Omeiza Ajayi, Abuja
Despite the epileptic start to its February National Convention, the ruling All Progressives Congress APC is a beehive of political undercurrents following activities of some chieftains who are engaged in a battle of wits to outmanoeuvre one another for its 2023 presidential ticket.
While Saturday Vanguard takes a look at some of the aspirants, it would be left for the readers to decide who the contenders or pretenders are.
Ayom, a native of Benue state is a business tycoon with a range of companies in the construction industry, real estate, hospitality and others.
He is one of the most successful major players in the new sprawling business city of Shenzhen in China where he is said to own several real estates.
Although he has not held any elective office before, Ayom says he is determined to turn around the fortunes of the country.
His experiences in business give him confidence because he is a major player in the local and international business scene.
In 2016, he was among the members of the Presidential Trade Delegation to China where President Muhammadu Buhari and the Chinese President witnessed as he signed a mining agreement with the World’s largest manufacturer of mining equipment, SBL Limited to develop Africa’s largest Granite and Marble located in Ogun State.
His aspiration recently got a boost following his endorsement by some traditional and religious leaders from across the country.
Though a man with deep pockets, what may however count against him is whether as a businessman, he would be ready to deploy needed resources to prosecute his ambition.
He also needs to do a lot of networking with stakeholders of the party and get their buy-in.
Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu is one of the national leaders of the APC.
A political juggernaut, he recently visited President Muhammadu Buhari to intimate him of his decision to vie for the top job in the country.
As a former senator and a former Governor of a cosmopolitan state like Lagos, his supporters say he has what it takes to navigate the country out of troubled waters.
He said to be Nigeria’s President has been his lifelong ambition, even though some political analysts feel that it would have been more appropriate for him to remain as a kingmaker rather than aspiring to ascend the throne.
His wife is currently a senator, while Asiwaju himself has been instrumental to the emergence of many players in the political scene.
What might count in his favour is that there are those who believe it is a payback time, having been very instrumental to the emergence of President Muhammadu Buhari in 2015.
His opponents are however questioning his age and stupendous wealth, saying he must give more explanation on both.
Although Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has not declared his ambition, some Nigerians have been clamouring for him to enter into the race.
David Nweze Umahi
Gov. Dave Umahi of Ebonyi state has also declared his presidential ambition.
Some political hawks see him as a newcomer to the APC and that he should relax first and allow others to try their luck. Though this is not an official policy, that feeling is there, among many leaders of the APC.
He is said to be close to President Muhammadu Buhari. Whether that can work in his favour, looking at the president’s antecedents is something no one can say with all certainty.
His open declaration against the Biafran agitation could win the hearts of many outside his region, but within his region, that could also be his Achilles’ Heel.
Umahi is however said to be a performer as he is reputed to have changed the developmental landscape of the state. His opponents however accuse him of dictatorial tendencies, saying he is ruthless with the opposition.
Senator Orji Uzor Kalu
The Senate Chief Whip and former Abia state Governor are not new when it comes to vying for the presidency. He has never hidden his interest in the plum job.
Recently, he declared his ambition and said at the appropriate time, he would also meet with President Buhari.
He has a heavy war chest and if the party decides to cede its ticket to the South East, he could be in a vantage position.
The Kogi governor has courted a lot of controversies especially due to his communication style which many perceive as weak.
He is the first person to have given an inkling that he wants to vie for the presidency.
While he has age on his side and has been endorsed by some celebrities, analysts believe that many of those celebrities may not be available to vote on election day or to influence their followers to vote for him.
His decision not to commission some of his projects in the state has also fuelled speculations that the projects may either be of low quality or abandoned. This has attracted some level of opprobrium to his aspiration.
Local government workers, teachers and pensioners who have been receiving percentage payments are also not in favour of his aspiration. They believe that since the local government Chief executives are his “boys”, he could easily have influenced them to do the needful by settling all payments. Having not done that, his opponents have queried whether the local governments in the state are getting their full monthly allocations without deductions.
What may also work against him would be the disposition of some of his supporters on the last general election in the state. The ill-treatment meted on the Governorship Candidate of the Social Democratic Party SDP, Barr. Natasha Akpoti by some thugs allegedly working for the ruling party is something that many activists and women groups have continued to hold against him.
Bello has however done well, to some extent, in the area of security. The banditry-ravaged Okene-Lokoja-Abuja highway has been taken care of to a great extent. This is not to say that the road is now 100 percent safe.
Mr Ihechukwu Dallas Chima has also declared his interest in the president, saying it is time the youths took over.
Not so much is known about him, but the businessman has made a lot of interesting promises. One of such is his pledge to disconnect the State House from special power lines.
Pledging to ban the use of generators in the Villa, he said there was no reason why the premises should not solely rely on the National Grid just as the houses of most Nigerians.
“When I am sworn into office as the President, the entire presidential villa will be disconnected from any standby power generator plant, the presidential villa will only rely on the national grid as every other less privileged Nigerian for power supply”, he told Saturday Vanguard.
“Nigeria Must Arise currency reforms target, N1 will exchange for $10 US Dollars and above, N1 will exchange for £10 British Pounds and above, N1 will exchange for €10 Euros and above as from May 29th 2023 we will execute our methodological approach on currency management economics to achieve our reform for our Naira”, he added.
Within the party circle, Chima may not be very well known and that could count against him.
In Nigeria’s world of money politics, he will need a lot of resources to obtain nomination and expression of interest forms as well as build his structure from the scratch.
There are however other Nigerians who are said to have such ambitions but who have not openly made any declaration.
They include Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi and Ekiti state Governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi.