Nigeria is just 100 days from its seventh election following the country’s return to multi-party democracy in 1999. So far, the leading candidates for president include Mr Peter Obi of Labour Party, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and Bola Ahmed Tinubu of the All-Progressive Congress (APC).
During this campaign season, politicking and horse-trading has been ongoing behind the scenes. Political stakeholders in and across party lines have betrayed their sworn allies while others have held their fronts.
With less than four months to Election Day, Brief.ng analyses the activities of the leading presidential candidates and what to expect in the coming days:
Peter Obi, the flag bearer of the third force movement and his faithfuls, OBIdients, has grown from just a mere online movement to formidable force with participation from a large group of Nigerian youths and other age grades; cutting across different ethnic groups in the country. Unlike the popular belief when the former Anambra state governor declared his ambition, Mr. Peter Obi stands a high chance of clinching victory according to an online poll back in October, despite criticism from his former colleagues, associates and the political class.
- Many believe that Nigeria might just see a break in the dominance of the APC and PDP in 2023, with the intimidating popularity of the OBIdient movement.
- Victory would prove that voters can truly overturn the dominance of ruling parties in a country which has suffered from a history of election corruption.
All-Progressive Congress (APC)
Being Nigeria’s ruling party, the path of its flag bearer, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, has been relatively easier. At the time of this report, no known incumbent state governor under the party has backed out of Tinubu’s Presidential Campaign Council (PCC), unlike the PDP camp. Tinubu also continues to command the support of Nigeria’s incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari and other stakeholders in Nigeria’s political space.
- However, Tinubu’s presidential ambition has been tainted by for drug allegations, falsifying his age, choosing a Muslim running mate, altering educational credentials, having a health crisis, etc.
- The February 2023 elections would show if Nigerians believe in the integrity of the former Lagos state governor against the weighty accusations.
Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)
The party who lost power to the APC in 2015 has been widely regarded as the “worst opposition party” by many Nigerians with the continuous internal battle in its camp. PDP has not been able to assemble the political prowess it has shown in the past under the leadership of its National Chairman, Chief Iyorchia Ayu.
- However, the party with Alhaji Atiku as its flag bearer has continued to pull in remarkable numbers in political rallies across the country.
- After Mr. Peter Obi, Atiku is the second presidential candidate who has appeared on several live interviews in real time; a feat that Tinubu has consciously avoided.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has assured Nigerians of a free and fair election. The electoral body is deploying the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) and the INEC Result Viewing Portal (IReV) to that effect. INEC also released the voters register to allow the public to confirm their details, and report persons ineligible to vote in the forthcoming elections, as in a case of death.