The Nigerian presidential elections are usually two-horse races. Nigeria runs a multi-party democracy and thus other parties often put forward candidates for presidential elections as in other elective positions. However, outside the ruling party or the main opposition party at any time, these other parties have consistently failed at endearing themselves to the electorates.
No party outside the two leading parties during an election year has scored up to 10 percent of the total votes cast since 1999. The highest votes any party has scored out of the two leading parties was in 2007 when Atiku Abubakar, who was the candidate of the Action Congress (AC) scored 7.45 percent of the total votes cast. Also, in 2011 Nuhu Ribadu of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) scored 5.44 percent of the votes.
But Next year’s election promises to be different. The race is so close and clustered that some political analysts believe that for the first time since 1999 when the country returned to democratic rule after 16 straight years of military rule, there might not be a clear winner after the first ballot.
The possibility of a runoff election to determine the eventual winner of the poll is due to the rapidly rising popularity of Peter Obi of the Labour Party, especially in the south and parts of central Nigeria. His popularity is buoyed by the exuberance of a youth movement, which refers to itself as Obidient.
In the north of the country, Rabiu Kwankwaso, a former governor of Kano State, through his Kwankwasiyya movement has endeared himself to a large swath of the voting populace across Nigeria’s Northwest region, which is traditionally the country’s biggest voting bloc.
Thus, as of this today, the traditional two-horse race – involving the ruling party and the main opposition party- has become expanded to a four-horse race, that comprises the candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu, Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Peter Obi of the Labour Party (LP), and Rabiu Kwankwaso of the New Nigerian Peoples Party (NNPP), Rabiu Kwankwaso.
The next president of the country will be one of these four. They have the deepest campaign pockets will cover more campaign mileage that the other 14 candidates and will enjoy better media coverage. Their manifestos, policy directions, and proposals are or will be easily accessible and shared widely. But there are 14 other candidates running for the same position. Many Nigerians have not heard or will not hear about them. For these reasons, below we look at four other persons running for the country’s top job. We look at their plan and proposed policy directions and how they intend to tackle the country’s pressing challenges.
1. Omoyele Sowore of the African Action Congress (AAC)
This is not Sowore’s first time running for president. In 2019, the 51-year-old former student union leader and human rights activist ran, but despite generating relative buzz during the campaign, the publisher of the online newspaper, Sahara Reporters, managed to score a forgettable 21,886 votes.
After the election, he started the Revolution Now movement and protests, which demanded the immediate resignation of President Muhammadu Buhari. This got him into trouble with the authorities and he was charged with treason. Though he was granted bail his movement was restricted to Abuja until recently.
According to the ACC’s manifesto, the party’s plan to solve Nigeria’s problems rests on three pillars: Enhancing National Security, Promoting Sustainable Growth, and Enabling Self-Sufficiency.
Sowore plans to solve the country’s security challenges by tackling the root cause of insecurity such as economic deprivation, injustice, and agitation over fair and equitable access to resources. He also plans to improve the welfare and training of security personnel as well as create a special military unit to fight bandits and other non-state actors.
On the economy, Sowore plans to support the development of infrastructures such as roads, rail networks, and power. He promises to put a plug on frivolous borrowing and negotiate for a debt moratorium with Nigeria’s creditors. He promises to promote small businesses and will establish a bureau for small enterprises to provide training and other support for owners of small businesses.
On restructuring, if elected, Sowore pledges to hold a referendum on the meaning of true federalism and the power of security that should reside with the three tiers of government within one year of his assumption of office. The referendum will also determine resource control and the type of legislative system for the country.
2. Dumebi Kachikwu of the African Democratic Congress (ADCDumebi is the younger brother of a former Minister of State for Petroleum, Ibe Kachikwu. Against all odds, Dumebi edged out Kingsley Moghalu, a former deputy governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria and the better-known aspirant during the party’s primary election. After the primary, Mr. Moghalu alleged that Dumebi bought the votes of party delegates. Not much of Dumebi plans to govern the country if elected or his party’s manifesto is in the public domain, but in several interviews, he described the four frontrunning as members of the old political hegemony that plunged the country into its present state. He promises to take his campaign to every corner of the country and says he is optimistic about winning.
3. Oluwafemi Sonny Adenuga of the Boot Party (BP).
Adenuga doubles as the National Chairman and presidential candidate of Boot Party (Boot is an acronym for Because of Our Tomorrow). He was a consultant for the World Bank and the African Development Bank.
Adenuga promises to fight corruption, and pursue restructuring through national dialogue. Mr. Adenuga says if elected, he will organise a referendum for Nigerians to vote for or against self-determination for every ethnic nationality in the country.
He promises to increase non-oil revenue through a better tax system, the creation of a state and federal policing system to fight insecurity, increase electricity generation by over 100 percent through renewable energy, convert “Yahoo Boys (internet fraudsters to ethical hackers, and cut public spending by half.
Interestingly, Adenuga also promised to retain subsidy on petrol if elected the president
4. Adewole Adebayo of the Social Democratic Party (SDP)
Adebayo is a lawyer and the founder of Kaftan TV, an online news organisation. He pledges to kick out poverty in the country in not more than 18 months if elected president. He says he will achieve this by creating 30 million jobs within the period.
The cardinal programme of the party is centred on providing food for all Nigerians, jobs, and electricity for every Nigerian, and fighting corruption.
Adebayo also promises to develop tourism to make it a major job creator and money earner for the country. On healthcare, he promises free health services for Nigerians below 18 and seniors over 65 years. He says if elected he will undertake a complete overhaul of the country’s health system for effective healthcare delivery.