As campaigns for the 2023 general elections kicked off on Wednesday, September 28, presidential candidates are set to battle for the largest share of the 84 million votes available in the country.
There are 18 presidential candidates contesting in the country, but the contest has largely been narrowed down to be a straight fight between the former vice president, Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP); former Lagos State Governor, Bola Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and former Anambra State Governor, Peter Obi of the Labour Party (LP).
The country’s registered voters stand at 84,004,084, according to the figures released in August by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
With the official commencement of the campaigns, the 18 contenders will have 147 days to move round the country to promote their manifesto and candidature.
The electoral body has fixed the presidential and national assembly elections for February 25, 2023. The governorship and House of Assembly elections will hold on March 11, 2023, two weeks after the presidential and national assembly elections.
In every electoral cycle, presidential candidates take their campaign to every geo-political zone of the country with the intention of getting as many votes as possible across board. Whether in the North or South, the scramble for votes is fierce as the winning candidate must receive majority of the votes and over 25 per cent of the votes in at least 24 of the 36 states in the country.
In the North, there are three geo-political zones– North West, North Central and North East. With the quantum of total votes from the North, there is always a serious scramble for votes from the zone. In fact, the recently concluded Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) exercise of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) confirmed that North will always be the beautiful bride of politicians in any presidential election.
According to INEC, the North West, comprising seven states-Jigawa, Kaduna, Katsina, Kano, Kebbi, Sokoto and Zamfara have 22,672,373 eligible voters. The South West region,comprising Lagos, Oyo, Ondo, Osun and Ekiti followed closely with a total of 18,332,191 voters. The North-Central came third with 15,680,438 registered voters, a little above the South South, with 15,299,374. The North East has 12,820,363 voters registered,whie the SouthEast has 11,498,277 eligible voters.
The candidates, their supporters and political parties have lined up various activities for the commencement of the public campaign.
The official kick off of campaigns imply that the candidates and their foot soldiers will transverse the entire 36 states and the FCT in the coming weeks trying to outwit one another and sell themselves to the masses.
They will also try to break into each other’s strongholds to garner the support of most of the 84,004,084 eligible voters.
Nigerians are hoping for issue-based campaigns and earnestly waiting for February 25, 2023, to elect the next president of the country.