By Kushi Libi Isaac


24 hours in politics is like 24 months in other aspects of life because within 24 hours the political establishment can swing pendulums and a different outcome can occur due to dynamic circumstances.

The 2023 general elections in Nigeria is a make or mar situation for the country considering the ever increasing polarization, ethno-religious sentiments and fear of political dominance and rise of the political novices makes it a delicate and intriguing contest.

The ruling APC has former Lagos state Governor as its candidate and have chosen Kashim Shettima as his running mate which means the ruling APC has a Muslim-Muslim ticket contrary to an unwritten law of mixed Faith ticket which is generating a lot of criticism but the APC said their choice of Shettima is clearly political and has no agenda to uplift one strain of the religion over the other, it's purely to garner votes and win because what matters most in politics is Victory.

The main opposition PDP has former Vice President Atiku Abubakar as its candidate and Delta state Governor Ifeanyi Okowo as his running mate and the main opposition party is banking on the abysmal performance of the APC to win the elections next year February 25th despite cry from Southeast geopolitical zone that have supported the party since 1999 with over 90% support in terms of votes.

Then comes a 3rd force whom if care is not Taken by the 2 main parties would emerge victorious in the elections next year because of so many factors that would play out in the coming 6 months before the presidential elections.

The APC have nothing to campaign for except use of identity which tribe and religion. Tinubu is using ethnicity in the South and religion in the north in order to emerge victorious while Alhaji Atiku Abubakar is likely going to use issue base campaign because using ethnicity and religion will be suicidal for him considering the fact that the incumbent is Fulani like him and Muslim like him, so he has to present himself as a centrist with a touch of left-wing liberalism and inclusiveness for all because that's his only standing straw.

Mr Peter Obi on the other hand has sympathy of the christian voters because they'll feel disconnected and annihilated from the political establishment should a Muslim hand over to another Muslim and a Fulani man handing over to another Fulani man in a country of almost 50-50 on religious ground, with about 480 tribes. So in the coming months no one should be surprised if christian dominated states or local government areas are fully supporting Obi which in turn makes him a big challenger despite being the flag bearer in a small Labour Party with no political bigwigs and spread like the APC.

But what are their constraints and hinderrances? 

There are many factors that would play out against Atiku Abubakar.

After 8 years of Fulani presidency, for a Fulani man to handover NIGERIA to another Fulani man is a slap on our collective intelligence as members of 480 tribes in Nigeria.

That a Muslim to rule NIGERIA for 8 years and handover to another Muslim man in a country that's 50-50 in Religious demography is a slap to over 100 million Christians in Nigeria.

Christians who wants to go for Atiku have accepted that Nigerian Christians are only good to be a second class fiddles and only VP suits them.

The Political arithmetic is simple, Atiku will clear NorthEast and Northwest with over 80% of the votes and won't win states of Benue, Plateau. Taraba and nasarawa will be 50-50 and kogi Niger and kwara Is most likely to be for him.

South South and Southeast that used to be a home for PDP is a loss for PDP because they feel shortchanged in the scheme of things.

Tinubu can't go to South South and Southeast to preach southern unity because he truncated that in 2015 when he went against GEJ and installed Buhari. Tinubu is only hallucinating to think the Muslim North will vote for him because the Southwest supported Buhari. The Muslim North sees presidency as its birthright and won't settle for a VP in APC when they have a chance of producing the president under a big platform like PDP.

The election is likely going to be a stalemate and we'll end up with a rerun between Atiku Abubakar and Peter Obi.

Before you are declared winner, you must score 25% in 2/3 of the 36 states including the FCT (24 States+FCT) and score the highest number of votes.

So who amongst this 3 candidates will meet this constitutional requirement in the present political cycle? I doubt, I foresee a rerun. 

Tinubu can become victorious considering the fact that he opted for a Muslim-Muslim ticket, a conservative Muslim considers Islam to be the most common denominator above any other identity and the Yoruba people consider their tribal lineage bigger than any superficial affiliation.

Should the power of incumbency favor him, African democracy is not so advanced, they'll use state apparatus like public funds, possibly the electoral umpire and worst off security and they have the judiciary in their pockets should they rig him in.

Atiku too can become the president should the electioneering campaign remains issue base because the opposition PDP has national spread and can win considering high cost of living, inflation, decayed infrastructures, impunity, corruption, Low purchasing power parity amongst the citizen, insecurity amongst other glaring factors brought by the incompetent APC led government headed by President Muhammadu Buhari.

But let's not forget, the north is not monolithic and capable of producing the president all by itself. It's a lie, history from 1960 till date states otherwise, so let's not overate any voting block because, the  Muslim North lost 2003 elections and by over 12 million votes against a formidable alliance between south and middle belt.

In 2011 they lost to Jonathan with over 10 million votes because the elections were clearly Religious that year.

But 2015 wasn't Religious, Benue and many middle belt regions voted Buhari.

In 2011 Buhari had 12 million votes and 95% came from the North and he lost by 10 million popular votes.

In 2015 he rose to 15 million votes adding just 3 more million votes and Jonathan lost by 2.8 million votes by security over 12 million votes.

So Jonathan dropped drastically from 22 million votes in 2011 to 12 million votes in 2015..

So Muslim North votes alone couldn't make Buhari President on 3 occasions despite his popularity in the north he had to build bridges and formed alliance.

In 1999, the both candidates where Southern Christians from Southwest and the Muslim North didn't vote much that year because they felt it's them-them elections..

So in 2019, there was voter apathy in the south because Southerners felt it's a Muslim-Muslim contest, so they absconded.

But 2023 is a different ball game.

Anytime the elections in Nigeria is inter Religious, the atmosphere is always tensed, but once it's intra Religious, it's calm.

It happened in 1979 and 1983. so tensed because it was inter-religuos. 

1993 there was no tension because it was intra Religious. Major political parties fielded in Muslims.

In 1999 it was Olu Falae and OBASANJO, in 2007 it was Yar'adua, Atiku and Buhari, So no tension.

But 2011 and 2015 it was Jonathan against Buhari, There was tension. But 2019 no tension because it was Buhari against Atiku.

But 2023 It would be so tensed.

Let's understand the Dynamics and attach little emotions to this but let's be more logical in our submissions.

Let's understand some key underlying factors that led to why we are here.

The votes Atiku got from South is a protest vote against Buhari and by 2023 after 8 years of Northern Presidency, many who were Atikulates have become OBI-dients and would definitely want power shift to the South.

Should that happens, Southwest will feel betrayed by the Muslim North and during the rerun they may stage a protest vote against the North and support Obi which will make him the winner. Another factor that May help Peter Obi is should the christian voters vote along religious line and Muslims spilt their votes he'll likely emerge victorious..

In conclusion, Obi whom I'm going to vote for next year can only become the president if he forces a rerun between him and Atiku after kicking Tinubu out in the first round. That will hurt the alliance between the north and southwest and they'll overwhelmingly vote for Obi to spike the north because they'll feel betrayed.

Kushi Libi Isaac

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