Conversations around the race for the 2023 presidential election has commenced with several pundits coming up with permutations and likely candidates to emerge as the nation’s President in the next electoral cycle.

In a conversation on Arise News monitored today based on a list of eminent Nigerians likely to emerge president in 2023 listed by This Day newspaper on July 9, 2021 depict the pictures of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, President of African Development Bank, Dr Akinwunmi Adesina; former CBN governor, Prof. Chukwuma Soludo; UN Deputy Secretary General, Mrs Amina Mohammed; former CBN deputy governor, Prof Kingsley Moghalu; WTO DG, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala; former Anambra State governor, Mr Peter Obi, and Ekiti State governor, Mr Kayode Fayemi, among 22 others.

The conversation on Arise News followed an exclusive interview of former Head of State, General Ibrahim Babangida on who should be Nigeria’s president in 2023.

During the interview, the former leader listed educational qualification, age and experience as important determinants for selecting President Buhari’s successor in 2023, stating categorically that an energetic individual in his 60s should be considered by Nigerians for the job.

Building their analysis on the criteria established by former military leader on the Arise News Channel on Monday night, former Chairman of the Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), Dr Sam Amadi, said Prof Osinbajo is eminently qualified above the other 30 personalities listed in the ThisDay report.

According to him, “in normal situations, there should be a line of succession. Prof Osinbajo has the quality, and maybe what he needs to build more is the courage because Nigeria needs somebody who can speak up and intervene more often in crisis facing the people.

“He is a good candidate and ought to be the number one contender for that position ” he added.

Dr Amadi acknowledged the fact that Prof Osinbajo possesses some of the criteria outlined by IBB in an earlier interview conducted by Arise TV. He said other candidates will face stiff challenges.

In the same vein, Arise News analyst, Mr Mahmud Jega agreed that the current Vice President has all the credentials to succeed President Muhammadu Buhari in 2023, noting that “Anybody who has been Vice President for 8 years should be a frontline candidate.

“Beyond this, Osinbajo is extremely capable technocratically to lead this country in 2023. He has all the qualities and is naturally in the lead ahead of the others.”

Jega also said Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has a strong international background but weak grassroots connection, noting that the perception of her management of the economy will also count against her if she were to run for the presidency.

IBB had hinted at the qualities majority of Nigerians should consider in their choice of the next President. He suggested that individuals in their 60s should be the focus of Nigerians as potential presidential candidate in 2023.

Further, IBB said such persons should have deep knowledge of the economy, must have contacts across the nation and must have been traversing the geo-political zones, marketing their acceptability and capacity.

Regardless of his political base, it is also unarguable that he might have learnt on the job, and his understanding of the nation’s economy is not in doubt.

The analysts agreed that all the persons listed in This Day’s poll has the capacity to become Nigeria’s president based on their professional and business careers.

They said most of them would be better if they serve the nation in different capacities like taking up Ministerial jobs or “high-profile public policy assignments” in policy-making to improve their political credentials.

Among those eminently qualified Nigerians listed by ThisDay on Monday, the cap fits Professor Osinbajo.

He surely meets all the criteria to become Buhari’s successor. His handling and deputising for Buhari clearly demonstrated his capacity for leadership that’s needed for a complex political terrain like Nigeria.

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