As the race to Aso Rock gathers momentum and the frontline political gladiators and their supporters are engulfed in battle royale offline and online, what if none of these four horsemen on the frontline smell the aroma of power come 2023? How’s that possible? Before submitting my prediction to the slaughterhouse of critics, here’s a clue to what is about to happen.
First off, we will have four main presidential contenders who can turn the wheel in any direction for the first time since Nigeria’s independence. They have the authority to allocate votes in their own right, shortchanging others in their strong demographics and areas.
This has the consequence that none of the four major front-runners, namely Bola Tinubu, Peter Obi, Atiku Abubakar, and Rabiu Kwankwaso, will be able to fulfill the requirements set down in the Constitution to win the presidency in the first round of voting.
The Nigerian president is chosen via a modified two-round method. A candidate cannot win the first round without receiving a majority of the vote and more than 25% of the vote in at least 24 of the 36 states.
That won’t occur in 2023, and you don’t need a fortune teller to tell you that. Naturally, this will bring us to the second voting round.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) stated that in circumstances where a clear winner could not be determined, the candidate with the most votes, the candidate with the spread, but not necessarily the one with the second-highest number of votes, would fight in the second round.
In the case that a candidate falls short of this criteria, the commission is required to organize a new election, according to section 134 of the constitution. The second election won’t have participation from all 18 recognized political parties that are supporting candidates. For the second, runoff election, there will only be two candidates and two political parties on the ballot. The presidential contender who received the most valid votes across the federation will come in first.
“The second is the candidate among the remaining candidates who has a majority of votes in the highest number of states; in cases where there are multiple candidates with a majority of votes in the highest number of states, the one among them with the highest number of total votes cast.”
The problem comes in the ongoing legal battles that may derail the election in 2023 and the political impasse that may necessitate the installation of an interim government as the political heavyweights continue to bulge and exercise restraint in their effort to “take back” their “stolen mandate.”
We could have a situation where an interim government takes charge to calm the polity with the promise and hope that it will abide by the court order reinstating the eventual winner after a runoff if it then becomes constitutionally and democratically impossible to transfer power within the timeframe in which the current administration may be able to function, taking into account court cases, violent reruns, and claims for the mandate.
However, I am convinced that the man who is perceived as a restoration of the mandate soon transforms into a “Mario,” not ready to cede power, given the taste of power and the game of thrones that may be played with it in such a stressful and uncertain atmosphere as indicated above. Your four horsemen will be surprised. They aren’t ready for what is about to happen.
History is fierce. The De Ja Vu scenario that is currently taking place is very terrifying. The message of Bola Tinubu’s Renewed Hope is similar to MKO Abiola’s unsuccessful Hope 93 campaign.
It’s possible that “O lule” will happen to everyone once more. Some will be expected to behave, while others will be ecstatic and wailing once more for the return of what? Some things remain the same and some lessons are never taught between the years 93 and 2023.
Good for you if the candidate is your idol. You have the right to vote. But don’t think about the wind that might come and carry them all away. Your Messiah won’t be arriving. Relax! We’ll be alright. Nigeria will survive its painful labor pains stronger than before. It’s not happening like you anticipate it will.