Analysts have said a lot about the forthcoming Nigerian general elections, which will be held on 25 February 2023. Citizens will go to the polls to elect the President, members of the Senate, and Representatives for the various constituencies.
Many critics believe that the election’s outcome will be a decisive moment in the country’s history. Some have taken a step – perhaps too far, to claim that the 2023 elections may be the handwriting of the obituary of Nigeria. The country continues to be pampered on the mother’s milk of ethical disintegration.
Recently, the Nigerian military revealed that the force was under constant pressure to compromise the 2023 elections but assured citizens to be rest assured that they would not heed to the pressure and remain natural.
The information was disclosed by the Chief of Defence Staff, General Lucky Irabor, who told journalists at the 61st session of the State House Ministerial Briefing that was organised by the Presidential Communications Team at the Aso Rock Villa, Abuja. He added that the military had strict directives from President Muhammadu Buhari to remain neutral during the elections. Mr. Buhari is not eligible to run as he has completed his maximum tenure of two terms.
It is safe to say that those who fear the worst are right to do so for many reasons. One is a result of the fact that the top three presidential candidates represent the top three ethnicities in the country. There is no denying that there has been a subtle political battle between the Hausas, Yorubas, and Ibos – with the latter believing that they have been marginalized for too long.
Regardless of this, however, some are of the unpopular opinion that this may be one of the best elections Nigeria has ever had. One reason why some hold this view is a reflection on the credentials of the political players from the top three political parties contesting for this election – the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Labour Party (LP), and the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC).
Although the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has cleared presidential candidates from 18 registered political parties for the presidential election in 2023, political analysts believe it is a 3-horse race between the APC, PDP, and LP. However, some believe that the credentials of the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP) and its presidential candidate, Rabiu Kwankwaso, should not be taken for granted.
Below, we have highlighted why many concerned socio-political commentators and observers believe the country can boast of the best crop of presidential aspirants she has ever had. We would be profiling the candidates from the APC, PDP, and LP based on current popularity and content constraints, not favour or endorsement.
Active Political Experience in a Democratic Dispensation
There are many who believe that one of the significant challenges of the current administration can be traced down to a lack of political experience in a democratic dispensation. President Buhari was a Nigerian military head of state from 31 December 1983 to 27 August 1985. After leaving office, he left the political scene and has continued to face criticism over his mentality as president by many who argue that he rules like a military head of state.
Well, suppose this contributed to the current challenges in Nigeria and is a panacea for good governance, with any of the top three candidates contesting for the 2023 general elections. In that case, Nigerians have little to worry about.
Bola Ahmed Adekunle Tinubu of the APC served as a Governor of Lagos State from 1999 to 2007. He was also a Senator of the Third Republic. Peter Gregory Obi was governor of Anambra State from March to November 2006, February to May 2007, and June 2007 to March 2014. Atiku Abubakar served as a vice president in Nigeria from 1999 to 2007 under President Olusegun Obasanjo. So, between the three, it is fair to say there is adequate political experience in a democratic dispensation.
Professional Career Experience
Despite their differences, ideologies, and political affiliations, Atiku Abubakar, Bola Tinubu, and Peter Obi have things in common – they are seasoned career people and businessmen. They have an enviable track record of maintaining top positions in enviable institutions and also have successful business empires to their name.
Again, if this contributes to being a great leader in any way, it is safe to say that Nigerians have a tough decision, choosing among the presidential aspirants.
Running Mate – The Vice Presidential Candidate
With Ifeanyichukwu Arthur Okowa of the PDP, Kashim Shettima Mustapha of APC, and Yusuf Datti Baba-Ahmed of LP, observers believe Nigeria boasts of a good crop of vice presidential candidates that can stand their ground anywhere in the world.
Okowa is a Nigerian doctor and current governor of Delta State. Mustapha is a banker and Senator for Borno state. He was a former governor from 2011 to 2019. Baba-Ahmed is an economist and served as Senator from 2011 to 2012 and House of Representatives member from 2003 to 2007 in Kaduna.