2023 Elections: things to ignore from Nigerian Presidential candidates

This article was first published on the 22nd of June, 2022. It was last updated on the 4th of November, 2022.

Surprise, surprise, Atiku Abubakar and Bola Ahmed Tinubu have emerged as the presidential candidates from Nigeria’s main political parties.

Key takeaways:

  • Nigeria's economy has operated without direction for the last seven years. Since Buhari came into power, living standards have dropped, and prices are almost three times higher.

  • Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Atiku Abubakar, and Peter Obi are the leading presidential aspirants for the 2023 elections. Voters must ensure that presidential aspirants don't sell empty promises such as attaining 10% GDP growth or creating millions of jobs.

  • Nigeria's next president must acknowledge the difficult challenge currently facing the country. Many problems to solve but limited funds to address them.


Over two decades ago, both men were the Vice President of Nigeria and the Governor of Lagos, respectively. As a result, there is a hint of “same old” in the air regarding the upcoming elections. That said, there are a few differences. Unlike the last two presidential elections, the third force—led by Peter Obi (or maybe Rabiu Kwankwaso)—are back in the fray with enough momentum to potentially reach (and maybe surpass) the two million vote mark that Atiku and Nuhu Ribadu achieved in 2007 and 2011.

There’s another difference. This is the first time since 2007 that the incumbent president is not on the ballot sheet.

The usual trend in Nigeria is that election season, which lasts for at least nine months, is when politicians get distracted by trying to secure their political future—leaving other issues, like the economy, on the sidelines.

Given Buhari’s lack of engagement in the current election cycle, it's tempting to argue that this time might be different. However, next year is not just about the presidency. There are 30 state governorship, 109 Senate, 360 House of Representative, and 900 House of Assembly positions up for grabs.

Most of these 1,399 seats are being targeted by incumbents. And there have already been reports of inflated budgets and delays in capital projects due to the elections.

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