All you need to know about the Nigerian election of 2023
The polls on February 25 will be the sixth since Nigeria’s return to democracy in 1999, and there are 93.4 million eligible voters, Nigerian election of 2023
Nigerian cities Lagos and Abuja As President Muhammadu Buhari completes the second of his two constitutionally permitted four-year terms, Nigerians will head to the polls on February 25 to elect his successor.
To succeed him as head of Africa’s largest economy, 18 contenders are vying for the position.
Bola Tinubu, a two-term former governor of Lagos and a prominent member of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) party, and Atiku Abubakar, a former vice president running for the position for a record sixth time, are among the leading candidates.
Peter Obi, a two-time former governor of Anambra for the Labour Party (LP), and Rabiu Kwankwaso, a former defense minister and former governor of the northern hub Kano for the New Nigeria People’s Party, are both running as well (NNPP).
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Who are the leading contenders?
The PDP continues to be Nigeria’s main opposition, and Abubakar, a veteran who is running for president for the sixth time, hopes to win and bring the party, which ruled the country from 1999 to 2015, back to power.
He has centered his campaign on uniting the still-divided nation and reviving Nigeria’s faltering economy, which has experienced two recessions in the past four years.
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There is a gentlemanly agreement between the major parties to divide power between the north and south, as well as between Christians and Muslims, in Nigeria, which has a population that is split almost evenly between Christians and Muslims. The outgoing Buhari is a Muslim from the north.
Like Buhari, Abubakar is a northeastern Fulani Muslim of northern descent. Ifeanyi Okowa, a Christian who is currently the governor of Delta State in the south, has been chosen as his running mate.
Former political and business allies Tinubu and Atiku, who were among the APC’s founding fathers, will face off on Saturday on opposing sides in an effort to one-up the other.
The former, a two-term governor of Lagos, the financial center of Nigeria, is credited with increasing state revenue, and his supporters predict that he will have similar success on a national scale.
By choosing the former governor of Borno, Kashim Shettima, as his running mate, he has courted controversy by doing something that for more than three decades was unthinkable. Muslims from the southwest and northeast, respectively, Tinubu and Shettima, are both.
They have argued that competence triumphs over religion in the lead-up to the vote on Saturday.
A surprise winner of the election is also expected to be the former governor of the state of Anambra in the southeast, whose ascent and strong showing so far have effectively disrupted the conventional two-horse race.
Many polls have predicted a victory for the Labour Party and Obi, who has a sizable following among young Nigerians who are fed up with the way politics is being handled in the continent’s largest economy. He ran for the PDP ticket in 2019 with Abubakar.
Obi, a successful businessman known for his thriftiness and for leading an infrastructure drive while serving as governor, is running alongside Yusuf Datti Baba-Ahmed, a former senator from the state of Kaduna in the northwest.
Kwankwaso, who is viewed as a wildcard in the race, has an equal amount of experience as the other front-runners. He has held positions in both houses of parliament and was a former defense minister and two-term governor of Kano.
Due to his welfarist politics, he enjoys enormous popularity among young people in his home region. A significant scholarship program that helped thousands of students from low-income households in Kano, a city formerly infamous for its high concentration of almajirai, or out-of-school child beggars, was a major accomplishment.
Kwankwaso is competing alongside Isaac Idahosa, a Pentecostal Christian bishop from the southern state of Edo.
Which issues are most important in this election?
Buhari won election on a platform that included fixing the economy, fighting corruption, and reducing insecurity. However, his performance as president has been so dismal that even Tinubu, the national leader of the APC, has repeatedly distanced himself from the shortcomings of the administration.
The naira has fallen to one-third of its value in the last five years, during which the economy has experienced two recessions. As a result of ongoing rounds of killings and kidnappings carried out by numerous armed groups who have grievances against the government, there is also insecurity, particularly in the northeast, northwest, and southeast.
These same issues have dominated the current campaign season.
Exist any security issues?
In addition to the unrest in some areas of the nation, the Independent National Electoral Commission’s state offices have come under attack (INEC).
Although there has been a long-standing pattern of violence surrounding Nigeria’s typically hotly contested elections, experts say the most recent wave is more sophisticated and precise.
Election postponement is not being considered, according to INEC.
There are how many elections?
Elections for governorships and representatives to the federal and state legislatures are part of the election cycle.
On February 25, the same day as the presidential election, elections will be held in all 109 senatorial districts and 360 constituencies of Nigeria’s bicameral federal legislature.
In March 2023, elections for the state legislature and governor are held in 28 of the nation’s 36 states.
The majority held by the ruling party in the legislature is enormous.
The main opposition PDP has 38 seats in the Senate, compared to the APC’s 66. Except for three open seats, the remaining seats are divided among other fringe parties.
The APC holds 227 seats in the House of Representatives, while the PDP holds 121. Eleven seats are shared by five smaller parties, with one seat being vacant.
How will voting take place?
The electoral process for the upcoming vote will use more technology than in previous elections.
A bill enacting a new electoral law was finally signed by President Buhari last year, ending the parliamentary debates about it.
The ability of the electoral commission to electronically verify and transmit results is the most notable improvement. The Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) was created by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to accredit voters using biometrics and upload results.
In a non-cycle election last year, BVAS was tested.
The voting process will go as follows:
The polls open for voter accreditation, and voters proceed to their designated polling places.
Votes are typically counted after voting is complete in front of representatives from both parties and interested voters. The results are then manually transferred to a collation center, which has historically left the procedure vulnerable to logistical issues and, in rare instances, fraud.
Results have been communicated both manually and electronically in recent elections. This time, things are even more transparent because the results from the polling places are scanned and uploaded to a web portal that the general public can access if they are registered.
According to the Electoral Act, the manual method is still the only transmission method that is permitted by law. Chairman of INEC’s Information Committee Festus Okoye has said that electronic results can only be clled for in case of disputes
How is a winner announced?
In the race for president:
The winning candidate must receive at least 25% of the votes cast in at least 24 of the country’s 36 states in addition to obtaining a simple majority.
If no candidate satisfies these requirements, a run-off will be held within 21 days, with only two candidates allowed to compete: the candidate who received the highest overall number of votes and the candidate who received the necessary 25 percent of the vote in the most states overall.
If more than one candidate meets the second criterion, the one with the most votes will be chosen to compete against the one who received the most votes in the first round of voting.
In essence, finishing second in the first round of voting does not guarantee a place in the run-off.
If significant fraud is discovered, the election may be canceled. A rerun will be ordered in this situation rather than a run-off.
In elections for governor and the state legislature, the winner must receive the most votes and 25% of the total votes cast in the state’s two-thirds of local government areas.
c) closing a gap
A legal gap that existed before has been closed by the new legislation. In accordance with Section 34 of the Electoral Act, INEC must postpone the election for 14 days in order to allow the affected party to nominate a replacement candidate if a candidate passes away before the polls open.
The election can be delayed up to 21 days by INEC if the incident occurs after polls have opened but before a winner has been announced.
If an executive position is involved in this, the running mate assumes control of the ticket, and the beneficiary chooses their running mate.
The party has 14 days to nominate a new candidate for a legislative position.
The vice president-elect will take the oath of office in the event that the president-elect passes away before taking office, and the new president-elect will name a new vice president who must be confirmed by a National Assembly plenary session.
Ideology politics are not as entrenched on the continent as they were under military regimes because personality-driven politics and a patronage culture are still prevalent in some parts of Africa.
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