A delegation of United States-based National Democratic Institute and International Republican Institute says the participation of the presidential candidate of the New Nigerian Peoples Party, Senator Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso and the Labour Party’s flagbearer, Peter Obi, in the 2023 contest may force next year’s presidential election into a re-run.
Kwankwaso’s NNPP has been recording massive growth, particularly in its Kano and North-West strongholds, many young Nigerians have been showing preference for Obi, particularly on social media and have been boasting about getting him elected as Nigeria’s president in 2023.
The two US institutes, the IRI and NDI, in their assessments of the chances of both Kwankaso and Obi in the 2023 presidential contest, said next year’s elections would witness a departure from some of the political dynamics that determined previous elections in Nigeria.
The two institutes stated this when they presented their first joint pre-elections assessment statement and report on last weekend’s Osun State governorship election.
Secretary of State for State of Ohio, USA, Mr. Frank LaRose, led the NDI/IRI delegation, which visited Nigeria from July 13 to 22.
According to the US institutes’ report, “If a third party draws sufficient support, a runoff presidential election could be a real possibility for the first time since the transition to democracy, adding complexity to the 2023 elections.”
The US institutes also stated that the 2023 elections present a significant opportunity to consolidate Nigeria’s democracy, especially since the 2022 Electoral Act enjoys a wide stakeholder support and has elevated public confidence in the commitment of the Independent National Electoral Commission to deliver credible elections.
The institutes’ report added, “The 2023 elections are a departure from some of the political dynamics that defined previous polls. For the first time since 2007, the presidential election will be an open contest with no incumbent. The ruling All Progressives Congress selected former Lagos governor, Bola Tinubu, as its flagbearer. Former Vice President and 2019 presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, will contest on the ticket of the Peoples Democratic Party.
“However, the emergence of Peter Obi -former Anambra State governor and presidential candidate for the Labour Party and Rabiu Kwankwaso- former Kano governor and presidential candidate for the New Nigeria People’s Party, as viable ‘Third Forces’ has excited many young Nigerians.
“If a third party draws sufficient support, a runoff presidential election could be a real possibility for the first time since the transition to democracy, adding complexity to the 2023 elections.”