2023 Presidential Election: The APC, PDP, And LP Intriguing Dramas Of Memorable Events
It is another historical juncture under our democratic system of government in Nigeria, as the winner of the keenly contested 2023 Presidential election, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, GCFR, takes over the affairs of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as the democratically elected President from President Muhammadu Buhari after the completion of his constitutional eight years in office.
On February 25, 2023, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu contested the Presidential election under the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC), with other seventeen(17) political parties but was a major contest among three(3) leading political parties; Bola Tinubu under APC, Atiku Abubakar under PDP and Peter Obi under the LP.
The 2023 Presidential election was a replica of what we had in 1979 among Shehu Shagari of the NPN, Obafemi Awolowo of the UPN, and Nnamdi Azikiwe of the NPP and the 1983 election with the same candidates which was seen as an election among the three major tribes in the country, Hausa, Ibo and Yoruba.
Before the conduct of the 2023 Presidential election, lots of intriguing dramas played out in the APC and the PDP, which generated unencumbered arguments and internal crises within the two political parties over the choice of who should become the flag bearers of the parties.
In the PDP, the Southern governors of the party threw their weight with the resolution of the Asaba Declaration, where the governors vehemently agreed that the next President must be zoned to the South, considering that the outgoing President will be completing his tenure as a Northern, which will impede the principal of zoning should another Northern become the President but the show of the former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar to contest under the party raised internal catastrophe, on infringing the zoning formula the party has been adopting since 1999, which made Governor Wike and others from the South threw their hats into the ring for the primary election but at the end, Atiku Abubakar from the North, Adamawa, emerged as the winner of the election.
The emergence of Atiku Abubakar led to a breakaway of some governors in the party, led by Governor Wike which is known as G-5 Governor comprises of Seyi Makinde of Oyo, Wike of River, Samuel Ortom of Benue, Ikpeazu of Abi and Ifeanyi of Enugu. These governors showed their umbrage in the emergence of Atiku and worked against the Presidential candidate of the party.
During the electioneering campaign, the G-5 Governor became the talk of the country as a result of their uniqueness in the fight against the decision of the party to make the ticket to the Northern region, the five(5) Governors were seen almost in their every meeting both within and outside the country with same attire, where their leader and outgoing Governor of Rivers was seen as the “star boy”, which people were suggesting to other candidates as the only one that can change the game in their favor.
Atiku and the national PDP excos who were loyal to the candidature of Atiku withstood untold political campaign blitzes from Wike’s side, especially on the use of Port Harcourt for the campaign, approval, and reversal of venues frustrated the party. The G-5 Governor did not heed to campaign rallies of the party in the Southern region, to show their dissociation with the party.
Governor Wike’s band boys electrified the campaign, with their songs each time Governor Wike is commissioning a project and taking about Atiku along the process, a band with the song ” As eh dey pain them, e dey sweet us…” became the national anthem. Unending press conferences by Governor Wike, in a blitz against Atiku and the national chairman over a series of allegations, also took center stage.
In the ruling party, APC, the show of interest of the outgoing Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo made the game in the party interesting before the primary, as many Nigerians even in the party immediately termed the race as a battle between a political kingmaker (Asiwaju) and a legatee (Osinbajo), different stories and counter stories on how Osinbajo became the sitting Vice President under President Buhari.
The battle got the attention of the Yorubas in politics, with Governors from the region in a series of meetings in order not to divide the region against itself over the choice of who should fly the party’s ticket among the duo.
On their part, the Northern Governors conceded to zone the ticket to the South (with the intention to the South-West) but a drama played out by the Mr. President, when he called the Progressive Governors and solicited them to allow him to adopt a “Reciprocity Method”, in order words to choose the next candidate for the party but this did not go down well with the Progressive Governors, who are loyalists of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and vehemently opposed to the strategy which they saw as a way of trying to make his Vice, Professor Yemi Osinbajo the anointed candidate of the party.
The primary of the APC at Eagles Square in Abuja was a mindblowing event, key Presidential aspirants of the party who sailed the stage to canvass for votes from the delegates but ended up announcing their step down for Asiwaju that Night, including Godswill Akpabio from Akwa-Ibom, who is jostling to become the next Senate President. At the end of the long night event, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu emerged as the winner of the primary with a wide leading vote against the presumed anointed candidate of the President.
In the buildup to the primary, Tinubu depicted some political characters against his political party, before the primary Tinubu visited Ogun state where he met the party’s delegates and ventilated his anger, over some hanky-panky games to make him lose the ticket to Osinbajo during the meeting, the outpouring of Tinubu’s anger got national attention where he said to have attacked Buhari and the word ” Emilokan” emanated from and became a national song.
After securing the ticket of the party, the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele came up with a new naira design policy, that led to the cash crunch in Nigeria and again in Abeokuta during the APC presidential campaign rally, Tinubu openly barraged the policy that it was targeted at him to lose the election to the opposition and he said no matter the excruciating pain Nigerians are going through, that they will still vote for him to become the next President.
On the party of Peter Obi of Labour Party, the emergence of Obi as the presidential candidate of the party changed the political dynamics of social media engagement among Nigerian youths, especially on Twitter as Peter Obi supporters suddenly dominated the social media space with the “Obidents Movement” seeing defending Peter Obi with their full chest, alongside with all sorts of oral attacked without minding of age or sex, so far you are not in bolster of their candidate.
During the pre-election online polls, conducted by multiple organisations the candidate of the LP, Peter Obi was widely projected to be the winner of the election, which the candidates of the APC and PDP faulted the process of the online polls and questioned the authenticity of the demography used.
2023 was also seen at the election that was characterised by religious bigotry, ethnicity profiling, and regional sentiment in the history of elections in Nigeria.
The linked audio conversation between the candidate of the LP and the revered man of God of Winners Chapel, where “Yes daddy, okay daddy and thank you daddy” flirted the social media space also did not go down well with some Nigerians, as they accused the candidate of the party for playing politics of regions war against those who are not the same faith with him. In the linked audio, the candidate was heard where he was saying the election is a regional war and that the man of God should use his influence to campaign in his favour, but the audio linked after the election in which Obi came third.
The 2023 election has come and gone, but the dramas played out during the process will not go in a hurry.
This is the fifth (5th) Presidential election since 1999 that would be challenged in court by the oppositions in what they claimed was rigged in favour of the winner, in connivance with the electoral body (INEC).
The question is, will the court go the usual way of the previous(2003, 2007, 2011, and 2019) decisions that favoured the elected President, or this time, the game will change to the demands of the political parties that challenged the process? Time will surely tell.
Sam Olorunfemi Jr