2023: The most difficult presidential election year, murders, political intrigue, and hardship


Most Nigerians would prefer to forget the year 2023 quickly, as it ends tomorrow.

Reason: For many of the populace, it started and ended on bitter notes.


Many people still harbour negative memories of 2023, despite the fact that it was an eventful political year due to the high-wire intrigues that marked the general elections, particularly the presidential poll, according to Saturday Vanguard.

As had been evident since 2015 and made more apparent by the gunmen’s Christmas Eve attacks in 25 communities spread across three LGAs in Plateau State, which claimed the lives of 195 people, the nation essentially remained a killing field.

In numerous regions of the country, deadly Boko Haram militants, bandits, gunmen, ritualists, and kidnappers had a field day wreaking havoc in many parts of the country despite the gallant efforts of the security agencies.

A count of cases reported by the media in 2023 revealed that 6,645 people nationwide lost their lives as a result of violence and other types of insecurity. Given that many cases go unreported or are reported insufficiently, this number is conservative.

In addition to acts of violence, numerous lives were lost in accidents like landslides and fires as well as on roads and in rivers.

For example, the Nigerian Army recently accidentally bombed 85 civilians in Kaduna. On September 8, a landslip in Abuja claimed thirty lives. At an illegal oil refining site at the Ibaa community in Emohua LGA, Rivers State, an inferno claimed 35 lives. At least one hundred people perished in a boat accident at Egbu village in Pategi LGA, Kwara on June 12.

Numerous notable Nigerians passed away in 2023 as well.

The year started off with hardship and a lot of energy. Long-term cash shortage and the ensuing hardship were caused by the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) redesign of the N1000, N500, and N200 notes as well as its policy regarding the withdrawal of old notes and cash limit. People once had to pay N3000 to POS operators in order to receive N10,000 because banks were either out of cash or had very little of it.

The Naira policy was allegedly intended to prevent vote-buying in the general elections of 2023.

Following the polls, President Bola Tinubu’s May 29 decision to immediately remove fuel subsidies and multiple exchange rates was met with unavoidable economic consequences. The dollar to naira exchange rate has moved from N500 to N1200 in the black market while fuel prices jumped from N198 to between N568 and N630. Currently, the costs of transportation, food and other products have tripled compared to what they were last year up to May 29, 2023.

Intrigues in politics

Since 2023 was an election year, there were a lot of high-stakes political gamesmanship and backstabbing as prominent politicians fought for the tickets of different political parties.

In order to secure the All Progressives Congress, APC, presidential ticket, former Lagos State Governor Asiwaju Bola Tinubu overcame numerous powerful interests by riding the crest of Emilokan (it’s my turn) and his thirty years of political goodwill throughout the nation.

The People’s Democratic Party, or PDP, experienced “balkanization” as a result of internal disputes over the presidential ticket’s zoning.

As his Obedients Movement gained traction, Mr. Peter Obi, the former governor of Anambra State and 2019 vice presidential candidate, defected from the PDP to the Labour Party, LP, and chose the party’s presidential ticket.

Former Kano State Governor and Defence Minister, Dr Rabiu Kwankwaso also left the PDP and landed the presidential ticket of the New Nigeria People’s Party, NNPP.

Then Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, who came second at the PDP presidential primaries to Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, led a group of five PDP governors who wanted power shift to the South. In this group were Governors Seyi Makinde (Oyo), Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia), Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu) and Samuel Ortom (Benue).

How Emilokan, Atikulate, Obedients shaped polity With the trio of Emilokan, Artikulate and Obedient on the prowl, Nigeria was primed for her toughest presidential election and it panned out so. The February 25, 2023 presidential election was the keenest and also the worst voter turnout in the history of balloting in Nigeria.

The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC declared Tinubu as the winner. Tinubu polled 8,794,726 votes to beat Atiku, his closest challenger, with 1.81 million votes, the lowest margin since 1979. Atiku got 6,984,520 votes in the election. Tinubu had 34.78 per cent of the votes cast. With 25.3 million voters or 27 per cent of the 93.469 million registered voters taking part, the February 25 poll also recorded the worst voters turnout ever.

Tinubu won in 12 states to beat Atiku of the PDP, who came second with 6,984,520 votes and also won in 12 states. The Labour Party, LP, Candidate, Mr Peter Obi, polled 6,101,533 votes to place a close third. He also won 11 states and the FCT. Former Governor of Kano State and New Nigeria Peoples Party, NNPP, Candidate, Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso, came fourth with 1,496,687 votes.

He won in Kano. Battle in court Atiku and Obi kicked against Tinubu’s victory citing irregularities, violence, failure of the INEC to transmit results electronically as it assured before the election, and falsification of academic records against Tinubu among others. They went to the Presidential Election Petition Court, PEPC and Supreme Court. Both courts validated Tinubu’s election.

The seven issues the courts resolved in favour of Tinubu include:

•INEC substantially complied with the Electoral Act 2022 and the constitution in the conduct of the poll •Election cannot be nullified due to unavailability of results on INEC’s IReV portal

•Failure to secure 25 per cent of votes in the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Abuja cannot invalidate a winner’s election •Petitioners did not prove allegations of rigging against Tinubu

•The issue of APC’s double nomination of Vice President Kashim Shettima had earlier been decided by the court on May 26, 2023 •Tinubu’s forfeiture of $460, 000 drug money was raised when the Respondents had already filed their process

•Petitioners did not provide alternative results to INEC’s figures. Tinubu’s controversial footprints on political landscape •Got his preferred choices elected as senate and Reps principal officers

•Nominated ministers within 60 days as prescribed by the law. •Got 45 of his 48 ministerial nominees screened and confirmed by the Senate •Dropped a nominee without informing her as she was at the National Assembly for the screening exercise. •Reshuffled his cabinet before swearing in. The first of its kind

•Swore in ministers on August 21 without retreat.

•Moved the Federal Executive Council, FEC, meeting from Wednesday to Monday.

•Intervened in political crisis in Ondo, Rivers.

Akintola Williams, Nwabueze, Ezeife, Akeredolu, Na’Abba, hordes of eminent Nigerians died A host of eminent Nigerians died in 2023. Such Nigerians include: revered Chartered Accountant, Chief Akintola Williams, who died at 104; Elder Statesman and legal luminary, Professor Ben Nwabueze, SAN, who died on October 30, aged 94; and former Anambra State Governor, Dr Chukwuemeka Ezeife, who died at 85. The death list includes former Ohanaeze President-General and Insurance guru, Professor Joe Irukwu; former Ohanaeze Deputy President, Dr Sylvan Ebigwei, who died at 80; Senator Annie Okonkwo; former NBA president and Ondo State Governor, Arakunrin Rotimi Akeredolu, 67; and Former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Ghali Na’Abba, 65.

Year 2023 also claimed the lives of Peace Anyiam- Osigwe, a trailblazing filmmaker; Veteran actor, Sunday Akanbi Akinola, 80; Veteran Nollywood actor, Ojo Arowosafe (Fadeyi Oloro), 66; Veteran actor and movie producer Obinna Nwafor (Saint Obi, 57; Artiste, Ilerioluwa Oladimeji Aloba, aka Mohbad, 27; and Actress, Cynthia Okeke. Others include Labour Party Enugu East senatorial candidate, Oyibo Chukwu, was shot dead when his vehicle was attacked and later set ablaze a few days before the National Assembly election; Uchenna Ikonne, Abia State governorship candidate of the PDP; Stella Effah-Attoe, national woman leader of the PDP; and Pa Taiwo Akinkunmi, 87. Pa Akinkunmi was an agriculturist and electrical engineer. He was the one who designed the Nigerian flag.

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