GLADIATORS: Meet The Aspirants Vying For PDP’s Presidential Ticket

Akinola Ajibola  
Updated May 28, 2022


The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is set to elect its flagbearer in the 2023 presidential election.

Although the main opposition party has faced pressure to zone its presidential ticket to the South, its National Executive Council (NEC) has opted to throw the contest open.

About nine months to the general election, a total of 14 aspirants – from the North and South – have announced their interest in the party’s ticket.

Having made the declaration at various fora, the aspirants went on to purchase the PDP’s expression of interest and nomination forms sold at N5 million and N35 million respectively.

READ ALSO: I’m Not Desperate To Be President – Peter Obi

Although the only female among them did not pay for the expression of interest and nomination forms, she was required to pay a certain amount as an administrative fee.

Barely a week to the primary, one of the aspirants and former governor of Anambra State, Peter Obi, said he was withdrawing from the contest.

In no particular order, meet the aspirants below:

Aminu Tambuwal (Sokoto)


Sokoto State Governor Aminu Tambuwal appeared on Politics Today on March 22, 2022.
A file photo of Sokoto State Governor, Aminu Tambuwal.


Tambuwal, 56, is the incumbent governor of Sokoto State and presently serving his second term in office. He contested and won the governorship election in Sokoto on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in April 2015.

Amid a wave of defection which saw some governors and several lawmakers leaving the ruling party in the build-up to the last general elections, Tambuwal returned to the PDP in 2018 and went on to win his re-election on the platform of the main opposition party. He was also the Speaker of the House of Representatives between 2011 and 2015 before he was elected governor.

Dele Momodu (Osun)


A file photo of Mr Dele Momodu.


Momodu, 60, is a veteran journalist and CEO/ Publisher of Ovation International seeking to be president on the PDP platform. His race to occupy the highest office of the land began in 2010 when he said he would contest the 2011 presidential election, flying the Labour Party’s flag.

Labour Party, however, dropped out of the race while Momodu contested the election as the candidate of the National Conscience Party, losing to former President Goodluck Jonathan.

Nyesom Wike (Rivers)


Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike made an appearance on Channels Television's Politics Today on March 28, 2022. Sodiq Adelakun/Channels Television
Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike made an appearance on Channels Television’s Politics Today on March 28, 2022. Sodiq Adelakun/Channels Television


Wike, 59, is one of the staunch supporters of the PDP who insisted severally that he would not leave the party, even if the outcome of the primary does not favour him. Like his Sokoto counterpart, Wike is serving his second term in office.

He was first elected into office in 2015, succeeding the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, under whom he served as Chief of Staff. Both men would later fallout over various allegations, including claims that Rivers resources were mismanaged.

Mohammed Hayatu-Deen (Borno)

A file photo of Mr Mohammed Hayatu-Deen.


Hayatu-Deen, 69, is a renounced economist who once served as the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of FSB International Bank. In the course of his career in the financial sector, he was chairman and director of several organisations, including the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE).

Among other organisations where he held the top position are Northern Nigeria Investment Limited, Nigeria Hotels Limited, Kaduna Textiles Limited, Seven-Up Bottling Company, New Nigeria Construction Company, Benue Cement Company, and Virgin Nigeria Limited.

Hayatu-Deen has also been involved in a number of extra-curricular and national assignments, including a member of President Muhammadu Buhari’s Transition Committee and Chairman of the Transition Committee on Economy.

*Hayatu-Deen announced his withdrawal from the race on the eve of the primary.

Udom Emmanuel (Akwa Ibom)

A file photo of Governor Udom Emmanuel.


Emmanuel, 55, is the incumbent governor of Akwa Ibom State and serving his second term in office since he was elected in 2015. He contested for the office of governor on the platform of the PDP and got the party’s ticket for re-election ahead of the 2019 general polls.

In 2013, Emmanuel was appointed as the Secretary to the State Government after which he contested for the PDP governorship ticket in a primary where he defeated 22 other aspirants.

Sam Ohuabunwa (Abia)

A file photo of Mr Sam Ohuabunwa.


Ohuabunwa, 71, is a renowned pharmacist, politician, and business executive. He founded Neimeth Pharmaceutical and served as its CEO for almost two decades. He was also the former president of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria, as well as the foundation president of the West African Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association.

Similarly, Ohuabunwa once served as Chairman of the Nigerian Economic Summit Group and Chairman of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria.

Oliver Tareila Diana

Diana came into political limelight following her announcement to join the contest for the PDP presidential ticket. Although not so much is known about her or her political antecedents, she intends to put her popularity to a test in the showdown.

Ayo Fayose (Ekiti)

A file photo of former Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose.


Fayose, 61, was elected as the second governor of Ekiti State in 2003, after defeating the then incumbent Governor, Niyi Adebayo, in the poll. He, however, could not complete his tenure following his impeachment by the State House of Assembly in October 2006.

He would later return to win the PDP’s ticket to contest the 2014 governorship election where he defeated another incumbent governor, Kayode Fayemi. Fayose declared his intention to run for president in 2019 but stepped down after the PDP admonished him against the ambition.

Atiku Abubakar (Adamawa)

A file photo of former Vice President Atiku Abubakar. Photo: Channels TV/ Sodiq Adelakun.


Atiku, 75, served as the vice president from 1999 to 2007 during the administration of former President Olusegun Obasanjo. He had contested for the governorship election in Adamawa State in 1990, 1997 and 1998, being elected before becoming Obasanjo’s running mate during the presidential elections in 1999 and 2003.

His presidential ambition was first made known when he lost late Moshood Abiola in the primary of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) in the build-up to the 1993 elections. Besides that, he contested for the presidency in 2007, 2011, 2015, and 2019.

Bukola Saraki (Kwara)

A file photo of former Senate President, Bukola Saraki.


Saraki, 59, served as the President of the Senate and Chairman of the 8th National Assembly between 2015 and 2019. He was also a two-term governor of Kwara State – a position he held from 2003 to 2011 before his election to the Senate in 2011 on the PDP platform.

He was re-elected to represent Kwara Central senatorial district on the APC platform, but left the ruling party and returned to the PDP in July 2018 where he lost the party’s 2019 presidential ticket to Atiku.

Pius Anyim (Ebonyi)

A file photo of former Senate President Anyim Pius Anyim.
A file photo of former Senate President Anyim Pius Anyim.


Anyim, 61, was elected as the senator representing Ebonyi South district in 1999 before he was elected as the President of the Senate about a year later following the impeachment of his predecessor. When his term ended in 2003, he refused to seek re-election.

In 2011, former President Goodluck Jonathan appointed Anyim as Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) – an office he occupied till the end of the administration in 2015.

Bala Mohammed (Bauchi)

A file photo of Governor Bala Mohammed.


Mohammed, 63, unlike his Sokoto, Rivers, and Akwa Ibom counterparts, is serving his first term as governor of Bauchi State. Prior to his election into office in 2019, he was the Minister of Federal Capital Territory between 2010 and 2015.

Before his appointment as minister, Mohammed contested and won the election to represent Bauchi South district in the Senate from 2007 to 2010.

Charles Okwudili and Chikwendu Kalu

Like Diana, not much is known about Okwudili and Kalu who intend to put their popularity to a test in Saturday’s contest.