2023 Presidential Election And The Wobbling Campaigns

2023 Presidential Election And The Wobbling Campaigns

The Independent National Electoral Commission {INEC}, on September 28, 2022 blew the whistle to kickstart electioneering campaigns for the 2023 presidential election by political parties.

Campaign rallies form an integral part of processes in the election circle, allowing political parties and their candidates to sell their programmes to the electorate. It also allow the parties and their candidates to test their popularity with the masses, as massive crowds are usually expected to attend such rallies.

The campaign season for the 2023 presidential election has however remained an exception, when compared to others in the recent political history of Nigeria.

It is instructive, to note here, that campaigns in the country have always a time of great fanfare and colourful outings by parties, such that even the masses of Nigerians look forward to them with great expectation.

The current campaign season has however proven to be different, as political parties in the country, especially those of the leading candidates, the All Progressives Congress, the Peoples Democratic Party and the Labour Party, fielding Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, Atiku Abubakar and Peter Obi, have approached the campaigns with some form of lethargy and with apparent lack of preparedness.

The parties, aside not showing enough seriousness to the campaign, were largely bugged down by internal wrangling that held back their preparations, made them look like novices in the campaign management and people that are not serious in selling their programmes and candidates to the masses.

For the PDP, the crisis threatening its chances in the February 2023 presidential election, initially appeared not to be a serious bother for the party, as it kickstarted its presidential campaign rally in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom capital, with what could be described as a successful outing. This was followed by the “mega rally” in Kaduna, where thugs reportedly attacked party members and supporters, and later Benin, the Edo State capital.
The initial tempo with which PDP kickstarted the campaign rallies, notwithstanding, the party has again gone to bed, postponing or suspending scheduled rallies in Ekiti, Ondo, Kebbi and Bayelsa States.

The postponement, according to the Director of Field Operations of the PDP Presidential Campaign, Umar Bature, was due to the trip of Atiku to the United States, adding that new dates would be communicated when fixed.

The statement read: “This is to formally inform all Management of the PCO that in view of our Candidates’ trip to the United States, our Presidential Rallies earlier scheduled for Ekiti, Ondo, Kebbi and Bayelsa States will no longer hold as scheduled.

“New dates will be communicated once they are fixed. All inconveniences regrettable.”
The many have been asking is of what impact is the US trip to the 2023 presidential election that necessitated the cancellation of the scheduled rallies? Why abandon an opportunity to sell your candidacy and programmes to Nigerians that will be voting choose the President for a trip outside the country?

What the former Vice President may not know is that a trip outside the country, especially an impromptu one that necessitated cancellation of schedule rallies, is a potential red flag for many, just like his last trip to France, allegedly for medical related purposes.
Nigerians have no doubt had enough of an absentee president and would be wary of a candidate who would abandon his own campaign for an unscheduled trip to a foreign land!

In the same vein, the recent gaffes of the PDP presidential candidate, bordering on comments deemed by many to be tribal and ethnocentric, were major flaws for an election candidate in an election season. Atiku’s handlers must do well to rein in unnecessary gaffes by the candidate, if greater damage that can worsen the already bad situation his party is to be avoided.

For the Labour Party candidate, Peter Obi, not much commitment has been seen to have been done for the campaigns, except the constitution of his presidential campaign council and an impending rally in Lafia, the Nassarawa State capital on Saturday.

The constitution of the Labour Party PCC, was however unduly delayed, as Obi stayed away from the country, as he journeyed across Europe and America in what he called consultations with Nigerians in the Diaspora even when campaigns were supposed to have started.

Since Obi’s return to the country, not much commitment have been shown by Labour party to show that it is committed and serious about the campaigns outside of the rescheduling of a rally planned for the October 20th to the 29th in Lafia.

The situation in the APC looks even more pitiable, as the party, which is the ruling party got things wrong ab initio, starting with the constitution of its presidential campaign council, which became a source of bickering between the management of the PCC and the party’s National Working Committee {NWC} led by Senator Abdulahi Adamu.

In a leaked letter to the party’s presidential candidate, Asiwaju Tinubu, Adamu had accused the candidate and the PCC management of jettisoning the several inputs made by the NWC, President Muhammadu Buhari and state governors elected on the platform of the APC in arriving at the list released to the media by the Secretary of the Tinubu/Shettima PCC. Though the party tried to deny the authenticity of the letter, choosing to call it an unsigned draft, the import of the leaked letter was not lost on Nigerians, as that is believed to have contributed to the delay in inaugurating the PCC and kickstarting the campaigns.

The PCC was only inaugurated by President Buhari after Tinubu and Adamu swapped positions and some names expunged!

Even with the PCC inauguration, the APC has yet to roll out the drums or hit the ground running, one month after campaigns officially started.

Without preempting what the parties may do in the next few days and and weeks, it is hoped that they will all put their acts together, get on the campaign train and give Nigerians an opportunity to hear from them first hand what is in stock for them, should they voted for.

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