The 2023 elections is a few days away, and as is typical in every election season, the political arena is awash with speculations, permutations, and tensions.
All the presidential candidates have been fighting tooth and nail in their various political manifestoes and the promises made during their campaign rallies. And out of the 18 presidential candidates contesting the coveted seat, 5 of them stand out and have repeatedly been in the news.
They include Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu of All Progressives Congress (APC); Peter Obi of the Labour Party (LP); Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP); Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso of the New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP); and Omoyele Sowore of African Action Congress (AAC).
As Nigerians gear up to decide their next leader in the Saturday Presidential poll, searches on Google reveal the five frontline presidential candidates Nigerians are interested in and are searching about from December 2022 till date.
According to Google trends, the five candidates frequently searched on the search engine result pages, for different reasons, include Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Peter Obi, Atiku Abubakar, Rabiu Kwankwaso, and surprisingly the presidential candidate of Accord Party, Prof. Christopher Imumolen.
With Tinubu topping the list of real-time searches with 47% of searches, Omoyele Sowore is nowhere near the top five searches. Peter Obi takes the second position with 28% of searches, Atiku Abubakar is in the third position with 22% of searches while Rabiu Kwankwaso and Christopher Imumolen take the fourth and fifth positions with 3% and 0% of searches respectively.
While the exact reasons Nigerians are frequently searching about these candidates cannot really be ascertained, the searches are definitely related to the forthcoming presidential election.
All these candidates have one controversy or the other threatening their emergence as the next president of the country. This can be associated with why they are frequently being searched about by the electorate.
Google also revealed some of the top search terms Nigerians are looking for in relation to these top presidential candidates.
Top related searches for Tinubu include Tinubu raid, Tinubu house raid, EFCC raid Tinubu house, and Tinubu 400 billion. Top related searches for Peter Obi include Peter obi crash, peter obi rejects oil blocks, and the economist peter obi. Top related searches for Atiku Abubakar are Atiku five parties, https//atiku.emonitor.ng/registration/bupa/register, and agent monitor. While Zuwan Kwankwaso kano, kwankwasiyya movement are the top related searches for Kwankwaso.
These searches are categorized under rising searches and are regarded as ‘break out’ which means the search terms grew by more than 5000% in the past 7 days.
Let’s take a look at these five candidates and their plans for the people of Nigeria should either of them become the next president of the most populous country in Africa.
70-year-old Tinubu is a former governor of Lagos State from 1999 to 2007 and a political heavyweight in the country. He is the national leader of the ruling party, the All Progressives Congress (APC). He is a key contender in the presidential election.
Tinubu prides himself as the force behind the development of Lagos, the wealthiest state in Nigeria; a claim his opponents refuted. He also boasts of aiding the election of President Buhari who has contended for the presidential seat two times prior to his assumption as the president of the country from 2015 till date. After years of his influence in the political arena of the country, Tinubu declared that ‘it is now his turn’ to rule the country, according to his campaign slogan ‘Emi Lokan’.
Since his declaration, there has been a series of controversies surrounding his candidacy. Some of which include allegations of theft and money laundering, drug trafficking, impersonation, and age manipulation, among other things.
He is also deemed unfit for the presidential race due to his health condition, slurry speeches, and avoidance of debates and interactive sessions ahead of the elections.
A Muslim, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu chose Kashim Shettima, another Muslim from the Northern part of the country as his running mate which was frowned upon greatly and rejected by a lot of Nigerians. According to them, a muslim-muslim presidency will subject the country to forceful Islamic rule.
In his 80-page manifesto, Tinubu promised to remove the petrol subsidy and divert the money to tackling other sectors of the economy such as health care, construction of roads and boreholes, public transportation subsidies, education, and security.
The APC Godfather has promised to win the election and be the next president of the country. It will be interesting to see how this plays out in the Saturday polls.
Peter Obi, 61 years old, is also a former Governor of Anambra state, the Easter part of Nigeria from 2007 to 2014. He is formerly a running mate to Atiku Abubakar of the People’s Democratic Party PDP in 2019. Meanwhile, he lost the presidential primary election on the PDP platform to Atiku before he dumped the party for a minority party, Labour Party, LP where he was unanimously given the party’s presidential ticket in 2022.
His candidacy was also met with a lot of opposition from people, including his successor, the present governor of Anambra state, Prof. Chukwuma Soludo who claimed that the presidential candidate did not do anything in the state during his 8 years of rule as the governor of the state as against the claims from Peter Obi and his supporters that he developed Anambra State.
Peter Obi, who started his campaign mobilization off social media has been tagged ‘social media candidate’ by his opponents. According to them, he is only popular on social media and has no place in the real world of the presidential race.
However, this claim was put into doubt by the mammoth crowd of supporters who turned out for his campaign rallies in major cities in the country. His supporters are mostly youths who go by the pseudonym ‘Obidients’.
He was able to win the heart of the electorates with his availability at multiple places and events, most of which his opponents refused to attend. Many electorates see him as a viable alternative for the ruling APC and opposition, PDP, and a candidate who is capable and can deliver results.
Reeling out his promises for the country if elected president, Peter obi vowed to move Nigeria from a consumption economy to a production economy in accordance with the SDG Goal 12.
He also promised to expand physical infrastructure with a focus on critical sectors like power, multi-modal transportation, and gas pipeline, through efficient public-private partnership (PPP) reforms.
While the political race in the country has always been between the two giants – APC and PDP- a candidate like Peter Obi coming from one of the minority parties, LP to challenge the big twos has made the 2023 Presidential election the most anticipated election in the country’s history.
76-year-old Atiku Abubakar is a former Vice President of Nigeria during Olusegun Obasanjo’s leadership from 1999 to 2007. He is a chieftain of the people’s democratic party. Atiku has been in the presidential race for 6 consecutive terms and like other candidates in the race, his candidacy has been associated with multiple crime-related allegations and corruption.
His campaign council has always been at a logger-head with his major opponent- the All Progressives Congress’ Tinubu. Ironically, Atiku’s interest in the presidential race has been washed down by the former president of the country, Obasanjo who seems not to be in support of the candidates. Rather, Obasanjo pegged his support on the Labour Party’s Peter Obi.
If elected as the president of the country, Atiku plans to focus on job creation, education, healthcare, and infrastructure development. He plans to create a conducive environment for businesses to thrive, thereby creating employment opportunities for Nigerians.
Atiku also intends to provide free education and healthcare to Nigerians, remove fuel subsidies and use the money to build critical infrastructure such as roads, railways, and airports that will aid economic development. He also promised to tackle insecurity.
Aged 76, Rabiu Kwankwaso is the former governor of Kano state from 1993 to 2005 and the presidential candidate of the New Nigeria People’s Party, NNPP. He is currently a senator representing Kano at the National Assembly. He is a founding member of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and was also a presidential aspirant in 2019.
Kwankwaso’s leadership style is known for its populism, and he has been credited with many development projects in Kano State. However, his presidential ambition is not without controversy, as some people have accused him of ethnic and religious bias.
Kwankwaso in his manifesto plans to make provisions for local government authorities to get allocation directly from the Federal Government’s coffers. pledged to ensure that all entry examinations into tertiary institutions were free for Nigerians.
According to him, no Nigerian child shall be denied the opportunity to write WAEC, NECO, JAMB, etc., because of their inability to pay exorbitant registration/examination fees. Kwankwaso also intends to build critical infrastructure such as roads, railways, and airports that will aid economic development.
The youngest among them, aged 39, Christopher Imumolen is a presidential candidate on the platform of the Accord Party. He is an educationist, a university professor, a serial entrepreneur, a business mogul, and a Nigerian Politician. He is the founder of Joint Professional Training and Support International Limited (JPTS) and UNIC Foundation, a non-profit, nongovernmental organization.
If elected the president in the forthcoming election, Imumolen plans to put an end to the intermittent ASUU strike bedeviling the educational sector of the country. This he intends to do six months after coming into power.
He also intends to tackle unemployment among the youth by formulating policies that will encourage local production and manufacturing to enhance job creation. Also, Imumolen plans to address the issue of incessant power failure that has thrown the country into avoidable darkness.
However, these candidates among the 18 others have been able to woo their supporters in their various campaigns and party manifestoes, ultimately it will be up to the Nigerian electorate to decide who emerges victorious in the Saturday, February 25, 2023 presidential poll by casting their votes and making their voices heard.