Tinubu, Atiku, Obi, and 15 other candidates engage in a presidential runoff
The D-day has finally arrived after a four-year wait; Nigerians will turn out today to choose their leaders in a general election that holds so much promise. After months of campaigns, 18 candidates from various political parties are vying for the nation’s top post, the presidency.
Although 18 candidates have entered the race, many predict that Asiwaju Bola Tinubu of the ruling All Progressives Party, Atiku Abubakar of the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party, and Peter Obi of the Labor Party—a former governor of Anambra State—will prevail.
For Tinubu and Atiku, the election may be their final chance to make a good impression. Both men are elderly; Tinubu, a.k.a. the “City Boy,” is 70 years old, while the former vice president is 76. They will be 80 and 74 years old, respectively, when the subsequent election cycle takes place.
2027 will be too late for the team of Tinubu and Atiku in a country where people are getting more and more aware of the advancing age and lack of mobility of their president. Obi, who at 61 still embodies the youth’s optimism as someone they can readily identify to, and who has presented the biggest challenge to the status quo, comes to mind.
While being somewhat overshadowed by the presidential race, 1,101 candidates for 109 senate seats and 3,122 candidates for House of Representatives seats, for a total of 4,223 candidates running for 469 legislative positions, will also be decided on Saturday.
“There are 3,875 candidates overall, with 35 men running for president and vice president, 1,008 men running for the Senate, and 2,832 men running for the House of Representatives. Similar to this, 381 women are running for office, including 1 for president, 92 for the senate, and 288 for the house of representatives. Eleven people with disabilities are also running, according to the Independent National Electoral Commission.
After serving as former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s deputy from 1999 to 2007, Atiku will be running for president for the sixth time in this election. In 1993, 2007, 2011, 2015, and 2019 he was defeated.
Tinubu will run for president for the first time in the 2023 presidential election. The former senator, who served as governor of Lagos State for two terms until leaving office in 2007, is credited with organizing the alliance that deposed the PDP in 2015. In recent years, he has expanded his influence outside of the South-West.
In contrast, Obi led Anambra as governor from March 2006 to November 2006, February to May 2007, and June 2007 to March 2014. He was chosen by the PDP to run as Atiku’s running mate in the 2019 election. Obi was a PDP running partner in 2022, but in May of that year he switched over to the LP to run as that party’s presidential candidate.
Aside from Omoyele Sowore and Kola Abiola, other candidates for president include Dumebi Kachikwu of the African Democratic Congress, Rabiu Kwankwaso of the New Nigeria People’s Party, Adewole Adebayo of the Social Democratic Party, Malik Ado-Ibrahim of the Young Progressive Party, Prof. Christopher Imumulen of the Accord Party, Prof. Peter Umeadi of the All Progressives Grand Alliance, and Yus.
The list also includes Sani Yusuf of the Action Democratic Party, Nnnadi Osita of the Action Peoples Party, Oluwafemi Adenuga of the Boot Party, Osakwe Felix Johnson of the National Recovery Movement, and Hamza Al-Mustapha of the Action Alliance.
Major Campaign Issues
According to experts, this year’s election campaign raised a lot of problems and was possibly the most talked-about in Nigerian history. This election cycle is the most significant time when social media has been heavily involved.
With the use of social media, the younger generation has raised a variety of problems, promoted some candidates over others, and harrassed others who disagree with them. The youth have, for the first time in history, banded together to build a movement in support of one of the candidates, with social media serving as their platform. The following few hours will reveal whether or not this results in an electoral victory.
The candidates’ health was a major talking point during the campaigns, with many voicing worries about the mental and physical health of the front-runners for the presidency amid the arduous campaigning that carried the gladiators to the majority of the states in the union.
This was closely tied to the numerous mistakes made by the candidates, prominent party figures, and spokespersons, while verbal abuse was prevalent. Not to be left out, supporters of the various candidates also used social media to battle both actual and fictitious foes.
The crisis that followed the Federal Government’s naira redesign policy, as announced by the Central Bank of Nigeria, caused a lot of commotion in the political environment because it was claimed that it was intended to stop politicians from buying votes by amassing billions of naira in old notes that were deemed no longer legal tender.
Protests erupted after the old N1,000, N500, and N200 notes were taken out of circulation before being permitted to circulate again until April 10. The problem led to numerous state governments bringing the federal government before the Supreme Court. After the presidential election, the cases won’t be decided.
Political players also made use of the nation’s gnawing fuel shortage to their advantage and against their rivals since October of last year.
Parties signal their preparedness
Dele Alake, the Special Adviser on Media, Communications, and Public Affairs to the APC Presidential Campaign Council, responded when asked what Tinubu’s top priority would be if he were to win the election. “I can tell you that in the next 100 days, he will reduce any tension caused by the current challenges facing the country,” Alake said. With Tinubu in office, Nigerians will experience an era of stability, prosperity, economic growth, and security, and all of their current problems will be handled.
“The most crucial factor is the visionary leadership, expertise, and bravery that Tinubu will bring to the team. These characteristics of progressive leadership are essential. Nobody else in the competition possesses it. We all know Tinubu has the fortitude; he will push through strict regulations and leap over corporate and institutional barriers to accomplish his objective for the greater good.
Chief Dele Momodu, the PDP Presidential Campaign Council’s director of strategic communication, declared: “I am certain that Atiku is the greatest candidate for Nigeria at this moment. He has the framework in place for his goal to come true. Even though it has taken him a while to get here, I think his time has come.
“There is absolutely no trepidation. I have no doubt he will win. In contrast to what some people are claiming, Atiku will win by a wide margin. This is due to the fact that he is the sole candidate from across Nigeria.
According to Yunusa Tanko, the head of the LP Presidential Campaign Council, “We don’t think it will go to a run-off. As far as we are concerned, we are committed to win this election by a landslide. We intend to take the lead right away in the election. We have the odds on our side and are confident that it will work in our favor.
“If our candidate is elected, his seven-point plan will be implemented in the first 100 days following his inauguration. You’ll notice enhancements in terms of security. I’ve shown you how we’ll encourage folks to go back to farming economically. The Stephen Oronsaye study calls for both infrastructure development and waste reduction in government. Employment opportunities will be available, and legal reform will be investigated. They are attainable, and if elected, Obi and his running companion will get right to work.
Ladipo Johnson, a spokesperson for the NNPP Presidential Campaign Council, stated: “We are sure that our message has struck a chord with the people at the grass roots, and I will say we are quietly confident of winning at the polls. We think that the people of our nation desire a more promising and fulfilling future. They know Kwankwaso is the man with the expertise, capability, and competence to deliver on these things. They want access to good health, education, housing, infrastructure, and proper security.
“Young people in this country want leaders who are younger, more energized, and capable of leading us in the next four to eight years. Although the pandemic is over, its economic repercussions are still being felt. We require a creative problem-solver, someone with the authority and skills to rule, and someone with the political resolve to oppose the commercial interests that women represent.
Deployed Security Personnel
The various security services have pledged to ensure the free and fair conduct of the election and have issued warnings to troublemakers to keep away from polling places. The main organization in charge of overseeing election security, the Nigeria Police Force, sent 310,973 officers and men to the polls.
Usman Baba, the inspector general of police, gave the order on Friday to send four commissioners of police to Delta State in preparation for the election.
Bright Edafe, the Delta State Police Command’s spokesman, stated in a statement that the deployment was made to provide efficient law enforcement and sufficient security during the exercise.
According to the announcement, John Babangida will be in charge of Delta, Mamman Sanda of Delta North, Zachariah Fera of Delta South, and Adebola Hamzat of Delta Central.
It stated that to ensure sufficient protection at polling places, collation facilities, and INEC offices, the police would cooperate with sister agencies.
In order to ensure the free flow of voting supplies, officials, and voters, it was further mentioned that naval police officers had been dispatched to secure the waterways.
On Election Day, Edafe reiterated the prohibition on automobile mobility, stating that “Only officials on emergency and necessary responsibilities would be granted passage during this period. Politicians are instructed not to move with their security personnel on Election Day as the prohibition on security escorts for candidates is still in effect.
According to the statement, vigilance organizations and anti-cult volunteers would not be permitted to participate in any way during the polls.
Three police commissioners were to be sent to Imo State, per an earlier directive from the IG.
The CPs who were dispatched were Alex Wannang for Imo North, Chris Aimionowane for Imo West, and Banji Ogunrinde for Imo East (Okigwe zone).
In accordance with the IGP’s instructions, three commissioners of police have been deployed in Imo State to provide impenetrable security before, during, and after the 2023 elections. The officers have resumed duty and are strategizing on the existing security architecture to provide efficient security before, during, and after the elections in all corners of the state, according to a statement released by Imo police spokesperson Henry Okoye.
The police were sufficiently prepared for the presidential and National Assembly elections, according to Moses Jituboh, the deputy inspector general of police in charge of the South-South zone’s election monitoring.
He declared that all police officers sent to polling places will uphold their constitutional obligations impartially while safeguarding people’s lives and property.
Jituboh said the police remained an apolitical institution while speaking to members of the Bayelsa State Police Command on Friday at the Police Officers’ Mess in Yenagoa.
Deputy Inspector-General Amaechi Elumelu and Mohammed Ari, the police commissioner for Delta State, who were both sent to Bayelsa for election-related duties, were with the DIG.
We are ready for the elections, Jituboh stated. We have received instruction, training, and are prepared. We’ve arrived, we’ve seen, and we’re going to win.
“The police are not affiliated with any political parties, and the NPF is a national institution. Hence, our neutrality is to safeguard people’s lives and property as well as to uphold the Federal Republic of Nigeria’s constitution. Although we are straight, we are neither here nor there.
“I recently left Port Harcourt, where the preparedness was excellent. Everything is in place when I was in Uyo, therefore Bayelsa State won’t be much different given the number of officials there.
He gave the command’s officers and soldiers reassurance that the IG was already looking out for their wellbeing and urged them to perform their responsibilities with professionalism.
While the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps reported having 51,000 officers and soldiers on election duty, the Federal Road Safety Corps claimed to have deployed 21,000 of its employees for the election.
The Nigerian Immigration Service sent 21,640 troops to guard border crossings and prevent foreigners from entering the nation during election time, and the Nigerian Correctional Service sent out 11,336 to provide security for the various penal facilities.
9,447 and 350 employees, respectively, had been placed on standby for election duty by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency.
Military vehicles and motorcycles carrying soldiers were spotted in Lagos, Magboro, and Abeokuta in Ogun State, apparently as a show of force.
limitation of movement
The police had earlier warned that today’s midnight to six o’clock hours will be restricted for both human and vehicular movement (Saturday).
According to the police, security personnel working for public officials are not permitted to accompany their superiors to voting locations.
State-owned security companies are also impacted by the restriction order.
All airports, land borders, and marine borders have been closed.
87.2 million people voted
The next set of leaders will be chosen by a total of 87,209,007 people out of the 93,469,008 registered voters who have obtained their Permanent Voter Cards, according to the INEC. Males make up 49,054,162 (52.5%) of the overall electorate. 47.5 percent of voters are women, or 44,414,846 people.
With 176,606 polling places spread across 8,809 registration areas or electoral wards in 774 local government areas countrywide, elections will be held. However, the commission announced that 240 polling places would not hold voting, primarily due to insecurity or because populations there have been uprooted by violence.
For the elections, INEC estimates that it would require 530,538 security personnel, 9,620 returning officers, 17,685 supervisory presiding officers, 707,384 presiding and deputy presiding officers, and 707,384 presiding officers.
The voting period will last six hours, from 8.30 am until 2.30 pm. Those who are in line as of 2:30 pm will be permitted to proceed and cast their votes.
To assist fight fraud, corruption, and tally mistakes, over 200,000 Bimodal Voter Accreditation Systems are being used to authenticate voter identity by fingerprint or facial recognition.
A contender must receive the most votes and at least 25% of the total votes cast in at least two-thirds of the 36 states plus Abuja in order to be declared the victor of the presidential election. There will be a run-off between the top two applicants within 21 days if none of the contenders match the qualifications.
False audio clip
Atiku, Ifeanyi Okowa, and Aminu Tambuwal, the governor of Sokoto State, were purported to have discussed plans to rig the election in an audio clip that was making the rounds on social media on Friday. Atiku called the claim “total trash” in the meantime.
The former vice-president claimed in a statement released by his Special Assistant on Public Communication, Mr. Phrank Shaibu, that the video supported his concern that the ruling party would escalate its propaganda in the days leading up to the election.
Part of the statement said, “We warned last week that there would be an increase in the amount of propaganda on social media as the election draws near. Within 24 hours before the election, we have already seen propaganda from both the Labour Party and the All Progressives Congress.
“In this newest rubbish, speeches by Atiku, Tambuwal, and Okowa from last year were edited and stitched together to create the appearance that they were discussing strategies to rig Saturday’s election. Even the dead can appear to be giving talks in this day and age of artificial intelligence. Not a new thing, this!
“For the record, Atiku has run for president twice and has never faced charges for meddling in elections or purchasing votes.
But some people believe they can convince people that Atiku cheated in this election. The last kick of a dying horse, this is unquestionably the height of despair. Elections are won at the polling places, not on social media, the APC and the Labour Party must remember this.