WEST AFRICA – As 2019 approaches, opposition presidential challengers to incumbent Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari have begun sufficing.
The governor of the southwestern state of Ekiti, Peter Ayodele Fayose, has ceremoniously launched his bid, at a hotel in Abuja, to be the candidate of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP).
Fayose, a leading Nigerian opposition politician said on Thursday that he is planning to run for president in 2019 against Buhari.
Sources say Fayose is the first candidate to express his intention for the country’s top job.
The 56-year-old governor is one of the most outspoken critics of President Muhammadu Buhari and his ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) party.
Governor Fayose to his supporters, “This is to inform you formally that I will seek to contend the 2019 presidential election,” he said in a speech.
“I am confident that with your support as my party leaders and supporters I will defeat the incumbent president… in a free and fair election,” he added.
Meanwhile, political analysts say, the PDP governor is likely to encounter a difficult fight for the nomination since the PDP has declared that its presidential candidate for the February 16, 2019 presidential candidate will be from the Muslim-majority north.
In the country’s most recent presidential election, several PDP lawmakers and prominent members including former Nigerian president Olusegun Obasanjo quit the party before the 2015 election because then-president Goodluck Jonathan defaulted on a promise to step down for a northern candidate.