In no particular order we have assembled politicians whose actions ,influence,ambitions and affiliations vibrates the Nigerian political landscape. These politicians are the people to watch as the electioneering season for 2015 General elections draws closer.
1.Rt Hon Aminu Tambuwal: The speaker of the federal House of Representative will be a truly national candidate from the northern origin if all these rumors about him being courted by the opposition party APC, to cross over and run for president under its platform is true. His performance in the lower house has raised him many supporters. In reality, he won’t be a newcomer if he crosses to the APC, he was formerly in ANPP- a merging member of the APC- before joining PDP. In addition, he became Speaker through the structure he gained from the opposition. More so, under his leadership, legislators under the factional new PDP have successfully defected to the APC. A candidate of Tambuwal’s nature possesses a strong charisma that can dilute the typical resentment that some Southerners have about core Northern leadership. Tambuwal will be 49years old in 2015 and may be the youngest of all likely heavyweight presidential aspirants. This is an advantage in a clime with many young voters.
2. Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar: A man with nine lives. A veteran of so many wars with presidents. The most evident one was with his ex-boss, the former President Olusegun Obasanjo. The former Vice President of Nigeria seems to be mustering his last energies to seek another shot at the presidency before retiring. Age we know does not seem to be on his side. He played a decisive and prominent role in the factionalism that hit PDP, his former Party. One of the consequence of that rebellion is the Bloc shift of five PDP governors in one day and the mass defection at the National Assembly members to APC. This play out according to political strategists is likely a signal to end the PDP's monopoly as the only national party in Nigeria. At present, we are faced with one reality , and it is that PDP may never remain the One united force anymore--at least before 2015.
3. Governor Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi: The Governor of Rivers state and the Chairman of a faction of the Nigeria Governor's Forum has suddenly become a formidable force to reckon with ahead of the general elections. Thanks to Mr President who didn't manage the 'home' conflict very well. Of all the structures to guard diligently, the Home zone of Niger Delta should have been the priority of Mr President. But as it stands now, with Governor Amaechi’s charisma and his grip on Rivers state, there seems to be a looming danger that can rock the President's boat right under his nose. Amaechi at the moment has been fingered to be bracing up for a Vice Presidential slot which no doubt will have to battle with the President's ambition. The interesting thing about all the conflict is that pro-Amaechi have reduced the battle to Rivers vs Bayelsa. A good thing for Amaechi’s camp and Rivers as a whole who records have it to have given the President his largest ‘state’ vote of 2.1 million in the last general elections in 2011.
4.Governor Sule Lamido: The Jigawa governor became a force to reckon with following the rumored endorsement for the race to become Nigeria's first citizen by Former President Olusegun Obasanjo. Although, the claim was doused by party stalwarts, the relationship between the two suggests that the claim is very close to the truth. And Lamido has used the opportunity of the support he enjoys from the Rtd General as a means to air his views and criticize the party's leadership when necessary . He is in fact one of the G7- the caucus of the new PDP. Although five governors out of the seven have moved to APC , Govenor Lamido remains a member of the PDP. And he may be staying behind for three reasons; first, it may be because of his son’s money laundering trial. Two, he may be standing back to contest the party primaries with President Jonathan or Lobbying to replace Namadi Sambo as GEJ’s running mate. Lastly, he may just have given up his ambition and acting as a top spy in order to actualize the ‘Northern Agenda.’ But with the fresh rumor that three more PDP Governors set to cross over to APC, it may just be the announcement of Lamido’s voyage.
5. Former President Olusegun Obasanjo: Jonathan's presidency today is as a result of the unequalled support of former President Obasanjo. Although, President Jonathan has relegated him in the scheme of things, Chief Obasanjo still possesses an army of 'boys' that remain ever loyal to his call and course. This is evident in the colossal influence that he still wields within the polity. And to write him off in PDP's power tussle, is to sign one's political 'death' warrant.
This is a fact that even his adversary knows very well. For few months now OBJ has been in the news for either writing an Open (indicting) Letter or making anti-Jonathan remarks. Come 2015 OBJ will test his popularity again, this time ,perhaps, by endorsing a candidate as he did in the last general elections in 2011.
6. President Goodluck Jonathan: The sitting President of Nigeria, no doubt, is at the centre of the 2015 presidential elections. He will remain the favourite in this contest because he is the man to beat. Like the defending champion returningg to the ring to defend his title, GEJ is preparing for 2015 elections. Although, it is widely perceived that the alledged 'one term pact' he signed in 2011 with the governors and the reality that he has performed below expectations are the reasons behind the resentments towards him by both party members and a large number of the population including his political Godfather- Former President Obasanjo. He is still the most powerful politician at present being the President and Commander-in-Chief. Thus, whatever way it goes, he will play a very active role in who wins in the 2015 election.
7. Former Governor Bola Ahmed Tinubu: The former Governor of Lagos state is the most vibrant voice of the opposition in Nigeria. His quest for a viable opposition inspired championing the formation of the All Progressive Congress (APC). The party formed with the merging of the three big opposition parties (of ACN, CPC and ANPP). There is a new addition to the merger list- the New PDP. His influence in the South West region is a big plus and a leverage ahead of 2015. His party is in charge of five states out of the six states that make up the South West. The Jagaban is bracing up well to capture power for his party the APC in what the people perceives to be the "operation wrestle power from PDP in 2015". His political weight will be a factor in who finally wins the poll.
8. General Ibrahim Babangida: As a former Military President, a PDP stakeholder and a Nigerian of the Northern origin, IBB as a leader will be a voice in 2015. His influence still spans across the Niger and is perceived across sectors of Business, Politics and the military, etc. IBB already admitted he's no longer contesting but we can be assured he would be ready to give support to the Northern agitation of power shift in 2015.
9. General Muhammadu Buhari: This is still the only Presidential candidate that gives the opposition sleepless nights because of his reputation as an honest and disciplined leader. But age might just be reason the former CPC presidential candidate will throw in the towel for 2015. However, his influence and credibility will still play a vital role in the weight that the opposition pulls. Gen Buhari seems to be the most influential man from the North and his voice will echo power come 2015.
10. Chief Tony Anenih: Despite the Edo polls' humiliating defeat that deflated his ego and influence as the invincible Godfather of Edo politics, Chief Anenih still enjoys the goodwill of President Jonathan. Mr Fix it as he's often referred to is ready to justify all the kind gesture that the present administration have bestowed on him. Presently, he holds two relevant positions. First, as the Chairman of the Board of Trustee of his party the PDP and secondly as the Board chairman of Nigerian Ports Authority. With these two positions, it has been alledged, it is expected of Mr Fix it to gather both economic and political returns formidable enough to actualize Jonathan's 2015 ambition.
As the politics and politricks continue we should see a few adjustments in this list.
*Showunmi Rex (email@example.com; @remirex). UNILAG trained Socio-political Philosopher.