2019: Meet the newcomers who may change the tide

Abbas Jimoh, Ozibo Ozibo (Abuja), Lami Sadiq (Jos), Romoke W. Ahmad (Ilorin), Eyo Charles (Calabar) & Jeremiah Oke (Ibadan)

There are 47 presidential and 821 gubernatorial candidates being sponsored by political parties for the 2019 general elections. Many of those in the race are popular in their various endeavours but this is the first time they are vying for elective positions.



Presidential candidates


Omoyele Sowore – African Action Congress (AAC)

Born on 16 February, 1971, Omoyele Sowore is a Nigerian human rights activist, pro-democracy campaigner, and a founder of Sahara Reporters. He is the Presidential candidate of the African Action Congress (AAC) in the 2019 general elections. Sowore is a political newcomer since he is contesting an elective office in Nigeria for the very first time. A native of Ilaje in Ondo State, Sowore studied Geography and Regional Planning at the University of Lagos between 1989 and 1995; he was barred twice for student activism as President of the University of Lagos Student Union Government in 1992-94.

Obi Ezekwesili – Allied Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN)

Obiageli Ezekwesili, popularly called ‘Oby’ or ‘Madam Due Process’ was born on 28 April, 1963 in Anambra State. She trained as an accountant. She was a co-founder of Transparency International, serving as one of the pioneer directors of the global anti-corruption body based in Berlin, Germany. She served as Federal Minister of Solid Minerals and then Education during Obasanjo’s government between 2003 and 2007. Although Ezekwesili is no strange face in government bureaucracy, she is undoubtedly a political newcomer as she is contesting for an elective office in Nigeria for the very first time.

“The overriding vision of an ACPN presidency shall be to build a new Nigeria that is prosperous, stable and harmonious,” she said and went ahead to ask Nigerians not to vote for both President Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Vice President Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), saying they are products of the same old system.

Kingsley Moghalu – Young Progressive Party (YPP)

Kingsley Moghalu served as Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria from 2009 to 2014. He was also a member of the Board of Directors, Monetary Policy Committee, Committee of Governors of the CBN, and Nigeria’s Economic Management Team. His tenure at the Nigeria’s apex bank was not without controversy. He was charged with executing frequently controversial banking sector reforms spearheaded by then CBN Governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi. He publicly articulated and defended the central bank’s reforms, including the controversial Islamic banking.

On his motivations for active politics, the Anambra-born technocrat has said he joined YPP because he believed the party would be progressive, as an agent of raising standards across the board for politics and policy. “It is a choice between remaining a mere fractious assortment of ethnicity and religious on one hand and building a real nation on the other,” he said.

Hamza Al-Mustapha – Peoples Party of Nigeria (PPN)

Hamza al-Mustapha was the Chief Security Officer (CSO) to the late Head of State, Sani Abacha between November 1993 and June 1998. After Abacha’s death he was arrested and tried for murder. On 12 July 2013, a Court of Appeal in Lagos discharged and acquitted him of the murder of Kudirat Abiola. The Yobe State-born is the presidential candidate of Peoples Party of Nigeria. He is a newcomer in active politics, especially at the presidential level.

Tope Fasua – Abundant Nigeria Renewal Party (ANRP)

Born September 11, 1971, Tope Kolade Fasua is a businessman, economist and writer. He is the founder and CEO of Global Analytics Consulting Limited, an international consulting firm with its headquarters in Abuja. Fasua founded the ANRP, and got elected as its national chairman since February 2018; and thereafter announced his intention to seek nomination to run for Nigeria’s presidency in the forthcoming 2019 general elections.

Usman Ibrahim Alhaji – National Rescue Movement (NRM)

Forty-eight-year-old Usman Ibrahim Alhaji is the presidential candidate of the National Rescue Movement (NRM).

Alhaji was born in Makurdi, Benue State though his parents were from Kebbi State.

He is a graduate of Library and Information Science, University of Maiduguri and a professional educationist.

He is currently a businessman, managing two educational consulting companies and one agro-allied company. Alhaji during his declaration in Abuja said he belongs to a new generation of “youthful patriots with a burning desire to contribute his evident dynamism, creativity and newer perspectives among other qualities that align with today’s realities and rapidly progressive developments in human and socio-economic endeavours for national transformation.”


Governorship candidates

Cross River

Barrister Eyo Ekpo – Social Democratic Party (SDP)

He was born in 1966. He was former Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice in Cross River State during the tenure of Mr Donald Duke. He later worked with National Electricity Regulatory Agency and the General Electric (GE).

He is of the Efik ethnic group whose people said they have been marginalised. Mr Ekpo enjoys support from many who see him as a fresh face and the party as an alternative. He campaigns on the theme “Rescue and Restore Cross River.”


Pastor Margaret Inusa – Action Democratic Party (ADP)

She is a first timer in politics and she is eyeing Plateau’s seat of power in Little Rayfield. She is also the only woman among the 21 candidates jostling for the seat.

Margaret Inusa is a senior Pastor at Glorious Life International Church, a relationship councillor and a radio talk show host in Jos. Thanks to her role in peace building and empowerment for the young, she has been able to garner a lot of support from women, youths and among non-indigenes residents in the state.

Coming from Kanke Local Government Area in Plateau Central Senatorial districts means Margaret and her party are breaking the state’s unwritten zoning agreement which presently gives an upper hand to candidates from the Southern Senatorial district.

With no political experience, Margaret is not doing badly. She will face stronger contenders and more experienced contestants especially Governor Simon Lalong of the APC, Senator Jeremiah Useni of the PDP.


Comrade Issa Obalowu Aremu – Labour Party (LP)

He was born on January 8, 1961 and he is a trade union activist and labour leader. He is the General Secretary of the National Union of Textile, Garment and Tailoring Workers of Nigeria (NVTGTWN) and Vice President of the Industrial Global Union. He is also a member of the executive council of the Nigerian Labour Congress who served as Vice President of the congress during the tenure of Comrade Adams Oshiomhole.

Aremu who has impacted lives of many Kwarans as a labour leader has been able to reach out and register himself in the minds of many people in Kwara State who have benefitted from him directly or indirectly.

His five-point development agenda which includes addressing poverty, has endeared him to many people having studied challenges confronting the state.


Prof. Babagana Zulum- All Progressives Congress (APC)

He was declared winner of the APC primaries in Borno State and enjoys the support of incumbent Governor Kashim Shettima. He is a Professor of Irrigation Engineering from the University of Maiduguri and the immediate past Commissioner for Reconstruction, Rehabilitation and Resettlement.

With the acrimony in the leading opposition PDP in Borno, all is now set for Zulum despite the fact that this is the first time he is vying for political office through the ballot.


Chief Bayo Adelabu – (APC)

Adelabu, a 48-year-old former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria resigned in May this year to venture into politics.

He will be slugging it out with a former governor of the state, Chief Adebayo Alao-Akala who is the candidate of (ADP), Senator Olufemi Lanlehin of the ADC and many others. Adelabu who is from Ibadan which contributes over 55per cent of the total votes in Oyo State may enjoy the goodwill of his grandfather, Adegoke Adelabu with “Penkelemesi” as his campaign slogan. Adelabu was opposition leader, Western House of Assembly, Chairman, Ibadan District Council and Minister of Natural Resources and Social Services.

Adelabu, First-Class degree graduate of Accountancy from Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun State, was in private sector before joining Central Bank of Nigeria in February, 2014.

At the apex bank, Adelabu served as the chairman, Board of Directors of the Nigeria Interbank Settlement System (NIBBS) and had also chaired the Board of Financial Institution Training Centre (FITC). He also served as a member of the Board, Federal Inland Revenue Services (FIRS), Nigeria Security Printing and Minting Company (NSPMC), the Assets Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCN) and the Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk-Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL).

These rookies are set to feel the pressure of seeking elective position and whether they will succeed depends on the electorate.



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