23 February 2011

Nigeria: Close-Up On Presidential Candidates


On Monday, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) released a list of 20 presidential candidates it cleared for the April 9, presidential election. One out of these 20 will emerge the winner of the contest and sworn in as the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria on May 29, this year. LEADERSHIP continues the profiling of the candidates. Our Correspondent Chibuzo Ukaibe profiles the candidates with contributions on Wikipedia.

Ibrahim Shekarau

Ibrahim Shekarau is the presidential candidate of the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP), and present governor of Kano state. Born on 5th November, 1955 in the Kurmawa quarters of Kano to a police officer.

He started formal education at Gidan Makama Primary School (1961-1967), and then went on to Aminu Kano Commercial College (1967-1973). He studied at Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria (1973-1977), where he earned a Bachelor of Education (B. Ed) degree in Mathematics/Education.

A renowned teacher and principal, Shekarau rose in the civil service to become Director- General (Permanent Secretary), in the Ministry of Education and Youth Development.

In January 1995, Shekarau was transferred to the Ministry of Water Resources, Rural and Community Development. In January 1997, he was brought back to the Ministry of Education, but only five months later, he was asked to move to the General Service Directorate of the Cabinet Office, again as Permanent Secretary.

Some time after quitting his post as Chief Lecturer, State College of Arts, Science and Remedial Studies (CASRS) as Chief Lecturer in Mathematics, under the Department of Physical Sciences, he decided to work as a secretary to the famed businessman, Aminu Dantata.

He remained in Dantata's organisation until he decided to run for the governorship of Kano State in the 2003 gubernatorial election.

He emerged governor in 2003 under the platform of the ANPP, in one of the greatest upsets of the April 2003 elections, flooring incumbent, PDP's Rabiu Kwankwaso.

On 29 May 2003, Ibrahim Shekarau was sworn in for his first term as governor. He was re-elected in 2007, despite several efforts by the ruling PDP at the national level, aimed at stopping him in contesting, as well as the manipulation of the electoral process to bundle him out of power. He thereby, became the first governor to be re-elected for a second term since the creation of Kano State.

Many in Kano State also see Shekarau as a leader who is sincerely committed to peaceful co-existence between Nigerians in various ethnic groups living in the state. Many consider his tenure as one the longest periods of peace ever experienced in the history of the state. Most remarkably, the once highly combustible Kano metropolis has remained calm and peaceful

Shekarau has consistently shown a democratic spirit, allowing freedom of expression including criticism and verbal attacks by opponents. Thus, incidents of political thuggery have been very few compared to some other states, and there is no indication that the governor or anyone around him has been involved in the reported cases.

He has been awarded honorary doctorate degrees by several institutions, including the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (on 21 February 2009), and the International University College of Technology based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. On 22 January 2010, when His Highness, the Emir of Kano, Alhaji Ado Bayero, turbaned him as the Sardauna of Kano, making him the first ever Sardauna of the historic city.

Patrick Utomi

Professor Patrick Utomi is a political economist, management lecturer and entrepreneur.He is a presidential candidate for the Social Democratic Mega Party (SDMP) in the April 2011 elections. He was the presidential candidate for the African Democratic Congress (ADC) in the April 2007 elections.

Born February 6, 1956, Utomi is a fellow of the Institute of Management Consultants of Nigeria and was a Senior Faculty of the Lagos Business School (Pan African University) as Director of the Centre for Applied Economics.

He was a fellow of the Institute of Management Consultants of Nigeria. He is a Director of The Centre For Applied Economics at the Lagos Business School.

He has served in senior positions in government, as an Adviser to the President of Nigeria . Patrick now serves as the Chairman of the Economic Commission for the Niger Delta. He is the author of several Management and Public Policy books, including the award winning "Managing Uncertainty: Competition and Strategy in Emerging Economies."

His academic background covers a range in policy economics, business administration, and political science to mass communication. As an entrepreneur, he has founded or co-founded companies that are active in fields including financial services, ICT, and media.

Policy Assignments: Select participant at the Bi-annual Conference of the Aspen Institute, France (Europe-Africa summit) chairman, Presidential Panel for developing a National Integrity System ; chairman, Presidential Panel for Restructuring Agencies of Integrity and Transparency for the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Served as secretary and later as acting chairman, Economic Advisory Team for candidate Olusegun Obasanjo in the run-up to the 1999 presidential election. Served on the Governance Committee of the transition council of President-elect Olusegun Obasanjo, chaired the Privatisation Committee - Governor-Elect of Lagos State, Bola Tinubu's transition working group.

Serves on the Privatisation Consultative Council for Lagos State.

Served in USAID team designing and implementing training intervention for elected officials in Nigeria in 1999. Served on Advisory Committee to Review JAMB (1999).

Serves as Member, Delta State Think-Tank on Development. Serves on the Steering Committee of the National Council on Privatisation for Competition and Antitrust; Serves on the National Council on Privatisation Steering committee for Pensions Reform. Serves on the ministerial advisory committee on WTO and Trade Policy.

Rev. Chris Okotie

Christopher Oghenebrorie Okotie, popularly known as Reverend Chris Okotie, was born in June 16, 1958 in Ethiope-West Local Government Area, Delta State, Nigeria. He is the presidential candidate of Fresh Democratic Party, FDP, in the April election.

Not new to the rigors of the presidential race, Okotie first ran for President under the platform of the Justice Party (JP) and lost in 2003 to Olusegun Obasanjo (after he failed to secure the ticket of the National Democratic Party, NDP). Undaunted, he ran again in 2007, on the platform of the Fresh Democratic Party and lost to Umaru Yar'Adua in the April 2007 election. He is the flamboyant pastor of the House Hold of God in Lagos.

He earned an L.L.B. Hons in 1984, in the University of Nigeria Nsukka - Enugu Campus. Rather than practise Law, Okotie attended The Grace Fellowship Bible School in Tulsa, Oklahoma [United States] and became a preacher of the Gospel.

He hit national spotlight back in the 1980's as a pop music artist. However, in 1990, Okotie introduced the GRACE Program/ Karis Award, an annual charity event hosted at the church where he pastors; The HouseHold of God International Ministries, Lagos, Nigeria. The Karis Award gives recognition to Nigerians who had offered distinguished service to the nation, but are not recognized nor rewarded for their contributions to nation building.

Some recipients of The Karis Award are, Prof. Chike Obi, the renowned mathematician (1996), D.I.G. Chris Omeben, a retired policeman, famous for his transparent honesty(1997), Mr. Taiwo Akinwunmi, who designed the national flag (1998), Late Hogan Bassey, former Commonwealth and World Boxing Champion (1999), Chief Michael Imoudu, the veteran Labour leader (2000), Chief (Mrs.) Margaret Ekpo (2001), Nationalist and talakawa politician , Late Mallam Aminu Kano , among others.

He was voted 'Man of the Year' by National Encomium Magazine in 2002 for 'daring to speak in the face of adversity and threat to his life'. Same year, he published his book, "The Last Outcast", a widely acclaimed publication. Though initially divorced, he is married to former Miss Stephanie Henshaw.

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