Ex-governor throws hat in ring for Nigerian presidential vote

35430043 - ballot box with national flag on background - nigeria

LAGOS- Another high-profile candidate has announced he wants to stand in next year’s presidential election in Nigeria but did not declare which party he would represent.

Donald Duke, a former governor of the southeastern state of Cross Rivers, told AFP, “I’m running. I am sure many, many will join.”

Duke is a well respected politician who was in charge of Cross Rivers for eight years until 2007 and is a member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

However he has been linked to a movement backed by former president Olusegun Obasanjo, who has heavily criticised Nigeria’s current president Muhammadu Buhari.

Obasanjo said in January that Buhari, whose fitness to govern has been questioned after he spent months in London last year being treated for an undisclosed illness, needed a “deserved rest”.

Buhar just like his counterpart Obasanjo previously headed a military government, he added that Buhari has shown a poor grasp of the economy, foreign policy and Nigeria’s complex internal politics.

Ibrahim Babangida another military counterpart has also implied that Buhari should step aside and not seek a second, four-year term, saying “analogue” leaders should make way for “digital” rulers.

Duke at 56  is by far the youngest declared candidate, just behind the outgoing Ekiti state governor Ayodele Fayose, also from PDP party.

PDP has a few presidential hopefuls, another is former vice-president Atiku Abubakar, 71, while Buhari, who looks likely to win the All Progressives Congress ticket unopposed at 75 years old.

Nigeria dropped the age limits for political candidates to reflect changing demographics in Africa’s most populous nation and bring  in younger leaders.

Duke said, “It’s ridiculous to have a leadership with people of 75 or above in a country where the age average is 21 or 22 years old.

He added, “They can’t be in touch with the people and their reality.”

Photo Credit- 123rf.com/niyazz

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