The long awaited day has come for Nigerians to go to the polls to elect a new president who will pilot the affairs of the nation for the next four years.
The presidential election which will hold today, Saturday, February 25, 2023, will remain, perhaps, the most significant election in the history of the country as voters decide who, among the 18 presidential candidates, will succeed the incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari.
Nigerians across the 774 local government areas in the 36 states of the country, plus the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), will file out to elect a new president today.
This election will, for many Nigerians, either put an end to Buhari’s eight years of rudderless leadership, unemployment, poverty, economic woes, insecurity, banditry, criminality, fear and terrorism, or become a continuum of the same old pot.
Though the electioneering campaigns have largely been narrowed down to four main contestants in the persons of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), former vice president Alhaji Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Peter Obi of the Labour Party (LP) and to some extent, Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso of the New Nigerian Peoples Party (NNPP), there a plethora of other candidates to choose from.
Other presidential candidates, as released by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), to battle for the pie include Imumolen Christopher of Accord Party (AP), Al-Mustapha Hamza, Action Alliance (AA), Sowore Omoyele, African Action Congress (AAC), Kachikwu Dumebi, African Democratic Congress (ADC), and Sani Yabagi Yusuf of the Action Democratic Party (ADP).
Others are Umeadi Peter Nnanna, of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Princess Ojei Chichi, Allied People’s Movement (APM), Nnamdi Charles Osita, Action Peoples Party (APP), Adenuga Sunday Oluwafemi, Boot Party (BP), Osakwe Felix Johnson, National Rescue Movement (NRM).
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Others contestants are Abiola Latifu Kolawole of the Peoples Redemption Party (PRP), Adebayo Adewole Ebenezer, Social Democratic Party (SDP), Ado-Ibrahim Abdumalik, Young Progressives Party (YPP) as well as Nwanyanwu Daniel Daberechukwu of the Zenith Labour Party (ZLP).
The stakes are quite higher than any previous election in Nigeria’s recent democratic history with a record number of registered voters put at 93.5 million. The awareness has been massive as a dominant demography has shown that among the registered voters, a whopping 48 million of them are youths.
The intensity of the campaigns have also not been lost as the dominant candidates have been up and doing, trying to see who will play a better game of putting down the other all in a bid to woo the electorates.
President Buhari had, in many of his address to the nation, insisted on creating a level playing field for this election and one of his leveller was the much criticised Naira redesigned policy which, according to him, was to take away the vexatious burden of vote buying by politicians.
“This is a positive departure from the past and represents a bold legacy step by this administration, towards laying a strong foundation for free and fair elections,” Buhari had said in one of his broadcasts.
He had also sounded it clear that Nigerians should feel free to vote for any candidate of their choice.
Indeed, the 2023 general elections will be different from previous ones, as many have expressed desire to be part of it, and it is believed that the voter apathy and indifference that characterized previous elections in the country would be far more reduced. Today’s elections will no doubt mark a turning turning point in Nigeria’s existence as a nation.