A Reminder That 2023 Is Not Just About Who Becomes President

June 16, 2022

It’s still eight months to the 2023 general elections but a lot of Nigerian voters are starting to pick their corners. Young Nigerians online are already tagging themselves “Obidients,” “Atikulated” or “Batified” as hip-sounding in-group names for the candidates they want to elect as the next president of Nigeria. 

The noise surrounding the election has been so overwhelmingly one-sided that it’s easy to forget the presidential election is only one of the elections taking place next year.

Yes, there are other elections to keep an eye on, so let’s take a look at them.

Presidential election 

The president is the chief executive officer of the country and you don’t even need more than a secondary school certificate to become one.

The 2023 general elections shouldn't be just about the presidency

This position is the only one that every eligible Nigerian anywhere in the country can vote for. So it’s no surprise that it’s the position that gets the most attention. The next presidential election will take place on February 25th, 2023.

ALSO READ: 5 Roles of the Nigerian Vice President You Should Know

Governorship elections

Governors are CEOs too, only at the state level. They have the administrative power to run their states. Governors also have the power to make appointments to the state judiciary and other regulatory bodies in the state.

The 2023 general elections shouldn't be just about the presidency

They can do gun poses too.

In 2023, governorship elections won’t hold in eight of Nigeria’s 36 states. Anambra, Bayelsa, Edo, Ekiti, Imo, Kogi, Ondo and Osun all have their governorship elections out of sync with the general elections. This disruption was caused by court judgments that nullified the election of their governors at different times in the past. 

The governorship elections of the remaining 28 states will take place on March 11th, 2023.

National Assembly elections

The National Assembly consists of the Senate, which is the upper chamber, and the House of Representatives, which is the lower chamber. Nigeria has a total of 109 senators and 360 members in the House of Reps. This means Nigerian voters have the chance to elect 469 federal lawmakers to represent their interests. Each representative will be elected by voters in their constituencies.

Making laws is the most prominent power of lawmakers in the National Assembly. The laws they make, with the assent of the president, have great effects over the lives of Nigerians. The National Assembly also has approval powers over money decisions like budgeting and loans. This is why it’s important for voters to be mindful of the representatives they’re sending to the National Assembly. 

The 2023 general elections shouldn't be just about the presidency

The National Assembly elections will take place alongside the presidential election on February 25th, 2023.

State House of Assembly elections

The lawmakers in a State House of Assembly perform the same functions as the National Assembly lawmakers. The only difference is that they do it at the state level and work with state governors. They’re involved in the national lawmaking process if the National Assembly wants to do something as major as a constitutional review such as restructuring the country or granting more constitutional rights to women. Federal lawmakers need the approval of two-thirds of the 36 state houses of assembly across Nigeria to do these things. This makes them just as vital to Nigeria’s progress or stagnation.

The 2023 general elections shouldn't be just about the presidency

Constitutionally, a House of Assembly has at least 24 members and a maximum of 40, depending on the size of the state. Unlike the governorship elections, the election of state lawmakers takes place at the same time every four years. This means all 36 states of the federation will conduct House of Assembly elections on March 11th, 2023, even in the seven states where the governorship elections are off-cycle.

Which election is more important?

Every election is always regarded as the one that either makes or breaks a country. The 2023 presidential election has predictably started to carry the same heavy cross too. And while it’s important that Nigerians elect the right president for the country, it’s equally important that they pay just as much attention to all the other offices.

The president may hold tremendous power, but decisions made at state levels tend to have a more immediate impact on the well-being of citizens. For example, state governments are responsible for issues like secondary healthcare and, by extension, primary healthcare which is the responsibility of the local governments. Services like this are pivotal for Nigerians.

Every level of government is responsible for the progress of Nigeria. So it’s important to elect the right candidates and not get carried away with just the presidential election.

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