2019’s most unexpected candidates

Beside increased interests in what happens in the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and the leading opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as the 2019 general elections draw nearer, some politicians whose names ring a bell in their comfort zones have thrown their hats in the contest for the presidency using some of the upcoming political parties.



While majority of the electorate look to the APC and PDP for the fiercest presidential contest, there appears to be a paradigm shift as about 20 out of the over 90 political parties registered by INEC have also fielded candidates for the presidential election. This is besides having flag bearers for other elective positions; a development analysts believe has opened the political space for Nigerians to make informed opinion on the type of politicians they would entrust their future with.


Donald Duke

He is a former governor of Cross River State and one of the notable politicians in the former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s Coalition for Nigeria Movement (CNM).

Although he was elected on the platform of the PDP as governor, Duke later pitched tent with the CNM, the brain child of ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo. He wants to use the platform in order to convince Nigerians to jettison both the APC and PDP.

Curiously, Duke, in April this year, said he was still a member of the PDP, a remark that points to the fact that all is not well with the Obasanjo coalition.

The ex- governor said the CNM is not a political party despite the fact that its handlers have collapsed it into the African Democratic Congress (ADC).

Many had expected Duke to either seek the ticket of the PDP or ADC. However, his declaration and subsequent emergence as candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) came as a surprise.

It might not actually be a smooth ride for him because the ticket is being challenged by the former Minister of Information, Professor Jerry Gana, who claimed that the emergence of Duke had violated the principle of zoning in the party.

Prof. Gana said with Chief Olu Falae as national chairman of the party, the ideal thing is for the presidential candidate to emerge from the North.

Hamza al-Mustapha

He is the presidential candidate of the Peoples Party of Nigeria (PPN), having emerged winner of the presidential ticket during the party’s national convention held in Ado Ekiti.

In his acceptance speech, Al-Mustapha, who was represented at the occasion by Zakaria Husseini, promised Nigerians good leadership, and pledged to salvage the country and put it back on the path of growth and prosperity.

Al-Mustapha is the former Chief Security Officer (CSO) to late General Sani Abacha -military head of state of Nigeria from November 1993 to June 1998. After Abacha’s death, al-Mustapha was arrested and tried for the murder of Alhaja Kudirat Abiola. On 30th January 2012, a Lagos High Court sitting at Igbosere convicted him. He was also sentenced to death by hanging but was discharged and acquitted of the crime by the Appeal Court, Lagos division on Friday July 12, 2013.

It is believed that al-Mustapha has appeal among the youth and might get many votes from that circle.


Obadiah Mailafia

Dr Mailafia is the presidential candidate of the African Democratic Congress (ADC).  A former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, he was declared winner of the party’s primary election barely hours before the deadline for the conclusion of primaries as set by the Independent National Electoral Commission.

The ADC, which has been endorsed by former President Olusegun Obasanjo, is one of the parties which had signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the main opposition PDP.

Curiously, Obasanjo had on Thursday endorsed former Vice President Atiku Abubakar for the presidency.

What is not clear now is whether Mailafiya will shelve his ambition and collapse his structure into that of Atiku or he would continue with his struggle.


Oby Ezekwesili

Mrs. Oby Ezekwesili is the presidential candidate of the Allied Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN). Her emergence as candidate on that platform baffled many as expectations were that she would contest on the platform of the PDP, having served as Minister for Solid Minerals and also Minister for Education during the reign of the PDP.

Mrs. Ezekwesili has been championing the #Bring Back Our Girls Campaign since over 200 school girls were abducted from Chibok, Borno State.

She took the government of President Goodluck Jonathan to task on the issue and has consistently challenged the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government as well for not doing enough to rescue all the girls.

She was a co-founder of Transparency International and serves as one of the pioneer

directors of the global anti-corruption body based in Berlin, Germany.

Ezekwesili started off in the Olusegun Obasanjo administration as the Pioneer head of the Budget Monitoring and Price Intelligence Unit. It was in this position that she earned the sobriquet of “Madam Due Process” for the outstanding work she led a team of professionals to do in sanitising public procurement or contracting at the federal level in Nigeria.

She was the architect of the Bureau for Public Procurement legislation, the NEITI legislation and the new Minerals and Mining legislation during her six and a half years stint in government.

She was appointed Minister of Solid Minerals (Mines and Steel) in June 2005 during which time she led a vibrant reform program that led to Nigeria’s global recognition as a credible mining investment destination.

She was also the Chairperson of the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) and led the first ever national implementation of the global standards and principles of transparency in the oil, gas and mining sector.

The ex-minister will slug it out with President Muhammadu Buhari at the polls in 2019.


Prof. Kingsley Moghalu

He is the presidential candidate of the Young Progressives Party (YPP).

A Nigerian political economist, lawyer, former United Nation’s official and Professor of International Business and Public Policy from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, he is the founder of Sogato Strategies LLC and a Senior Adviser of the Official Monetary and Financial Institutions Forum.


Omoyele Sowore

He is the presidential candidate of the African Action Congress (AAC), the publisher of Sahara Reporters and Convener of the #TakeItBack Movement.

Mr. Sowore was unanimously elected by members at the party’s national convention held at the Duplex Plaza, CMD, Shangisha, Lagos.

The Ondo-born activist thanked the party delegates for supporting his dream to “take Nigeria out of mess.”

“We must work to realize the dream of a new Nigeria, where we would be able to send our children to school, and where the black man will be proud of the Nigerian nation. We must say enough is enough.”

Party leaders say his chances are bright considering he was unanimously elected without opposition.


Tope Kolade Fasua

Fasua is the presidential candidate of the Abundant Nigeria Renewal Party (ANRP). He founded the ANRP and got elected since February 2018 to serve as the national chairman of the party.

Fasua, who has authored four books and written numerous columns on newspapers, is a Nigerian businessman, economist and writer. He is the founder and CEO of Global Analytics Consulting Limited, an international consulting firm with its headquarters in Abuja, Nigeria.

Gbenga Toyosi Olawepo

Olawepo is the candidate of the Alliance for New Nigeria (AAN). He is a human rights activist and business man. The name Olawepo first made headlines when as an anti-apartheid activist, he and three other students’ leaders of the University of Lagos were arrested and clamped into detention in April 1989, following an anti-apartheid protest.


Olusegun Mimiko

Mimiko is a former governor of Ondo State and the presidential candidate of the Zenith Labour Party.  He was the first two-term governor of Ondo State and the first Labour Party (LP) governor in Nigeria.  He was Minister for Housing and Urban Development, Secretary to the Ondo State Government, and a two-time Ondo State Commissioner for Health.


Sunday Chukwu-Eguzolugo

He is the presidential candidate of Justice Must Prevail Party (JMPP).

Chukwu-Eguzolugo, who polled 14 votes at the presidential primary, monitored by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) recently in Abuja, defeated Eze Odioyenma who got 2 votes.

Chief Charles Otis, the National Coordinator of the 16-member committee of wise men that formed the delegates, described the election as excellent.


Hamisu Santuraki

Hon Hamisu Santuraki is the presidential candidate of the Mega Party of Nigeria (MPN) for the 2019 general elections.

Santuraki emerged after defeating three other aspirants at the primaries held in Abuja. Before his emergence, he was the party’s national chairman.


Ayodele Fagbenro-Byron

He is the presidential candidate of KOWA Party and a former governance adviser with the United Kingdom’s Department of International Development (DID).  He is also a co-founder of the KOWA party, a lawyer, and Afro-jazz musician.


Eunice Uche Julian Atuejide

She is a Nigerian businesswoman, lawyer and politician. She is also the founder of the National Interest Party (NIP), the political platform on which she would be vying for the presidency.

Alister Soyode

Soyede is the presidential candidate of the Yes Party and founder of BEN TV, a UK based television station.


Fidelis Akhahomen

He is the presidential candidate of the Young Democratic Party (YDP).


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