The rising number of presidential aspirant in Nigeria is unprecedented in the history of Nigeria politics .It has raised great concerns on the real motive of the aspirants and the capacity of parties to manage its success, also bearing in mind that we have independent candidates who choose not to run on any party platform.
As President Muhammad Buhari winds up his eight year tenure in 2023, the race for his successor appears to have become an all comers affair. As the list of presidential aspirants grows daily despite exorbitant cost of parties nomination forms. The presidential nomination form and interest form for APC is pegged at a whooping sum of 100 million naira while that of PDP is at 40 million naira per candidate.
The list of those aspiring to take over from Buhari in 2023 is enormous, ranging from the Governor of Rivers State Nyesom Wike, Minister of Transportation Rotimi Amechi, Minister of Petroleum for state Timipre Sylva, Pastor Tunde Bakere, The vice President Prof Yomi Osinbajo,Senator Ahmed Bola Tinubu, just to mention a few.
The unsettling number of aspirant jostling to take over from Buhari has raised great concerns and Nigerians have taken to social media to air their opinion, while some political analyst are of the view that some of these aspirants are in the race to truncate the chances of others. Many also argue that some want to use their presidential aspirations to negotiate for other positions as to remain relevant after 2023. While some believe that they do not have the interest of the country at heart rather they are running for their selfish interest. Another set is concerned that the large number of aspirant is an indication of the ruling party’s failure to manage the state of the economy and the rising state of insecurity in the nation.
According to Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who is the frontline aspirant of the APC, the outrageous number of aspirants is not a big deal; he says it is a plus for the Nigeria democracy. He goes further to say; “The more the merrier. The more they come, the more challenging it becomes for you to think deeply, focus on issues and be ready to serve Nigeria. It is all about service;”. Think wisely, get committed to your thinking to serve the nation and bring progress and prosperity to the lives of Nigerians.”
Some political analysts are of the opinion that the APC’s failure to streamline the number of contestants like the previous ruling parties in the country would lead to a spiteful presidential primary, which could in turn negatively affect the chances of the party in the 2023 general elections. The elders and leaders of the southern Nigeria fear that there might be division in the near future.
PDP on the other hand, has thrown open its 2023 presidential ticket to all sections of the country ahead of its party primaries. This was a recommendation reached by the 37 member committee setup to work out a zoning formula for the various electoral offices ahead of the 2023 presidential elections. The committee also recommended that they should work towards a consensus candidate where possible. This may be as a result of a number of interests from various factions as a means of inclusiveness for all.
In conclusion, the various aspirants should bear in mind that Nigeria is a democratic state, that is “government of the people, by the people and for the people,” with that in mind, the interests of the citizens of Nigeria comes first, and while they remain very accessible now that they are soliciting for votes, they should also remain accessible after the elections, because that seem to be the case a lot of times.