A delegation of United States-based National Democratic Institute (NDI) and International Republican Institute (IRI) has said Senator Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso and Peter Obi may force the 2023 contest into a re-run.
Kwankwaso is the presidential candidate of the New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP), while Obi is the flagbearer of Labour Party in the 2023 Presidential election.
While Kwankwaso’s party has been recording massive growth, particularly in Kano, Obi has many young persons behind him, particularly on social media.
Commenting on the presidential candidates’ chances, the institute said the 2023 elections would be a departure from some of the political dynamics that defined previous elections in Nigeria.
The institute said this while presenting its first joint pre-elections assessment statement and report on Osun State governorship election.
The delegation of the NDI/IRI which visited Nigeria from July 13-22, was led by Secretary of State for State of Ohio, USA, Mr. Frank LaRose.
The report said, “If a third party draws sufficient support, a runoff presidential election could be a real possibility for the first time since the transition to democracy, adding complexity to the 2023 elections.”
The institute added that the 2023 elections present a significant opportunity to consolidate Nigeria’s democracy, especially since the 2022 Electoral Act enjoys a wide stakeholder support and has elevated public confidence in the commitment of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to deliver credible elections.
“The 2023 elections are a departure from some of the political dynamics that defined previous polls. For the first time since 2007, the presidential election will be an open contest with no incumbent. The ruling All Progressives Congress selected former Lagos governor, Bola Tinubu, as its flagbearer. Former Vice President and 2019 presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, will contest on the ticket of the Peoples Democratic Party.”
“However, the emergence of Peter Obi -former Anambra State governor and presidential candidate for the Labour Party and Rabiu Kwankwaso- former Kano governor and presidential candidate for the New Nigeria People’s Party, as viable ‘Third Forces’ has excited many young Nigerians.
“If a third party draws sufficient support, a runoff presidential election could be a real possibility for the first time since the transition to democracy, adding complexity to the 2023 elections,” the report read.