2023 ELECTIONS: Nigerians elect new leader
The 2023 elections get underway today, and registered voters in Nigeria go to the polls to choose the next President of the country. In the bid to elect a new leader democratically according to the law, Nigerians step out in their millions to cast their votes all over the nation.
Interestingly, Nigeria holds its historic seventh democratic transition polls today. Princess Chichi Ojei, the Presidential candidate of the Allied People’s Movement, APM, is the only woman, as 17 other men lock horns in the battle to succeed Muhammadu Buhari, who will complete his second term on May 29, 2023. Nigeria is such a land of diversity, which is prevalent in this election.
MEET THE MAIN CONTENDERS
Contesting in this 2023 elections, we have Peter Obi, an Igbo, former Governor of Anambra State, who is the flag bearer of resurgent Labour Party, LP.
Next, Bola Tinubu, a Yoruba candidate of the ruling All Progressive Congress, APC. He is a former Governor of Lagos State.
Atiku Abubakar, another political force in the election is a Fulani just like the outgoing President Buhari. He is representing the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
This is reminiscent of the geo-political election that was keenly contested in 1979. Dr Nnamdi Azikwe, Chief Obafemi Awolowo and Alhaji Shehu Shagari were all engaged.
However, political analysts have said it will be wrong to ignore Rabiu Kwankwaso of the New Nigeria Peoples Party, NNPP. They think he is a force and arguably makes it a four-horse race. This election is too close to call as there are no indications of any candidate being a strong favourite.
Away from the Presidential elections, there will also be battle for the nations’s 109 seneratorial districts and 360 House of Representatives seats. The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has cleared 1101 and 3122 House of Representative candidates for the election.
2023 Elections: We are ready for elections – INEC
The head of publicity, Mrs Agnes Akpe told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, is ready for the elections. She said the distribution of materials began on Feb. 23 and ended on Friday morning (Feb. 24). Mrs Agnes Akpe also advised Nigerians to come out and vote. “Your prayer points will not count, it is your vote that will,” she said.
She also debunked the notion that people without voters cards could vote with just the digits of their cards. “People must be present with their PVCs before voting, without your PVC, there is no voting” she concluded.
Election will take place in 176,606 polling units all over the country. INEC Chairman Professor Mahmoud ordered for the closure of all means of transportation from 6am-6pm today except for those on essential duties. He pleaded with security agencies to enforce closure of all modes of transportation between the time frame.
More on 2023 elections: Voting guide to Nigerians: How BVAS work
The Bimodal Voter Accreditation System, BVAS, is expected to help reduce the cases of manual manipulation of figures. However, the human element remains a major concern. The problem of over voting has been with us for a long time and its occurs when the total number of votes cast exceed the total number of accredited votes. The BVAS machines as manufactured and configured, cannot be tampered with. This machine captures and verifies the bearer of the Permanent Voters Card, PVC, and registers instantly. There could be deliberate sabotages of making entries different from what is on the BVAS machine. Therefore, it is of great importance that the INEC maximizes the potential for transparency.
The Nigerian Police Force has sounded out warnings to potential hoodlums planning to ruin the voting process. The Public Relations Officer, PRO, of Lagos Ben Hundeyin tweeted that the Police Force are ready for combat. “We are ready to tackle anybody that tries to constitute nuisance in polling units, voting disrupters should be wary, it won’t end well for them” the tweet read.
15 people have been arrested in Katsina State over suspicion of trying to tamper with election results. SP Gamboling Isah, confirmed these arrests. “We arrested 15 suspects with unspecified numbers of laptops belonging to a political party. We have commenced investigation and we will make sure we get to the root of this matter” He said. Meanwhile, Katsina State was generally calm this morning. There is also restrictions on all forms of vehicular movement across the state.
Voters are also encouraged to call these numbers incase they observe any misconduct at their polling units. 08057000001, 07034072677, 08006472472.
Still on the 2023 elections in Nigeria. The United States President, Joe Biden, told Nigerians to be patient and peaceful while the election officials count their votes on election day. Via a statement to Nigeria, Biden lauded political parties and their principals for signing the peace accord ahead of Saturday’s elections. “Elections are a fundamental part of a functioning democracy and Nigerians deserve this chance to choose their future freely and fairly”. He added that the US doesn’t support any candidate and only want a peaceful and transparent process. A process that reflects the will of the Nigerian People. Meanwhile, the United States, on Thursday, donated $25m to support Nigeria in conducting a credible election.
TURKEY AND SYRIA EARTHQUAKES
According to the latest figures from both countries, the death toll has now passed 50,000. Nearly 530,000 people have been evacuated from the disaster area in Turkey alone. Some 20m people in Turkey have been affected by the earthquake while 8.8m have been affected in Syria. Turkish President Recep Erdogan has promised to rebuild homes in a year, although he has been advised to put safety first before speed.
Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) side El-Kanemi warriors has said it will announce a new manager after the election. The Maiduguri club sacked head coach, Abubakar Hassan, and his assistants on Thursday due to a poor run of form.
The English Premier League returns today as table topping Arsenal play Leicester city away from home. The London side have a chance to open a 5 point lead at the top of the table. Other fixture from the league this weekend includes:
Bournemouth vs Man City
West Ham vs Nott’Forest
Crystal Palace vs Liverpool
Away from the EPL, the first English domestic cup final of the season comes alive on Sunday. Newcastle and Man United lock horns at Wembley to earn a trophy and bragging rights. It promises to be a blockbuster as both sides haven’t tasted silverware in years.
Thanks for reading.