As the leader of Nigeria’s Senate, Bukola Saraki is third in the political hierarchy behind President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.
But he has long been seen as having his sights on the top job and has been linked to a string of recent political manoeuvrings that appear to be aimed at weakening Buhari.
On Tuesday, Saraki announced his defection to the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP, citing irreconciliable differences with the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC.
What remains to be seen is whether allegations of corruption that have dogged Saraki’s rapid rise to prominence will undermine his presidential ambitions.
“There is no doubt Saraki’s profile has been on the rise since he began his political career,” said Debo Adeniran of the Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership lobby group.
“He has been presidential aide, two-term governor, senator and now Senate president, all within 17 years,” he told AFP.
“The perception that he is corrupt is like an albatross that will continue to haunt him. Nigerians will ask questions when the time comes.”