IThe mood of Nigerians as regards 2019 presidential election has since changed from if APC will retain the presidency to who is the best material within the opposition PDP to take over from President Buhari. The masses have found themselves enmeshed the more in grinding poverty while tens of thousands have lost their jobs since APC took over power in 2015. Tale of woos continues as hundreds of innocent and armless Nigerians have been sent to their untimely grave by Fulani herders; while President Buhari still carries on as if everything is well with the nation.
The electorates that voted out PDP in 2015 had high hopes and expectations of better deals from the APC led federal government. Nigerians actually voted for security across the length and breath of Nigeria in 2015; but what they now have is the killing spree of long-suffering people of Benue and Taraba by Fulani herders.
The expectation of Nigerians when voting out PDP in 2015 was a much more improved economy; but they have now been bequeathed with a badly managed economy that has resulted in the highest inflation rate in the economic history of the country . Nigerians actually defied rain and scorching sun by trooping to their pooling units in 2015 with high expectation of having a favourable foreign exchange rate and affordable food items; how wrong were the electorates. Prices of foodstuffs have since risen beyond the purchasing powers of the masses, while the naira has so far recorded an all time weakness against major global currencies.
The major preoccupation of Nigerians at this time is who amongst the opposition PDP is good enough to secure them and take away their cups of economic sorrow. Hence the need to appraise the qualities and character uprightness of four of the major individuals that have so far expressed interest to contest for president under the umbrella of the PDP.
ALHAJI ATIKU ABUBAKAR
Atiku is a household name as far as Nigerian politics is concerned. He has been in the political arena of the country since he retired from the Nigerian Custom Service. He contested the 1993 presidential primaries under the banner of Social Democratic Party before he was prevailed upon to step down for Chief MKO Abiola. Atiku is so deft in political engineering and calculations.
Atiku contested and won the governorship of his home state, Adamawa before Chief Olusegun Obasanjo chose him as his running mate in the 1999 president election. He eventually won election alongside Obasanjo as Nigerian Vice President. But his two terms of office were dogged with allegations of corruption and backstabbing of his boss. The relationship between Atiku and former president Obasanjo became very frosty at the time the duo were in charge of Nigerian presidency. Their relationship even grew so sour to a level that the two of them were highly suspicious of each other. Although, credit must be given to Atiku for demonstrating the capacities to create wealth and jobs for Nigerians.
Record has it that Atiku has contested for president on four different occasions. His age is also a minus to his aspiration. He would have turned 72 years of age by 2019 if he wins the election. Virtually all Nigerian youths are circumspect of having another septuagenarian as their president in view of the health challenges of the incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari. Aside the factors of old age and general perception of Atiku as a highly corrupt person, he would have been good presidential material for the PDP. However, it is very doubtable if Nigerians could ever vote enthusiastically for any PDP presidential candidate who carries the moral burden of corruption in view of the reasons why the party was voted out of power in 2015.
ALHAJI SULE LAMIDO
Alhaji Sule Lamido can be regarded as an old timer in Nigerian politics. He entered politics as a member of the left-of-center People’s Redemption Party (PRP) in the Nigerian Second Republic. He had gone ahead to become the National Secretary of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) during the Nigerian third republic. Lamido was severely criticized for his handling of the June 12, 1993 presidential elections won by Moshood Abiola, who was prevented from taking office and eventually died in custody while pushing to reclaim his mandate.
Sule Lamido was appointed as the nation’s Foreign Affairs Minister by Chief Olusegun Obasanjo in 1999 having contested and narrowly lost Jigawa state governorship election. He later recontested and won election as the governor of his home state, Jigawa. Lamido served two terms as a governor and did his best to transform and reposition Jigawa state. He deserves credits as a loyal and consistent party man. He stayed firmly loyal to the PDP even in the face of crisis when five governors of the party decamped to the then opposition APC.
Lamido has always expressed his desire to rule Nigeria and he is undoubtedly qualified for the exalted office of president. However, his age and cases of corruption against him in courts would serve as major impediments to his aspiration. Sule Lamido will soon attain 70 years of age and would have become 71 if he wins election as president.
In 2015 Lamido and his two sons were briefly jailed after being arrested and tried for alleged corrupt practices. Nigerians will be most reluctant to vote for anybody who has the burden of corruption hanging on his neck in view of the public perception of PDP.
ALHAJI AHMED MAKARFI
Ahmed Makarfi was a two term governor of Kaduna state from 29 May 1999 to 29 May 2007. He was subsequently elected a senator for Kaduna North in April 2007. He ran for reelection on the PDP platform and was reelected in 2011 as senator. Makarfi had earlier served in the Executive Council of Kaduna state as Honorable Commissioner of Finance and Economic Planning.
Makarfi had a career with the defunct Nigeria Universal Bank, where he rose to the rank of Assistant General Manager.
He had also earlier worked as a part-time Lecturer in the Department of Accounting, Ahmadu Bello University from 1987-1993.
Makarfi is a trained accountant and he is educated to the level of Master of Science degree in Accounting and Finance. He had also served as a member of the Board of Trustee and the Director of Finance and Administration at the Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution in Abuja.
He is the immediate past caretaker Chairman of the PDP having being appointed at the Port Harcourt Convention. One of the major political achievements of Ahmed Makarfi was the successfully conducted elective national convention of the PDP that produced Prince Uche Secondus as the substantive National Chairman of the party.
Makarfi is 61 years of age and he has no known corruption case against him. However, he was not known to be a big achiever throughout his eight years as the governor of Kaduna state. The same can be said of his years as a senator in the upper legislative chamber. Truthfully, Makarfi may find it difficult to win the confidence of the electorates in view of his scantily impressive political credentials.
ALHAJI IBRAHIM DAKWAMBO
Ibrahim Dankwmbo is the incumbent executive governor of Gombe state and he is now serving his second term in office. He contested in 2011 and won with a landslide victory; a feat Dakwambo repeated when he recontested as governor in 2015. He was the Accountant General of the Federation during the administration of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo. He held the position from 2005 to 2011 when he resigned to contest election as Gombe state governor. Dakwambo had also served as the Accountant General of Gombe state.
Dakwambo has had illustrious professional career with
Coopers & Lybrand, now PriceWaterHouseCoopers as a Chartered Accountant from 1985 to 1988 before moving over to the
Central Bank of Nigeria where he worked from 1988 to 1999.
He is a graduate of Accounting from Ahmadu Bello University. Dakwambo has also obtained a Master of Science degree in Economics from the University of Lagos in 1992 and a PhD in Accounting from Igbinedion University . He is equally a Post graduate Diploma holder of Computer Science obtained from the Delta State University Abraka, Delta State. He belongs to seven professional bodies having written and passed their qualifying examinations.
Dakwambo is reputed to have made his mark while serving as the Accountant General of the Federation. To his credit are several innovative achievements that he recorded while serving as the Accountant General of the Federation. He has also been described as the best thing to have happened to Gombe state since its creation in 1996. Little wonder he was recently adjudged the Best Northern Governor in view his landmark achievements in Gombe state.
Dakwambo has simply transformed Gombe state far beyond the expectations of his people. He has turned around the fortune of Gombe state through his numerous verifiable achievements and giant strides. He has initiated and completed whole lots of projects inspite of lean resources of Gombe state. Ibrahim Dakwambo has taken full advantages of his uncommon brilliance and wealth of economic management to achieve much results with the little resources available to Gombe state.
Achievements of Dakwambo has cut across all sectors of Gombe state. Gombe is one of the few states in Nigeria that has paid its workforce up to date and as at when due. Dakwambo has simply rebuilt Gombe, the capital city of Gombe state and all major towns of the state. He has revolutionized agriculture, health and education in Gombe state. He has built several higher educational institutions in the state and has likewise rebuilt and equipped all state owned hospitals in the state.
Dakwambo has so far devoted serious attention and deployed huge resources to security of lives and properties, provision of water, housing, rural development and welfare of Gombe state civil servants. Provision of state of the art communication equipments, sports development, attainment of millinium development goals, beautification and lightening of Gombe state and provision of foreign technical assistance have been the major concern of Dakwambo. Gombe state now boast of one of the best road networks in the country and unarguably the best International Conference Center in Nigeria.
A major advantage of Dakwambo over other gladiators in the contest for PDP presidential ticket is the fact that he is a relatively young man. He is only 55 years of age; which makes him the youngest amongst the contestants. Another factor is the fact that he does not have any allegation or charges of corruption against him in court of law. These are coupled with the facts that he is super brilliant scholar, a goal getter, a flexibly dynamic individual and a proven innovative achiever who can turn around the bad economy of Nigeria.
Candidacy of Ibrahim Dakwambo will readily enjoy huge acceptance and support from millions of Nigerians who are daily yearning for a breath of fresh air and better governance.