Ahead of the primary election of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), many presidential aspirants have emerged despite the huge cost of the expression of interest and nomination forms.
The APC fixed its presidential nomination and expression of interest forms at N100 million.
The cost of the forms had generated criticisms from many Nigerians. Immediately after the cost of the forms was announced, several Nigerians took to social media to voice their concerns.
The ruling party has fixed May 30 and 31 for the election of its presidential, governorship and legislative candidates, through indirect primary. Political parties have until June 3 to submit the name of their candidates to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Unlike in 2019, there is a large number of aspirants who are jostling for the party’s ticket; observers have expressed divergent views on the implications of the high number of presidential aspirants.
Some political watchers believe that some of the aspirants are not serious about their ambition and are only in the race to negotiate their political future. They say many of them would not even go into the contest and would eventually bow out of the race at the last minute.
The aspirants are Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State; Governor Dave Umahi of Ebonyi State; Orji Kalu, former Abia governor and serving senator; Rochas Okorocha, former Imo governor and senator, Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo; Bola Ahmed Tinubu, former governor of Lagos State; Rotimi Amaechi, minister of transportation; and Chris Ngige, minister of labour and employment.
Others include Kayode Fayemi, Ekiti State governor; Adams Oshiomhole, former national chairman of the party; Godswill Akpabio, minister of Niger Delta affairs; Muhammed Badaru Abubakar, Jigawa State Governor; Gbenga Olawepo-Hashim, a human rights activist and businessman; Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, Minister of State for Education, and Ibikunle Amosun, former governor of Ogun State.
Ahmed Lawan, the Senate president; Ben Ayade, Cross River Governor; Pastor Tunde Bakare; Ogbonnaya Onu, Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation; Former Senate President Ken Nnamani; Dimeji Bankole, former Speaker, House of Representatives; and Uju Kennedy, the only female aspirant, have also declared their intention to run.
Most of the presidential aspirants have unfolded their agenda for the country, making various promises on what they would do to salvage Nigeria from its current problems, if they are given the opportunity to succeed President Muhammadu Buhari.
Among the issues that have dominated the agenda of aspirants in the APC are security, economic transformation, restructuring, and job creation.
Akpabio promised to create jobs, provide infrastructure and bring restoration, dignity, respect and total transformation to the country.
He said he would re-enact his “uncommon transformation” feat achieved during his eight years of governor and as minority leader in the red chamber as well as minister of the Niger Delta affairs.
Nwajiuba said he would strive to transform Nigeria into a developed state and fight unemployment and poverty.
“As we strive to uplift Nigeria and Nigerians into a developed state, a lot still is outstanding and needs to be done. Many of our citizens are still outside, hungry, unemployed,” he said.
Osinbajo promised to transform the security, intelligence architecture, completing the reform of the justice system and focusing on adequate remuneration and welfare of judicial personnel.
Read also: Osinbajo: Experience, loyalty and character
He said his administration would ensure justice for all and the observance of rule of law, rapidly advancing infrastructure development, especially power, roads, railways and broadband connectivity.
Okorocha pledged to create an enabling economy, where productive activities and job creation would be the order of the day.
The senator also said he would make free education compulsory, especially from primary to secondary schools.
Amaechi promised to rebuild the country, prioritise education, infrastructure and create an enabling environment for business to grow.
“I pledge my heart, mind and soul to the task of building a Nigeria in which every child can go to school, every young person can find work or support to start a business, every citizen can travel safely around the country and sleep at night,” Amaechi said.
Ngige said the Nigerian Police, as the agency in charge of homeland security, would be equipped with men and material to function optimally if becomes president.
According to him, the decentralisation of Nigerian police is the way to go, so that governors of states can be chief security officers in name and in reality.
Bello promised to fight poverty and 20 million millionaires using crypto-related technology and the Igbo apprentice system.
“A Yahaya Bello administration or presidency will have an additional target of creating N20 million by the same year 2030 with the aim that each of them will empower five other citizens,” the governor said.
Tinubu said he would transform the country to compete favourably with a country like Russia in the exploration of oil and gas.
According to him, the country is blessed with abundant natural resources that are yet to be explored to enable it to be ranked among the best economies in the world.
Umahi said he would replicate his feats as a governor at the national level.
He said his administration would create wealth to give jobs for unemployed Nigerians and also focus on education.
Olawepo-Hashim said he would solve the insecurity crisis, worsening energy crises due to absence of local refining of petroleum products, and inadequate electricity generation, transmission and distribution if elected president.
Oshiomhole said he would ensure a stable academic calendar by ending the frequent strikes in the sector.
The former labour leader promised to review the tax system which would compel the rich to pay higher taxes required to address the basic needs of the country.
Amosun promised to focus on national security, economic development, healthcare, education, agriculture and food security, infrastructural rural development, technology, innovation and digital economy, and nation-building.
He promised to transform the country within four years with unprecedented investment in human security.