With money and position comes influence, which morphs into power. Great power. But when we introduce the concept of power into Nigerian politics, then we are talking about men and women that are not only rich and influential but also have a massive portfolio that exposed them to incredible worldwide connections, arming them with the ability to move unmovable mountains with as little as a phone call. Politicians with such tremendous power are what we are here to discuss.
Of course, there are many such men and women in Nigerian politics, but what interests us more are those politicians leading in the game of power as of 2023. The year may have just begun, but not in the political arm of the country, and not when the next general elections are around the corner. Powerful men have been making power moves, and we are here to present the top ten most powerful politicians this 2023.
Bola Ahmed Tinubu
Born on March 29, 1952, Bola Ahmed Adekunle Tinubu is a Nigerian politician and accountant. He was the Governor of Lagos State from 1999 to 2007 and the senator for Lagos West during the Third Republic’s brief existence. He was selected as the All Progressives Congress’s presidential candidate for Nigeria’s 2023 election in June 2022. Tinubu was born and raised in the southwest of Nigeria. He later traveled to the United States and enrolled at Chicago State University to pursue a degree in accounting.
Before joining politics as a Lagos West senatorial candidate in 1992 under the banner of the Social Democratic Party, he returned to Nigeria in the early 1980s. He worked as an accountant for Mobil Nigeria. As a representative of the Alliance for Democracy, Tinubu won the first post-transition Lagos State governorship election with a sizable margin. He had a significant part in creating the All Progressives Congress in 2013 after leaving office in 2007.
Nigeria’s president since 2015 is Muhammadu Buhari GCFR, a Nigerian politician born on December 17, 1942. A retired major general in the Nigerian Army, Buhari led the nation’s military government from December 31, 1983, to August 27, 1985, after staging a military coup. The autocratic practices of his military rule are referred to as “Buharism.” Nigeria’s Buhari campaigned for president in 2003, 2007, and 2011. He was announced as the All Progressives Congress party’s presidential candidate for the 2015 general election in December 2014. Buhari defeated incumbent President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan in the election. As a result, an incumbent president lost a general election for the first time in Nigerian history.
Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso
Nigerian politician Rabi’u Musa Kwankwaso, FNSE, FNIQS, was Governor of Kano state from 1999 to 2003 and again from 2011 to 2015. He was born on October 21, 1956. Under the government of former president Olusegun Obasanjo, he served as the Fourth Republic’s first Minister of Defence from 2003 to 2007 after losing his bid for reelection in that year. Later, in 2015, he was elected to the Senate, representing the Kano Central Senatorial District for one term while running on the All Progressives Congress (APC) platform.
Born on November 25, 1946, Atiku Abubakar GCON is a Nigerian politician and businessman who served as Olusegun Obasanjo’s vice president of Nigeria from 1999 to 2007. He was elected as Olusegun Obasanjo’s running mate in the 1999 presidential election after running for Governor of Adamawa State in 1990, 1996, and later in 1998. He was re-elected in 2003. After defeating Nyesom Wike, the incumbent Governor of Rivers State, in the primary elections, he was selected as the Peoples Democratic Party’s presidential candidate for the general election of 2023.
Nigerian politician and businessman Peter Gregory Obi CON, born on July 19, 1961, was Governor of Anambra from March to November 2006, February to May 2007, and June 2007 to March 2014. After leaving the People’s Democratic Party in May 2022, he was nominated by the Labour Party to be Nigeria’s president in the 2023 election.
Chief Olusegun Obasanjo
Chief Olusegun Nigerian political and military leader Matthew Okikiola Ogunboye Aremu Obasanjo, GCFR, was born on March 5, 1937. He presided over Nigeria as its head of state from 1976 to 1979 and then as its president from 1999 to 2007. He is an ideologically committed Nigerian nationalist who served in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) from 1999 to 2015 and the African Democratic Congress (ADC) since 2018. One of the outstanding examples of the second generation of post-colonial African leaders is Obasanjo, according to some.
Ezenwo Nyesom Wike
Born on December 13, 1967, Ezenwo Nyesom Wike CON is a Nigerian politician and attorney who now serves as Rivers State’s sixth governor. He comes from Rumuepirikom in Obio-Akpor, Rivers State, and is an Ikwerre. He attended Rivers State University of Science and Technology and is a People’s Democratic Party member.
General Ibrahim Babangida
Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida, GCFR, a former general in the Nigerian Army and politician, was born on August 17, 1941. Between 1985 and 1993, he presided over Nigeria as its military leader. He advanced through the ranks, serving as Chief of Army Staff from 1984 to 1985. He then masterminded the overthrow of Muhammadu Buhari in a coup d’état.
Goodluck Ebele Jonathan
Nigerian politician Goodluck Ebele Azikiwe Jonathan, GCFR, GCON, was born on November 20, 1957. He presided over Nigeria from 2010 to 2015. He was the first incumbent president in Nigerian history to surrender an election after losing to former military leader General Muhammadu Buhari in 2015. Before that, he served as Governor of oil-rich Bayelsa State from 2005 to 2007 and as Vice President of Nigeria from 2007 to 2010 under Umaru Musa Yar’Adua.
Jonathan has kept up the defense of his government even after leaving office. He was chosen as the Bayelsa Education Trust Fund board’s honorary special advisor in 2019. Goodluck Jonathan was appointed the International Summit Council for Peace’s first chair in June 2019. The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) designated Jonathan as a special envoy in July 2020 to facilitate negotiations amid the Malian demonstrations.
Theophilus Yakubu Danjuma, GCON FSS psc, a politician and retired lieutenant general of the Nigerian Army, was born on December 9, 1938. He was a significant player in Nigeria’s post-independence military and political events. Danjuma gained a massive fortune through shipping and oil. From July 1975 to October 1979, he served as Chief of Army Staff. Under the presidency of President Olusegun Obasanjo, he also served as Minister of Defense.