A Closer look at the Nigerian presidential election candidates

ABUJA Jan 20 ( – Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan will face at least three opponents from the mostly Muslim north in elections in April, according to the results of primaries conducted by the main political parties. 

As the incumbent, Jonathan is the clear favourite as the ruling party candidate has won every presidential election in Africa’s most populous nation since the end of military rule more than a decade ago.

Here are some details on the presidential aspirants:


goodluck-jonathan2011— Goodluck Ebele Jonathan was born in the Niger Delta in November 1957 to a family of canoe makers. He studied zoology and worked as an education inspector, lecturer and environmental protection officer before going into politics in 1998.

— Usually dressed in his trademark fedora and traditional caftan-like attire, he has a PhD in zoology.

— Jonathan won election in 1999 as deputy governor of Bayelsa, one of three main states in the oil-producing Niger Delta, as a member of the PDP. He became state governor in 2005 after his boss was impeached.

— He was nominated by the PDP as Umaru Yar’Adua’s running mate in the April 2007 presidential race. Yar’Adua won, although the election was marred by ballot-stuffing and intimidation.

— Jonathan was sworn in as president on May 6, 2010, a day after Yar’Adua died, vowing to fight corruption and promising to push through electoral reforms and organise credible polls.

— In August 2010, he announced his biggest policy drive yet, a multi-billion dollar strategy to end chronic power shortages by privatising the domestic energy sector.

— On Jan. 14 he clinched the ruling PDP nomination for April’s presidential elections, fighting off opposition from the “consensus northern candidate” Atiku Abubakar.

— Jonathan’s campaign was controversial due to an informal pact within the PDP that says power should rotate between the mostly Muslim north and the largely Christian south every two terms, a pattern his nomination breaks.


muhammadu-buhari— Buhari was born in December 1942 and was military ruler of Nigeria between December 1983 and August 1985. He was an unsuccessful candidate in the 2003 presidential election, running for the All Nigeria People’s Party (ANPP).

— Major-General Buhari was selected to lead the country by military officers after an almost bloodless New Year’s eve coup ended Nigeria’s second attempt at democracy.

— His iron-fisted administration is best remembered for its austerity measures, the jailing of politicians on corruption charges and the execution of drug traffickers.

— Buhari himself was overthrown in a coup led by General Ibrahim Babangida in August 1985.

— Buhari’s reputation as a disciplinarian and a popular perception that he is cleaner than many in the political elite make him the main opposition candidate to Jonathan.


Ibrahim-Shekarau_Kano-State— Born in November 1955, Ibrahim Shekarau is a mathematics graduate and has been governor of the northern state of Kano since April 2003.

— After university he joined the civil service before beginning his career as a mathematics teacher. He was principle of a Kano school and later a university lecturer.

— In 2007 Shekarau became the first governor of Kano state to be re-elected. He has vowed to restore trust in government if he wins the in April but his support base is mostly in the north and he is an outsider in the race to be president.


nuhu_ribadu2— Nuhu Ribadu was born in November 1960. He studied law and spent 18 years working for the Nigerian police before becoming the first Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

— He won international praise for arrests of graft suspects and seizures of assets as the head of the EFCC, receiving the the World Bank’s 2008 Jit Gill Memorial Award for Outstanding Public Service.

— Ribadu also made enemies for pursuing cases against powerful state governors and was fired in late 2007. He fled Nigeria for Britain and the United States in January 2009, saying his life was in danger, but returned last year.

— He opened his bid to lead the ACN in December, pledging to fight corruption, reduce government spending, tackle poverty and develop the restive Niger Delta region.

— Nominated as the ACN candidate on Jan. 14, Ribadu has little political experience and is considered an outsider for the presidential election.

(Reporting by Joe Brock and Nick Tattersall; editing by Alison Williams)

Anthony-Claret Onwutalobi
Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC and CEO of Portia Web Solutions. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websits. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.

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