Dear Destiny Friends,
It is that time of the year again. The whole world has set its compass on Nigeria because of its presidential elections. The Nigerian election is important to the global world because it is the most populous black nation in the world with a population of about 250 million. But it is sad to note that despite the country being blessed with huge human and natural resources, she’s yet to take her position in the comity of Nations.
Nigeria is regarded as the giant of Africa for many reasons chiefly among them are her population and economy. She is considered the biggest economy in Africa with a Gross Domestic Product of $452 billion. With the level of human and natural resources at its disposal, one will begin to wonder why the citizens are suffering? Well, the answer is not far-fetched, there’s poor leadership, and this is why today’s Presidential election is very crucial to every Nigerian.
With joy and fulfilment I write this article knowing that the time has finally come for Nigerians to wake from their sleep to take what rightly belongs to them. Yes, Nigerian youths have finally risen from their slumber to possess their possession.
It’s obvious that since Nigeria got her independence in 1960, she’s yet to get it right. The case of Nigeria is like moving one step forward and three steps backward. When we think we have got it right, we hit the rock again. With so many coups which set the country backward and the Nigerian Civil War which claimed about a million lives, Nigeria has never remained the same again. Since then, there seems to be bad blood, distrust, and hatred against the Igbos because of the civil war. The feelers are like the Igbos caused the war, and as such must pay for it.
This singular act made a certain group of leaders in the North to make it difficult for the Igbos to get into a sensitive position not to talk of the Presidency. Since Nigeria returned into Civilian administration in 1999, the Igbos have not had the opportunity of producing the President and Vice President. This, and more are reasons there’s so much agitation in the Southeastern part of the country.
This is why the 2023 Presidential election is taking a new dimension because for the first time in the history of Nigeria, the majority of the youths in the six geo-political zones are in alignment for change of government. The last time we saw such voting participation was in 1993 when Chief M.K.O Abiola energized Nigerians with his Social Democratic Party (SDP) with a message of hope tagged “Hope 93”. He was able to win sympathy despite having a Vice Presidential candidate who is also Muslim. The election was adjudged to be the fairest in Nigeria, but quite unfortunately, the election was annulled by the then military regime headed by Gen. Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida for reasons best known to him.
Since then, Nigerians have been crying for good government. The bad government in Nigeria has caused Nigerian youths incessant strikes in universities, lack of jobs upon graduation, poor health facilities, little or no infrastructure and most importantly insecurity in the country. This bad government has dominated Nigeria for a while and made the citizens lose trust in her leaders. This lack of trust divided the citizens along religious and ethnic lines. The leaders on their part weaponized poverty and toyed with the ignorance of gullible Nigerians, using religion and tribalism to separate the citizens.
The closest to change in Nigeria came in 2020 during the #EndSARS protests when the youths revolted against bad government. The government was smart and technical enough to know that they are losing money and if the protests and riots are not being controlled, it will cause more harm to the government, they therefore, organized security agents and thugs to cause mayhem on the peaceful protesters and attributed it to the youths. The security agents fired bullets at the innocent protesters. However, the youths sent a clear message; ‘we shall meet at the ballot soon’ and that’s the message the country is about to witness.
You may be wondering what led to this change. Well, the answer is not far fetched, Nigerian youths and progressive thinkers have seen the man who will lay the foundation which will usher the country into the promised land. The man is no other than the former Governor of Anambra State, H.E Peter Gregory Obi. It’s important to note that Peter Obi was Governor of Anambra from November 2006 to May 2007 and from May 2007 to March 2014. He later joined the Labour Party in May 2022 when he sensed that he might not be able to get the party’s presidential ticket due the “monetary politics at play”.
He was dismissed as a little fly with no structure to run a presidential campaign that could upstage the two dominant parties; the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the ruling All Progressive Party (APC). These big parties fail to understand that the youths are the floaters who decide the election, and they were gradually behind the candidacy of Peter Obi. Several people made mockery of him and his party, but he never doubted himself. He continued to spread his message of hope to Nigerian youths by telling them this is their election and that they are running for election through him. His message penetrated the minds of the youths who have since been looking for a messiah to liberate and salvage them from their suffering. Peter Obi was smart to speak the language of the youths using his verifiable track records as Governor and the message resonated well with the youths.
It’s interesting to note that, a couple of years back, Peter Obi has been speaking on a Christian socio-political platform which advocates good government, “The Platform”. His message inspired the participants who were mostly youths.
By the time Peter Obi left PDP, his message had already infiltrated the town, and people were beginning to buy into his ideas and vision. Peter Obi based his campaign on character, competence, capacity, trust, and verifiable record. This, according to him, is what youths should look out for in a candidate. He further told them to hold him accountable when he becomes president.
Such audacity seems to be strange to the citizens. They haven’t seen such before and they immediately keyed into his campaign by taking it personal and began organizing rallies, sensitizing people, and supporting with whatever they can. While this was ongoing, the big parties were gradually beginning to see something different. From dismissing Peter Obi’s party as three people tweeting in a room who are only popular on social media, to a fringe party which might get sympathy votes. It’s now crystal clear to them if all goes well, the Labour Party is likely going to win Southeast, South-South and North Central, then Southwest will be a battleground between APC, PDP and Labour Party.
Peter Obi picked Yusuf Datti-Ahmed as his Vice-Presidential candidate and majority of Nigerians loved the combination because they represent a new breath of air for Nigerians. Both are accomplished technocrats, who made their name and money before getting into political office and have remained so after they left politics.
Now, let’s talk about the presidential candidate of the PDP, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar; he has been contesting the Presidential election since 1993 when he stepped down for Chief M.K.O Abiola. In 1999, President Olusegun Obasanjo nominated him to be his Vice. They later had a misunderstanding which later made Obasanjo use scathing remarks against him as a corrupt man. That stigma has been with him ever since, and many youths and progressive minds believe he is old and as such should leave the stage for the energetic candidate like Peter Obi. Former Vice President Atiku picked the Governor of Delta State, H.E Ifeanyi Okowa, who is Christian as his Vice-Presidential candidate, but at the end of the day, the youths are the ones that will decide the election.
For Bola Ahmed Asiwaju, his biggest albatross is his health. Majority of the citizens feel he’s very sick, corrupt, and old and as such he might not be able to deal with the rigorous duties associated with the office of the President. The idea of picking a Muslim as his Vice-Presidential candidate also affected his chances of winning the election. This is because Nigeria is usually divided along religious lines so isolating the Christian didn’t go well with them.
The interesting question on the minds of the citizens is what’s the possibility of Peter Obi winning the election. Before I state my permutation, it is important to note that to win the Presidential election, a party must win 25% in 24 States. Here are my thoughts. If Atiku can pick more 25% in the South, he becomes the President
If Obi can pick at least 25% in 6 States in the North, he becomes the President
If Tinubu can pick 25% in 8 States in the North, he becomes the President
Finally, pay attention to curve balls. The unexpected might win. Twisters and disruptors are the candidates to watch. Peter Obi will do very well in the south. Tinubu might win the south.
From the look of things, APC will struggle in Oyo and Osun and will take Ekiti, Ogun, and Ondo.
PDP will make a strong showing in Osun and may take it. Edo is definitely a Labour Party state.
APC will struggle in Kwara and not make a dent in Delta, Akwa Ibom- for presidential, Cross River, Bayelsa, and Rivers
Wike is a major handicap for APC in Rivers and is more of a liability than an asset.
Labour Party will do very well in Benue, Taraba, and Plateau.
PDP is holding down NorthEast as Governor Shettima is a boy scout beside Atiku.
Kogi is shaky and can go either way. The Gov of Kogi is a liability and loose head.
Labour Party will take the whole of Southeast, and Soludo will be embarrassed. APC is already unraveling in the region with the suspension of Orji Kalu hours to the election. It may struggle to have a good showing in Ebonyi, but it won’t be enough to shake Labour Party in that region
Kano will be split between Kwakanso and Gadunje, further weakening Asiwaju’s chances, and PDP will take Northwest because of Tambuwal.
The power of incumbency is shaky for APC as the money redesign policy, BVAS, and other policies have shown that the incumbent president is going for legacy rather than being a party man.
Overall, I see a tie or a very slim victory for either Obi or Atiku. In the case of a tie, Obi will decide the presidency. The prayer is to avoid the courts as they have lost credibility and may not do justice in the event of their deciding a winner for us. This is the most colourful election ever, and I wish you all well.
In conclusion, will the youths and progressive minds come out to vote and defend their votes? Is Peter Obi going to make history? This will be a very interesting election and a lot is at stake, especially as President Muhammadu Buhari is appearing like a man who wants to redeem his name by giving the country a credible election. How far this will go will be tested at the polls. For now, I’m wishing all the candidates success, especially H.E Peter Obi. Amen.
Henry Ukazu writes from New York. He’s a Human Capacity & mindset coach. He’s also a public speaker, youth advocate and creative writer. He works with the New York City Department of Correction as the Legal Coordinator. He’s the author of the acclaimed book Design Your Destiny – Actualizing Your Birthright To Success