In DepthPeople to watchNigeria's 2019 election: Who will fill the Big Man’s shoes?


Nigeria's 2019 election: Who will fill the Big Man’s shoes?

By Nicholas Norbrook

People to watch: Nigeria
Nigeria’s next presidential elections are one year away, but conversations have already begun on potential candidates likely to replace ailing President Buhari


OBASANJO'S VICE-PRESIDENTAtiku Abubakar, Quietly preparing a bid for the top seat

Having already financed the ascent of President Olusegun Obasanjo in the 1990s, Atiku knows what it takes to win hearts and minds in Nigeria. Critical to any summit attempt will be his partnership with south-west politicians, in particular APC chieftain Bola Tinubu. Should a deal be struck between them, they could form a formidable electoral partnership. The former vice-president faces an uphill challenge to become the voice of the north, given Buhari’s popularity. But he has already turned the heads of members of the cabinet, some of whom, like Aisha Alhassan, have already pledged their loyalty. And it is not inconceivable, should the route to the presidency through the ruling APC be blocked, that Atiku return to the PDP, the party he helped found in 1998.


SOKOTO STATE GOVERNOR, Aminu Tambuwal, Loyal but ready to step up

The former speaker of the House of Representatives made his name by clashing with former president Goodluck Jonathan. Now the governor of Sokoto State is a firm backer of President Buhari, but is hoping that should Buhari choose not to run, his name will be high up the list of possible successors.


PDP CHAIRMAN, Ahmed Makarfi, Tough job to rally the party

With the Supreme Court finally ratifying his leadership of the PDP, the former Kaduna State governor can focus on rebuilding the party’s depleted political firepower and patching up factions before the PDP convention in October. The PDP has ‘zoned’ the presidential flag bearer to the north. Could Makarfi himself be interested?


FORMER KANO STATE GOVERNOR, Rabiu Kwankwaso, An ill-concealed campaign

The former governor of Kano State has launched a grassroots campaign to win over votes in Nigeria's north, banking on identity politics. Rumours swirl over attempts by the opposition to tempt him back into the PDP fold. Now a serving senator, Kwankwaso was the runner-up to Buhari in the 2014 APC primaries.


From the October 2017 print edition


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