Nigerians will go to the polls on February 25 and March 11 for the eighth general election since the country’s return to democracy from military control in 1999, barring any last-minute modifications.
Nigeria, presently in its Fourth Republic, has experienced uninterrupted democracy in the last 24 years, following three democratic epochs robbed by military coups. Despite still in its infancy, the democracy in Africa’s most populous country (with over 200 million people) has faced numerous hurdles during the last two decades.
According to data from the country’s electoral umpire, the Independent National Electoral Commission, 93,469,008 people have been identified as eligible voters for the 2023 general elections (INEC). Females make up 44,441, 846 (47.5%) of the population, while males make up 49,054,162 (52.5%). Similarly, 37,060,399 of the total number of registered voters are youngsters, while 33,413, 591 are middle-aged people.
On February 25, 87,209,007 Nigerians holding Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs), representing 93.3% of the 93,469,008 total registered voters, will choose President Muhammadu Buhari’s successor, whose two-term tenure ends on May 29, 2023.
Eighteen political parties run candidates in the elections, which are scheduled to take place in two stages, beginning with the Presidential and National Assembly elections on Saturday, February 25, 2023, and ending with the Governorship and State Houses of Assembly elections on Saturday, March 11, 2023.
After Buhari’s tenure, eighteen candidates are vying for the presidency and the right to occupy Aso Rock, the country’s seat of authority in the capital city of Abuja. Peter Obi of the Labour Party, Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Bola Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress (APC), and Rabiu Kwankwaso of the New Nigeria People’s Party are the main contenders (NNPP).
A total of 1,100 senatorial candidates are vying for 109 Senate seats in the National Assembly, while 3,112 House of Representatives candidates are vying for 360 House of Representatives seats across 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory.
Furthermore, gubernatorial candidates and their running mates are contesting for 28 of the Federation’s 36 states. This is because governorship elections in eight states (Anambra, Bayelsa, Edo, Ekiti, Imo, Kogi, Osun, and Ondo) are held outside of the general election season. Hundreds of people are vying for 993 seats in the State Houses of Assembly.
With President Buhari’s assent to the Electoral Act 2022, the 2023 general elections are expected to be a game changer, especially with the deployment of 176, 846 Bimodal Voter Registration Systems (BVAS) and the INEC Result Viewing Portal (IReV), technological systems that allow voter accreditation through biometrics capture and result uploading, among other things.