After careful analysis and a thorough scouring of the nation’s political landscape, YNaija has painstakingly compiled the list of 100 persons who are a force to reckon with -in Nigerian politics.
They are the movers and shakers of the political space in Nigeria… nary a conversation on politics without these names popping up.
Asides politics, they are also consummate professionals who hold forte in different segments of the economy and professions. While some are established politicians, others are emerging politicians; those ready to take up the mantle from those holding forte today.
From socio-political commentators, who wield enormous influence in public discussions, to political leaders in the different political parties in Nigeria – here are the 2016 most influential people in politics, as compiled by the Editors of Y!/YNaija.
Akpabio is the former governor of oil rich Akwa Ibom state, a position he held for two tenures on the platform of the PDP. In 2015, he won the senatorial election to represent his state in the Nigerian National Assembly. He currently serves as the Senate Minority leader.
Gen. Ibrahim Babangida
A former military President of Nigeria, who ruled from August 1985, when he took power in a coup, till August 1993. He annulled the June 12, 1993 election that saw the emergence of businessman and politician, Moshood Abiola. IBB is known to have large influence on Nigerian politics, although he says he is retired from politics.
Bukola Saraki is the Nigerian Senate President and former governor of Kwara State serving from 2003 to 2011 and serving as the chairman of Nigeria’s Governors forum. He ran for the senate in 2011 and was elected to represent Kwara central senatorial district. Saraki was elected a senator again in 2015, and subsequently became the president of the senate. He was a member of the PDP, before decamping to the APC.
He is a Pastor, televangelist, and politician. An outspoken man, Tunde was the running mate of the then Congress of Progress Change (CPC) presidential candidate. Although they lost the election, Bakare has remain a fierce critic of government. He is the Pastor and founder at Latter Rain Assembly, Lagos.
She is a the wife of influential politician, Bola Tinubu, and a second tenure senator representing lagos state on the platform of the APC, wining her first tenure in 2011 and a second tenure in 2015. She is a former first lady of nigeria’s mega city, lagos.
She is a former Minister of Aviation under the Jonathan admiration, she was, however, relieved of her duties in February, 2014. Odua, who is member of the PDP, was declared winner of the Anambra north senatorial election in 2015. She is believed by many to have had considerable influence in the Jonathan administration.
He is the senator representing Anambra south senatorial zone in the National assembly. Uba had previously won the senatorial seat in April, 2011 on the platform of the PDP. He was in 2003 was appointed Special Assistant on Special Duties and Domestic Affairs to President Olusegun Obasanjo and has been described as a right hand man of the former president.
Obiano is the incumbent governor of Anambra state, a position he won on the platform of APGA and was sworn in March,2014, to succeed Peter Obi. Obiano is former banker and technocrat, little was known about him before his assumption to the office of the Anambra state governor.
He is the deputy senate president, a postion he is holding for the third consecutive time. Ekweremadu, who is representing Enugu state, became a senator in May, 2003 and has held the seat ever since. Despite his party, the PDP, loosing the last presidential election and being a minority party in the senate, Ekweremadu still became the Deputy senate president amidst controversies.
Is the outspoken former governor of Kano state, now a senator representing Kano central Senatorial district. Kwankwaso had contested for the presidency in 2015 and lost out to the incumbent, President Buhari. He came to power, as governor of Kano state in 1999 and lost a reelection bid in 2003, Kwankwaso, however, won the governorship election of his state in 2011, on the platform of PDP. He later decamped to the APC after falling out with the PDP party leadership.
Amosun is the governor of Ogun state and a member of the ruling APC. He came into power in 2011 after winning the election on the platform of the Action Congress of Nigeria, he won a reelection bid in 2015. Amosun is a former senator representing Ogun central senatorial district.
Atiku is the former Vice President of Nigeria, serving alongside Olusegun Obasanjo on the platform of the PDP from 1999-2007. Atiku, who have since tried unsuccessfully to become the country’s president, is a known philanthropist and a top member of the APC. He is a former Nigerian Customs officials and as been involved in the fight for democracy since the 1980s
He is the brother of Sen. Andy Uba. Chris Uba is a renowned politician and Godfather of the politics in his home state of Anambra. He is a member of the PDP board of trustees. A court recently ruled in his favour as the rightful winner of the senatorial seat which his brother occupies in the Nigerian Senate.
Timpre Sylva is a former is a former governor of Bayelsa state, succeeding former President Goodluck Jonathan. He served as governor of his state from 2007, he, however, failed to be reelected to the governorship position after being sacked by a supreme court order and losing his office to Seriake Dickson. Sylva tried unsuccessfully to be reelected again in the Bayelsa 2015 election, on the platform of the APC.
He is the National Publicity Secretary of the PDP. Metuh, who is currently facing legal trial over his involvement in the misappropriation of $2.1 billion intended for the purchase of arms to prosecute the war against Boko Haram, is a trained lawyer and a former Vice Chairman of the Southeast PDP Zone.
Prince Uche Secondus
Is the former Acting National Chairman of The PDP National Working Committee, serving from 2015 to 2016. Secondus, who is the former Chairman of the Rivers state PDP, entered the Nigerian political space in 1978 during the second republic. He became the Acting National Chairman of the PDP after the resignation of Adamu Muazu as chairman of the party.
He is the former governor of Bauchi state, serving from May 1999 to 2007. Mua’zu then went on to become chairman of the PDP. He, however, resigned his position as the chairman of the PDP amidst controversies and allegation. Mua’zu unsuccessfully contested for the senatorial seat of his home state in 2007.
Ngige is a former Governor of Anambra state, from May 2003 to March 2006. He was in 2011 elected a senator representing Anambra Central Senatorial district. Ngige unsuccessfully contested for the governorship election of his state in 2014. He is now a member of the APC and a minister in the administration of President Buhari.
He is the incumbent governor of Bayelsa state, serving his last tenure. Dickson became governor of his state after winning the 2012 and 2015 gubernatorial elections of his oil rich state. He is a former member of the House of representative. He is a member of the PDP.
She is the National Women Leader of the APC and the Senatorial candidate of Anambra central senatorial zone. Ikeazor, who is a lawyer by training, is a member of the Board of Trustee of the ruling APC
Born in Birnin Kebbi, he was the chairman of the PDP board if trustees from May 2015 to Feb 2016. He was the minister of communication from 2001 to 2003 under the administration of President Olusegun Obasanjo. He was also the minister of defence from July 2011 to June 2012.
An Elder statesman who was minister of Works and Housing from 1999 to 2003. He was state chairman of the National Party of Nigeria from 1981 to 1983 before he became the chairman of the Social Democratic Party from 1992 to 1993 before the advent of another military regime. He was the chairman of the Board of Trustees of the PDP.
He was secretary to the military government of Ibrahim Babagida from 1986 to 1990 and was briefly the minister of finance in 1990. He ran two unsuccessful presidential bids and is currently the chairman of the SDP.
Ubah is a philanthropist, politician and businessman who contested for the governorship seat in Anambra state in 2013. He is widely respected for his manifesto during his campaign.
Current governor of Ondo state who is on his second term. He was sworn in first in 2009 under the Labour Party but has however defected to the PDP. He is also a former Secretary to the State government of Ondo state and former minister under President Obasanjo.
He is the former legal adviser to the PDP as well as one time NDDC commissioner. He contested in the governorship Elections in Ondo state but was trashed by Mimiko of Labour party.
Ali Modu Sheriff
Recently confirmed as the chairman of the National working committee, he is a senator representing Borno Central and a former governor of Borno state. He was governor from May 2011 to may 2011.
Elder statesman and former deputy Senate President during the administration of Obasanjo. He got into the House under the PDP and still wields a lot of influence in the rank and file of the party.
Won the governorship election in Nasarawa statein 2011 and has since been a great influence in the nation’s politics. He won a second term bid to be governor under the platform of the APC in 2015.
Former minister of state for Niger Delta Affairs, Ishaku’s victory at the Supreme Court against Al-Hassan which confirms him as the legitimate governor of Taraba state has since continued to establish him as a political force in the country. He is an architect by profession.
Prof. Comfort Remi Sonaiya
Prof. Sonaiya was the presidential candidate of KOWA party in the 2015 general election. She, who is a retired professor of French language and Linguistics, is the first woman in Nigeria to vie for the presidency. Although she lost, Sonaiya’s participation in the 2015 election have opened doors for Nigerian women and created diversity in our politics.
A former Minister Of Education and former World Bank Vice President for Africa, Oby Ezekwesili have become something of a fire brand as she aggressively campaigns for the return of the abducted Chibok girls. She has been vocal in her campaign and played a huge role in ensuring that the #BringBackOurGirls became a global movement. Ezekwesili is also the co-founder of Berlin based anti-corruption body, Transparency International.
He is a first time senator under the platform of the ruling All Progress Congress (APC). Shehu is also the president of Civil Right Congress of Nigeria (CRCN). He has been appointed to several key government committees including the presidential Committee on National Security and Civic Responsibility. The 49 year old activist, has lead and organized several protests within and outside Nigeria.
He is a second term governor of Imo State, a position he won under the platform of the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) during his first tenure, he, however, decamped to the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) during the nascent stage of the party. He is the only governor under the umbrella of APC in the southeast. Okorocha have on several times contested for the presidency and lost.
Patience is the wife of former President Goodluck Jonathan. Popularly known as Mama Peace, Patience is reputed for her outright involvement in politics of Nigeria, with some quarters alluding that she ran the country while she was the first lady. Although she or her husband are no longer in government, Patience still wields lots of influence both in her home state of Rivers state and her husband’s, Bayelsa state.
Orji Uzo Kalu
Orji is a two term former governor of Abia state, serving from 1999 – 2007. He was the 2007 presidential candidate of the Progressive People’s Alliance (PPA) –a party he founded few months to the election and went on to win two states governorship position in the election. Orji is the owner of Daily Sun and New Telegraph newspapers and Chairman of SLOK Holding.
He is the incumbent governor of oil rich Rivers state, a position he won on the platform of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP). Wike, who is also a qualified lawyer, served as an Acting Minister of Education and Minister of State for Education in the Jonathan administration before resigning to contest, and consequently, winning the April 2015 governorship election.
Rauf Aregbesola is the current governor of Osun state serving his second tenure. Aregbesola contested the 2007 but lost. He, however, appealed the election and won, and was subsequently sworn in as governor of Osun state. Aregbesola served as the Lagos state Commissioner for Works and Infrastructure. Aregbesola is a member of the ruling All Progressive Congress.
The Comrade Governor is a second term governor of Edo state. Oshomole. Who is renowned for his outspoken personality, was the chairman of the Nigerian Labour congress (NLC) before venturing into politics. He came to power through a court order that ordered his swearing in as governor of Edo state in 2008.
Mallam Nasir El-Rufai
He is the incumbent governor of Kaduna state, a position he won in 2015 on the platform of the APC. El-rufai has previously served as a member of an adviser in the transition government of Abdulsalami Abubakar. He later became the Director General of the Bureau of Public Enterpries in the Obasanjo administration before going on to become the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory.
Aminu Waziri Tambuwal
Tambuwal is the current governor of Sokoto state, a position he won in the 2015 general elections on the platform of the APC. He was a former member of the House of Representative before going on to become the Speaker of the House in 2011, on the platform of the then ruling party, PDP. Tambuwal defected to the APC during the build up to the 2015 election.
He is the former two term Senate President of Nigeria (2007 – 2015), representing a constituency in Benue and a member of the PDP. Sen. Mark, who is a retired Brigadier General of the Nigerian Army, served as the Military governor of Niger state. He is a four time senator, however, his recent attempt to sit on the red chambers was cut short after a court annulled his 2015 election and called for a rerun.
Chief Odigie-Oyegun is the first national chairman of the ruling APC. He served as a civilian governor of Edo state (1992-1993) on the platform of the SDP. His administration was later toppled when Gen. Sani Abacha seized power. He is a former chairman of the All Nigeria People’s Party (ANPP), one of the political parties that came together to form the APC.
Peter Obi is a two term former governor of Anambra state, serving from 17th march to 2nd of November before he was impeached, he was however reappointed governor of the southeastern state after a court overruled his impeachment. He went on to win a second term election in 2010.
He is the former National Publicity Secretary of the ruling APC and now the Minister of Information and Culture. Lai previously served as the National Publicity Secretary of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), one of the political parties that came together to form the APC. In October 2002, Alhaji Lai Mohammed was a candidate for governor in the April 2003 Kwara State elections on the Alliance for Democracy platform.
Prof. Yemi Osinbajo
He is the Vice President of Nigeria, an office he assumed after his inauguration on 15th of May, 2015. A commercial lawyer by training, Osibanjo is the former Attoney General and Minister of Justice for Lagos state, under the Bola Tinubu administration.
He is a first time senator, representing Kogi west at the National Assembly. Dino is a former member of the House of Representative, representing Kabba/Bunu/Ijumu federal constituency. He is the chairman of the senate committee on FCT and had seconded the nomination of senate president Bukola Saraki.
Ben Bruce is a Nigerian Senator representing Bayelsa east federal Constituency and elected on the platform of the PDP, during the 2015 National Assembly Election. He is the founder of the SIlverbird Group of company. In 2011, Bruce unsuccessfully ran for the governorship office of his home state, Bayelsa.
Fashola is a two terms former Governor of Nigeria’s megacity Lagos (2007-2015), a position he won under the Action congress of Nigeria (ACN) –now known as APC-, and the former chief of staff to the Lagos state government under the then governor, Bola Tinubu. He is a current minister, heading three ministries – Power, Works and Housing. Fashola.
He is a former Governor of oil rich River states of Nigeria –a position he won on the platform of the PDP and went on to serve for two consecutive tenures before decamping to the then opposition party, APC, after falling out with the PDP leadership. Amaechi is the incumbent minister of transport.
Bola Tinubu is the National leader of the ruling APC party. He was the former Governor of Lagos state (1999-2007) and a senator for Lagos West constituent in 1993, before the millitry took over government. Tinubu is known to wield a significant political influence in the South-western region. He founded the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) –which later merged with other parties to form the APC.
He is the incumbent president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria; he ran and won the election under the umbrella of the APC, defeating the then president Goodluck Jonathan –who was running for a second term in office. Buhari had previously contested for the presidency thrice in the past and lost. He is also a former military Head of State
Aisha Jummai Al-Hassan
Popularly known as Mama Taraba, Al-Hassan was the gubernatorial candidate for the Taraba state 2015 governoship election. She contested, and lost the election, on the platform of the APC. Al-Hassan was a Nigerian senator, a position she won under the PDP before decamping to the APC. She currently serves as the Minister of women affairs. , Aisha Jummai became the first female to be appointed Taraba State Attorney General and Commissioner of Justice. Mama Taraba was the first woman to be appointed as Secretary FCT judicial council and later appointed the Chief Registrar of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory
He was the former minister of state for Defense under the Jonathan administration. He has previously served as a senator of the Fedderal Republic of Nigeria representing Lagos state from 2003 to 2007. Obanikoro also served as the Nigerian High Commissioner to Ghana.
Abubakar was the last Nigerian military ruler; he took power from after the death of Gen. Sani Abacha and handed over to President Olusegun Obasanjo in 1999. Abubakar was a military officer and had since retired and gone on to serve the federal republic of Nigeria in several capacities.
Obasanjo was the first democratically elected governor after Nigeria returned to democratic rule in 1999. He went on to win a second tenure in 2003. Obasanjo has previously served as a military Head of State and was the deputy to Gen. Murtala Mohammed
She is the former minister of Finance, holding the position for two terms. Okonjo-Iweala, who is a former managing director of World Bank, is thougt to be one of the most powerful women in Nigerian politics. She was thought to weild an enormous control in the Goodluck Jonathan administration. Okonjo-Iweala in 2012 unsuccessfully ran for the presidency of the world bank, she currently serves as a senior special adviser to Lazard.
Alison-Maduekwe is the first female president of OPEC. She is a former minister of Petroleum in the Jonathan administration. She had previously served as the minister of Transportation and later as Minister of Mines and Steel Development. She is married to Rear Admiral Allison Maduekwe (Rtd), a former Chief of Naval Staff and former governor of Imo and Anambra states.
Adesina is the President of African Development Bank, and the first Nigerian to hold the position. . He was the minister of agriculture and rural development under the administration of Jonathan. Before his appointment as a minister, Adesina was the Vice President of Policy and Partnership for a Green Revolution in Africa. For his contributions to agriculture, Adesina was named the Forbes African man of the year.
He is the current governor of Ekiti state, a position he won in 2014 amidst controversies. Fayose had previously held sway as the governor of the state from 2003 to 2006, before he was impeached by the state assembly. Known for his outspokenness, Fayose has roundly criticized the ruling APC party at several times. He is a member of the PDP.
Goodluck Ebele Jonathan
He is the former President of Nigeria from 2010 to 2015, a position he came to occur following the death of the then president, late Umaru Musa Yar’dua , his winning of the 2011 general election. Jonathan is a former governor of Bayelsa and a one time Vice President of the country. He lost the 2015 Presidential election to Muhammadu Buhari. Since leaving the presidency, Jonathan had gone on to be recognized internationally, with many calling him the father of African democracy.
Alex Ekwueme is the first Nigerian to be elected as the Vice Presdient of the country, he severed from 1979 to 1983 alongside Shehu Shagari. He is also a member of the Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS) Council of Elders. Dr Ekwueme was leader of the team assembled by the National Democratic Institute (NDI) for pre-election monitoring for the parliamentary election in Zimbabwe in 2000. He was the leader of the Organisation of Africa Unity (OAU) observer team to the Tanzanian Presidential and Parliamentary election in 2000
Yakubu Dogara is a Nigerian politician who has been Speaker of the House of Representatives of Nigeria since 2015. In the House of Representatives, he represents Bogoro/Dass/Tafawa-Balewa Federal constituency of Bauchi State. He is a member of the ruling party, the All Progressive Congress.
Popularly known as FFK, he is a lawyer, essayist, writer and politician. He was Special Assistant (Public Affairs) to President Olusegun Obasanjo from July 2003 until June 2006 before he was appointed the Minister of Culture and Tourism of the Federal Republic of Nigeria from 22 June to 7 November 2006 and as the Minister of Aviation from 7 November 2006 to 29 May 2007. He was also the head of the Media and Publicity Directorate of the ex- President Goodluck Jonathan’s presidential campaign.
Japheth Omojuwa is the founder of Omojuwa.com, a very influential platform with a large following. He is a writer, blogger and political commentator. Omojuwa has lectured at Berlin’s Free University on Africa’s Civil Disobedience Culture and New Media. His opinions on socio-political issues in Nigeria and beyond are delivered with passion and analytical depth.
He is a political commentator who is vastly knowledgeable about a lot of things. He is highly respected for his calm demeanour and ability to logically analyse issues quite knowledgeable.
Mr Aye Dee is very vocal supporter of the former president, Goodluck Jonathan. He played a key role in the re-election bid for the erstwhile president. Now in the opposition, he is a known opposition voice in the political space on Nigerian social media.
He is a lawyer who has time after time pitched his tent with former president Goodluck Jonathan. He however is a member of the APGA political party who mostly engages a lot of people through social media.
A supporter of President Buhari and the All Progressives Congress, he is a man that commands the respect of other youths who look forward to his articles and views on issues. Tolu’s clarity of thought and articulate delivery is a remarkable attribute.
Deji is a registered member of the Peoples Democratic Party and was recently appointed as the party’s Director of New Media. He is a vocal critic of the current administration.
Rueben Abati is the former spokesman to President Goodluck Jonathan. His writing over the years gained him a wide range of readership and followership. Following the fall of Jonathan’s government, Abati has continued to constructively criticise the government of the day.
Leader of the APC Youth Forum and without doubt, one of the most influential young politicians in Nigeria. Ismaeel commands huge respect particularly among youths following the APC.
A celebrity lawyer who is an emerging force in the Legal profession and an acclaimed writer, Ayokunle is a staunch supporter of the former President, Goodluck Jonathan and the PDP. He is a constantly engaging the government of Muhammadu Buhari while being largely vocal about the shortcomings of the government.
A lawyer by education, Sam is the Senior Special Assistant on Public Communication to the Abia state government. A member of the PDP, Hart is respected and followed by a large congregation of youths across the country.
The former president of the Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE) and former editor of The Sun Newspapers was appointed Special Adviser on Media to President Buhari after his inauguration in May 2015.
Mallam Garba Shehu is the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity. He is the official spokesperson for President Muhammadu Buhari.
The brain behind www.demolarewajudaily.com and is without doubt one of the most respected youth politicians in the country. He is a member of the PDP and he consistently dissects the policies of the APC and the FG.
London-based insurance professional and lawyer, Michael is a member of the PDP and shows to be very knowledgeable in his analysis of current issues in the country.
Based in the US, Pa Ikhide is a writer that is widely respected in every quarter. His knowledge on just about everything makes him an authority when engaging in the political issues of the nation. He is also quite critical of the current administration.
She is a force to reckon with in the political space of Nigeria. She is one of the frontline agitators of the Bring Back Our Girls group demanding for government action in the rescue of over 200 girls that were kidnapped 2 years ago in Chibok community.