Kingsley Moghalu Wants To Be Nigeria’s President. Who Is He?


ProfileThe 2019 Elections

Until you have declared the political party on whose platform you are going to run, you are not yet a potential candidate for electoral office in Nigeria. That is the requirement of the law of the land pending when two-thirds of state Houses of Assembly ratify the new ammendments of the 1999 Constitution allowing for Independent candidacies.

By announcing on Thursday that he will seek the nomination of the Young Progressive Party (YPP) to contest the position of President in February 2019, Kingsley Moghalu has formally become an aspirant to be taken seriously over the course of the next eight months.

Not that he has not been in anyone’s loafers’ diary anyway. Mr Moghalu declared his intention to run since February 28. A former deputy governor of the Central Bank for five years, and a professor of practice in International Business and Public Policy at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University in Massachusetts, USA, he was, at the time of his announcement, arguably without parallel on the basis of an impressive resume or capacity for the job. President Muhammadu Buhari’s second term bid announcement came more than 5 weeks after, not in direct response to Moghalu. But figures at the Villa could not have failed to take note and act on the growing enthusiasm for the fifty-five year old economist.


Prof Moghalu’s formation has taken his from Government College, Umuahia to Federal Government College Enugu for his secondary school papers, remaining in the Coal city where he obtained a degree in law at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka and was admitted to the Nigerian Bar in 1987. A return to Lagos where he had been born in May of ’63, for NYSC was the beginning of legal practice at Shell, followed by stints at media houses reporting and contributing to opinion pages.

Moving to the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy for further education would become the boost for a professional career with the United Nations that spanned a decade and half between 1992 till the conclusion of a special assignment in 2006 under the leadership of Kofi Annan. The appointment to the CBN followed as deputy governor of financial stability followed in 2009, inheriting the duty of leading the nation’s recovery from the global meltdown around the time.


It is not clear how Moghalu came about deciding to run for the presidency, but he had been doing the circuit of curious public appearances at notable events such as the last year’s Future Africa Awards, the youth-focused annual recognition of Nigerians and Africans below 31 years of age leading innovations in various endeavours. That may have been the first cue that Mr Moghalu’s choice of a party would seek to express a strong identification with that demographic, “a lot” of whom were recently described by their President as entitled. At every opportunity since his declaration, he has taken the stage to hold up the ability of young Nigerians like a flag in the wind. A medium post describing the process leading up to his choice of party explains:

I joined politics with the imperative of a radically new political leadership for Nigeria, one with a vision and the capacity to build a new and different future for our country. That meant almost automatically that I would not be part of the old order of failed and recycled politicians that have run our country aground with poverty, insecurity and corruption as our national legacy.

A safe assumption would be that while President Buhari chose to “belong to nobody”, aspirant Moghalu is clearly making a pass to the youth: I belong to you.


This year, Mr Moghalu published a book, “Build, Innovate & Grow” outlining what he called his vision for Nigeria. Putting forward his ideas on topics like leadership, transformative governance and strategy, how to (really) fight corruption, managing the economy and restructuring, the aspirant presumably has come out asking to be assessed and judged on his potential to deliver on the ideas elucidated in the 250-page document.

It will be up to the electorate to match the general ideas espoused in his writings and speeches with the realities of the Nigerian state, seeking to clear up nice-sounding but vague statements to reveal specific intentions and points of action. For instance, what does the aspirant mean in his book when he says “the real test is in the leadership and the actions that create a real spirit of nationhood” on the subject of restructuring? How does he hope to summon 50:50 gender parity in all his political appointments, given the obvious reluctance to such ideas in some northern parts of the country? What is the timeline for recruiting 1.5 million men and women in the Police Force and how will that guarantee a change in the system of policing?


And Moghalu’s replies to those questions will probably begin with an acknowledgement that Nigerians have earned the right to skepticism towards true change. “No one should blame us for this, to be honest” he said addressing The Platform on Workers’ Day “We have believed and believed so many times — and we have been disappointed”. He is, however, willing to bet that Nigerians are capable of enacting a new order, ready to throw their support behind a worthy cause should one arise again.

The YPP is not yet a year old since its registration with INEC in June 2017 but somehow, Moghalu holds it as a “viable” platform on which to dethrone the APC’s President Buhari and whomever the PDP settles on in eight months time. Without a doubt the challenge of the century, Moghalu is confident:

Well, we have it on record.


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