Estimated reading time: 16 minute(s)
Wale Olaogun & Habeeb Adisa
Like all other democratic countries, Nigeria holds periodic elections which are the key sacrifices, methods and techniques that either strengthen or weaken a democracy.
The present political scene in Nigeria has experienced various forms of politicking, alliances, conflicts, and the emergence as well as fall of political actors and parties throughout its history. Although not simplistic, the adage “politics is a game, and not just a game, but a nasty game” has long held sway in Nigerian politics.
Since the recent incorporation and application of technology to our electioneering process, our democratic journey from 1999 till date does not require much thought to devolve. However, practically every political endeavor has been impacted and influenced by social media which has boosted both the rate of information dissemination while also raising the danger of disinformation.
The 2023 Presidential elections have revealed certain things which include the power of the people. It’s been well established that the electorates have voting strength and that social media now have a way of also influencing elections: a case study of Mr. Peter Gregory Obi’s influence in the country following a brief 9-month transition from the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) to the Labour Party (LP).
After the PDP’s presidential primaries in May 2022, the five governors united to demand that Iyorchia Ayu, the party’s national chairman, stand down in favor of a southern replacement as a condition for supporting Atiku Abubakar, the party’s presidential flag bearer. In the just concluded elections, Atiku and Ayu both called the governors bluff and refused to give in to their demands.
For this reason, Atiku did not fare well in any of the G5 states, whereas Peter Obi of the Labour Party won both Enugu and Abia, while Bola Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress (APC) triumphed in Oyo, Benue, and Rivers accordingly.
Of the G5, Ortom, Ikpeazu, Ugwuanyi, and Wike are two-term governors while Makinde is a one-term governor who is running for a re-election on March 18, 2023, with the goal of serving further for another four years. It’s however interesting to note that Ortom, Ikpeazu, and Ugwuanyi attempted to join the Senate, which has been referred to as a “retirement home” for former governors, but the group was unsuccessful as they also lost alongside their President on February 25 elections.
On March 18, Makinde will be the center of attention after three of his fellow soldiers were defeated. Would he be able to overcome his obstacles and end the G5 defeats’ losing streak? Oyo State has 14 Federal Constituencies and three Senatorial Districts.
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the current opposition party, won four House of Representatives seats with two of the elections being ruled inconclusive, while the All Progressives Congress (APC) won all the three senatorial districts and eight seats in the House with Dr. Yunus Akintunde, Sen. Sharafadeen Alli, and Abdulfatai Buhari of tue APC all announced as winners of their respective senatorial districts.
To conversant Oyo indigenes, Seyi Makinde is neither a smart nor a loyal politician to have traded the loyalty of his party. Makinde has partially paid the price of his action, like the fellow G5, by losing the senatorial districts all to his solid opponents. But will the same outcome persist on Saturday at the polls? However, there’s a probability of reoccurrence, and that seems the major reason why the PDP has been seeking alliance with other parties like the LP in Oyo state.
It was announced sometimes last week that the Labor Party in Oyo State has supported the gubernatorial ambition of Governor Seyi Makinde, and thereby withdrawing their governorship aspirant from the race. According to a verifiable source, Makinde himself discussed with the leadership of the Labor Party through “lobbying” and “compromise.”
For Sanwo-Olu, many Lagosians are not surprised by the choice of the incumbent governor to run for re-election because it’s been a ritual in the Nigerian political scene for incumbent officials to contest for re-election inasmuch as it’s acceptable in the constitution. However, a considerably younger Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour (GRV), whose popularity soared following the most recent outstanding performance of the Labour Party poses a challenge to the incumbent governor.
Peter Obi, the LP Presidential flag bearer, unexpectedly defeated Bola Ahmed Tinubu in Lagos on February 25 and this became an unprecedented miracle to many Nigerians. How the “self-acclaimed” landlord of Lagos lost his own home to a tenant is still mysterious. But having been alarmed by LP’s victory in Lagos, the Lagos APC has increased meetings and consultations throughout the state.
Governor Sanwo-Olu who will compete for the governorship with 14 other candidates seems to have his pool of misery spouting as he has not been stalwart lately. The overconfident governor who was willfully flouting debate invites before the Presidential elections is now a “common” cookie who suddenly becomes a subject of ridicule due to his recent suspicious and unwarranted availability.
The governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has timidly announced that he is convinced he’d be the electorates’ choice to continue championing the state’s affairs for the successive four years. One of the dying minutes pushes was the government’s reported order for civil personnel to publish pro-Sanwo-Olu campaign messaging.
Even though the Lagos’ results shamed the “Jagaban” who insulted Obi for not residing in Anambra, where he was a two-time governor, at a rally in Abia State. Notwithstanding the LP phenomenon, the party is optimistic about holding onto power because of the broad grassroots support it enjoys.
Like Makinde, whether Sanwo-Olu will retain his mandate or not remains a question that will be answered on few days, or will he also be “tsunamised” by the Obi’s movement?
Estimated reading time: 1 minute(s)
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