Nigeria elections 2023: Who will win in Nigeria’s crucial elections?
Nigerians will head to the polls on Saturday in a fiercely contested presidential vote that analysts say is too close to call.
It will be the biggest democratic exercise on the continent as Africa’s most populous country elects a new president.
Important choice At a time when the country is grappling with a myriad of economic and security problems ranging from fuel and cash shortages to increasing terrorist attacks, high inflation and a depreciating local currency.
For the first time since the country’s return to democratic rule in 1999, none of the candidates are current or former military leaders.
Analysts say outgoing President Muhammadu Buhari is term-limited and will step down amid a messy legacy that has brought “much frustration and anger” to Nigerian voters.
Eighteen candidates are in the running for Nigeria’s highest office, each confident they can change the country’s fortunes if they come to power, but opinion polls suggest three are leading the race for the popular vote.
One of the main contenders is the candidate of Buhari’s party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Ahmed Tinubu. Another is the main opposition leader of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and former Vice President Atiku Abubakar.
Nigeria’s presidential elections are usually a two-horse race between the ruling and opposition parties, but a third strong contender in this year’s polls is Peter Obi, who is running under the lesser-known Labor Party.
Tinubu, 70, a former governor of Nigeria’s wealthy Lagos state, wields significant influence in the southwest region where he is known as a political godfather and kingmaker.
Rich political veteran, boasts of Helping in the selection Buhari on his fourth attempt at the presidency in 2015, after three previous failed bids.
After decades as a political puppet master, Tinubu declared that it was now his turn to become president from the shadows; His campaign slogan is “Amy Lokan,” which translates to “It’s my turn” in his native Yoruba language.
However, the ruling party candidate has been accused of corruption, which he strongly denies. Critics say He also hasn’t convincingly addressed concerns about his health, and has, at times, appeared confused and incoherent on the campaign trail. He also made gaffe Which has made him the butt of jokes and viral memes on social media.
Tinubu has also faced criticism Avoiding presidential debates And submitting questions about your manifesto His team members During a recent visit to UK think tank Chatham House.
One of Tinubu’s main challengers is Abubakar of the opposition party, who is running for the sixth time after losing the previous five.
Abubakar, 76, who served as vice president from 1999 to 2007, is a staunch capitalist who made his fortune by investing in various sectors in the country. The tycoon has been investigated for corruption in the past. however, He denies any wrongdoing.
Some believe that Abubakar may have presidential ambitions An unauthorized usurpation arrangement to rotate the presidency between the northern and southern regions of Nigeria, as he is from the same northern region as the outgoing leader, Buhari.
Peter Obi is a two-time former governor of Anambra State, who is being considered as a credible alternative to the two leading candidates.
Obi eschews the excesses of the typical ‘African big man’ leader. He stays away from a large entourage, flies economy class and carries his own luggage. His “no frills” approach attracted a crowd of supporters, mostly young Nigerians who called themselves Obedience.’
Obi is also the only Christian among the leading candidates. Since Nigeria’s return to civilian rule in 1999, its southeastern region has yet to produce a president or vice president.
The ruling party’s Tinubu, though from the religiously mixed South-West part of the country, is a Muslim and also chose a Muslim running mate. fueling public anger Upon his choice.
Described by Tinubu as “Mr. Miser“Obi, 61, is known for his understated approach and is seen as the ‘Mr Clean’ of Nigerian politics.
However, his offshore accounts were among those found in the Pandora Papers, which in 2021 exposed the hidden wealth of the global elite. Obi denies any wrongdoing.
The last two elections have been postponed at short notice and there are fears that the same will happen again. However, the Election Commission has insisted that there will be no disruption.
Prof Kingsley Moghalu, a political economist and former presidential candidate in the 2019 elections, told CNN he expects a high turnout, “unless suppressed by any kind of security breach,” he told CNN.
more than 93 million Nigerians are registered to vote but uncertainty hangs over voter turnout on polling day, with insecurity among the biggest concerns.
Public policy analyst Abideen Olasupo told CNN that the uncertainties surrounding this year’s elections have put off many voters.
“Nigerian voters are currently the most agitated and confused voters in the world because they are not sure whether the election will take place; And if it remains intact, they are not sure that the process will not be manipulated,” Olaspo said.
Citizens have to suffer even in the attempt to stop the buying and selling of votes. Creating old currency notes Useless to prevent rogue politicians from hoarding cash. But there are fears that the shortage of new notes could disrupt the elections.
Electoral body INEC Reportedly warned Banks’ inability to distribute enough new cash to the temporary staff and security guards needed to man thousands of polling stations for the February 25 presidential and parliamentary elections could make it difficult.
As such there will be no more voting 200 polling units All over Nigeria, in places like Imo and Taraba (two disputed states in Nigeria), INEC says, because of security concerns.
Separatist gangs and marauding gunmen known locally as dacoits have terrorized parts of the country with kidnappings for ransom.
elsewhere, Other obstacles threaten voter turnout as some Nigerians are yet to collect their Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) in less than a week..
Michael Famorotti, co-founder and head of intelligence at data company Steers, tells CNN that critical issues around security and the economy will be top of mind for voters and could influence their electoral choices.
“Nigerians fall under two buckets: one is insecurity. However, overall, the main issue that Nigerians agree on is the need to tackle the economy,” he said, with concerns ranging from poverty to unemployment and policy.
“Cash shortages, petrol shortages … are the issues that are probably going to get the most attention for those who make it to the polls and arguably sway the votes,” Famoroti says. ,” says Famoroti.
Fuel shortages and shortages of the newly designed local currency have sparked violent protests in parts of Nigeria as millions struggle to get their hands on new versions of the banknotes.
Nigerians expect the eventual winner of the presidential election to enter the fray to find solutions to the problems, including the country’s rising debt profile, oil theft, and the abdication of a controversial petrol subsidy. A country with large oil revenues.
The top three candidates have pledged to tackle some of these issues. Tinbu of the ruling party vow To create jobs, grow the economy and “eliminate terror, kidnapping, banditry and violent crime from the face of our nation.”
Referring to the mantra of “reclaim Nigeria”, Abubakar of the PDP said that he “Stop government waste“First drive a Small governmentRidding the country of petrol subsidy and making itThe center of crude oil refining in Africa.”
Labor Party’s Obi says his government will be keen to change Nigeria’s focus “From consumption to productionWhile also being determined to “fight and significantly reduce corruption” and create systems to reduce unemployment, insecurity and inflation.
A Predictive choice with the stars A large number of voters puts Obi ahead of two main challenges. According to Steers’ poll, the low turnout will favor Tinubu.
“There was a scenario where we only considered voters who took their PVCs … based on that scenario, the Labor Party candidate is the most likely winner,” Famoroti told CNN. .
“However, we also anticipated a low turnout scenario. The idea is that these are tougher than hardcore voters and those who are more likely to vote on the day. Under that view, the APC candidate … emerges victorious,” he added.
Another one selection Lagos-based SBM Intelligence did not predict a frontrunner but suggested that Obi and Abubakar could get enough ballots to meet the 25% of the vote required by law to win 24 of Nigeria’s 36 states. .
The forecast for the Political Africa Initiative (POLAF) is different whose survey polled three million people and predicted a close race between the opposition PDP (38%) and the ruling APC (29%).
Obi’s Labor Party is projected to take third place with 27% of the vote.
“This election is very difficult to predict,” Moghalu, a political economist, told CNN.
“This is due to the ‘third force’ factor of the Labor Party candidate, Peter Obi, who has shattered the projections of the two traditionally dominant parties, the APC and the PDP.
“While many still believe that one of the two will ultimately come out on top, the fact that several scientific opinion polls have Obi in the lead means that the potential for an upset clearly exists. ,” says Moghalu.
Moghalu believes that Nigerians can largely vote along ethnic and religious lines as well as traditional party lines.
“The one major factor that is an ‘issue’, and will sway many votes, is the hunger for a change in direction that millions of young and middle-aged voters have, and for that reason support Obi. Will this be enough to propel him to victory? This is the X-Factor.