Nigeria has successfully conducted presidential election for the seventh time since it became a democratic state. Although 2023 presidential election is not free from political brouhaha, yet there are principal developments we should not gloss over as we celebrate our wins or accept our defeats.
In other to establish what is new, it is good for us to take a backward leap into history and examine the blemishes that becloud the democratic system in Nigeria. Such issues include but are not limited to exclusion of some major tribe in the presidential race, non-participation of elites and youths in voting processes, violence, vote buying, manipulation of results. All these election trends are the precept of the nationwide slogan of “our votes do not count.”
Although 2023 election was not devoid of shortcomings, yet there are new developments that every patriotic Nigerian should celebrate irrespective of the candidate you support. The first I will like to mention is that, for the first time we have a truly all-inclusive presidential race. The top three candidates are from the three major tribe in Nigeria. Each candidate being the leading vote-getter in 12 states.
The erroneous belief that the masses votes do not count is the main reason why there are low turnout of citizen that want to exercise their civic duties in previous elections. Over the year, election are seen as preoccupation of illiterates, market women, and the aged. However, the 2023 election is all encompassing election, every strata of the masses came out massively to vote. The 2023 election awakens the patriotic spirit in the masses. The focus should not be on the frustration of the poor masses but on the fact that they believe exercising their civic duties can orchestrate the change we need as a nation. This consciousness is needed for the change will all yearn for.
Another germane question 2023 presidential election has provided answer for is whether Nigeria is a tribalistic country. The result from 2023 presidential poll has proven otherwise. For instance, an Igbo man won election in the commercial capital of the whole Yoruba race, a Hausa man won the presidential race in Osun, this trend is not limited to the Yoruba race alone, Tinubu won some states in the South South and the Northern part of the country. one might rightly say that 2023 election detribalize Nigeria.
Lastly, the election result shows Nigeria is slowly moving toward a truly democratic state where power belongs to the people, not a politically strong or rich individuals. Despite the complains of manipulation of result and technical fault yet the close margin between the three springs hopes that someday Nigeria will be ruled by the masses through the representative elected by them. The election was not only tightly competitive, it also reflects our diversity in view with Tinubu garnering about 36.6% or 8.79 million of valid votes counted, while Atiku trailed behind with 29.1% or 6.98 million of valid votes and Obi received 25.4%, or about 6.1 million votes.
Change is a gradual process, all Nigerian irrespective of who you voted for, should be proud and celebrate this feat. The time is so near when it will be done on our political leaders, that election cannot be won with money, result manipulations, sentiments, and the support of some political warlords. The time is near when power will be toss back to the masses and what will truly count is your competence and not your godfathers. The time is near when the umbrella of your political party will be too weak to protect you from the harsh rejection of the masses. So many political warlords lost the election at their polling unit, even an acclaimed landlord of a state was dislodged, all these trends have proven people are not only conscious of their will, they are reclaiming the democratic power that has always belong to them. Long live Nigeria.