With just four days to the epoch-making presidential election slated for March 28, 2015, many are rubbing their palms in anticipation.
Following the emergence of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in February 2013 after the merger of the Congress of Progressive Change (CPC), Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) and a faction of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) – the face off for the presidential seat is now between two leading candidates, unlike previous years.
Incumbent president, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the APC’s Gen. Muhammadu Buhari will go head to head to determine who occupies Aso Villa, Abuja, as president as from May 29, 2015, until, at least, 2019.
But before that, ENCOMIUM Weekly presents a peep into the duo and their running mates so you can make informed decisions on who to elect into office…
GOODLUCK EBELE JONATHAN (GCFR), Incumbent President
Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan was born November 20, 1957, in the oil-rich Niger Delta region in what is now Bayelsa State to a family of canoe makers. He holds a BSc in Zoology in which he attained Second Class Honours. He also holds a Masters degree in Hydrobiology and Fisheries Biology, and a PhD in Zoology from the University of Port Harcourt. Before he entered politics in 1998, he worked as an education inspector, lecturer, and environmental-protection officer.
During his university education, he taught at Rivers State College of Education from 1983 until 1993. He then served as an assistant director at the Oil Mineral Producing Areas Development Commission, a now-defunct government agency, from 1993 until 1998.
Jonathan’s political career began when he became involved with the fledgling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in the late 1990s. He was elected deputy governor of Bayelsa state in 1999, under the party’s banner. He served in that position until 2005, when he was elevated to the governorship after the incumbent was charged with corruption and impeached.
In 2007, he was selected as the running mate of the PDP’s presidential candidate, Umaru Musa Yar’Adua. He and Yar’Adua were elected in April and inaugurated in May same year.
Following Yar’Adua’s extended absence from the country for medical treatment, calls were made for power to be formally transferred to him in early 2010. The National Assembly handed power to him on February 9, 2010. Jonathan agreed and assumed power later that day, but it was unclear whether the assumption of power was constitutional. When Yar’Adua returned to Nigeria on February 24, 2010, it was announced that Jonathan would remain as acting president while Yar’Adua continued to recuperate. The next month, Jonathan asserted his power by replacing Yar’Adua’s cabinet. Yar’Adua, who never fully recovered, died on May 5, 2010, and Jonathan was sworn in as president the following day on May 6, 2010.
His wife: DAME PATIENCE JONATHAN
Dame Patience Jonathan, the wife of President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, was born on October 25, 1957, in Port Harcourt, Rivers State. She finished her secondary education in 1976 and passed her West African School Certificate Examination in 1980. She was said to have gained admission into the Rivers State College of Art and Science, Port Harcourt, from where she obtained the National Certificate of Education (NCE) in Mathematics and Biology in 1989. She was also said to have proceeded to the
University of Port Harcourt, where she obtained B.Ed in Biology and Psychology.
Mrs. Jonathan started her career as a teacher at the Stella Maris College, Port Harcourt. She also worked at Sports Institute, Isake. She was also said to have worked in the banking sector where she served as Marketing Manager of Imiete Community Bank and later Akpo Community Bank, which she personally established.
She left the banking sector for the civil service, when she transferred her service from Rivers State Teaching Service, Port Harcourt to Bayelsa State Civil Service.
She was in the Bayelsa State Ministry of Education until 1999, when her husband became the deputy governor of Bayelsa State.
Mrs. Patience Jonathan is said to have two children for the president.
ARCH. NAMADI SAMBO, Incumbent Vice President
Mohammed Namadi Sambo was born on August 2, 1954, in Zaria, Kaduna State, Nigeria. He attended Baptist Primary School in Kakuri, Kaduna, before attending Kobi Primary School in Bauchi and Towns School No. 1 in Zaria. From 1967 until 1971, he attended Government Secondary School, now Alhuda-Huda College, Zaria. He attended the School of Basic Studies at the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria in 1972, after which he gained admission into the Department of Architecture, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, where he graduated in 1976 with a Bachelor of Science degree with Honours (BSc Hons). He also holds a Masters degree (MSc) in Architecture.
Sambo served with the Oyo State Ministry of Works and Housing for the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) up to August 1979. In 1988, he was appointed Commissioner for Works, Transport and Housing, Kaduna. In 1990, Namadi Sambo left the service of Kaduna State Government and went back to private practice.
In May 2007, Mohammed Namadi Sambo assumed office of the Governor of Kaduna State, Nigeria. His term ended on May 18, 2010. Sambo had an 11-point agenda as governor of Kaduna State that was to focus on empowering the youth and women of the community and to address
security for the state. While still serving as governor, he was picked by the president of Nigeria to become his deputy.
Following the death of President Umaru Yar’Adua, Goodluck Jonathan became the President. Jonathan nominated Sambo as Vice President and his official correspondence conveying the nomination of Sambo for the VP position was received by the National Assembly on Friday May 15, 2010. On May 18, 2010, the National Assembly approved President Goodluck Jonathan’s nomination of the former governor for the position of Vice President. He was formally sworn in as vice-president of Nigeria on May 19, 2010.
HIS WIFE: Amina Sambo
He is married to Hajia Amina Namadi Sambo. She was born into the family of Mallam Abdu Lukat and Hajia Huwaila Abdu
Lukat in Kano some 50 something years ago. She is the third child of the family of 11 children. She had her primary school education at Therbow School, Zaria. Her secondary education was at St. Louis Secondary School, Kano. She was at Bayero University, Kano, where she obtained a Bachelors degree in Political Science.
She also attended Al-Manar International College, Kaduna, where she obtained a diploma in Arabic and Islamic Studies. She was the first lady of Kaduna State until May 2010, when her husband became the Vice President. Between Hajia Amina Sambo and her husband are six children.
GEN. MUHAMMADU BUHARI (rtd), APC presidential candidate
The All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential candidate, General Muhammadu Buhari (retired) was born on December 17,
1942, in Daura, Katsina State. He is the 13th and the last child of his mother, Zulaihat Buhari. He is also the last and the 23rd of his father, Hardo Adamu, a Fulani chief of Dumukori, a village near Daura, Katsina State.
He was barely four when his father died. He was, therefore, brought up by his mother. He started his primary education at Central Primary School and later Kankia Primary School, where he finished in 1955.
His secondary school education was at Katsina Provincial Secondary School (now Government College, Katsina, Katsina State).
He started his military career in 1962, when he joined the then Nigerian Military Training College, Kaduna, which later became Nigeria Defense Academy, Kaduna.
He attended several other military trainings both at home and abroad. His last military training was at United States Army War College (USAWC), Carlisle, Pennsylvania (USA) where graduates are awarded Masters Degree in Strategic Studies.
He also held several leadership positions in the military during his 23-year career which culminated in his being appointed the Head of State and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces in 1983, after the military putsch which ousted President Shehu Shagari.
That 1983 military coup was the second he would be participating. He was also part of the July 1966 military putsch which did not only oust General Aguiyi Ironsi’s government but killed him and his host, Colonel Adekunle Fajuyi.
General Muhammadu Buhari, before becoming Head of State and Commander-in-Chief in 1983, had also held different political offices.
He was appointed Governor of North Eastern State (which was later split into Bauchi, Borno and Gongola states. Gongola State was further split into Adamawa and Taraba State) in 1975, by late General Murtala Muhammed.
Again in 1976, he was appointed Federal Commissioner for Petroleum and Natural Resources by the Head of State, General Olusegun Obasanjo, retired. He was to later add the chairmanship of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to his portfolio in 1976, when the corporation was established.
It was under his administration as the chairman of NNPC that the four existing petroleum refineries in the country today were built.
The zenith of all his political appointments was on December 31, 1983, when his military colleagues appointed him the military Head of State and Commander-in-Chief of the country after they overthrew the democratically elected government of Alhaji Shehu Shagari.
He was Nigeria’s Head of State and Commander-in-Chief until August 27, 1985, when he was eased out of power through a military coup d’etat. He was placed in detention somewhere in Benin City, Edo State until 1988, when he was released.
In 1996, he was back as part of the administrators of the country when late General Sani Abacha, appointed him the chairman of Petroleum Trust Fund (PTF), a position he held until 1998.
In 2003, General Buhari (rtd), decided to throw his hat into the ring of partisan politics. He emerged the presidential candidate of All Nigeria People’s Party (ANPP), in that year’s (2003) presidential election. He lost to the incumbent, President Olusegun Obasanjo.
Again in 2007, he emerged the presidential candidate of All Nigeria People’s Party (ANPP), against the ruling PDP candidate, Alhaji Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, who was from the same Katsina State with him. He was, again, defeated.
In 2010, General Buhari (retd) left ANPP to single-handedly form Congress for Progressive Change (CPC). It was on the political platform of CPC that he for the third time contested the presidential election on April 16, 2011. He was again defeated by the ruling party candidate, this time President Goodluck Jonathan, who took over from Umaru Yar’Adua. Jonathan defeated Buhari by 22,495,187 votes to 12,214,853 votes.
In 2013, Buhari’s party, CPC merged with Asiwaju Tinubu’s Action of Nigeria (ACN) and ANPP to form All Progressives Congress (APC), the political platform on which he intends to contest the March 28, 2015 presidential election for the fourth time.
HIS WIFE: AISHA BUHARI
Mrs. Aisha Buhari, the wife of General Muhammadu Buhari (retd), was born in Adamawa State some 40 something years ago. She was born into the family of the first Minister of Defense, Alhaji Mohammadu Ribadu. She attended Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria, where she bagged a Bachelors degree in Public Administration. She also has a diploma in Physiotherapy and Beauty Therapy.
She is also an alumnus of the famous Carlton Institute of London and Academy Esthetique Beauty Institute of France, Dubai, where she earned a post graduate diploma in Cosmetology and Beauty Therapy.
Mrs. Aisha Buhari got married to the general in 1989 barely a year after he divorced his first wife, late Mrs. Safinatu Buhari, who bore him his first five children.
Mrs. Buhari, in the 26 years of her marriage to the general has also given birth to five children. They are her namesake Aisha, Halima, Yusuf, Zarah and Amina.
She is the Managing Director of Hanzy Spa and principal of Hanzy Beauty Institute.
PROF. YEMI OSINBAJO (SAN), Buhari’s running mate
Born on March 8, 1957, in Lagos, Professor Oluyemi Oluleke Osinbajo is a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) and Senior Partner in the Law firm Simmons Cooper Partners. A professor of law, he was the Head of Department of Public Law at the University of Lagos from 1997 to 1999. Regarded as one of the finest advocates in Nigeria, he studied at the University of Lagos, Nigeria (LLB, 1978) and the London School of Economics (LLM, 1980).
With over 31 years of litigation experience, he served as the Special Adviser to the Attorney General of Nigeria (1988-1992), and later became the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice of Lagos State in 1999 reappointed for a second term in 2003. During his public service, he commenced the Lagos State Justice Reform project. A prominent feature of that project was the establishment of the Directorate for Citizens’ Rights (DCR) which provides free legal services and legal representation to indigent citizens of the state. This initiative gave a voice to many who would otherwise not have a way to access their rights.
As Attorney General, Prof. Osinbajo is credited with undertaking far-reaching judicial reform in Lagos State, addressing critical areas as judges’ recruitment, remuneration, training and discipline. In addition, he addressed access to justice for the poor by establishing appropriate institutions in the Office of the Public Defender (OPD) and the Citizens Mediation Centre (CMC). In honour of his contributions to legal reform and the development of law in Nigeria, a compendium of essays on Nigerian constitutional law was compiled. The authors of these essays were senior lawyers and law professors with a foreword provided by a past chief justice of Nigeria. Prof. ‘Yemi Osinbajo is also the Ethics Adviser to the Advisory Board of the African Development Bank and a non-executive Director of Citibank. He has served in various roles within the United Nations, United Nations Centre on Transnational Corporations, United Nations African Institute for Crime Prevention, the International Criminal Court for Rwanda in Arusha, Tanzania, the department of Peacekeeping operations and the United Nations Peace Operations in Somalia.
Prof. Osinbajo is co-founder and board member Convention on Business Integrity and the Justice Research Institute Ltd.
HIS WIFE: DOLAPO OSINBAJO
Mrs. Dolapo Osinbajo is a grand-daughter of the late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo. Her mother is the third child of Chief Obafemi Awolowo and Chief (Mrs.) H.I.D Awolowo. Her father is Mr. Tayo Soyode. Mrs. Osinbajo, who is the first child of her parents’ three children is believed to be in her early 50s. Her siblings are Mr. Ladipo Soyode and Dr. Femi Soyode.
She, like her late mother and husband, is also a lawyer. She read Law at Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago-Iwoye, Ogun State where she graduated in 1988. The following year, 1989, she got married to her heartthrob, Mr. Oluyemi Oluleke Osinbajo, who later became professor of law. They are blessed with three children – two boys and a girl.
– MICHAEL NWOKIKE