“These people are living in a delusive world and they will wake up on February 18, 2019 and will know that…” – Itse Sagay

Onyedika Agbedo (Lagos) and Ndubuisi Orji (Abuja)

As the 2019 general election inches by, 75 candidates have been cleared by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to slug it out with President Muhammadu Buhari at the February poll.

In 2015, INEC cleared 10 candidates, including President Buhari, to contest against former President Goodluck Jonathan with 26 parties registered to participate in that election.

Today, the number of political parties registered by INEC is 91.

This huge number of political parties, the Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC), Prof. Itse Sagay (SAN), said was a sign that the politics of the country was still immature.

READ ALSO: Cabals are your problem, Sagay tells Buhari

Speaking in a telephone interview with Sunday Sun yesterday, Sagay said that only the candidates of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) stood a chance of winning the election, describing other parties in the race as jokers.

His words: “You know somehow Nigeria does not keep with norms, which other nations adopt or practice. Politics is referred to as the art of the possible. That is the name of politics. Now, why do you throw your heart in a ring when you know for certain 100 per cent that you are going to lose? There is something perverse in it. Take away APC and PDP, all the others are just jokers. They are absolute jokers and they know. And what I’m saying is what is the motivation. Is it to add some extra letters, former presidential candidate (FPC) to the name as a new title? Or is it the money that INEC gives? What is it? These are unknown people, totally unknown.

“Some feel that because they are young that is the qualification for being elected. But we know that the grievously corrupt Nigerians are young Nigerians; their level of corruption is terrible. They are the ones who think that they can be millionaires overnight. So, I don’t see any advantage in being young and looking for political position. So, my conclusion is that these people are living in a delusive world and they will wake up on February 18, 2019 and will know that. They are just clowns, comedians and we will all just have a good laugh. Apart from PDP and APC the others are jokers and they know it.”

Asked whether the multiplicity of candidates for the election was not the beauty of democracy, Sagay noted: “Well, you must have some chance of success before you begin to contest an election. For example, if these other ones had contested to be candidates in those two parties, that would have made sense if they are so ambitious. So, they should have done that. But to go and form tiny, tiny unknown entities, which cannot win even a local government makes politics a bit ridiculous and they have been giving us a very poor image as a country; as an unserious people.”

On whether the development was not an indication that many Nigerians were desirous for change of government, the eminent lawyer said the quest of all candidates was legitimate but that the platforms were wrong.

“Everybody who does not support a government in power will want a change of government. That is quite legitimate. But I think he/she should do it on a platform that gives him/her a chance of success; that is the point I am making. Why waste the energy to be going through the whole process of nomination, campaign, spending money and all that; then at the end when the results are being announced, somebody is getting 15 million votes and you are getting 200 votes. It doesn’t make sense. So, I think it is sheer immaturity; our politics is very immature,” he noted.

But the presidential candidate of Allied Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN), Dr Oby Ezekwesili, said that Sagay is only living in the past by his submissions.

The former Vice President of the World Bank, a co-founder of Transparency International, as well as former Minister of Solid Minerals and Education said that 2019 would prove Sagay wrong.

Mrs Ezekwesili, who is one of the leaders of the Bring Back Our Girls (BBOG) advocacy group, also said that with the large followership she has across the country, she is in the presidential race to win.

She said that Nigerians are tired of the old order and now ready for the real change, which the APC promised, but failed to deliver to the people.

Some of the candidates who want President Buhari’s job are:

Atiku Abubakar

Former Vice President Abubakar Atiku emerged the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate for the 2019 general elections at the party’s national convention held in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital. He defeated the Sokoto State governor, Aminu Tambuwal; Senate President, Bukola Saraki, and nine other aspirants to clinch the much coveted ticket of the major opposition party.

The former vice president has always had his eyes on the presidency in the past 25 years, starting from 1993 when he contested the presidential primary of the defunct Social Democratic Party (SDP) in the botched Third Republic. After the disqualification of the late Shehu Musa Yar’Adua from the presidential contest by the junta regime, Atiku, who was a protege of the late elder statesman, joined the contest for the SDP presidential.

However, his ambition to contest the 1993 presidential election superintended over by the regime of former Military President, General Ibrahim Babangida was still born as he came third in the SDP presidential primary, with the late Chief MKO Abiola clinching the ticket.

In 2007, after he fell out with his former boss, former President Olusegun Obasanjo, Atiku defected from the PDP to the defunct Action Congress (AC), the platform on which he contested the 2007 presidential election. But he was beaten to a third position by the late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua and President Muhammadu Buhari, who came first and second respectively in the contest.

Prior to the 2011 general elections, Atiku, who had returned to the PDP after failing to actualise his ambition in AC, squared up against former President Goodluck Jonathan for the opposition party’s presidential ticket. However, he was defeated by the former president.

The former vice president was to later dump the PDP for the All Progressives Congress (APC), where he contested the party’s presidential primary and came third.

This is the fifth time that Atiku would be putting himself forward to contest for the presidential and the second time he would be on the ballot. The first time was in 2007, when he was the presidential candidate of the Action Congress.

READ ALSO: 2019: The Buhari/Atiku contest

Dr Oby Ezekwesili

Dr Oby Ezekwesili emerged the presidential candidate of Allied Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN). She is a former Vice President of World Bank and 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 Minister of Solid Minerals and then as Minister of Education during the second-term presidency of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo. Ezekwesili was a 2018 nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize for her work in transparency in the extractive sector.

She holds a master’s degree in International Law and Diplomacy from the University of Lagos, as well as a Master of Public Administration degree from the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. She trained with the firm of Deloitte and Touche and qualified as a chartered accountant.

Before her quest into public service, Ezekwesili was working with Professor Jeffrey Sachs at the Center for International Development at Harvard. She trained with the firm of Deloitte and Touche and qualified as a chartered accountant. She is now popular with the Bring Back Our Girls (BBOG) advocacy group, which she has been using to draw attention to the plight of the Chibok schools girls who were abducted by Boko Haram terrorists in 2014.

Donald Duke

Donald Duke, a two-time governor of Cross River State defeated former Minister of Information, Prof Jerry Gana and four others to emerge the presidential candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) for the 2019 general elections.

Duke had resigned his membership of the Peoples Democratic Party earlier and joined the SDP.

The former governor’s first stint in government was in 1992, when he served as Commissioner of Finance in Cross River State. At the inception of the present democratic dispensation, Duke was elected governor of the Cross River in 1999. In 2003, he was elected for a second term.

As governor, Duke is reputed for initiating the Calabar carnival, the Obudu Ranch Mountain race, as well as Tinapa Resort project, all geared at improving the growth of tourism in the state and boosting the revenue of the South-South state.

The former governor first indicated interest in the presidency in 2007, on the platform of the PDP. However, he later withdraw from the opposition party’s presidential primary, which produced the late Umaru Musa Yar’Adua as the candidate and the eventual winner of the 2007 presidential poll.

Olusegun Mimiko

Dr Olusegun Mimiko, presidential candidate of the Zenith Labour Party (ZLP), started off as member of the Alliance for Democracy (AD) in 1999. He served as the Commissioner of Health in Ondo State during the tenure of the late Governor Adebayo Adefarati. Mimiko was to later defect to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), where he joined forces with Olusegun Agagu, against Adeferati in the 2003 Ondo governorship election. Mimiko served briefly as the Secretary to the Ondo State Government before he was appointed Minister of Housing in the President Olusegun Obasanjo administration. In the 2007 general elections, Mimiko squared up against Agagu for the Ondo State governorship contest. He contested the 2007 Ondo governorship poll on the platform of the Labour Party (PDP).

After the election, the Independent National Electoral Commission declared Agagu as the winner of the Ondo governorship poll, prompting Mimiko to take his case to the courts. He was declared the winner of the Ondo State governorship poll by the Court of Appeal, Benin Division, in February 2009.

The former commissioner was re-elected as Ondo State governor for a second time in 2013. In the course of his tenure, Mimiko returned to the PDP. However, in a twist the former minister dumped the PDP. He later berthed in the ZLP.

Prof. Kingsley Moghalu

Prof. Kingsley Moghalu is the flag bearer of the Young Progressive Party (YPP). He is a political economist, lawyer, former United Nations official and Professor in International Business and Public Policy from The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He is the Founder of Sogato Strategies LLC. He is also a Senior Adviser of the Official Monetary and Financial Institutions Forum (OMFIF).

Moghalu served as Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria from 2009 to 2014, where he was at different times in charge of Financial Stability and Operations.

He was a member of the Board of Directors, the Monetary Policy Committee, and the Committee of Governors of the CBN. He was also a member of Nigeria’s Economic Management Team. He also led corporate governance in a number of international and Nigerian financial institutions as a member or chair of the boards of directors of the Alliance for Financial Inclusion (AFI), International Islamic Liquidity Management Corporation (IILMC), Nigerian Export-Import Bank (NEXIM), Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Financial Institutions Training Centre (FITC), and the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON).

In his acceptance speech after clinching the presidential ticket of the YPP recently, Moghalu said Nigeria needed a leader of international repute, not politicians that had failed the country.

“More than ever before, Nigeria needs to be driven by a vision, informed by a worldview that determines everything else. In accepting the presidential ticket of this great party, I stand here before you to say that Nigeria is fully capable of achieving greatness at home and abroad in our lifetimes. But this cannot happen with the normal way of doing things, the so-called Nigerian way.”

Gbenga Olawepo Hashim

Gbenga Olawepo Hashim is the candidate of the African Peoples Trust in the 2019 general elections. Hashim, a former student activist, first sought to contest the presidential election on the platform of the Alliance for New Nigeria (ANN). However, he left the ANN following controversy over the party’s presidential nomination for the 2019 polls.

According Wikipedia, Hashim started partisan politics in 1995, when he emerged the National Publicity Secretary of the National Democratic Labour Party (NDLP), in the transition programme organised by the regime of the late General Sani Abacha. He was to join the PDP at the formation of the party in 1998.

Reverend Chris Okotie

Christopher Oghenebrorie Okotie is the presidential candidate of the Fresh Democratic Party (FDP). He is the pastor of the Household of God Church International Ministries, a Pentecostal congregation in Lagos since February 1987. He graduated from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, with a degree in law in 1984. Okotie also attended the Grace Fellowship Bible School in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and soon after established the Household of God Ministry. Before he became a born again Christian, Okotie was a popular musician, whose music ruled the airwaves for so many years in Nigeria and beyond.

In 1990, he established the annual Karis Awards, hosted by his church, to recognize and financially reward Nigerian citizens.

He first ran for the president under the banner of the Justice Party (JP), led by Ralph Obiorah after he was schemed out of the National Democratic Party (NDP) primaries elections. He ran again in 2007 and 2011 on the platform of the FDP.

Ahmed Sakil

The Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN) has Alhaji Ahmed Sakil as its presidential candidate for the 2019 elections. Sakil is a graduate of Ahmadu Bello University Zaria, Kaduna State. The Gombe state-born is an agro businessman. He is also an animal husbandry professional who is into cattle, poultry and horse care.

General John W.T Gbor (rtd)

The All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) has Major General John W.T Gbor (rtd) as its presidential aspirant for the 2019 presidential polls. Gbor hails from Katsina-Ala Local Government of Benue State. He had his last assignment in the military as commandant in the Nigerian Army Education Corps.

According the National Chairman of the party, Dr Victor Oye, who unveiled him recently, Gbor “is a retired Major General of the Nigerian Army with a PhD from one of the Ivy colleges in the United States of America.”

Others include:

Angela Johnson (Alliance for United Nigeria); Adetokunbo Olufela Durotoye (Alliance for New Nigeria); Habib Mohammed Gajo (Young Democratic Party); Isah Dansarki (Mass Movement of Nigeria); Ahmed Buhari (Sustainable Nation Party); Ademola Babatunde Abidemi (NCMP); Eguzolugo Sunday Chikendu Chukwu (Justice Must Prevail Party); Omoyele Stephen Sowore (African Action Congress); Amb. Abah Lewis Eliagwu (Change Advocacy Party); Hamza Al-Mustapha (Peoples Party of Nigeria); Samuel Adesina Ayodele Fagbemi-Byran: (Kowa Party); Major Gen. John Wilson Terwase Gbor (All Progressives Grand Alliance); Oshawa Chukwudi John Kennedy (Rebuild Nigeria Party); Nsehe Nseobong (Restoration Party of Nigeria); Yabagi Yusuf Sani (ADP); Mercy Olufunmilayo Adesanya-Davies (Mass Action Joint Alliance); Nwachukwu Chucks Nwabukwu (All Grassroots Alliance); Asukwo Mendie Archibong (Nigeria for Democracy party); Usman Zaki Muhammad (Labour Party); Shittu Muhammed Kabir (Advance Peoples Democratic Party); Frank Ukonga (D.A party); Babatunde Ositelu (Accord party). Others are Ikeagwuonu Obinna Uchechukwu (Action Peoples party); Tope Kolade Fasua (Abundant Nigeria Renewal Party); Hajia Rabia Yasai Hassan Cengiz (NAC party); Moses Godia Shipi (All Blending party); Eke Sam Chukwuma (Green Party of Nigeria); Mark Emmanuel Audu (United Patriots); Hamisu Santuraki (Mega Party of Nigeria); Moses Ayibiowu (National Unity party); Nwokeafor Ikechukwu Ndubuisi (ACD); Ibrahim Aliyu Hassan (African Peoples Alliance); Donwubuya John A (Freedom and Justice Party); John Owoniyi Dara (Alliance of Social Democrats); Awosola Williams Olusola (Democratic Peoples Congress); Usman Ibrahim Alhaji (National Rescue Movement); Ojinka Geff Chizee (Coalition for Change); Inuwa Ahmed Sakil (Unity Party of Nigeria), among others.

READ ALSO: Political analysts say having 91 parties ahead of 2019 polls abysmal