The election will feature 18 candidates, but only three are considered the main contenders. Bola Tinubu, Atiku Abubakar, and Peter Obi are the top three candidates in the race, each with their own plans and political backgrounds.
BOLA AHMED TINUBU
Bola Tinubu is the candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress party, which he helped form in 2013 with Buhari. A former Lagos governor between 1999-2007, the 70-year-old Tinubu has earned the nickname “Godfather of Lagos” due to his political influence in the southwest region of Nigeria. Despite allegations of corruption, Tinubu has denied these claims.
Tinubu's political career was shaped by his opposition to military rule in the early 1990s. This is Tinubu's first run for the presidency, after years of building political, ethnic, and religious alliances across Nigeria. Tinubu is a Muslim of Yoruba ethnicity. He aims to continue Buhari's policies, such as public infrastructure development and central bank intervention in the economy while ending the costly fuel subsidy and redirecting the funds to agricultural and social welfare programs, as well as expanding the military.
Tinubu's running mate is Kassim Shettima, a Muslim from Borno state in the northeast, where he served as governor during the height of the Islamist insurgency. This choice of a running mate from another religion is a departure from the established norm.
Atiku Abubakar is running for the presidency on the ticket of the main opposition People's Democratic Party, which was ousted from power in 2015. The 76-year-old former vice president is running for the third time, after losing to Buhari in the 2019 election. Atiku has faced allegations of corruption, which he has dismissed as baseless.
As a northern Muslim from the Fulani ethnic group, Atiku has businesses in port logistics, among other ventures. He plans to privatize the state oil company, increase the private sector's role in the economy, liberalize the exchange rate, and provide more equipment to the military.
Atiku's running mate is Ifeanyi Arthur Okowa, a Christian governor from Delta state in the oil-producing region of Nigeria. This choice aims to generate support in the largely Christian south.
PETER GREGORY OBI
Peter Gregory Obi, a third-party candidate, is looking to harness the discontent of Nigerians with the status quo and drive his presidential bid. The 61-year-old former governor and banker, who was Atiku's running mate in the 2019 election, is proud of his record as governor of Anambra state, where he posted a budget surplus in 2014.
Obi, a Christian from the Igbo tribe in the volatile southeast, promises to triple power generation, dismantle the multiple-rate naira exchange rate regime, gradually wean the economy off its reliance on oil by ramping up agricultural output and exports, and better fund the military.