2023: Politicians Predict Replay Of 1979 Presidential Poll

2023: Politicians Predict Replay Of 1979 Presidential Poll

Political pundits are increasingly seeing similarities between the upcoming presidential election and the election that took place in 1979 and won by Shehu Shagari of the National Party of Nigeria, but widely disagree on what the outcome of the 2023 poll will be.

In 1979, political parties were largely formed along regional lines, effectively directing voters to lean towards candidates representing their regions and tribes.

In the election, Shagari contested against Obafemi Awolowo of the Unity Party of Nigeria, Nnamdi Azikiwe of the National People’s Party and Waziri Ibrahim of the Great Nigeria’s People’s Party.

With the three top contenders in the 2023 presidential election representing Nigeria’s majority tribes, party officials are expressing dismay that voters will decide who to support along regional lines.

Some political strategists with different views however see voting along sectional lines as an opening that gives each of the main contestants a real chance to win the election.

A stalwart of the People’s Democratic Party in Sokoto, Kabiru Aliyu Gobirawa, foresees a tendency of Nigerians voting along those lines in the forthcoming presidential election.

Denouncing such a tendency as unhealthy for the nation democracy, he blamed the political system and desperation on the part of political actors to grab power by hook or crook.

Gobirawa likened the current political scenario to what played out in the 1979 presidential election.

According to the septuagenarian, “like it happened in 1979, the three leading presidential candidates were Alhaji Shehu Shagari, Chief Obafemi Awolowo and Nnamdi Azikiwe, all of blessed memory.

“The trio hailed from different regions and the voting patterns then, spoke volume. I am afraid, the same scenario might play out, as we go to the polls next month, bearing in mind, the three leading presidential candidates namely, Abubakar Atiku, Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Peter Obi, command huge followership in their respective regions.

“What you consider as voices of dissent in parts of the north central region will have less significant impact in the voting patterns of the entire north.

“This will be obvious because Nigerians are yet to shed the toga of regional and ethnicity in most of our national discourse,” Gobirawa remarked.

The prospects of Atiku Abubakar and Rabiu Kwankwaso cancelling out each other’s votes and giving an opening to other candidates, especially when the relevance of Kano on the electoral map is considered, could prove decisive.

A political analyst  and Convener, Youth Movement for Good Governance, Aminu Haruna Maipampo, assesses who will take the day between the candidates from the north; Atiku of PDP and Kwankwaso of NNPP.

He said, “it is crystal clear that Atiku of PDP has an edge over Kwankwaso as Atiku is likely to get the required 25% in all the 19 Northern States while Kwankwaso will get 25% in probably just the 7 states of the NW and maybe Borno State in the NE. Kwankwaso will not get the required 25% in any of the NC states.

“In conclusion, Atiku Abubakar of the PDP will will defeat Rabiu Kwankwaso of the NNPP with a very wide margin in the North.”

According to Yerima Shettima, a political analyst from Kaduna State, if the voting follows the regional pattern there will be a winner but the margin of winning may not be too much, adding that such will augur well for the country because if the Yorubas decide to vote Tinubu of the APC and the Igbos decide to vote for Peter Obi and the Hausas vote for Atiku Abubakar of the PDP and Rabi’u Musa Kwankwaso of the NNPP, then the North Central will greatly play a deciding factor to who will win the election.

Alhaji Shettima who is also the President of the Arewa Youth Consultative Forum (AYCF)  however called on Nigerians not to vote on the basis of their region or tribes/ethnicity but on the basis of credibility and capability of the presidential candidates.

And though there are permutations that Tinubu, the APC candidate will have an easy ride to victory in the 2023 general elections, many political observers are eager to know what the voting pattern of the election will look like.

Aside Tinubu’s high political clout, the pundits have hinged their predictions on the ominous signs that five aggrieved governors of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party PDP may have withdrawn their support from the party.

Appraising the chances of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu in the forthcoming election, Senator Ayo Arise said the chances of the APC candidate in the election is very bright because he would secure massive votes from his domain which is the South West and move ahead to score above the required 25 per cent in many other states in the country to secure victory.

Arise said, ‘’Objectively speaking, I don’t think any of the presidential candidates have a significant edge over Asiwaju Bola Tinubu. When you look at the North West, you will see some governors are for the APC.

“One of them wants to return to office for the second term, that is Zamfara State governor. Sokoto State going to another candidate apart from Tinubu is very dicey. Aminu Tambuwal is leaving office and the influence of Wamako is waxing stronger”

The senator said, “Also added to this, APC has two senators who will be returning. This will add to the party’s chances. It won’t be an easy ride for another party to beat APC in Sokoto.

‘’In Kebbi State, APC has a very strong chance. In Kano State, you saw the APC presidential candidate campaign, though a rally alone is not the yardstick to determine the success of a candidate in an election, but the fact that the incumbent governor of the state, Abdullahi Ganduje has taken the party to the grassroot, there are programmes that he has put in place that made the people to like the party.

‘’The fight for the people’s choice in Kano will be between APC and NNPP, Musa Kwankwaso, I believe APC will have an edge, because Kwankwaso has been out of power for eight years now.

‘’In the South South, we are looking forward to Governor Nyesom Wike supporting Asiwaju Tinubu, which means APC  stands a better chance in Rivers State.

If you look at Cross River, Professor Ben Ayade is there, he will definitely enhance his party’s success.

‘’If you consider Bayelsa State, with the PDP governor being in place, we might not be able to win that state.

‘’Though, the chances of the PDP winning the state for the presidential election is still doubtful, the body language of the former President Goodluck Jonathan will go a long way in determining who wins the state.

‘’In some of the South -South states, even though, if  we did not win, we will get more than 25 percent votes to satisfy the constitutional requirement.’’

Pastor Ralph Egbu, a political analyst and former secretary to Abia State Government, said as a young man appealling to the youths, Obi must have his legs across the six geopolitical regions to win the election.

“Every good presidential candidate must have his eyes fixed on every region to win the mandatory 25 out of the 36 states as well as score the highest number of votes cast”, he said.

According to the one-time commissioner for information and strategy in the state, as long as the entire country is his constituency, every region and state is critical to his victory.

Egbu noted that with his mass-youth appeal, the LP candidate is expected to make a huge impact in the election.

Similarly, the chairperson, ASUU/ABSU, Comrade Victor Nkemdirim argued that with the constitutional requirements for election which include number of states, total votes secured and the spread, every region is important to him.

“We can see this in the manner both northern and southern stakeholders are rooting and supporting his candidature. So, in my opinion, he must win in every region”, added the unionist.

Voting Along Regional Lines Will Produce Incompetent Leaders -Ajaelu

A prominent politician in Rivers State, Hon. Innocent Ajaelu, has said voting along regional line in the forthcoming general election could lead to the election of incompetent leaders

Speaking with LEADERSHIP Sunday in Port Harcourt, Ajaelu, who is former vice chairman of Oyigbo local government area of the state, also described voting along regional line as undemocratic.

Ajaelu said: “Voting along regional line is undemocratic. If that is done, the aim of electing a competent person is defeated. The aim of electing the leader that will bring dividends of democracy to the people is defeated. There is no time you will vote along regional lines and get the best out of it.

“We are all Nigerians; what every Nigerian needs is somebody that will lead and the country will be measured among the best in the comity of democratic nations.

“I don’t think voting along regional line is the real way to go as the country stands today. There is no region in Nigeria that will say them alone will install the President of the country.”

Political Analysts Warn Prospective Voters Against Regional Voting

In Benue State, a political commentator, Lawrence Semaka has warned Nigerians, especially the north central region against voting along regional lines.

Semaka in an interview with our correspondent regretted why Nigerians always practice politics of regionalism, which he described as a risk particularly as it concerns the 2023 presidential election.

According to him, “when you look at the presidential candidates, I am talking about the 3 major contenders, Atiku, Tinubu and Obi who we all know are representing the key ethnic tribes in the country, and now when you look at the demography of election in Nigeria, it is likely that citizens are going to vote along regional lines”

However, the danger in this whole thing is that by the time we decide to vote on regional lines, we are not going to get the best because we have allowed ethnic and religious sentiment to over cloud our sense of judgement instead of looking at the credentials and credibility of candidates and their track records.

The presidential candidates are going to scramble for votes in the north central, but it will all depend on who has the upper hand, but at the end of the day, it will not go down well with us so it is better for us to vote for credible candidate that can deliver instead of regional and sectional interest

 Youths Top Registered Voters

The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has disclosed that the youth constitute the highest number of registered voters who will cast votes in the 2023 general election.

According to the National Commissioner of the Commission in charge of Information and Voter Education Committee, Mr. Festus Okoye out a total of 9,518,756 valid newly registered voters between June 28, 2021 and July 31, 2022, those aged between 18 and 34 years old were 7,286,871 representing 76.56 percent.

Disclosing further that the total of registered voters for the 2023 general election is 93.5 million, Okoye said that of the 84 million registered voters recorded for the 2019 general election the youth population which included male and female was 51 percent.

The INEC Information and Voter Education boss who spoke yesterday in Awka, Anambra state at the Commission’s engagement with identified youth groups on the roles of youth ahead of the 2023 general election made it clear that from the electoral umpires records the youth hold the ace for the determination of the outcome of the 2023 general election.

He, however, urged the youth to ensure that they cast their votes on the election day, emphasising that it is only when they cast their votes that they can determine who emerged as the eventual winner and leader.

He disclosed further that the commission had already taken delivery of the full number of the Bimodal Voter’s Accreditation System, BVAS, for the conduct of the election in the 176,846 polling units across the federation, adding that additional BVAS for contingencies would be deployed to the 8,809 Registration Areas across the country.

He said the the BVAS were designed to function offline, and, that only accredited voters would be allowed to cast votes on the day of the polls.

Mr. Okoye made it clear that only registered voters who present their Permanent Voters Cards, PVCs, at the polling unit would be accredited to vote, and, dismissed the rumour that any registered voter would be eligible to vote even if the person does not present his or her PVC at the polling unit on the election day.

By Our Correspondents

Political pundits are increasingly seeing similarities between the upcoming presidential election and the election that took place in 1979 and won by Shehu Shagari of the National Party of Nigeria, but widely disagree on what the outcome of the 2023 poll will be.

In 1979, political parties were largely formed along regional lines, effectively directing voters to lean towards candidates representing their regions and tribes.

In the election, Shagari contested against Obafemi Awolowo of the Unity Party of Nigeria, Nnamdi Azikiwe of the National People’s Party and Waziri Ibrahim of the Great Nigeria’s People’s Party.

With the three top contenders in the 2023 presidential election representing Nigeria’s majority tribes, party officials are expressing dismay that voters will decide who to support along regional lines.

Some political strategists with different views however see voting along sectional lines as an opening that gives each of the main contestants a real chance to win the election.

A stalwart of the People’s Democratic Party in Sokoto, Kabiru Aliyu Gobirawa, foresees a tendency of Nigerians voting along those lines in the forthcoming presidential election.

Denouncing such a tendency as unhealthy for the nation democracy, he blamed the political system and desperation on the part of political actors to grab power by hook or crook.

Gobirawa likened the current political scenario to what played out in the 1979 presidential election.

According to the septuagenarian, “like it happened in 1979, the three leading presidential candidates were Alhaji Shehu Shagari, Chief Obafemi Awolowo and Nnamdi Azikiwe, all of blessed memory.

“The trio hailed from different regions and the voting patterns then, spoke volume. I am afraid, the same scenario might play out, as we go to the polls next month, bearing in mind, the three leading presidential candidates namely, Abubakar Atiku, Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Peter Obi, command huge followership in their respective regions.

“What you consider as voices of dissent in parts of the north central region will have less significant impact in the voting patterns of the entire north.

“This will be obvious because Nigerians are yet to shed the toga of regional and ethnicity in most of our national discourse,” Gobirawa remarked.

The prospects of Atiku Abubakar and Rabiu Kwankwaso cancelling out each other’s votes and giving an opening to other candidates, especially when the relevance of Kano on the electoral map is considered, could prove decisive.

A political analyst  and Convener, Youth Movement for Good Governance, Aminu Haruna Maipampo, assesses who will take the day between the candidates from the north; Atiku of PDP and Kwankwaso of NNPP.

He said, “it is crystal clear that Atiku of PDP has an edge over Kwankwaso as Atiku is likely to get the required 25% in all the 19 Northern States while Kwankwaso will get 25% in probably just the 7 states of the NW and maybe Borno State in the NE. Kwankwaso will not get the required 25% in any of the NC states.

“In conclusion, Atiku Abubakar of the PDP will will defeat Rabiu Kwankwaso of the NNPP with a very wide margin in the North.”

According to Yerima Shettima, a political analyst from Kaduna State, if the voting follows the regional pattern there will be a winner but the margin of winning may not be too much, adding that such will augur well for the country because if the Yorubas decide to vote Tinubu of the APC and the Igbos decide to vote for Peter Obi and the Hausas vote for Atiku Abubakar of the PDP and Rabi’u Musa Kwankwaso of the NNPP, then the North Central will greatly play a deciding factor to who will win the election.

Alhaji Shettima who is also the President of the Arewa Youth Consultative Forum (AYCF)  however called on Nigerians not to vote on the basis of their region or tribes/ethnicity but on the basis of credibility and capability of the presidential candidates.

And though there are permutations that Tinubu, the APC candidate will have an easy ride to victory in the 2023 general elections, many political observers are eager to know what the voting pattern of the election will look like.

Aside Tinubu’s high political clout, the pundits have hinged their predictions on the ominous signs that five aggrieved governors of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party PDP may have withdrawn their support from the party.

Appraising the chances of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu in the forthcoming election, Senator Ayo Arise said the chances of the APC candidate in the election is very bright because he would secure massive votes from his domain which is the South West and move ahead to score above the required 25 per cent in many other states in the country to secure victory.

Arise said, ‘’Objectively speaking, I don’t think any of the presidential candidates have a significant edge over Asiwaju Bola Tinubu. When you look at the North West, you will see some governors are for the APC.

“One of them wants to return to office for the second term, that is Zamfara State governor. Sokoto State going to another candidate apart from Tinubu is very dicey. Aminu Tambuwal is leaving office and the influence of Wamako is waxing stronger”

The senator said, “Also added to this, APC has two senators who will be returning. This will add to the party’s chances. It won’t be an easy ride for another party to beat APC in Sokoto.

‘’In Kebbi State, APC has a very strong chance. In Kano State, you saw the APC presidential candidate campaign, though a rally alone is not the yardstick to determine the success of a candidate in an election, but the fact that the incumbent governor of the state, Abdullahi Ganduje has taken the party to the grassroot, there are programmes that he has put in place that made the people to like the party.

‘’The fight for the people’s choice in Kano will be between APC and NNPP, Musa Kwankwaso, I believe APC will have an edge, because Kwankwaso has been out of power for eight years now.

‘’In the South South, we are looking forward to Governor Nyesom Wike supporting Asiwaju Tinubu, which means APC  stands a better chance in Rivers State.

If you look at Cross River, Professor Ben Ayade is there, he will definitely enhance his party’s success.

‘’If you consider Bayelsa State, with the PDP governor being in place, we might not be able to win that state.

‘’Though, the chances of the PDP winning the state for the presidential election is still doubtful, the body language of the former President Goodluck Jonathan will go a long way in determining who wins the state.

‘’In some of the South -South states, even though, if  we did not win, we will get more than 25 percent votes to satisfy the constitutional requirement.’’

Pastor Ralph Egbu, a political analyst and former secretary to Abia State Government, said as a young man appealling to the youths, Obi must have his legs across the six geopolitical regions to win the election.

“Every good presidential candidate must have his eyes fixed on every region to win the mandatory 25 out of the 36 states as well as score the highest number of votes cast”, he said.

According to the one-time commissioner for information and strategy in the state, as long as the entire country is his constituency, every region and state is critical to his victory.

Egbu noted that with his mass-youth appeal, the LP candidate is expected to make a huge impact in the election.

Similarly, the chairperson, ASUU/ABSU, Comrade Victor Nkemdirim argued that with the constitutional requirements for election which include number of states, total votes secured and the spread, every region is important to him.

“We can see this in the manner both northern and southern stakeholders are rooting and supporting his candidature. So, in my opinion, he must win in every region”, added the unionist.

Voting Along Regional Lines Will Produce Incompetent Leaders -Ajaelu

A prominent politician in Rivers State, Hon. Innocent Ajaelu, has said voting along regional line in the forthcoming general election could lead to the election of incompetent leaders

Speaking with LEADERSHIP Sunday in Port Harcourt, Ajaelu, who is former vice chairman of Oyigbo local government area of the state, also described voting along regional line as undemocratic.

Ajaelu said: “Voting along regional line is undemocratic. If that is done, the aim of electing a competent person is defeated. The aim of electing the leader that will bring dividends of democracy to the people is defeated. There is no time you will vote along regional lines and get the best out of it.

“We are all Nigerians; what every Nigerian needs is somebody that will lead and the country will be measured among the best in the comity of democratic nations.

“I don’t think voting along regional line is the real way to go as the country stands today. There is no region in Nigeria that will say them alone will install the President of the country.”

Political Analysts Warn Prospective Voters Against Regional Voting

In Benue State, a political commentator, Lawrence Semaka has warned Nigerians, especially the north central region against voting along regional lines.

Semaka in an interview with our correspondent regretted why Nigerians always practice politics of regionalism, which he described as a risk particularly as it concerns the 2023 presidential election.

According to him, “when you look at the presidential candidates, I am talking about the 3 major contenders, Atiku, Tinubu and Obi who we all know are representing the key ethnic tribes in the country, and now when you look at the demography of election in Nigeria, it is likely that citizens are going to vote along regional lines”

However, the danger in this whole thing is that by the time we decide to vote on regional lines, we are not going to get the best because we have allowed ethnic and religious sentiment to over cloud our sense of judgement instead of looking at the credentials and credibility of candidates and their track records.

The presidential candidates are going to scramble for votes in the north central, but it will all depend on who has the upper hand, but at the end of the day, it will not go down well with us so it is better for us to vote for credible candidate that can deliver instead of regional and sectional interest

 Youths Top Registered Voters

The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has disclosed that the youth constitute the highest number of registered voters who will cast votes in the 2023 general election.

According to the National Commissioner of the Commission in charge of Information and Voter Education Committee, Mr. Festus Okoye out a total of 9,518,756 valid newly registered voters between June 28, 2021 and July 31, 2022, those aged between 18 and 34 years old were 7,286,871 representing 76.56 percent.

Disclosing further that the total of registered voters for the 2023 general election is 93.5 million, Okoye said that of the 84 million registered voters recorded for the 2019 general election the youth population which included male and female was 51 percent.

The INEC Information and Voter Education boss who spoke yesterday in Awka, Anambra state at the Commission’s engagement with identified youth groups on the roles of youth ahead of the 2023 general election made it clear that from the electoral umpires records the youth hold the ace for the determination of the outcome of the 2023 general election.

He, however, urged the youth to ensure that they cast their votes on the election day, emphasising that it is only when they cast their votes that they can determine who emerged as the eventual winner and leader.

He disclosed further that the commission had already taken delivery of the full number of the Bimodal Voter’s Accreditation System, BVAS, for the conduct of the election in the 176,846 polling units across the federation, adding that additional BVAS for contingencies would be deployed to the 8,809 Registration Areas across the country.

He said the the BVAS were designed to function offline, and, that only accredited voters would be allowed to cast votes on the day of the polls.

Mr. Okoye made it clear that only registered voters who present their Permanent Voters Cards, PVCs, at the polling unit would be accredited to vote, and, dismissed the rumour that any registered voter would be eligible to vote even if the person does not present his or her PVC at the polling unit on the election day.

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