The 2023 presidential election may go into rerun with the emergence of Labour Party presidential candidate, Peter Obi, and candidate of the New Nigeria People’s Party, Rabiu Kwankwaso, a delegation of the United States-based National Democratic Institute and International Republican Institute said on Friday.
According to them, the 2023 elections would be a departure from some of the political dynamics that defined previous polls in Nigeria.
The delegation of the NDI/IRI, which visited Nigeria from July 13-22 and was led by Secretary of State for Ohio, Frank LaRose, stated these while presenting its first joint pre-election assessment statement to journalists in Abuja.
The institutes, which described Obi and Kwankwaso as a viable “third forces”, said their emergence as presidential candidates for the 2023 elections has excited many young Nigerians.
They said that “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.”
While maintaining that the 2023 elections present a significant opportunity to consolidate Nigeria’s democracy, the organizations observed that the 2022 Electoral Act enjoys wide stakeholder support and has elevated public confidence in the commitment of the Independent National Electoral Commission to deliver democratic elections in 2023.
The statement read in part, “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 a former Lagos governor, Bola Tinubu, as its flagbearer. Atiku Abubakar, former Vice President and 2019 presidential candidate, will contest on the ticket of the People's 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.”