Thursday, March 9, 2017


President Muhammadu Buhari is expected to return to the country tomorrow, Friday March 10, 2017.
The President left the country on January 19, 2017 for a vacation, during which he had routine medical check-ups. The holiday was extended based on doctors' recommendation for further tests and rest.
President Buhari expresses appreciation to teeming Nigerians from across the country, and beyond, who had prayed fervently for him, and also sent their good wishes.

Special Adviser to the President
(Media and Publicity)
March 9, 2017

Sunday, March 5, 2017

10 States Where Nigeria’s Ruling APC is Fighting itself

In Kaduna, for a secure north: Governors Abdullahi Ganduje (Kano), Atiku Bagudu ( Kebbi), Nasir El-Rufai (Kaduna), Kassim Shettima (Borno) and Aminu Bello Masari (Katsina) at a joint meeting of the Northern State Governors' Forum and the Chairmen of the Council of Chiefs of the northern states on Monday, 23rd January 2017

Nigeria’s ruling All Progressive Congress, APC, is enmeshed in deep internal wrangling in no fewer than 10 states of the federation.

The crises, many of which involve state governors and federal lawmakers, erupted few months after the 2015 general elections.

The crises are caused by allegations of financial misconduct, anti-party activities, ambitions, maladministration, among others by party faithful.

Some of the crisis have also led to the suspension or expulsion of key members and officials of the party at the state level.

Unless the crises are tackled, the electoral chances of the party may be threatened in the states, come 2019.

Bothered by the development, the national secretariat of the APC recently announced a plan to set up a peace and reconciliation committee to intervene and resolve the crises ahead of the April non-elective national convention of the party and the 2019 general elections.

The APC spokesperson, Bolaji Abdullahi, told PREMIUM TIMES that the committee would look into all the cases and make recommendations to the leadership.

“The committee will nullify actions taken by the state chapters that are inconsistent with the constitution of the party.

“So, people should exercise restraints and wait for the committee to wade into the crises. They have the opportunity to state their cases and should not take laws into their hands,” the spokesperson said.

Some of the APC state chapters battling with crisis include Gombe, Plateau, Bauchi, Kaduna, Kano, and Ogun.


The APC in Gombe has not known peace since it lost the gubernatorial election to the PDP in 2015.

The crisis began during the 2015 primary election. The party broke into two factions with one led by Magaji Doho and the other Karu Ishaya.

They are backed by two prominent leaders – former governor and now senator, Danjuma Goje, and former Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives and also a senator, Usman Nafada.

Both had joined from the PDP.

When all efforts to resolve the crisis failed, the national secretariat of the APC, in September last year, set up a caretaker committee headed by Lawan Shettima to run the party. The committee was asked to oversee the affairs of the party for a three-month renewable period.

However, some members of the factions have refused to cooperate with the committee.


The political hostility is this north-eastern state is very fierce. Most federal lawmakers and other federal government officials from the state, notably the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, are up in arms against the state governor, Mohammed Abubakar.

The governor is accused of poor utilisation of bailout funds from the federal government to the state, non-payment of workers and pensioners, and offering appointments to PDP members while APC members are being removed.

In August, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, who is from the state, led a delegation to separate meetings with President Muhammadu Buhari and the APC national leadership in search of solution to the crisis rocking the state chapter of the party.

During a visit to the national secretariat of the party, the two groups clashed, with some supporters of the lawmakers chanting “bamu so, bamu so” indicating they do not want the governor.

The opposition has allegedly sent jitters down the spine of the governor who feels his second term is being threatened.

Already, the crisis has consumed two members. In January, the senator representing Bauchi South Senatorial District, Ali Wakili, and a member of the state House of Assembly representing Lere/Bula Constituency, Aminu Tukur, were controversially suspended from the party.


In Borno, the governorship ambition of Abu Kyari, the senator representing the northern senatorial district, has put him on collision course with Governor Kashim Shettima. The rift is threatening to divide the party.

Messrs. Kyari and Shettima served as commissioners under then governor Ali Sheriff. Mr. Kyari also served as Chief of Staff to Mr. Shettima in the latter’s first term.

But the governor, who many believe is eyeing the northern senatorial seat in 2019, appears not to be comfortable with the ambition of his former ally.

To neutralise Mr. Kyari’s ambition, Mr. Shettima was said to have initiated moves to draft the senator representing the central senatorial district, Baba KakaGarbai, into the governorship race to succeed him.


Although the APC won the November 26 governorship election in Ondo State, it did so as a divided house.

Prior to the election, which was won by Rotimi Akeredolu who was sworn in on Friday, many members of the party were disenchanted.

The disenchantment spread to the national level prompting a national leader of the party, Bola Tinubu, to call for the resignation of the national chairman, John Odigie-Oyegun, over his (Oyegun) alleged ignoble role in upholding the primary election that produced Mr. Akeredolu.

Crisis also broke out in the party in August when the state chairman, Isaac Kekemeke, was removed for allegedly being “directed, mandated and financially empowered and or fortified by the National leader of the party, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, to work for a particular aspirant, one Olusegun Abraham, as the preferred sole aspirant of the party…”

Mr. Kekemeke’s deputy, Ade Adetimehin, was appointed in his place as acting chairman while a three-member disciplinary committee was appointed to investigate the allegations against him. Also, some party members led by Olusola Oke left the APC for AD in anger.

Even after he was sworn in as governor, Mr. Akeredolu’s statement has shown that the crisis may not end anytime soon. The governor accused an unnamed senator of the party of from his state of working against his gubernatorial ambition and said he no longer considers the senator a member of the APC.


In Ogun State, the crisis appears to be provoked by ambition. The senator currently representing Lagos West Senatorial District, Olamilekan Adeola, is at loggerheads with the governor, Ibikunle Amosun, over the governorship seat.

Mr. Adeola is aspiring to contest the governorship election in 2019, but the governor, who will round off his second term in office, is said to be opposed to the senator’s ambition to succeed him.

Mr. Adeola, popularly called “Yayi,” is an ally of Mr. Tinubu. He was a two-time member of the Lagos State House of Assembly and a former member of the House of Representatives where he chaired the Public Accounts Committee.

Messrs. Adeola and Amosun fell out politically in 2015 when the former wanted to return to Ogun State to contest the senatorial election to represent the western senatorial district but was allegedly blocked by the governor.

The governor was said to have pleaded with Mr. Tinubu to prevail on him (Mr. Adeola) to drop his ambition. Mr. Adeola was subsequently offered a ticket in Lagos State to contest the election. This paved the way for the governor’s candidate, Gbolahan Dada, to pick the ticket to represent the Ogun West Senatorial District.


The APC in Kogi State is in crisis, no thanks to the disagreement between the governor, Yahaya Bello, and some high-ranking politicians in the state.

In June last year, members of the APC in the National Assembly from the state, House of Assembly members, members of the party’s executive in the state and other prominent leaders of the party at a meeting accused Mr. Bello of engaging in anti-party activities.

They also accused the governor, who assumed office six months earlier, of appointing more PDP members into his government than APC members.

They held the view that the Kogi people had suffered more under Mr. Bello than at any other time.

They subsequently set up an 11-member disciplinary committee chaired by the senator representing Kogi West Senatorial District, Dino Melaye, to review the allegations against the governor, and report back within seven days.

Members of the committee included three former senators from the state, Mohammed Ohiare, Abubakar Abdulrahman and Nicholas Ugbane, as well as APC chairman in Kogi, Haddy Ametuo.

While no report has been publicly presented, the rift between the governor, who has stated that his opponents are resisting his transformation of the state, and other party leaders continue.


The crisis in the Plateau State chapter of the APC has been a recurring one.

The first crisis emanated from the nomination of Solomon Dalung as minister. Mr. Dalung had a rift with the state governor, Simon Lalong, over some pre-election matters which were in court.

There was also the issue of petition by some members calling for the expulsion of a former Minister of State for Information and Communication, Ibrahim Nakande. Mr. Nakande had been removed as the zonal secretary of the party and replaced with Muhammad Zakari.

In February, the party erupted in crisis again. Some member of the state executive committee of the APC rose against the chairman, Letep Dabang, accusing him of insincerity in appointments, personalization of the party, unaccountability for party funds and hijacking all contributions made to the party. The allegations were contained in a letter signed by 19 out of the 23 executive members, to the state governor.


In Niger, there is uneasy calm in the ruling APC following the feud between the governor, Sani Bello, and some federal lawmakers.

David Umaru representing the Niger East senatorial district and Aliyu Abdullahi of the southern senatorial district are reportedly in conflict with the governor.

The crisis in the chapter became noticeable early last year when the senators and 10 members of the House of Representatives from the state shunned the flag-off of the local government council elections.

The lawmakers were not happy over the manner the APC candidates for the elections emerged. They were said to be angry that Mr. Bello single-handedly picked the candidates without consulting them.


Perhaps, none of the crises in others states is as old as that of Kaduna State.

The festering crisis is majorly between the governor, Nasir El-Rufai, and the senator representing Kaduna Central Senatorial District, Shehu Sani.

Mr. Sani had shown interest in the governorship election in 2015 but was asked by some political gladiators to step down for Mr. El-Rufai. He therefore sought election into the senate and won.

That was to be the beginning of the hostility between the two political gladiators and which has unsettled the state chapter of the APC.

Mr. Sani explains that the fight “is not personal, but more ideological, particularly the way our people are treated and governance is going on.”

At another forum, he said “Perhaps, it (fight) has to do with the fact that we came from different backgrounds.

But in his narration, Mr. El-Rufai, said, “Shehu Sani’s first anger was that the list of commissioners came out and none from his list.

“In a state where there are 10,000 PhDs that I have in my data base, I am going to take a diploma holder and make him commissioner just because he is Shehu Sani’s man. I don’t operate like that.

“He contested the APC primary and defeated the candidate I supported (General Sani Saleh) and after the primaries. I don’t owe Shehu Sani anything.”


In the neighbouring Kano State, the crisis in the APC has refused to abate. Already, the party has been factionalised in the state with Haruna Doguwa leading a faction and the other led by Abdullahi Abbas.

The major cause of the crisis is the face-off between Governor Abdullahi Ganduje and his predecessor and now serving senator, Rabi’u Kwankwaso.

Interestingly, both have been political soulmates for years. When Mr. Kwankwaso served his first term as governor between 1999 and 2003, Mr. Ganduje was his deputy. Both of them also paired again between 2011 and 2015. Mr. Ganduje was the only deputy governor in the country who succeeded his principal in 2015.

But all is not well between them though the feud is not about the governorship seat.

Mr. Ganduje has repeatedly made moves to undermine the influence of his erstwhile boss by sacking some of the latter’s loyalists, from his administration.

In May last year, the national headquarters unsuccessfully waded into the rift.

What Atiku Told The New Tor Tiv

A former vice president, Atiku Abubakar, on Sunday congratulated the new Tor Tiv, the monarch of the Tiv people of Benue State, James Ayatse.
Read Mr. Abubakar’s message below:

Your Royal Majesty, Orchivirigh Professor James Ayatse,
Congratulations on your coronation as the new Tor Tiv of the Tiv Kingdom of Nigeria. This great day will no doubt be inscribed in your memory and in that of your generations to come, and also in the annals of Tiv history forever. As a firm believer in our country’s unity in diversity, all the way from my home in Adamawa State, I celebrate with you as a fellow citizen of Nigeria. As the holder of the Zege Mule U Tiv title, the highest traditional title for a non-indigene of the Tiv kingdom, I also celebrate with you as a stakeholder in the affairs of Tivland.

Agreed that our various communities have been jolted by needless crisis in recent times, but suffice it to note, however, the bonds of friendship and camaraderie that has long existed between my people and the Tiv. I recall with nostalgia that in late 1945 (at a time of great strife), a year before the coronation of the first ever Tor Tiv, the illustrious late Makir Dzakpe in 1946, a Fulani prince from the Sokoto Caliphate, who incidentally was also known as Atiku Abu’bakr, made entreaties to the Tiv monarch during his coronation. His message of peace, which was read in Tiv, were also accompanied by gifts of two Zebras (an animal striped with the symbolic colours of the Tiv people of black and white), went a long way to end the bloodletting at that time.

Your Royal Majesty, you are stepping into this great role at a very trying time in the affairs of our great country. The Tiv like so many other groups in Nigeria are most likely facing monumental challenges and finding life tougher than we all have in a long time. I, hereby, call on you to bear this keenly in mind as you begin your journey on the throne of your forefathers. Your leadership must be felt from Day 1. All of us stakeholders in the Tiv kingdom are putting our trust in you to lead your people to progress in every facet of human development. Let your people know and see that they can look up to you for a breath of fresh air and for ideas. Let your leadership shine a light at the end of the dark tunnel. 

Your Royal Majesty, the process by which you emerged as leader may have left a number of bruised egos and bruised relationships. There may be those with whom you have never seen eye to eye on issues. But, today, please, bear in mind that your coronation as the Tor Tiv makes you the traditional leader of the entire Tiv kingdom, of everyone including of friend and foe. Let peace be your most potent weapon. I urge you to immediately set about mending fences and building bridges. Without peace, progress and development become even more difficult if not almost impossible. As someone from the northeast of Nigeria, a region that is still recovering from the devastating effects of the Boko Haram insurgency, I am speaking from sad and bitter experience. 

I do not think it is by chance that a man of your advanced educational qualifications has been chosen by God at this time in the history of the Tiv kingdom. Your Royal Majesty, you are an academic: a professor and a former Vice Chancellor of a university. My passion for education is behind many of my investments in Nigeria. Without education, I would not have become who I am today and I suspect that the same is true for you. I call on you to pass on that same passion for education to every citizen of your Tiv kingdom. Let every parent and child understand its vital importance. Let every Tiv child be given the same opportunities that you and I had to expand our minds through formal education. Let them aspire to be literate, and to improve their world through knowledge of both the arts and science and technology.
Once again, I congratulate you on this great day. Remember that, even though this coronation is being executed by human beings, you were actually chosen by God, and it is to Him that you owe your primary allegiance. It is to Him that you will justify whatever you make of the special position in which He has placed you. 

May God guide you as you function in this new seat as the Tor Tiv. May he be your wisdom and strength through what I pray will be a long and fruitful journey undertaken in good health.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Peugeot 'Set to Unveil Deal to Buy GM's Opel on Monday'

France's PSA Group, maker of Peugeot and Citroen cars, has reached a deal with General Motors to buy its Opel and Vauxhall brands, according to reports.

PSA's board agreed the deal on Friday, and an official announcement is planned for Monday, said Reuters, citing unnamed sources.

News that the two companies were in talks emerged last month raising fears that the deal could lead to job losses.

Vauxhall has 4,500 UK staff based at plants in Ellesmere Port and Luton.

Opel employs about 19,000 people in Germany, about half its workforce..

Politicians and unions in both Germany and the UK have been lobbying PSA and GM on behalf of their respective workforces.

They fear that PSA, which is 14% owned by the French state, may cut jobs outside France.

If an outline deal has been reached this lobbying looks likely to increase.

Last week the BBC learned that both PSA and GM were keen to sign a so-called "statement of intent" before the Geneva Motor Show which starts on 6 March to prevent ongoing speculation overshadowing the release of new models.

If the takeover were to go through it would mean GM would no longer have a presence in the UK and Europe.

PSA would become Europe's second-largest carmaker, behind VW, with a 16% share of the European market. Renault-Nissan is currently Europe's second biggest carmaker.

Earlier this year GM reported a loss of $257m (£206m) from its European operations last year.

That was the 16th consecutive loss-making year for GM in Europe, bringing its cumulated losses on the continent since 2000 to more than $15bn.

Reuters quoted sources as saying that PSA expected to make savings of up to 2 billion euros (£1.7bn) as a result of the takeover of Opel.

Fresh Attempt Being Made To Bring President Buhari Home Before Closure Of Abuja Airport

President Muhammadu Buhari's aides have renewed attempts to return him to the seat of power in Abuja before the possibly eight-week closure of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in the Federal Capital Territory Abuja.

The airport is scheduled to be shut down for at least six weeks starting from midnight on March 7, 2017. President Buhari left Nigeria on vacation on January 19announcing that he would be back in Abuja on February 6. However, on the planned date of return, President Buhari wrote to the Nigerian Senate extending his return to Nigeria indefinitely. The Nigerian leader told senators that he would remain in the U.K. to await the results of tests ordered by his doctors.

Presidential spokesmen have been adamant against revealing to Nigerians the specific nature of Mr. Buhari's illness. Instead, they have either claimed that the president was merely resting in London or that he was undergoing some medical checks that necessitated a delay in his return to Abuja.

Saharareporters was the first to disclose that President Buhari would need more than the initial ten days to deal with myriads of health challenges that have dogged him for months. Sources close to Mr. Buhari disclosed that the president's doctors in the U.K. have recommended that he stay in London for as long as four months in order to complete a rigorous regimen of treatment for a prostrate-related ailment as well as Crohn's disease.

Our sources revealed that President Buhari is afflicted with internal organ disorders that have caused him to lose weight and wrecked his appetite.

"Some of Mr. President's associates are mounting pressure on him to return to Abuja as soon as possible, and especially before the [Abuja] airport is temporarily closed," a knowledgeable source told our correspondent. He confirmed that President Buhari was yet to complete his treatment for his prostate ailment as well as Crohn's disease, a condition that plagues his intestines.

Our sources said President Buhari's inner circle, led by his cousin, Mamman Daura, and his personal assistant, Tunde Sabiu (also known as “Tunde Idiagbon”), were behind the decision not to disclose the nature of the president's ailments to the Nigerian public. The two insiders are reportedly managing a cabal around Mr. Buhari to control and leverage power in Abuja.

Our investigation showed that the cabal had effectively shoved aside President Buhari's wife, Aisha Buhari, relegating her to Abuja. Instead, one of President Buhari's daughters, Halima, is now the only direct relative given free access to the ailing president in London.

Halima, a daughter from Mr. Buhari’s first marriage, recently returned to Abuja on a British Airways flight. One source claimed that her return to Abuja was possibly to prepare for her father’s temporary return to Nigeria.

Our sources revealed that, even if President Buhari returns soon, he would need to travel out again to London in a few months to continue his treatment.

"It doesn't make sense for Mr. President to return to Abuja immediately just to serve the political interests of some people when his doctors want him to go through all his treatment," one of our sources said.

Felix Tshisekedi: Congo Opposition Leader's Son Takes Over

The son of Etienne Tshisekedi, the Democratic Republic of Congo's late opposition leader, has been chosen as his father's successor.

Felix Tshisekedi, 53, will now lead the opposition coalition in crucial negotiations over the departure of President Joseph Kabila from office.

Under a deal agreed last year, new elections would be held by the end of 2017 and Mr Kabila would not run.

It followed deadly protests calling for the president to step down.

Mr Kabila's final mandate ran out in November 2016.

Not everyone in the opposition coalition is happy with the choice of the younger Tshisekedi as leader, with some openly criticising his lack of senior political experience.

"Where else in the world would someone be put in charge of such an important process... who has only been in the opposition for seven months," coalition member Joseph Olengankoy told BBC Afrique.

The UDPS party of Mr Tshisekedi senior has not yet announced a new leader, although it is part of the alliance now lead by his son.

The veteran opposition leader died in Belgium earlier this year, aged 84.

His body is due to be flown back to Kinshasa on 11 March.
Who is Felix Tshisekedi?
Son of celebrated opposition leader Etienne Tshisekedi, who defied Presidents Mobutu and Kabila
Has described as "Stalinesque" government attempts to muzzle the opposition
Relative political newcomer, criticised by some for inexperience
Lived in Belgium for many years before entering politics at home
Resembles his late father, also favouring the same style of tweed flat cap

His appointment also comes at a time when there are fears that the government may be trying to retreat from key aspects of the transition deal.

Last month, the budget minister said the cost of organising polls in 2017 was too expensive, throwing the election timetable into doubt.

Mr Tshisekedi's appointment means that he is now more likely to be made prime minister in a power-sharing government, a post due to be held by an opposition figure under the terms of the deal.

Arik Woos Back Customers With N16k Tickets

With just N16,000, you can buy a one-way ticket on Arik Air, west and central Africa’s largest carrier.

The airline, which is currently undergoing restructuring, announced the special promotional fare at the weekend.

One-way fights currently average over N20,000.

The promotion runs from March 6-20 March and “is to acknowledge and appreciate the loyalty of the airline’s highly esteemed customers that have stood with the airline for over a decade of operation”, the carrier said in a press statement.

It added: “To enjoy this offer however, customers are advised to buy their ticket on or before March 20, 2017, while the last date for travel is March 31, 2017… tickets can be purchased at any Arik Air City Office, Airport Ticketing Office, online at or the Arik Mobile App.”

Roy Ilegbodu, the CEO, said: “This is an exciting time for both staff and loyal customers of Arik Air. The new management has ensured stability of operations over the last three weeks with improved on-time-performance.

“Arrangements have been concluded to return five of the grounded aircraft back to service shortly and this will enable us add more flights to our network. We therefore welcome back our loyal customers and promise them a great flying experience.”

Meanwhile, Arik Air has released a new schedule for its Kaduna operations following the planned closure of Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja and the diversion of traffic to Kaduna Airport for six weeks.

Arik Air will be operating three daily flights between Kaduna and Lagos and one daily flight between Kaduna and Accra, Ghana during this period. Other destinations to be serviced by the airline from Kaduna are Port Harcourt, Ilorin, Sokoto, Gombe, Yola and Enugu, which will have one daily flight each.

Fuel Scarcity Looms in South-West as IPMAN Threatens to ‘Shut Down’

The Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) has said the unfriendly policies of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) will soon lead to fuel scarcity in six states.

The six states are Oyo, Osun, Lagos, Kwara, Ondo, and Ekiti.

The association said the NNPC was collecting unwarranted levies from its members and as such, threatened to shut down its stations.

IPMAN urged the national assembly to intervene and “save the general public from undeserved pains associated with fuel scarcity”.

Debo Ahmed, western zone chairman of IPMAN, made this known on Friday while addressing reporters in Ilorin, Kwara state.

“Labour unions- Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Trade Union Congress (TUC), NUPENG and PTD should not fold their arms while the downstream sector is being thrown into chaos,” he said.

“It is unfortunate that all the five depots in the system 2B including the largest depot at Ibadan, which can store 120 million litres have been grounded for the past two years. With all the five depots grounded, marketers are tied to private depots in Apapa where they now serve the general public.

“In the past, pipelines have been managed and secured by the depot stakeholders which are being financed by marketers.

“All these contributions are not being taken into consideration in the scheme of things. Marketers are left at the mercy of NNPC. If people buy kerosene at N400 and above, marketers should not be blamed but pitied because if the depots are working, prices will definitely come down.

“As if what NNPC has been doing is not enough, it came out with a memo on January 11, this year for marketers to renew their Bulk Purchase Agreement (BPA) at N125,000 per year for five years which translates into about N2 billion to cover NNPC/PPMC incidental expenses.

“Several attempts have been made to dialogue with NNPC/PPMC management on this issue and availability of products in our depots but all to no avail; that is why we decided to inform the general public on this before we shut down our stations.

“It is important to let people know that NNPC/PPMC has observed BPA in breach. In 2001, the idea was brought up by NNPC but upon discussion, it was dropped when they realised it was improper.”

15 Politicians Who May Run for President in 2019

Midway into the mandate of the current political leaders, the body language of many prominent politicians and those close to them in major political parties, including the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) among others, indicate that a struggle for the coveted presidential seat is being nursed surreptitiously. While some may likely seek new political platforms, some will remain where they are to slug it out, a development that will prove intriguing. We took a look at some of those who may likely test their political might come 2019.

President Muhammadu Buhari

Although President Muhammadu Buhari has not declared his interest in seeking a second term, the possibility that he will do so cannot be ruled out as his loyalists and political associates have continued to fly that kite, some quite enthusiastically. Just this January, the chairman of the Progressive Governors Forum, Rochas Okorocha of Imo State, asked his fellows in the South-East not to talk about an Igbo presidency until after Buhari’s tenure, saying the president has a tenure to work for four or eight years according to the zoning arrangement of the ruling APC, a claim yet to be debunked by the party.

Buhari’s handlers in the Presidency also seem to believe that the earlier they begin to woo Nigerians for Buhari’s re-election, the better. Last month while addressing a pro-Buhari crowd, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir David Lawal hinted at the possibility of President Buhari running in 2019.

One of the presidential spokesmen, Malam Garba Shehu, had also last year expressed confidence that the electorate would not abandon Buhari in 2019, claiming that the president’s “enormous” goodwill remained strong because the people were convinced that he was acting in their best interest despite “temporary, unintended consequences of reforms.” The president, as usual, will have the final word on the subject.

Professor Yemi Osinbajo

The possibility that Vice President Yemi Osinbajo may run for the 2019 Presidency cannot be ruled out, and those who do not see him as a potential candidate for the next presidential election might be shocked. There are permutations that if Buhari chooses not to seek a re-election, he might present his deputy for the job. Those who uphold this position are relying on the fact that the president is known for rewarding loyalty, which they believe Osinbajo has so far demonstrated.

Professor Osinbajo has been acting as president since January 19 when his boss embarked on vacation in the United Kingdom. And already, some have argued that with the various policy decisions taken in Buhari’s absence, Osinbajo has the gravitas to govern the nation. Nevertheless, if President Buhari decides to run for second term, the question of whether or not Professor Yemi Osinbajo should be considered for the country’s number two position might arise, especially from vested interests within the APC.

Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu

The former governor of Lagos State is one politician whose likely declaration for 2019 presidency may not take people by surprise, because of what pundits see as his past attempts to become a vice presidential candidate to President Muhammadu Buhari under the APC, a move he dropped due to the sensitivity of a Muslim-Muslim ticket in a complex country like Nigeria.

Tinubu’s recent reaction to a question that sought to know his future political ambition caused a stir in political circles, as it was interpreted to mean that he had already begun preparation to contest in 2019. “There is nothing wrong with such ambition. It depends on the timing and the environment and what political leadership dictates. I will not brush aside such an aspiration,” Tinubu was quoted as having said during the an event in Ondo State.

Tinubu had, however, in a tweet on Wednesday, March 1, 2017 dismissed this position, saying that he would not contest against President Buhari. “As long as that patriotic and committed President Buhari holds and seeks to hold the mantle as President, I stand behind him in unwavering support,” he said via his Twitter handle @AsiwajuTinubu. Analysts see this stance as conditional.

Tinubu’s possible presidential ambition may enjoy widespread support in the South-West geo-political zone, considering his political sagacity and large followership. He also has a sizeable financial war chest, as he invested heavily in the actualization of the Buhari presidency in 2015. But the odds against such ambition include the fact that Osinbajo came from his camp, and the South-West had earlier spent two terms of eight years under Chief Olusegun Obasanjo-led PDP administration between 1999 and 2007.

Atiku Abubakar

The one-time vice president has never kept hidden his presidential ambition. Atiku had contested the 2007 presidential election on the platform the defunct Action Congress (AC) after realizing that he could not get the PDP ticket because of his frosty relationship with former President Obasanjo. Also, the APC chieftain had contested the presidential ticket with former President Goodluck Jonathan in 2011 and with then-candidate Buhari in 2014 on different platforms.

The action, body language and utterances of the Turakin Adamawa are enough to show seriousness. He has already won the admiration of some in the South-South and South-East with a consistent advocacy for true federalism, calls considered to be subtle campaigns ahead of 2019, especially if President Buhari decides not to run.

Atiku maintains a vibrant media office with many staff who ensure he is a constant participator in national discourse. The Turaki is also noted to be a “big spender” when it comes to pursuing his interests, giving the PDP and ex-president Obasanjo a tough time by dragging them to court several times when they attempted to tame him in the past.

In the event the APC becomes a no-go channel for him, insiders say he may likely seek an alternative platform, either in the purported mega-party, the PDP, or any other one as the political equation suggests. More sources said Atiku would surely get the support of political bigwigs across the country should he declare to run again. But the odds against Atiku’s ambition include, notably, the ceaseless opposition of Obasanjo to his candidacy.

Bukola Saraki

Saraki is one of the politicians that are likely to contest for the Presidency come 2019. In 2015, he was one of the presidential aspirants of the APC but dropped the ambition two months before the party’s primaries in 2014.

Saraki, a two-time governor of Kwara State is in a better position to vie for the presidency in view of his position as number three citizen of the country. With senators at his beck and call, he may go for the big seat. At present, he has the firm control of lawmakers, and his youthfulness and mien are added advantages, and also for the fact that he is from the North-Central tells a lot when it comes to political balancing.

But Saraki’s squabbling with his party, the APC, may negate his chances to clinch the ticket if he runs. He defeated his party in 2015 as a result of his romance with the PDP to emerge as the Senate President. That wound is yet to heal despite the recent consideration of Senator Ahmad Lawan as the Senate Leader. Lawan was the preferred candidate of the APC for the Senate presidency.

Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso

Kwankwaso is a serving senator representing Kano Central at the Upper Chamber of the National Assembly and was a presidential aspirant in the last general election. A former governor of Kano State, who served the state from 1999-2003 and 2011-2015 respectively, he is said to have turned around Kano through laudable physical infrastructural development, especially during his second tenure.

Although Kwankwaso has been quiet for a while, his political network is not only intact but vibrant across the country. His political trademark, the Kwankwasiyya, which he established before the 2011 general elections is even expanding to other states. In the event he goes for the presidency, his large followership in Kano, Kaduna and other states in the North would give him added advantage especially if he picks a running mate from the South.

What will work against him is if decides to remain in APC, and President Buhari decides to go for a second term.

Sule Lamido

The dwindling fortunes of the PDP, occasioned by counter court cases and mass defection do not deter the former Jigawa governor from nursing his ambition of vying for the presidential position of this country under its platform.

Lamido, who is passionate about the PDP, believes that it will soon overcome its travails and bounce back. While the party is suffering in other climes, it is thriving in Jigawa to the extent that some members of the ruling APC are defecting to it.

The declaration for his presidential ambition sometime last year did come to many as a surprise. Lamido, who is among the founding fathers of the PDP, said if offered a ticket come 2019, he would be glad to offer himself. What is not clear is whether he will overcome the ambition of many alpha members of the PDP for the same ticket.

Aminu Waziri Tambuwal

Tambuwal, immediate-past Speaker of the House of Reps, was to contest for president during the 2015 when some of his friends reportedly obtained the APC presidential form for him to participate in the primary. He later shelved the idea and went ahead to contest for the Sokoto State governorship seat, and won.

As part of future plans to realize his presidential ambition, the 51-year-old lawyer succeeded in installing his successor in the House of Reps, Yakubu Dogara. He also succeeded in expanding his political base among federal lawmakers from all parts of the country. Described as astute and shrewd politician by many, he leaves no-one in doubt that he would certainly go for the top job in the country in the future, which could be 2019.

In the event Buhari seeks a second term, he may likely shelve the ambition until 2013, considering the fact that age is on his side. But a major hurdle to cross for Tambuwal would be getting the support of the South-West, who see him someone who ‘abandoned’ their own, Femi Gbajabiamila, for the position of Speaker, even though he later played a crucial role in his emergence as Speaker in 2011, against all odds.

At some point, the national leader of the APC, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, who did not only support Tambuwal in 2011 but also ensured that all opposition lawmakers voted for him as Speaker, was said to be “very angry with Tambuwal” for that perceived slight.

Ahmed Makarfi

Senator Ahmed Makarfi was governor of Kaduna State from 1999 to 2007. Within the eight years he was in office, he was able to mitigate religious and ethnic violence in the state and has through that feat projected himself as an objective and fair-minded leader. His outstanding performance in the state shot him into national limelight, seeing him clinch a seat at the Senate in 2007, even though he lost the bid to return a third time in 2015. But by then, his profile in the PDP had risen and party members appointed him Chairman of the party at a convention which held in Port-Harcourt last year.

Since then he has been battling for the position with former governor of Borno State, Ali Modu Sheriff. As the PDP has made it clear that its presidential candidate in the 2019 elections would be from the North, there is the possibility that given the trust key members of the party -- especially serving governors -- have in him, and given his image as an objective leader and acceptability across geopolitical divides, he might be convinced to run for the party’s presidential ticket in 2019. He recently said in an interview in Lagos that he may likely go for the No.1 office. However, his handicap may likely be the platform, because it is not yet clear if the PDP will ever be the same again.

But it was gathered that Makarfi’s faction of the party is seeking for the registration of a new platform, the Advanced Peoples Democratic Party (APDP). If they succeed, he may easily get the ticket and slug it out with anyone paraded by the APC or other parties.

Nasir El-Rufai

Currently the governor of Kaduna State, El-Rufai has been in the news for long as one of those likely to run for the presidency in 2019. This is given his popularity and acceptability across the country. But it is not likely he will show any interest if President Muhammadu Buhari is contesting, as he would not stand any chance in the North and may also stand the risk of losing his political investments, given Buhari’s acceptability in the region.

The current twist in events, where Buhari has been on vacation for a while, has however raised the hope that he might contest as he is said to be one of the top three northerners being considered for the vice presidential slot if Buhari decides on more rest. If that happens, many say it is likely that el-Rufai may latch in on the issue of zoning to contest in 2019, given that the sympathy may be for a northern candidate.

Ali Modu Sheriff

Sheriff is at present the recognized National Chairman of the PDP. He was a two-time governor of Borno State and three times a senator representing Borno Central. When he wanted to be governor in 2003, he chased a sitting governor in Borno, the Late Mai Mala Kachalla out of the APP and got the ticket. Indeed, he did not only win the election but broke the Borno jinx and won a second term. He was however demystified in 2011 when he wanted to go to the Senate for the fourth time but was defeated by a PDP candidate, the Late Ahmed Zannah Khalifa.

That notwithstanding, analysts say Sheriff lost out because of his poor handling of the Boko Haram crisis. A vicious fighter, and mass mobilizer, Sheriff is seen as someone who never runs away from a fight. Despite the fact that PDP governors, ex-ministers, former governors and other organs of the PDP had made many attempts to oust him as chairman of the PDP, Sheriff has defied them. Sources said he may end up easing out as PDP chairman and ultimately get its presidential ticket which has been zoned to the North.

From all indications, Sheriff may get the PDP ticket, as he has already liberalized many impediments on his way as some chieftains of the party are already contemplating dumping it for another platform. His albatross may likely be acceptability as a presidential candidate by Nigerians despite the fact that he has enough resources.

Ayo Fayose

Ekiti State Governor Ayodele Fayose is largely seen as fearless as a result of his controversial comments and leadership style. His February 21, 2017 declaration of presidential ambition in 2019 was also seen by commentators as a joke, but he seems to be serious about it. Some insiders are already calling him the ‘Donald Trump of Nigeria’.

The 56-year Fayose, who is the chairman of the PDP Governors Forum, expressed his interest in the presidency during a live television interview that in the near future, he will take over the mantle to lead the nation as his future was tied to the presidency. “It is not by power. It is destiny. I did not believe it when I became Ekiti governor. After eight years, I will be the vice president of Nigeria, even the President very soon.”

The maverick governor may however have to contend with arrays of other interests within the PDP, some of who are seen as having brighter chances. He also has to grapple with the crisis rocking the PDP and the embattled national chairman of the party, Sheriff, who Fayose with other governors rejected despite an Appeal Court ruling affirming Sheriff’s chairmanship.

Rochas Okorocha

Governor Okorocha is not new at taking shots at the nation’s Presidency. In 1999, Okorocha, who competed in the primaries to be PDP candidate for governor of Imo State, lost to Achike Udenwa. He then moved to the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) but was unsuccessful in his quest for the party’s ticket for the presidency in 2003 and therefore returned to the PDP.

Okorocha formed the Action Alliance (AA) in 2005, planning to become its presidential candidate for the 2007 elections. He again however returned to the PDP, and in September 2007 indicated that he was interested in becoming PDP national chairman. Okorocha decamped from the PDP to the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) and ran as its candidate for Imo State governor in the April 2011 national elections which he won but then decamped to the ruling APC.

While the governor said he will not contest the 2019 Presidency, citing the successes of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration, Okorocha, who is fluent in all the major languages of the country, is still seen as interested in taking another shot at the presidency in the event Buhari will not contest.

Babatunde Fashola

Lagos State governor from 2007 to 2015, Babatunde Fashola endeared himself to not only Lagosians, but indeed Nigerians as a whole, due to his impressive performance in the state. As a candidate of the then Action Congress party, Fashola succeeded Bola Ahmed Tinubu, and was re-elected on 26 April 2011. On November 11th 2015, he was appointed by President Muhammadu Buhari to be the Minister of Power, Works and Housing.

Not a few analysts and observers believe Fashola may be warming himself up for a higher political job after his current assignment as a minister. Indeed, a former minister Oby Ezekwesili was reported to have urged Fashola (SAN) to run for Presidency in 2019, and an online medium had quoted Ezekwesili as saying: “The day Tunde Fashola picks up a form to run for presidency, I Oby Ezekwesili shall sign up to volunteer for his campaign team.”

In the build-up to the 2015 elections, many were of the opinion that Fashola should serve with President Muhammadu Buhari as the shortest route to the Presidency. This school of thought reasoned that by so doing Fashola would be able to tender credentials superior to any other candidate’s in 2019. Although he has not indicated his interest, many say it may not be an easy ride for him as 2019 promises to be another titanic battle, given the number of gladiators in the fray.

Ken Nnamani

Ken Nnamani was President of the Senate of Nigeria from 2005 to 2007. A former member of the PDP, he was elected to the Senate from Enugu State in 2003 and served until 2007. He recently took many by surprise when he denounced his membership of the PDP to join the ruling APC. Currently the head of the Electoral Reform Committee set up by President Muhammadu Buhari, he registered as a member of the APC at his country home in Amechi-Uwani, in Enugu South Local Government Area, a move that many political analysts saw as a deft move ahead of the 2019 elections.

Coming from a zone (South-East) that has not produced a president since the return to democracy in 1999, many see the former senate president as throwing his hat in the 2019 presidential ring. He would certainly not be the only one from that zone who may be interested in the presidency, but his current role in the APC administration certainly makes him a potentially potent player, also considering his reputation for being one of the few decent politicians in Nigeria. He just may eventually throw his hat into the ring come 2019.

Tinubu’s recent reaction to a question that sought to know his future political ambition caused a stir in political circles, as it was interpreted to mean that he had already begun preparation to contest in 2019. “There is nothing wrong with such ambition. It depends on the timing and the environment and what political leadership dictates. I will not brush aside such an aspiration,” Tinubu was quoted as having said during the an event in Ondo State.

Tinubu had, however, in a tweet on Wednesday, March 1, 2017 dismissed this position, saying that he would not contest against President Buhari. “As long as that patriotic and committed President Buhari holds and seeks to hold the mantle as President, I stand behind him in unwavering support,” he said via his Twitter handle @AsiwajuTinubu. Analysts see this stance as conditional.

Tinubu’s possible presidential ambition may enjoy widespread support in the South-West geo-political zone, considering his political sagacity and large followership. He also has a sizeable financial war chest, as he invested heavily in the actualization of the Buhari presidency in 2015. But the odds against such ambition include the fact that Osinbajo came from his camp, and the South-West had earlier spent two terms of eight years under Chief Olusegun Obasanjo-led PDP administration between 1999 and 2007.