.

David Umahi

Umahi is in the second term as governor of Ebonyi State, who has transformed the Southeastern state with an array of infrastructural development, despite lean resources. But loyalty stands as a stumbling block. Though he is a member of PDP governor, he openly panders to the whims and caprices of APC opposition. He is also in the bad books of the Biafran agitators because of the hostile approach he adopted as the Chairman of the South-East Governors Forum.

Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

She is eminently qualified and should aspire for the plum job. The former Managing Director of World Bank is well regarded around the world, starting from her first tenure as Nigeria’s Finance Minister under President Olusegun Obasanjo. But, besides her gender, Okonjo-Iweala will have to contend with critics who lump her together with the failure commonly associated with the administration of Goodluck Jonathan.