As President Muhammadu Buhari prepares to hand over power in less than 17 months from now, there is already a fierce race among aspirants trying to succeed him.
However, while some of the aspirants continue to battle corruption cases, others have unresolved controversies hanging over their necks.
- Bola Tinubu
After a period of speculation, National leader of the All Progressives Congress, Bola Tinubu, formally declared his intention to contest for president in 2023.
He had disclosed this to journalists after a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja on Monday, January 10, 2022.
The former Lagos governor was one of those, who foisted the Buhari regime on Nigerians and as a result many have questioned his credibility especially after he failed to speak against the inadequacies of this government.
He also has to explain to Nigerians about two bullion vans that drove into his house in February 2019, and his actual age which many believe had so far been falsified.
Facts checks disclosed that the fraud cases against Tinubu dated as far back as 1998, raising questions on how the former governor struggled to defer the full extent of the law.
A Nigerian chartered accountant, Dapo Apara, has also accused Tinubu, a consulting firm, Alpha-Beta, and a former Lagos State commissioner, Akin Doherty, of money laundering, fraud, tax evasion and other corrupt practices.
Apara, who said he owns 30 per cent stake in the company, alleged that Tinubu “has directed and dictated the affairs” of the company by diverting assets to himself at the detriment of the claimant.
- Bukola Saraki
Former Senate President, Bukola Saraki, on Wednesday, 24th November 2021 informed Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue, elders and members of the State Working Committee of the Peoples Democratic Party of his intention to contest the presidency in 2023.
In August 2021, anti-graft agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, invited the former Kwara State governor in connection with the ongoing investigation into how a N17billion bond was spent during his tenure as governor.
Saraki was also grilled on alleged fraudulent diversion of N9billion by his successor as governor, Alhaji Abdufathi Ahmed.
- Orji Uzor Kalu
The Senate Chief Whip, Orji Uzor Kalu, has also announced his intention to run for presidency 2023.
As the clamour from the South-East region to produce the next leader of Nigeria increases, the former Abia State governor has said he will contest if his party, the APC, gives the slot to the region.
Kalu has a controversial but pending court case on alleged N7.1billion fraud as he was found guilty and handed a 12-year jail term by a federal high court in Lagos.
He and his firm, Slok Nigeria Limited, and a former Director of Finance in Abia State, Jones Udeogu, were accused of stealing N7.1billion from the treasury of the state when he was governor.
Though the Supreme Court in its judgment on May 8, 2020 quashed the conviction and ordered retrial of of the defendants, the EFCC had asked the Court of Appeal in Abuja to set aside the September 29 ruling and order a fresh trial against Kalu.
- Anyim Pius Anyim
Former President of the Senate, Anyim Pius Anyim, has also publicised his interest in the presidency in 2023.
Like Kalu, he banked on the agitation that the next president should be a Nigerian of Igbo extraction to make his intention known.
While speaking on Friday, January 7, 2022, during the consultative meeting with the Peoples Democratic Party, he said his presidential ambition was based on the opportunity to “take the fair, just and equitable decision of zoning their presidential slots to the South, particularly the South-East region”.
On Sunday, October 24, 2021, the EFCC began an interrogation of the former Senate President into an alleged N780million fraud, which also involved former Aviation Minister, Stella Oduah.
An EFCC source said that the former SGF was also named in relation to alleged financial irregularities concerning the Centenary City project in Abuja.
- Dave Umahi
Governor Dave Umahi of Ebonyi State has also confirmed that he will run for the presidency in the 2023 general elections.
Umahi, who defected from PDP to APC, is the latest politician to indicate interest in succeeding Buhari.
Umahi disclosed that Buhari directed him to seek the support of the people and consult widely with party members and chieftains across the country.
He said he was not worried about the presidential ambition of APC chieftain, Tinubu.
The governor’s declaration to run for the 2023 presidency comes a day after Tinubu announced his presidential bid on the same day with Kalu, which has now generated different reactions.
Umahi is not in the good book of the Indigenous People of Biafra, as the group had accused him of allegedly using security agents to kill innocent youth in the state.
Late November 2021, four officers were injured by armed hoodlums during an attack in Effium Community under Ohaukwu Local Government Area of Ebonyi State, and this led to reprisals in which many innocent lives were lost.
IPOB has several times alleged that Umahi cannot be trusted with power as he was a stooge to President Buhari.