WHO BECOMES NIGERIA’S NEXT PRESIDENT?
By Nicholas Ebegboni
Come Saturday, February 25, 2023 Nigerians will troop out to elect who would become the next president of the country.
For the first time in the history of the nation, it is difficult to guess who would be Nigeria’s next president in the presidential election due to the emergence of a third force that seems to sweep through some parts of the country like a locust.
The major gladiators in the 2023 presidential election, the presidential candidate of the ruling party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the presidential candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), and the presidential candidate of Labour Party, Peter Obi. Amongst these 3 candidates, one would eventually become the president of our great country.
The APC presidential flag bearer Bola Ahmed Tinubu has the support of his kinsmen, in the southwestern part of the country and may likely get massive votes from the geo-political zone with Lagos having the highest number of registered voters in the country.
Another advantage for Bola Tinubu is the Muslim-Muslim ticket, after the APC primaries, Tinubu picked Sen. Kashim Shettima who is also a Muslim as his running mate. Due to that decision, Muslim clerics came together to drum support for the APC candidate as they affirmed that the Muslim -Muslim ticket is a jihad and would promote Islam in the country.
Also, an unconfirmed rumor has it that the governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike may likely sway River’s votes to favor the APC presidential candidate, but Wike is yet to publicly announce his support for the APC presidential candidate.
In the northern part of the country, Tinubu hopes to garner votes with the support of the APC governors. With the body language of some of the northern APC governors, it is unlikely that they may abandon the presidential candidate of their party. The recent action of the APC governors who took the federal government to court because they felt the monetary policies implemented by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) are detrimental to the presidential ambition of the party’s flag bearer.
Some of them went as far as publicly accusing the president of trying to sabotage the chances of the party he belongs to.
Aside from the presumed non-support of Bola Ahmed Tinubu by president Muhammed Buhari’s administration, some Nigerians feel Bola Tinubu is too old and very sick for the job.
In most of his public appearances, he makes unforgivable and embarrassing mistakes that cause ripples in social media.
Some feel he is not well or sane enough to rule the country. Many say he ought to remain a statesman and a kingmaker, as becoming president is not a do-or-die affair.
On the part of the presidential candidate of the PDP Alhaji Abubakar Atiku, who is of Fulani stock, he may naturally get the votes of his kinsmen who believe that they were ‘born to rule’, and the beauty of it for him is the fact that the Northerners are very particular as far as coming out to ensure they cast their vote for their preferred candidates.
The PDP’s presidential candidate may likely get the bulk of the votes from the north which consists of the north-central, northeast, and west geo-political zones. The tribal sentiment may work in his favor.
Another advantage, is his choice of vice from the south-south geopolitical, as the vice-presidential candidate, the current governor of Delta State, Sen. Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa might use his influence to garner votes in the south-south geopolitical zone, and south-south being a PDP stronghold before now, is an added advantage.
Factors that may be a nightmare for the PDP presidential candidate, is one, losing the support of the G5 governors who were not happy over the outcome of the presidential primaries that saw the emergence of Alhaji Atiku as the presidential candidate of the party as they believed that the current president of the country is from the north, therefore that, for equity’s sake, someone from the south should be given the party’s ticket.
In trying to broker peace, the G5 governors gave the presidential flag bear some conditions for them to support his ambition and one of the major demands was that the present National Chairman of the party be removed and be replaced by someone from the south as they claimed that both the presidential candidate and party chairman cannot come from the same zone.
As events unfolds, it became clear that the PDP’s presidential candidate is not ready to comply with their demands. At the moment, some of the G5 governors are yet to declare who their preferred presidential candidate is but Governor Ortom of Benue State has leaned his support for the presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Peter Obi. While it is unclear who others are going to supporting, if it is not Atiku.
Another disadvantage for the PDP candidate is the emergence of the candidate of the New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP) Kwankwaso, who is loved in the north. He may likely divide the northern votes with Atiku, thereby reducing the chances of Atiku becoming president.
For the presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Peter Obi may likely have the votes of south-south and southeast geopolitical zones in his kitty.
He seems to be the third force the people desire to help push out the two major parties APC and PDP who they feel plunged the country into the mess they are in today.
Peter Obi is a serious factor that the two major political parties never expected since coming into the game his name has been moved like wildfire with a lot of diaspora support.
The LP candidate seems like the hope Nigerians needed badly this moment with youths as the major supporters of his candidature.
Some feel he is most qualified for the number one job.
His supporters claim other candidates, most especially the candidates of the two major parties are expired politicians that need not be in politics anymore.
The major challenge of the LP’s candidate is that the party does not have a single elected official, and hardly has structures in any of the 36 States in the country, although supporters believe or claim the masses are the structures needed.
Another problem the LP candidate may face is the burning of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) offices across the southeast geopolitical zone as which might affect negatively the votes coming from that area which is supposedly his stronghold.
Suffice it to say that come Saturday the 25th February 2023, Nigerians will know who their next president is.