Nigerias presidential election was shaping up to be a contest between two veteran male politicians, but the candidacy of Oby Ezekwesili could change that.
Women have run for the presidency before but she is the most prominent Nigerian woman to challenge for the top job, the BBCs Nigeria reporter Chris Ewokor says.
Ms Ezekwesili is well known for leading the #BringBackOurGirls campaign to help free the 276 girls kidnapped from Chibok, northern Nigeria, in 2014. She has also served as the countrys education minister and vice-president of the World Bank.
But come Februarys vote it will be a tough challenge to unseat incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari, 75, or beat the main opposition candidate, Atiku Abubakar, 72, who both have formidable party machines behind them.
The deadline to register for the election passed at midnight local time (23:00 GMT) on Sunday and at least nine candidates in all are thought to have submitted their papers.
At the weekend, President Buhari was nominated by his All Progressives Congress (APC) and Mr Abubakar beat a field of 11 others to become the flag bearer for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
The two parties have supplied all of Nigerias presidents since the end of military rule in 1999.