Seat of Power

Meet APC likely Presidential aspirants

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+ Their strengths and weaknesses

THE race for 2015 has since begun with political parties shopping for candidates to fly their flag at the presidential election that might be held in December, 2014.  For the opposition, All Progressives Congress (APC), it is obviously a big challenge, since they want a presidential material to send the incumbent president, Goodluck Jonathan out of Aso Rock.

Articulating some of their strengths and weaknesses, ENCOMIUM Weekly unveils APC’s likely presidential aspirants…

MUHAMMADU BUHARI

buhariSerial presidential hopeful and former Head of State, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (retd), would likely challenge incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan again, in 2015.  A chieftain of the opposition APC, the septuagenarian is visibly the most qualified to fly the party’s flag, given his experience in the race since 2003.

Born on December 17, 1942, in Daura, Katsina, Buhari was presidential candidate of the defunct All Nigerian Progressive Party (ANPP), in the 2003 presidential election where he contested against former President Olusegun Obasanjo of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).  General Buhari was also in the race for the presidency against PDP’s late Umaru Yar’Adua in 2007.

His third shot was in 2011, when he contested on the platform of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC).  Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan of the PDP also defeated the retired Army General and former Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Buhari is now warming up for the highest office in the land amidst fears that his age and geo-political origin might again work against his ambition.  The APC presidential hopeful is also not in the good book of Christians who see him as a religious fanatic, an allegation the straight-forward Christian debunked in 2011 by choosing Latter Rain’s Pastor Tunde Bakare as running mate.

Buhari has also lately interacted more with Christians than he had in the past.  It is, however, not certain how much of this would change their perception about his person.

AMINU TAMBUWAL

tambuwalSpeaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Aminu Waziri Tambuwal is also highly favoured to run against President Jonathan in the next election.  Expected to decamp to the APC, following the footsteps of his fellow honourable rep members from his Sokoto home state, Tambuwal cannot operate in isolation with his political mentor, Governor Aliyu Wammako, who has since joined the opposition party.

If Tambuwal eventually decamps, many Nigerians would be rooting for his nomination for the Presidency.

The Speaker is widely accepted across the party and the nation at large.  What may, however, work against him is the working relationship President Jonathan is forging with the North-West and his indecision amidst massive defection of his political allies to APC.

A lawyer by profession, Tambuwal, 48, is married.  And has four children.  He was elected into the House in 2011 to represent Kebbi/Tambuwal Federal Constituency of Sokoto State.

SULE LAMIDO

sule lamidoKebbi State governor, Alhaji Sule Lamido, 65, is also in the race to rule Nigeria.  Although he has not decamped from the ruling party, the tactical politician is a member of the ‘rebel’ PDP governors who are at war with Jonathan and the leadership of the party.

Sule Lamido is a grassroots politician with vast political connections.  He has since been endorsed by a section of the Northern elite and former President Olusegun Obasanjo who told the world on May 29, 2013, he is the right man for the job.

Those who would be working against Lamido’s political aspiration in APC, if he finally joins the party, would base their opposition on the fact that he is an ‘outsider,’ who is coming on board to reap where he didn’t sow.  Alhaji Sule Lamido has been openly critical of APC.  He has also vowed to remain in PDP as its founding member.  But despite his commitment to the party, he is still working against Jonathan and the party’s national chairman, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur.  Born on August 30, 1948 in Bamaina, Birnin Kudu LGA of Jigawa State, he cut his teeth in politics in the defunct Peoples Redemption Party (PRP) in the Second Republic. He was the pioneer National Secretary of the defunct Social Democratic Party (SDP).  Lamido played a questionable role during the struggle for the June 12, 1993 presidential election won by Chief M. K. O. Abiola.

All People’s Party’s Aminu Turaki narrowly defeated Lamido in the Jigawa guber polls in 1999.

He was, however, elected Jigawa State governor in 2007 on the platform of PDP.  Before then, he was a Minister of Foreign Affairs under former President Obasanjo.

RABIU MUSA KWANKWASO

Musa-KwankwasoFormer chieftain of the ruling PDP and Governor of Kano State, Dr. Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso is also a likely presidential candidate of APC.  Although he has not openly declared interest in the highest office in the land, Kwankwaso obviously left PDP to actualize his presidential aspiration.

Banking on the strategic position of Kano in Nigeria’s politics, Governor Rabiu Kwankwaso is also a grassroots mobiliser in the north.  He is, however, not well known in the other geo-political zones.

Kwankwaso was governor of Kano State from 1999 to 2003.  He was re-elected on PDP platform for a second term on April 26, 2011.

He was born in Madobi LGA of Kano State on October 21, 1956.  Dr. Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso is a former Minister of Defence.

NASIR EL-RUFAI

nasir-el-rufaiMallam Nasir Ahmad el-Rufai, 53, was a former Director General of the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), and Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja from July 16, 2003 to May 29, 2007.  Now a member of the APC, he is one of those being tipped to run for presidency in the party.

El-Rufai was practically in self-exile during the tenure of late Umaru Yar’Adua.  He, however, returned home in 2009.  In aspiring to run for the highest office in the land, Mallam el-Rufai’s weaknesses far outweigh his strengths.

Not marketable to all Nigerians owing to his conservative nature, his utterances would also give his campaign managers more than they can handle.  El-Rufai’s constant brushes with the State Security Services (SSS) could also jeopardize APC chances of fielding him as their candidate in the 2015 general elections.

A Quantity Surveyor by profession, el-Rufai established his practice in 1982.  The father of eight was born on February 16, 1960, at Dandawa, Faskari Local Government Area of Katsina State.

AHMAD SANI YERIMA

AHMED-SANI-YERIMASenator Ahmad Sani Yerima has indicated interest to run for Presidency on the platform of APC, but how far he would go would largely be determined by the party’s leadership.

Infamous for his penchant for marrying under-aged girls and religious fanatism, APC wouldn’t risk fielding Yerima in 2015.  But some of his supporters, especially in the northern part of the country, are seriously campaigning for him.

Ahmad Sani Yerima was born July 22, 1960 in Anka, Zamfara State.  He was Zamfara Governor from May 1999 to May 2007.  He is now a senator of the Federal Republic for Zamfara West and Deputy Minority Leader in the Senate.

Yerima read Economics at the Bayero University, Kano (BUK).  He obtained B.Sc and Masters in the same discipline at BUK.

It would be recalled that Yerima was the first Nigerian governor to implement Sharia law in his state.  The law came into effect in 2000.

NUHU RIBADU

mallam-nuhu-ribadu2Another member of the opposition APC who might likely aspire to take President Goodluck Jonathan’s job in 2015 is pioneer chairman of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mallam Nuhu Ribadu.  The presidential candidate of the defunct ACN in 2011 is lobbying to emerge APC flag bearer when the party holds its primaries this year.

Ribadu’s aspiration is indeed a legitimate intent but his chances of picking the ticket are not so promising considering the political profile of his opponents.  His poor performance against Jonathan in 2011 would also work against him.  But despite these salient points, the former police officer and chairman of Petroleum Revenue Task Force still represents the generation of untainted Nigerian elite desirous to change the nation.  This is the sense he would be the toast of some members of APC.

Born November 21, 1960, in Yola, Adamawa, Ribadu has received various international awards for his dogged fight against corruption.  In 2008, he received the World Bank’s Jit Gill Memorial Award for Outsanding Public Service, for leading a courageous anti-corruption campaign in Nigeria as the head of EFCC.

Despite the fact that he was demoted from Assistant Inspector General of Police to Deputy Commissioner of Police on August 4, 2008, Mallam Ribadu’s reputation and global influence has soared to the skies.

ALIYU WAMMAKO

Wamakko.Should the Speaker, Aminu Tambuwal decline to decamp to APC and run for Presidency, his political mentor and Governor of Sokoto State, Aliyu Magatakarda Wammako may throw his hat in the ring.  A member of the G-5 Governors who have already decamped to the APC, Wammako is serious about changing the leadership of the country. He is also one of the vocal Northern governors who want power back to their zone.  Hence, his commitment to work with strange bedfellows in APC to flush Jonathan out of Aso Rock.

Wammako’s strength lies in his determination to support any serious Northern presidential candidate to the detriment of the party that brought him to power, that is PDP.

Hardcore Northerners are naturally willing to follow him to achieve this objective.  But some members of APC, who are not Wammako’s political allies might be willing to give him their mandate if he decides to run for the big office.  And once suspended by the PDP National Chairman, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur for not showing respect to his person and office, Aliyu Wammako’s chances of returning to PDP is also narrow.   This would ensure he remains in APC even if his personal political ambition is not immediately achieved. If, however, Tambuwal emerges APC presidential candidate, Wammako would have lost nothing in the high political risk he took by dumping the ruling PDP for the new APC.

SANUSI LAMIDO SANUSI

Sanusi-Lamido-SanusiThe Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi is not a career politician.  It is doubtful if he is even a card-carrying member of any political party.  But this will soon change as the CBN boss, who is retiring in June (if he is not forced out of office before then) is set to join the APC.

Sources close to the Prince and grandson of former Emir of Kano, Alhaji Muhammadu Sanusi have informed that he has political ambition. This, we gathered, is the main reason he doesn’t wish to serve a second term as CBN governor.

Of the conservative stock and a no-nonsense man of his convictions, Sanusi is no longer in the good books of Jonathan, who has been reading his lips and body language.  Hence, their ongoing face-off.

Like Tambuwal, Sanusi is one of the fresh and young Northerners APC is grooming to stop Jonathan in 2015.

Sanusi would surely make serious impact in the political scene if backed by the North and supported by APC as a result of his reforms that saved the banking industry and the economy at large, but those he hurt while doing his job will take a pound of his flesh.  The South might also reject Sanusi, knowing where he is coming from.  Also being a green horn in politics may not equally augur well for him.

Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, 53, was appointed Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria on June 3, 2009.  He was until his appointment the MD/CEO of First Bank of Nigeria Plc.  Reputable international magazine, The Banker named him World Central Bank Governor of the Year, while The Time magazine also listed him in its Time’s 100 Most Influential People of 2011.

Sanusi’s career in banking started with ICON Limited (Merchant Bankers), a subsidiary of Morgan Guaranty Trust Bank of New York, and Baring Brothers of London.  He moved to the United Bank of Africa in 1997 in the Credit and Risk Management Division, rising to the position of a General Manager.  In September 2005, he joined the board of First Bank as Executive Director.  Sanusi was appointed Group Managing Director (GMD)/CEO in January 2009.

Former President Umaru Yar’Adua nominated him CBN governor on June 1, 2009 while his appointment was confirmed by the Senate on June 3, 2009.  One of his major reforms at the CBN was the sack of the board and executive of Afribank, Intercontinental Bank, Union Bank, Oceanic Bank and Finbank.  After firing the bank chiefs, he injected about N400 billion to bail them out.  Lamido Sanusi is back in the news again with his reported feud with President Jonathan who allegedly wants to force him to resign after he exposed how NNPC’s $48.98 billion missed in the Federation Account.

 – UCHE OLEHI

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