The 2023 election is projected to be the most decisive yet divisive election in Nigeria’s history. Although, some have argued that the outcome will split the country, I share the sentiments of those who believe it will be a replica of the 1979 election where the candidate with the most spread nationally will become Nigeria’s next president.
It is without a doubt that there is a heightened sense of political awareness occasioned by the unprecedented economic mismanagement, insecurity and hardship caused by the ruling party, APC. Hence, while candidates such as Bola Tinubu and Peter Obi are whipping up ethno-religious sentiments as their pathway to the presidency, Atiku seems to have the clearest pathway with his Unifier mantra and the decentralization of his campaign down to the ward level in a manner that addresses all concerns of the people at the grassroot.
Dr Abubakar Bukola Saraki, the Special Envoy to the presidential candidate of the PDP, Atiku Abubakar in his understanding of the underlying factors that will influence the outcome of the 2023 elections, personally led Atiku vis-a-vis PDP’s campaign to Kwara North. Why Kwara North? you will ask. The answer is simple, Kwara North is the game-changer for Atiku in Kwara state.
In 2019 general elections, APC polled 82% of the total votes cast in Kwara North as a form of protest against the PDP who they had hoped will zone its ticket to the zone and so were justifiably aggrieved.
However, the dynamics today is different with PDP learning from the mistake of their past and acting as the only party to zone its ticket to the North in the upcoming gubernatorial election in Kwara state.
Made worse by the overwhelming failure of the APC led government in the state, there is no damaging sentiment or propaganda that can be whipped against the PDP candidates and the party in Kwara North in the upcoming election because the Presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar is a Northerner as well as the gubernatorial candidate, Alhaji Shuaib Yaman.
It is also unarguable that Kwara North is more Arewa than the other parts of Kwara. Hence, while Tinubu hopes that Emilokan sentiment will provide enough grounds for the people of Kwara South to turn a blind eye to the incompetence of the down ballot candidates as against a formidable and more competent Senator Rafiu Ibrahim, he is also hoping that the APC candidate in Kwara central will be able to spend his way through to national assembly but the people are not deceived. Kwara North on the other hand is a game-changer, all sentiments and factors that can possibly influence the decision of a people in favor of a party, favors PDP in Kwara North.
Atiku Abubakar as former vice president and chairman of the national economic council in Nigeria’s best economic years is the PDP presidential candidate at a time when the people are lamenting the state of the nation’s economy. Alhaji Adamu Isa Bawa, a refined grassroot politician is the senatorial candidate of the PDP in Kwara North at a time when the APC across all levels in the state have underachieved and Alhaji Shuaib Yaman Abdullahi is the gubernatorial candidate of the PDP as an answer to the agitations of marginalization by the people of Kwara North.
The real Emilokan will happen for PDP in Kwara North in February and March so the APC should prepare for the coming Tsunami.