One thousand and one things are happening with a presidential election, especially one as chaotic as Nigeria’s 2023 race.
These are the highlights of the 2023 presidential election campaigns in the past week.
Obi won’t give shishi but he needs a lot of it
The Peter Obi presidential campaign uncovered a deep dark secret last week that stunned everyone across Nigeria: presidential campaigns cost money. Who saw that one coming? Before you know it, someone would tell us Abacha was a thief.
“He was only saving Nigeria’s money for future use”
The national chairman of the Labour Party (LP), Julius Abure, opened the door to a dash of public ridicule when he appealed for donations to the party’s campaign for the 2023 presidential election. Crowdfunding for presidential elections isn’t an entirely new concept, but it was a bit comical coming from a campaign that has made penny-pinching a trademark.
Nigeria’s electoral laws set a limit of ₦5 billion to run a presidential campaign. How much of that can the Peter Obi campaign raise?
Tinubu finally wins something, but there’s a twist
The presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu, has survived a lot of things in his campaign — there was that pee thing, the constant questions about his health and his many gaffes.
But his campaign has been turning a good corner in the past couple of weeks, and he crowned that last week with an endorsement by Fitch Ratings which projected victory for him in 2023.
Peter Obi has won three major polls released in the past couple of months, but the Fitch report predicted a strong Tinubu victory — an outcome that validates his entitled campaign to succeed Buhari.
But while the report may be good news for Tinubu, it’s not such a great one for Nigerians as Fitch also projected his victory will lead to social instability in Nigeria.
Atiku’s American wonder
Atiku has to tick three things on his checklist whenever he runs for president — prove he’s not a northern extremist, beg Obasanjo to take back the stealing allegations and take a trip to the United States.
Last week, the former vice president packed his campaign team and flew to the U.S. to once again prove that he can waltz into the country where his critics say he’s wanted for corruption. He did a lot of standing around and taking fly jpegs in America and nobody saw him in handcuffs.
Roc Boys no drip pass this one
If the presidential election was a game of stunts, Atiku won last week hands down and should be crowned president as soon as he returns to Nigeria. But if he hopes to have a victorious campaign, there’s one more thing on his checklist he has to resolve and the name is Nyesom Wike.
Kwankwaso has a miracle up his sleeves
Does anyone still remember Rabiu Kwankwaso is in the presidential race? The former Kano State governor was primed as the dark horse candidate to challenge the APC and PDP in 2023. But even though he’s been dislodged from public consciousness by Obi’s rise and is now only rated fourth in a three-horse race, Kwankwaso isn’t giving up without a fight.
The former governor is still rallying his impressive crowd of Kwankwasiyya supporters with their famous red caps and posting photos of large rally crowds on his Twitter.
But does anyone trust it’ll translate into a win for the candidate of the New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP)? A chieftain of his party, Buba Galadima, seems to think he’ll perform the miracle of the five loaves of bread and two fish by sweeping over “50-something million votes” in the north while nicking more votes in the southern region.
Imumolen is a local champion
At 39, Christopher Imumolen of the Accord Party (AP) is the youngest presidential candidate in the race for the 2023 presidential election, and he won’t let you forget it. He’s made many claims about being the “authentic youth” option and wants young Nigerians — the most populated voting group — to elect him to make a statement.
Imumolen’s campaign got some kick last week when he commenced a tour of Nigeria’s West African neighbours to… campaign for president of Nigeria.
Christopher Imumolen started his tour in Togo with plans to also touch down in Benin Republic, Ghana and Liberia. Even though he refused to be drawn into a debate on why other candidates are doing diaspora outreach in exotic places in Europe and North America, Imumolen seemed to suggest his own West African tour had more substance. We can’t begrudge a man his days of local outreach.
Sowore is pocket-watching
Remember how the law says it should cost a maximum of ₦5 billion to run a Nigerian presidential campaign? Well, it’s kind of an open secret that Nigerian politicians spend more than the limit and they get away with it because authorities don’t enforce election finance laws. The candidate of the African Action Congress (AAC), Omoyele Sowore, wants that to change for 2023 to create a level playing field.
Which is why you have laws and a referee like INEC
You can understand why this is coming from a candidate who could only raise a grand total of ₦157.9 million for his 2019 campaign. But Nigeria does need to get serious with enforcing laws to make sure everyone is playing by the books. Why have laws if you won’t enforce them? Is this a third-world country?