Peter Obi, the Presidential candidate for the Labour Party announced a former federal lawmaker, Senator Datti Baba-Ahmed, as his running mate ahead of the 2023 general election.
Obi said that the vice-presidential candidate brings to the mission great personal, academic and entrepreneurial strengths, as well as impeccable credentials with the added value of rich experience as an academician, businessman, public servant, economic and development expert, and politician.
He described Baba-Ahmed as a recognised wealth creator and manager who fits well into the mould of a transformative and adaptive leader. He said, “ I am confident with Dr Yusuf Datti Baba-Ahmed by my side, we shall ensure that in moving Nigeria forward, no state or community will be left behind. Pursuant to its statutory responsibility to protect, our government will promote the rule of law, ensure that governance is inclusive, cost-effective, transformative, less transactional, and national investments regenerative”
Family and educational background
- Datti Baba-Ahmed was born in Zaria, in 1969 to the Baba-Ahmed family, one of the 33 children of a father who is said to be an Arab cattle trader settling from Mauritania, and later a professor of Islamic studies.
- He obtained a Bsc and Msc in Economics from the Univerisity of Maiduguri, and later a Doctor of Philosophy when he completed his PhD studies at the University of Westminster while serving as a Federal representative in 2006.
- He is also a founder of and Pro-Chancellor of Baze University, a private university located in Abuja which started operations in April 2011.
- In the private sector, Baba-Ahmed became the Managing Director of Baze Research and Data Services Ltd, where he worked from 1999 to 2003. Datti Baba-Ahmed believes social media support will translate into actual votes in the 2023 elections.
- “I’m into the business of data and statistics. And I decided to particularly look at that. This tells you that social media is going to vote. Even if they are in Antarctica, one person is there and he mobilises 100,000 people here to go out and vote. It has succeeded,” he said in an interview with ChannelsTV.
- Baba-Ahmed began his political career in 2003 when he was elected to the Federal House of Representatives representing Zaria under the All Nigeria Peoples’ Party, ANPP. During his term as a Federal representative, he and others opposed President Olusegun Obasanjo’s quest for a 3rd term, which he says was a major achievement for Nigerian democracy.
- In 2011, he won the Kaduna North Senatorial elections under the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) which was later challenged at the court by the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and upturned.
- In 2018, he also ran for the presidential ticket of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). In 2022, he dropped out of the Kaduna governorship race in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) primaries before joining the Labour Party.
- Baba-Ahmed has frequently expressed his economic criticism of Nigeria’s monetary policy under President Buhari. He recently disclosed in an interview with Arise TV that the reasons for Nigeria’s poor economic fortunes are “mismanagement and corruption” which he says are responsible for the poor economic trajectory of Nigeria. He said, “From 2015, they (Government) did not understand that in rescuing Nigeria’s economy, the first thing you have to do is put a stop to the slide in Nigeria, and define Nigeria as an appreciating currency, use that to attract foreign currency when foreign currency can come into Nigeria and be safe and translate at the right exchange rate, foreign investors will come, when naira is realised by the companies at the right exchange rate, they do not have to rush to convert it for safety, you now have a stable currency.”
- On his political philosophy, he told Daily Trust in an interview earlier this year his reason for dropping out of the Kaduna Governorship race, criticizing money politics under the PDP, stating that he stands “for probity, and honesty and for where those who have, must not bully those who don’t have. I stand for the fact that if you overspend on getting into power, you will replenish that debt, and this is very wrong. The insecurity, the poor economy and everything is directly attributable to the way we practice our politics”
- On restructuring, he has also hinted in a 2018 interview that he will support any legitimate constitutional measure that will improve the quality of governance, make things work better in the country and make every Nigerian feel that he or she is a stakeholder in the Nigeria project.
- He has also criticized Buhari’s reelection campaign of 2019, stating that his administration “did not deliver on their promise. Terror has spread from the north-east to the north-central with the incessant herdsmen-farmers clashes. There is also corruption in his government. This is why it is difficult to keep quiet. I can’t keep quiet. I am contesting [for the presidency] because I must.”
- With the aim of fighting corruption in public institutions, Baba-Ahmed sponsored the Prohibition of Inflated Government Contract Bill of 2004.
- Since his announcement as Peter Obi’s running mate under the Labour Party, videos have flooded social media showing Baba-Ahmed openly criticising same-sex marriage in Nigeria. It is reported that he had at the time openly supported a bill criminalising same-sex unions in the country.