January 27, 2023

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2023 Presidential Frontliners: Their Strengths, Strategies and Popularity

19 min read

As the 2023 Presidential election is currently gathering huger momentum all over the country, major political parties including the ruling All Progressives Congress, the Peoples’ Democratic Party, the Labour Party, the New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP), the Accord Party (AP), the Zenith Labour Party (ZLP) amongst other duly registered parties are buoyantly gearing up to ensure that their candidate takes over the mantle of leadership of the country from incumbent and outgoing President Muhammadu Buhari after the March 2023 polls. However, with recent events dominating the media scene both online and on the terrestrial, there seems to be four outstanding political parties that apparently outweigh the others in the race to the Akinola Aguda House in Aso Rock, Abuja. From the North West to the North East, North Central to the South West, South South to the South East, candidates of the four major parties whose level of propagating the manifestoes of their candidates are very high include the APC, the PDP, the ANPP and the LP. These four major parties are presently the top rated political empires jostling for the presidency. While former Lagos State governor Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu will be hoisting the flag of the ruling party APC, former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar will be flying that of the PDP even as former Kano State Governor Rabiu Musa Kwakwanso will be squaring up under the auspices of the NNPP while Dr. Peter Obi will contest under the Labour Party. Among these four noble and highly qualified Nigerians, one will eventually be declared the winner of the 2023 Presidential election by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

Nigerians are however, eagerly awaiting the election for them to be able to use their PVC change the leadership of the country which is presently facing stiff economic and insecurity upheavals. The people need a genuine change and an original next level and this is why a very large of Nigerians trooped out to register for their PVC which remains the only weapon they can use to make or mar their future destinies. In this special award edition however, TOP SOCIETY MAGAZINE sheds more lights on the strengths, strategies, popularities and chances of the four major Nigerian presidential candidates for the fast approaching election. Enjoy reading:


Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Presidential Candidate of All Progressive Congress (APC) 

Prior to his becoming the Lagos State Governor in May 1999, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu has been at the forefront of fighting for the emergence of democratic rule in Nigeria. He was a potential member of the pro-democracy group Afenifere and the National Democratic Coalition (NADECO). These two groups were always holding the military regimes of both retired Generals Ibrahim Babangida and his successor Sanni Abacha by the jugular. Alongside the likes of the late Pa Abraham Adesanya, Prof. Wole Soyinka, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, late Chief Anthony Enahoro and other likeminded patriotic Nigerians cutting across virtually all the sectors of the Nigerian economy, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu was one of those leading the parks for this very vital struggle back then.

When he emerged as the governor of Lagos State thereafter in 1999, Asiwaju embarked on several developmental projects in the state by first of all, drawing a futuristic plan targeted towards the rebranding and redesigning the state. Not only that, Asiwaju in his magnanimity embarked on massive empowerment and employment programmes, creating avenues and platforms for the hitherto jobless youths roaming about the streets and committing heinous crimes in all the nooks and crannies of the state. Asiwaju Tinubu gave them a reason to live and changed their lives from criminality to responsibility. The Jagaban Borgu, whose political and democratic dynasty is compared to none in the current history of Nigeria is indeed a kingmaker and a maker of men as not few of Nigeria’s political leaders of today could boast of their rising to the peak of their careers without the involvement of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

Married to lovable and beautiful Senator Oluremi Tinubu, Asiwaju is a man with a deep vision and passion for a better Nigeria and that is why he decided to throw his hat in the contest ring for the Presidency come March 2023. Tinubu is globally known to be a very generous man who never considers tribal and religious sentiments before rendering help to the people. Wherever he goes, he always ensures that he puts smiles on the faces of those around him. As a unified figure in Nigeria, Asiwaju Tinubu has paved ways for both Hausas, Igbos and the Yorubas working and residing in the country. He is a very meticulous, tremendous and a magnificent philanthropist whose knack for the survival of the poor and the needy is unquantifiable. He is never a man who looks disdainfully on people and he never judges people by their nature, he is always a friendly and jolly good fellow whose ambition in heading to the Aso Rock office of the Presidency in 2023 is to device avenues in making Nigeria a toast to all other African nations not excluding the international community.

Asiwaju has a very extensive strength in the race for the Presidency. Over the years, his records are there to stand for him. Aside discovering and encouraging noble and responsibly hardworking men as his successors, Asiwaju stood solidly by them giving them all the moral supports to ensure that they fulfill the promises made to the people of Lagos on the overall rural and urban renewal of the state. Today, Lagosians are benefiting from the futuristic blueprint he drew for the development of the State of Excellence and aquatic spleadour. As a patriotic Nigerian, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu has over the years extended his hands of friendship to other tribes of the country with his most popular and most cherished chieftaincy title coming from the Northern part of the country, the Jagaban of Borgu. In addition, Asiwaju has also in the past shown love to South Easterners and South Southerners in different ways. In Lagos State, while as governor, he never tampered with all the commercial nerve centres of the Igbos and Hausas who are peacefully doing their businesses in Lagos State. In Alaba, Ladipo, Computer Village, Mile 12 and other notable markets strategically dominated by other tribes than the Yorubas, Asiwaju gave them all reasons to feel at home and see themselves as part and parcel of the state. He remains one of the few state governors in the South West that encourages people from other climes. In 2007, Tinubu appointed Mr. Ben Akabueze as the Commissioner for Finance, Budget and Planning, an enviable position in the Lagos State civil service till date. Through this, Tinubu became the first Yoruba governor that would appoint an Igbo man as commissioner. Not only that, Tinubu also gave an international exposure to the then young Chukwuebuka Anisiobi an Igbo boy who won the inaugural spelling bee organized by the Remi Tinubu’s New Era Foundation. Tinubu sent him to Switzerland and he is now working with a reputable oil giant in Canada. As Lagos State governor also, Asiwaju Tinubu paid for WAEC and NECO registration forms not leaving out JAMB forms for all students irrespective of their tribes and religions. These and many more sterling qualities gave Tinubu a solid strength in contesting for the 2023 Presidency. The graduate of Richard J Dalley College in Chicago, Illinois and the University of Chicago is a man with an inner knowledge of Nigeria and Nigerians.

Tinubu is known to be a man of strategy and he has started deploying that as at present. Though his choice of another Muslim in the person of Alhaji Kashim Shettima as Vice attracted various comments both supportive and non-supportive, the Jagaban knows what he is doing. He is aware of the strategic importance of the North most especially the core North and that is why he has to pick someone from the North East to further garner more support from that zone. In addition to this, the Northern part of the country is a zone where massive votes are recorded and Asiwaju would not want to waste time in wasting the votes from that zone. In other words, Asiwaju’s expectation of a massive turnout and votes from the Northern part of the country is certain and he would device other means of getting the attention of both the South East and the South South.

Other strategies he made is the appointment of notable Nigerians for his campaign train. The Director General of the Bola Ahmed Tinubu/Shettima Campaign is Plateau State Governor Simon Lalong while ebullient civil rights activist lawyer Barrister Festus Keyamo is picked as the Spokesman for the campaign Group. This is a very strategic move by the APC as regards the presidential propagation and information dissemination of its candidate, Asiwaju Tinubu.

Saying that Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu is popular is stating the obvious. In all the major geo political zones of the country, the name Asiwaju Tinubu rings bell like that of our Lords Jesus Christ and Prophet Muhammed (SAW). Wherever he moves to, he is always welcome with massive crowd falling on themselves to catch a glimpse of him. Definitely, the popularity in terms of physicality is there. However, in political popularity, Asiwaju could also be rated above average and this is because he still needed to do a lot of ground-breaking works to be able to cover almost all the parts of Nigerian in terms of popularity.


Peter Obi, Presidential Candidate of Labour Party (LP)

Peter Obi remains the only major contestant for the Nigeria’s presidency whose region, the South East has not tasted power at that level since the re-introduction of democracy in Nigeria from 1999. However, not only Igbos alone, all Nigerians are seriously and earnestly yearning for the choice of Obi as the country’s next president. According to research conducted so far, Peter Obi stands out as one of the most preferred candidates for the presidency. As the journey to Aso Rock begins however, Obi is seriously looking at Nigerians to believe in his dream and aspirations into turning the country to one of the best nations of the world.

When serving as the Governor of Anambra State, Peter Obi did all he could in his human capacity to develop the state to the envy of all other 35 states in the country and the Federal Capital Territory Abuja. His fellow governors then believed so much that Obi was using a magic to rebrand and reshape Anambra State and this idea is still on in the mindset of those that worked with him while in government. Born almost 60 years ago, Peter Obi is a man that synergizes with both the younger and the older generations of Nigerians considering his active, vibrant and physically fit nature. His educational attainment is also an added advantage to his victory as that is expected to be deployed into his style of administering the country.

For his educational achievements, Peter Obi attended Christ the King College, Onitsha, where he completed his secondary school education. He was admitted to the University of Nigeria, in 1980, graduated with a B.A. (Hons) in philosophy in 1984. Peter Obi attended Lagos Business School, where he completed the Chief Executive Program, Harvard Business School, where he completed two major programs, the London School of Economics, Columbia Business School, and the International Institute for Management Development where he received certificates in the Senior Executive Program and the Chief Executive Officer Program. He also attended the Kellogg School of Management of Northwestern University, Saïd Business School of Oxford University and the Judge Business School of Cambridge University.

A very successful businessman and politician, Dr. Peter Obi will hold the flag of the Labour Party during the 2023 Presidential election in Nigeria and many of his Igbo men and women, the Yorubas and Hausas are all expected to storm out enmasse all over the nation to cast their votes for him. The gap-toothed politician graduated from the University of Nigeria in 1984 with sterling academic records embroidered in flying colours, young and articulate Peter Obi entered business and banking, eventually rising to hold several high-ranking executive positions at banks. By the early 2000s, Obi was the chairman of Fidelity Bank before leaving the position to enter politics. Obi ran for governor in 2003, as a member of the All Progressives Grand Alliance but his main opponent was unlawfully declared victor.

Dr. Peter Obi’s political strength lies on his past achievements both as a banker and as a state governor. He was at several times a very wonderful businessman whose creativity and uniqueness in providing job opportunities to the many Nigerian youths who were languishing in abject poverty is awesome. He is a very magnificent giver and an ardent helper of the poor masses. Peter Obi detest poverty and suffering and that is why he is throwing his hat in the contest for the stool of Nigeria’s Presidency in 2023. However, Obi’s strength cuts across all the geo-political zones of the country as he has been able create a solid image for himself in all the aforementioned zones. This may, in turn be a very big booster for his chances of emerging as Nigeria’s next president come 2023.

Obi is expected to strategize on the three major zones of the country. His campaign train will have to move internally to all the necessary places in the zones and sell the candidacy of Obi strategically. His other strategy is to use his gap-bridging nature between the youths and the old. He will definitely have the supports of both the younger and older generations of Nigerians.

Obi’s popularity in all the three geo-political zones is a massive one. He is known in all the length and breadth of the country and even young children of nowadays could relate easily with his personality and who he is in the Nigerian political and democratic spheres. However, as the flagbearer of the Labour Party, Obi’s popularity will be put to a litmus test in 2023 and he is expected to prove his popularity and acceptance by the people. Obi’s presidential campaign has been described as populist and has been noted for its support among many young Nigerians, who have been nicknamed “Obi-dients”. Obi has won several awards based on his popularity and achievements in office.


Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, Presidential Candidate of People Democratic Party (PDP)

Alhaji Atiku Abubakar is one man whose personality reflects around non-tribalism. He is a man that spreads his hands of fellowship to all and sundry regardless of tribal, religion and cultural beliefs. An ardent and passionate believer in Project Nigeria, Atiku has been gunning for the presidency for years. His deep love for the people never made him relent or get faint-hearted in trying further to contest for the presidential seat. This time around, the Waziri Adamawa is very much ready to take over the leadership and administration of the country from the incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari come 2023. Virtually, Atiku knows how tight this forthcoming election is, but he is confident that Nigerians now realize the mistakes they made by not fighting for their rights when he was denied the presidency during the last election.

Alhaji Atiku Abubakar who was elected governor of Adamawa State in 1999 before he was called to serve as the Vice President to Chief Olusegun Obasanjo is a man of valour, passion and a tremendous helper of the poor. He has raised hope for so many people and has touched the lives of quite a number of families. Atiku is also a raiser of men from obscurity to popularity. He has over the years encouraged many youths by providing employment opportunities for them through the establishment of various companies. He is not just a politician or an administrator, Atiku is a core and successful businessman. To be factual, Atiku has been in Nigerian politics for many years and unknown to many younger generations of Nigerians today, Atiku is one of the men that fought tooth and nail with the military junta for the restoration of democracy in Nigeria. This was as far back as 1993 when he personally contested for the presidential slot of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) that later produced the late business mogul Chief MKO Abiola.

Since then, Atiku has not looked back in his continued interest in sitting at the coveted stool of the President of Africa’s most populous country Nigeria. Coincidentally, Atiku’s most renowned philanthropic gestures rallied around the provision of jobs for the teaming Nigerian youths and bringing happiness into the homes of many families in all the geo political zones of the country. However, Atiku has also embarked on other notable areas of humanitarianism and these have worked for him in his political career so far. This was what prompted the leadership and delegates of the Peoples’ Democratic Party to elect him as their candidate in the 2023 Nigerian presidential election. Academically, Atiku Abubakar is a very sound man. He proudly owns a Diploma from the School of Hygiene in 1967 and a Diploma in Law at the Ahmadu Bello University Institute of Administration before joining the Nigerian Customs Service. In 2021, Atiku successfully completed and passed his Master’s degree in International Relations at Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge, United Kingdom. Abubakar’s first foray into politics was in the early 1980s, when he worked behind-the-scenes on the governorship campaign of Bamanga Tukur, who at that time was Managing Director of the Nigeria Ports Authority. He canvassed for votes on behalf of Tukur, and also donated to the campaign. Towards the end of his Customs career, he met General Shehu Musa Yar’Adua, who had been second-in-command Chief of Staff, Supreme Headquarters between 1976 and 1979. Abubakar was drawn by Yar’Adua into the political meetings that were now happening regularly in Yar’Adua’s Lagos home, which gave rise to the Peoples Front of Nigeria (PFN). The PFN included politicians such as Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, Baba Gana Kingibe, Bola Tinubu, Sabo Bakin Zuwo, Rabiu Kwankwaso, Abdullahi Aliyu Sumaila and Abubakar Koko.

Atiku’s political strength is very elastic and somewhat extensive too. As a man who married his first wife from the South West, he has an upper advantage in that zone. For Yorubas are known to be considerable people. He also married from the North and the South East. All these may combine together in adding to his strength for the election. However, his biggest strength lies on his provision of job opportunities to every member of all the geo-political zones of the country. As a detribalized politician, Atiku may use that as a bait to lure the people of the South East, South South, South West and his Northern brothers and sisters to cast their votes for him and finally emerge as Nigeria’s president.

To ensure victory at the 2023 Presidential polls, Atiku need to embark on a lot of strategic campaigns moving his train to everywhere reachable in the entire country and not forgetting Nigerians in the Diaspora. As a technology savvy politician, he should ensure he connects online with Nigerians in abroad and relay his messages and manifestoes to them. Part of his strategy will also be to continue on his human capacity building techniques as this will also go a long way in adding to his positive profile for the people. He has very brilliant chances of emerging victorious if he can achieve these strategies and more as developed by his team.

No doubt, Atiku is a very popular man in Nigerian politics both positively and negatively. While some segment of the people believe in his dream of redirecting Nigeria to the promised land, some are of the view that he is just an addicted contender and a serial loser. They say he is a bad product for any political party simply because he has been contesting and losing. But this class of critics should be reminded of the story of America’s Abraham Lincoln who contested for various offices but lost severally before finally emerging as the 16th President of the USA. Atiku should ignore these comments and continue with his call for the people’s votes. His popularity rate in Nigeria and in the Diaspora is very high and this could propel his chances of winning at the polls come 2023.


Rabi’u Musa Kwankwaso Presidential Candidate of New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP)

While governing Kano State, Rabi’u Musa Kwankwaso, FNSE, FNIQS brought a new dimension into the administration of the state. He developed very vital political values that touched the lives of the people directly. Kwanwaso, as a benevolent leader ensured that he strategically touched all the areas that were in need of urgent development. He moved swiftly to capitalize on reframing the educational sector of the state by embarking on massive renovation and rehabilitation of schools blocks and classes, provision of materials like books and other writing materials, school bags, uniforms and shoes for the pupils and ensuring the prompt payment of teachers. Under his administration, teachers and head teachers were sent on professional trainings both in Nigeria and in abroad. This is done to ensure the best of education for the children of Kano State and today, it is helping the state in all ramifications.

Alhaji Rabiu Kwankwaso did not stop there; he beamed his administrative spotlight to other vital areas of the state that are also in dire need of his midas touch. These are areas like electricity, water supply, road construction and reconstruction, transportation, agriculture, industry and manufacturing, sports, entertainment, health and others. As a man that values the sayings that health is wealth, Governor Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso worked assiduously in re-engineering the health sector of the state. He built health care centers in all the 44 local governments in the state. In addition to these, he also facilitated the mother and child hospital projects and health check-up for the elders in the state. Gov. Kwankwaso also purchased ambulance vehicles for all the state’s hospitals and this is in addition to other medical equipment. The former Minister of Defence also embarked on several other structural and infrastructural developmental projects to the delight of the people.

His humanitarian achievements while serving as Kanos State governor endeared him into the minds of leaders of thought in various communities as they all convey on him different chieftaincy titles. For his educational attainment, Rabiu Kwankwaso attended Kwankwaso Primary School, Gwarzo Boarding Senior Primary School, Wudil Craft School and Kano Technical College before proceeding to Kaduna Polytechnic where he did both his National Diploma, and Higher National Diploma. Kwankwaso was an active student leader during his school days and was an elected official of the Kano State Students Association. He also attended postgraduate studies in the United Kingdom from 1982 to 1983 at the Middlesex Polytechnic; and Loughborough University of Technology where he received a master’s degree in water engineering in 1985. He also bags his PhD in water engineering at Sharda University India, in 2022. Kwankwaso joined the Kano State Water Resources and Engineering Construction Agency of the Government of Kano State in 1975. He served there for seventeen years in various capacities and rose through the ranks to become the principal water engineer and in 1992, Kwankwaso made his entry into politics on the platform of the Social Democratic Party (SDP).

While serving the people of Kano State, Presidential hopeful Rabiu Kwankwaso’s time in office was characterized with a number of notable achievements. During his first tenure in office as governor (1999 to 2003), he established the Kano University of Science and Technology in Wudil, the first and only state university in Kano at the time. During his second tenure (2011 to 2015), Kwankwaso established the North West University, Kano, the second state University in Kano. He also established 26 academic and manpower development training institutes and through these institutes over 360,000 youth and women were trained and empowered. He is the first governor in Nigeria to introduce free school feeding and uniforms for primary school pupils. This exponentially increased the school enrolment figures from 1 million in 2011 to over 3 million in 2015 when he left office.

His passion for education saw to the introduction of free education at all levels in the state and saw to the adequate provision of teaching and learning materials. He established 230 secondary schools of which there are 47 technical colleges, 44 schools of Islamic studies, a Chinese college, a French college, and the first boarding girls’ college as well as a boys’ college in Damagaran and Niamey jointly with the Government of Niger Republic. In his four years as the governor of Kano State, he has awarded over 2,600 postgraduate and undergraduate foreign scholarships in 14 countries across the world. This is in addition to the local private university scholarship in Nigeria. In the area of infrastructure for the first time in the history of Northern Nigeria, three flyover bridges were constructed, 5 km dual-carriage lighted roads were being constructed in each of the 44 Local Government Areas of Kano, and two underpass bridges were constructed. Kwankwaso also initiated the covering of drainages with interlocking tiles in the state, including the covering of the Jakara River which cuts across the city of Kano with a dualised road, which greatly improved the environmental and sanitary condition of the entire city of Kano. Kwankwaso has also built many houses and estates in both his first and second tenure in office. Three modern cities, Kwankwasiyya, Amana and Bandirawo were built with about 3000 housing units of various capacities put up for sale to the general public. About 1500 houses have been constructed and donated free to rural poor communities and victims of flood disasters.

NNPP Presidential hopeful has always been nursing the desire of further contributing to the better standard of living for the people and after leaving office as governor, Engr. Kwankwaso launched the Kwankwasiyya Development Foundation (KDF), an initiative designed to help the people of Kano state and across Nigeria. Through the foundation, Kwankwaso supported many young people to further their education with continued financial assistance. The first batch of 370 beneficiaries of the foundation’s overseas scholarship returned to Nigeria in 2021 after successfully completing their degrees. Upon completion of their studies, many of the scholars secured jobs with various national and international organisations such as Dangote and BUA, which was facilitated through the Kwankwasiyya Development Foundation.

On his 64th birthday in 2020, Kwankwaso inaugurated a 300-pupil capacity school which he built in Rano local government, Kano. The school is solar-powered and has a block housing six classrooms. The school was built through KDF in line with Kwankwaso’s vision and mission to support education. These and many other wonderful steps taken by Kwankwaso most especially from his Northern abode speaks volume of his strategic moves in clinching the baton of leading Nigeria from President Muhammed Buhari in 2023.

To be candid, the popularity of Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso could be centred majorly in the North and sparsely in the South West. But his popularity in the South East and South South are somewhat not so heavy. He needs to do a very thorough job in getting massive supports from that zone. His choice of Pastor Isaac Idahosa as his running mate may help boost his popularity in the South East however, but a lot of domestic homework needed to be done in that area.


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