Nigerian Presidential election/candidates 2007: my two kobos


We’re nearing election time in Nigeria. And so in the spirit of the season I’ve drawn up a list, made up of people who to the best of my knowledge have declared for the presidency, those I think are serious contenders for the presidency and those who in my opinion are worthy to hold the highest office in the land. The analysis and opinions expressed here are mine and mine alone and are based on what I know about the people in my list. The criteria I used in ranking are 1) charisma, 2) eloquence, 3) intellect, 4) accomplishment, 5) political experience, and 6) election success possibilities. The ranking is in descending order of worthiness and voting possibilities. By voting possibilities I mean the chances of me casting a vote for them at the polls. Yep I voted in the 2003 elections. On that note let’s rumble!

D = Declared. Those who have declared their intention to run for the presidency
ND = Not Declared. Those who have not declared their intention to run for the presidency
WVF = Won’t Vote For. Those that you won’t catch me voting for

1 – Nasir El Rufai (ND)
Presently the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, El Rufai has done very well in office and has made Abuja a much better and orderly place to live in. Although in the course of his work he has also rendered thousands homeless and jobless, something his opponents are quick to point out. But in a place like Nigeria an attempt to restore order unavoidable means you’ll step on toes and make some unfortunate people suffer. All in all the man is intelligent, hardworking and eloquent and would make a really good president. Besides he’s familiar in political circles and in the media so he’s good to go.

2 - Dora Akunyili (ND)
Presently the Director General of NAFDAC (National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control) Dora Akunyili is a blessing to the nation and a wonderful worker indeed. Rendering the magic she did in NAFDAC to the whole nation would be fantastic. No doubt about it she’s presently the most popular female in the country; she’s brave, bold, upright, intelligent, a feminist’ dream come true and indeed a great material for the presidency.

3- Donald Duke (ND)
Presently the Governor of Cross River State the Youngman is charming but more importantly has done an excellent job in his state environmentally and tourism wise. Donald Duke has a sort of clean slate and has not involved himself in the religious or North-South bullshit that possesses a lot of Nigerian politicians. Of the thirty six governors in the country he’s most suited to the presidency in my opinion.

4 – Orji Uzor Kalu (D)
For reasons best known to President Obasanjo, Governor of Abia State: Orji Uzor Kalu has been seriously victimized in the life of this administration and I’m really bought over by his courage. In these days of EFCC swoop if he’s really bad why then has he not being brought down. Take nothing away from him the man has done well in office scoring major points in sports (football) promotion and has good business acumen. He’s one of the major Ndigbo leaders and the most realistic option for Igbo presidency. But unfortunately outside of the South East he might struggle for votes.

5 - Peter Odili (D)
If you’re talking of Governors in the good books of the president, Peter Odili Governor of Rivers state will be amongst the first names. He’s in the media a lot and seems to have done well in office. But some other people will tell you that the phrase “all that glitters is not gold” aptly applies to him. Nonetheless in these days of pro South-South presidency he’s the forefront contender.

6 – Buba Marwa (D)
Retired Brigadier-General Buba Marwa who hails from the North but did very well as Military Administrator (in the military years. Equivalent to Governor) of Lagos State is one to be taken serious with in the presidential race. Presently an astute businessman (although it seems he benefited from the years of military financial misrule) he’ll make a really good consensus candidate. If he gets the blessings of the kingmakers he could really sweep the polls.

7 - Jerry Gana (D)
Before Femi Fani-kayode and Frank Nweke Junior there was Jerry Gana. The man who people say is a Chameleon has survived many administrations as a high political office holder. Presently he proclaims he’s born again and uses it as one of the core points of his campaign. Personally i'd say he’s not such a bad choice for president and as a Northern Christian who is popular in the media he stands quite a good chance at the polls.

8 - Pat Utomi (D)
Pat Utomi is the Director of the Lagos business school and one of the heads in Nigerian economic circles. But me thinks he’s dull, lacks charisma and is the greatest enemy to his own current affairs TV program: Patito’s Gang. He shouldn’t dream politics and is better off continuing in his present career. But if you go by opinions in the other school of thought he’s a gem whose brains is needed in the administration of the country.

9- Chris Okotie (D)
The greatest if not only quality of Reverend Chris Okotie is that he’s a man of God and so will rule the country in a God fearing and upright way. But his opponents say he’s more of a businessman then a pastor. Currently and in the near future he has no realistic hope (especially in the Muslim North who might be uncomfortable with him) of being president but he relentlessly pursues his goal (he stood for the elections in 2003).

10 - Rochas Okorocha (D)
The only thing that can be said about Rochas Okorocha is that he’s a Youngman with money to spend. His campaign strategy is centered on the fact that he’s a philanthropist (which is in no doubt). Maybe if elected the national cake will be distributed more evenly and the poor would get a better share.

11 – Abubakar Atiku (D, WVF)
Abubakar Atiku is the current Vice President but unfortunately is not in good terms with the President. Thus he faces an uphill task in his quest to step into his boss’ shoes. He’s also receiving heat from some section of the public who seem to hate him. In my opinion much of the hate is unjustifiable. But on his part he made little use of his opportunity as Vice President achievement-wise. His only notable accomplishment to date is that he was anti-third term and thus gave a lot of people courage to oppose Obasanjo’s sinister moves. He won’t likely run on the platform of the PDP and he won’t likely win on the platform of any other party.

12- Ahmed Sani Yerima (D, WVF)
Ahmed Sani Yerima is the Governor of Zamfara State and the foremost crusader for the Sharia legal system in Nigeria. An attribute which has made him the most Popular (popular as in everyone knows him) Governor from the North. There’s little else to say about him except that his presidential ambition will not be fruitful because he’ll get little or no support from the South.

13 – Bashir Tofa (D, WVF)
Bashir Tofa was M.K.O. Abiola’s opponent in the June 12 1993 presidential elections. Not much has been heard from him since then. And I don’t know where he suddenly woke up from but I think it’s in his best interest (financially) if he goes back to sleep.

14 – Muhammadu Buhari (WVF)
Retired Major General Muhammadu Buhari is a former Head of State whose years in power were not at all wonderful. He’s also a known hardcore Muslim, an aspect which will work seriously against him in the South. He contested against the incumbent President in the 2003 elections, using the late Chuba Okadigbo (his running mate) as back up to see to his dreams. Personally I think he should quit bitching about his defeat and do something else with his life. He’s not worthy to be president at all

15 – Ibrahim Babangida (WVF)
Retired General Ibrahim Babangida a.k.a Maradona or The Evil Genius is a former head of state that’s famous for annulling the results of the June 12 1993 presidential elections. To this day he has refused to apologize or explain his actions and is thus unforgivable. A man who calls off a widely free and fair electoral process has no moral right to stand for elections in another one. Besides when he was in power he didn’t do much. His only friends in the media and in the public are the sycophants and the easily gullible and I don’t think he’ll declare for the presidency as a lot of people say he will.

Who rules the country come 2007? Your guess is as good as mine.

Extra: An animation inspired by this post.

Comments (22)

I am an expat living in Nigeria. The next presidency's turn from south-south is NOT democratic, it is anti-constitutional. Nobody seems to understand that in the whole Nigeria. Period.

[...] Trae has a list of presidential candidates contesting the 2007 elections in Nigeria. The list includes the usual suspects; Babangida, Atiku, Buhari and Marwa. [...]

My ideal ticket for 2007 would have been Abubakar Rimi/Uzor Kalu for Prez/VP ... seems Rimi has faded into obscurity though.

Interesting list. Of the top 7 candidates, only Utomi has--to some extent--revealed what looks like a manifesto.

Pat Utomi appears to have some plans and ideas on how to get nation moving, at least based on his interviews and his and other op eds in the media. Marwa, the most established candidate on ground today, hasn't been this clear. He hasn't revealed anything beyond the usual blah-blah-blah that has become the xteristics of Nigerian politicians. The same can be said of the other candidates on your list.

My own selection would be: Utomi, Duke and Marwa.

PS: Be on the look-out for others like Yardua (Kaduna state) and Atta (Akwa Ibom)

lmao at #12! :P You see, I'm just sitting and waiting to see a peaceful and fair election next year. I'm not for anyone!

Why can't we have someone that wants to lead (and serve) us? Must they all come in to rule?

Still can't get over Tofa.

I can't help but feel the selection will be - IBB, Buhari, Atiku and Marwa. The old boys' assoc.

my own opinion about 2007 is that what we make as youths to happen will happen.we should just com out and support the person we know supports the intrest of our future

Good arguments but who knows?
@Pat Utomi: I don't think he is dull but one thing is clear... he is not an expert in Nigerian politics. Still we need people like him.

@Atiku: At least, he opposed the 3rd term. A credit.

@IBB: Has not declared but a master strategist- watch out.

@Orji Kalu: Young & intelligent. Master strategist too. Best bet for the youth. Long time presidential declaration is an added advantage.

@El Rufai: Good candidate. No nonsense man. Odds against him includes the displaced Abuja residents. Intelligent too.

... The list continues. My only fear is that the election may not be free and fair afterall. Assuming the elections in Nigeria becomes free and fair... all these analysis will become very important. Nevertheless, we still know our good fruits.


u seem to have a thing against a northerner taking over in 2007.dont blame u.

am happy u listed dora akuniyili,she's probably one of the few women i can actually see leading this nation(but i hardly think that'd be netime soon),she's done wondeful things at the helms of affairs at NAFDAC.

@Michael: it's easy for you to say so cos you're probably from a homogenous country but in a society made up of over 200 tribes power-rotation is not such a bad idea. See what we're doing like the rotational EU presidency....get the idea now?

@imnakoya: coming to think of it I didn't consider manifesto in my bad. But in a society like ours the politicians ain't ideologically rich (their talk is often cheap) and so the electorate often just vote for who ever they fancy using their own yardstick.

@amebonawork: Nasir El Rufai, Buba Marwa and Jerry Gana are they not northerners?

Trae, Trae, Quite contrary.

I genereally steer clear of stuff like this but you my friend make it difficult ;)

11 - 14 in my books are absolute no-nos, even though the Veep does have that one credit to his name.

IBB is potentially very dangerous and I see him probably playing thr puppet master if he disides to "Step Aside" again.

I have to disagree with you on Uncle Pat, he definitely ain't dull, he may not be very versed in Nigerian politics, but dull is far from it.

Dora is the shizznit, and while I wouldn't mind a female Prez, I'm not sure Nigeria is ready for that yet.

I have followed Utomi’s campaign for a few weeks and it’s remarkable how he not only differs from his peers, but how he differs from most of the Presidential candidates we have had in the past. Like you rightly said, it’s an ideas and policy based campaign. Its been well thought out, possibly properly ‘costed’. Not too sure about the rest

trae excellent post. I saw Nasir interviewed on BEN (uk naija tv) last week and he did strike me as an intelligent analyst. IBB. hmmm. I saw him on the said tv station celebrating his 65th birthday. looked smug and satisfied. puppet master if he steps aside (unlikely) is apt.

@amebonawork - a lot of the northerners listed have not right to power. some should be shot if you ask my personal opinion.

and kalu? please. after his scandalous brother's activities in S.A he shouldn't even consider.

What Nigerians should watch for is the well known uncomely conduct of elections by INEC usually backed up by law enforcement agents. Let us pray that ballot will count and not conspiracy of bent and twisted evil minds of those encumbents and some unpopular elits.

What about Turaki, the govenor of Jigawa?

The Nigerian problem has little to do with the leadership. The best candidate for Nigeria Presidency is one that has no prior baggage.When this person gets in office, he or she needs to go by the books of moral conscience and decency to map out a fresh plan and sweep clean the systems without minding whose ox is gored and without bloodshed. If you find such a person in anybody's list vote for him or her.
All Nigerians want to rule the country.The real charismatic revolutionaries are still probably silent, because they realise the depth of sacrifice it is going to take to govern this country.
Like I said in the beginning, the problem is not as much of leadership as it is of followership. If each Nigerian would be transformed overnight from greed, bribery, selfishness, crookedness, disrespect for human lives,devilish cultism, cultural narrow-mindedness, foolish pride,and easy-moneyism, into patriotic level-headedness, love for family-country- humans (in that order), simple decency, satisfaction with stations in life, living for others as well as self, pride in getting any job done and tolerance of any other person or life, Nigeria will practically rule itself and you could elect a child to govern it. I know this is almost impossible, but this is the kind of sweeping change that country needs, whether instilled by a leader or generated by a group
One last word of advice. You need to put politics aside and gather your 50 best intelectuals from all over the world to Nigeria to a six months paid secured constitutional conference to write a practical and lasting constitution for the country, and then hand it over to duely elected bodies.
Good luck to everyone in the upcoming election. Remember, the struggle for the position is nothing compared to the real responsibility, if you plan to and do the job right.

My Fellow Compatriot TRAE:

I appreciate your attempts at mass popular democratic education of fellow Nigerians via your synoptic analysis of the political events and situations in Nigeria, commentaries, and straightforward and honest contributions toward the eventual democratization of Nigeria in the years ahead.

I personally like your terse commentary of each of the "potential" candidate for the 2007 Presidential election in Nigeria. Keep up the good citizenry work and perhaps, as a suggestion, you may want to use yur blog or site/column to go into real mass popular education designed to socialize Nigerians on the proper workings of the democratic system. And on that note, I would ask if you have or have not heard of or come accross this wonderful book: "Democracy in Nigeria: The Birth of A New Nation-State in the 2000 Era," by Dr. Onyema G. Nkwocha and read it. Your ideas or the thoughts you express on your site are similar to what this author, Dr. Nkwocha expressed in his book. The book was published in August of 2000 by 1ST BOOKS Library who now, are know as and by the name, "Authorhouse". I think their address is 2511 West 3rd street, Suite #1 Bloomington, Indiana, 47404, USA. Their website is You can search the book on the wen by the last name, Nkwocha or by the title, Democracy in Nigeria, the Birth of a New nation-State, etc. Thye book is good and I hear some Universities are using it as one of their core Curriculum Text for those majoring in Political science and the Art of Governance. I also hear that all Nigerian Embassies abroad have the book as a resource. You might want to check it out. Hope to hear from you soonest. Meanwhile more grease to your elbows. God Bless you, God Bless Nigeria and God Bless the People of the Federal Republic of Nigeria!!

Goneze, A fellow Nigerian Compatriot!

@Goneze: thank for the props, God definately bless you too. that was a very cool way to go about advertising "your" book ;).

As a muslim and a northerner i find your claim that Ahmed Sani is the most popular northern governor highly offensive. You should do your homework before making such sweeping statements as it is insulting to our general intelligence. You may live in Abuja but i don't think you know much about the Northern political situation

Nice piece and thx for the info ... LOL@ the info on Bashir Tofa

[...] A while back I was really excited about the 2007 Nigerian elections and was looking forward to the leadership change. But it’s really sad that as at today I don’t give a fuck about the elections…particularly the presidential one. [...]