On 25 February, barring any last-minute postponement by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Nigerians will elect one of the 18 2023 presidential candidates as their new president.
Recent attempts to amend the constitution to allow for independent candidacy (allowing politicians to run for office without being sponsored by a political party) did not pass, meaning they will be members of one of the 18 registered political parties.
Who are the presidential candidates for the 2023 general elections?
Below are the names and affiliated parties of presidential candidates. They have been approved by INEC, meaning they meet the qualifications for running for the office.
Here is the final list of the 2023 presidential candidates:
1. Accord (A): Christopher Imumolen
2. Action Alliance (AA): Hamza al-Mustapha
3. Action Democratic Party (ADP): Yabagi Sani
4. Action Peoples Party (APP): Osita Nnadi
5. African Action Congress (AAC): Omoyele Sowore
6. African Democratic Congress (ADC): Dumebi Kachikwu
7. All Progressives Congress (APC): Bola Tinubu
8. All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA): Peter Umeadi
9. Allied Peoples Movement (APM): Princess Ojei
10. Boot Party (BP): Sunday Adenuga
11. Labour Party (LP): Peter Obi
12. National Rescue Movement (NRM): Felix Osakwe
13. New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP): Rabiu Kwankwaso
14. Peoples Redemption Party (PRP): Kola Abiola
15. Peoples Democratic Party (PDP): Atiku Abubakar
16. Social Democratic Party (SDP): Adewole Adebayo
17. Young Progressive Party (YPP): Malik Ado-Ibrahim
18. Zenith Labour Party (ZLP): Dan Nwanyanwu
How do these presidential candidates meet the required qualifications?
Analysing the candidates on the list gives us a general idea of how our political landscape is and the different challenges and assumptions about politics. For starters, of the 18 candidates for president, there is only one woman—Princess Ojei of the Allied People’s Movement (APM).
There is also a clear age slant towards older candidates. The previous minimum age requirement for presidential candidates was 40, but it has now been reduced to 35. Notably, Chris Inumolen of the Accord Party is the youngest candidate in the race—aged 38. He is also the only candidate who benefits from the recently passed Not Too Young to Run bill since he would have been disqualified under the previous age requirement (40).
Interestingly, thirteen candidates are younger than the Nigerian civil service retirement age of 65—ranging from the earlier mentioned 38 to Dan Nwanyanwu of the Zenith Labour Party at 62.
The two oldest candidates are also the candidates of the more established parties—Bola Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress at 70 and Atiku Abubakar of the People’s Democratic Party at 75.
Regarding educational qualifications, five candidates have school certificate-level certificates, seven have bachelor-level degrees, and five have master's degrees. Rabiu Kwankwaso of the New Nigeria People’s Party is the only candidate fielding a doctorate among the candidates in this election.
What prior positions did they occupy before seeking the presidency?
There are no set criteria or position a person must hold before seeking the presidency, but there are common threads among the candidates seeking the position this year.
The first batch includes former elected officials, largely covering the frontrunners. Atiku Abubakar is this race's sole former vice president, having served as deputy to Olusegun Obasanjo between 1999 and 2007.
Three former governors are next—Bola Tinubu, who governed Lagos between 1999 and 2007 and Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, who served two interrupted terms as governor of Kano between 1999 - 2003 and then 2011 - 2015.
As far as interrupted terms go, despite winning consecutive elections, Peter Obi of the Labour Party (LP) won a court case to assume the governorship of Anambra from March to November 2006 before getting removed and reinstalled by the courts in February 2007 till May 2007. After successfully legislating for his term to apply to when he was first sworn in, he served from June 2007 till March 2014.
The next set of candidates involves experienced party stalwarts.
Four of the 18 candidates are both presidential candidates and chairs of their parties—Yele Sowore (AAC), Yusuf Sani Yabagi (ADP), Sunday Oluwafemi Adenugu (BP) and Daniel Nwanyanwu (ZLP). Some are also children of storied past candidates, such as Kola Abiola (PRP), son of famed 1993 SDP candidate M.K.O. Abiola, and Peter Umeadi (APGA), son of UPN’s 1979 vice-presidential running mate Philip Umeadi.
The next group of candidates are relatively successful entrepreneurs.
Chris Inumolen (Accord) runs UNIC Foundation, Yele Sowore (AAC) founded Sahara Reporters, Kachikwu Dumebi (ADC) founded Roots Television Nigeria, Princess Ojei (APM) is the executive director of Nuel Ojei Holdings, and Abdulmalik Ado-Ibrahim (YPP) is founder of Reset Nigeria Initiative.
Public office holders
The last prominent group are individuals who have held some public office, albeit not elected positions. Peter Umeadi (APGA) was a former Chief Judge of Anambra State, Ebenezer Adebayo (SDP) was a former diplomat who worked at the United Nations and Economic Community of West African States and Hamza Al-Mustapha (AA) is perhaps best known as being Chief Security Officer to former Head of State, Sani Abacha.
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