2023: None of your favorite Candidate may become President, this is why

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As the race to Aso Rock gathers momentum and the frontline political gladiators and their supporters are engulfed in battle royale offline and online, what if none of these four horsemen on the frontline smell the aroma of power come 2023? How's that possible? Before submitting my prediction to the slaughterhouse of critics, here's a clue to what is about to happen.

Firstly, for the first time since Nigeria's independence, we will have 4 major presidential candidates who can spin the wheel in any direction. They have the muscle in their own rights to apportion votes to themselves, thereby shortchanging others in their powerful domains and demographics.

The implication of this is that we will have a situation where none of the four key frontliners, viz, Bola Tinubu, Peter Obi, Atiku Abubakar, Rabiu Kwankwaso, will be able to meet the required constitutional requirement to becoming President in the first round of voting.

Atiku Abubakar, Rabiu Kwankwaso, Peter Obi, Asiwaju Tinubu
top 4 presidential candidates for 2023 elections - Atiku Abubakar, Rabiu Kwankwaso, Peter Obi, Asiwaju Tinubu

A modified two-round system is used to elect the president of Nigeria. Obtaining a majority of the vote and more than 25% of the vote in at least 24 of the 36 states is required for a candidate to be elected in the first round.

You don't need a soothsayer to tell you that won't happen in 2023. This will, of course, lead us to the second round of voting.

According to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the person with the most votes and the person with the spread, but not necessarily the person with the second-highest number of votes, would compete in the second round in cases where a clear winner could not be determined.

Section 134 of the constitution states, "In the event of a candidate not securing this threshold, the commission must conduct a second election. Not all the 18 registered political parties sponsoring candidates will participate in this second election. Only two political parties and two candidates will be on the ballot for the second or runoff election. The first will be the presidential candidate that secured the highest number of lawful votes in the federation. 

“The second is the one among the remaining candidates, who has a majority of votes in the highest number of states, so where there is more than one candidate with a majority of the votes in the highest number of states, the candidate among them with the highest total votes cast at the election shall be the second candidate for election.”

The dilemma here lies in the court cases that could consume the electoral process come 2023 and the political quagmire that could result in having an interim government as the political heavyweights refuse to bulge and show restraints in their quest to "take back" their "stolen mandate."

If it then becomes constitutionally and democratically impossible to transfer power within the timeframe wherein the current administration may be able to function, bearing in mind court cases, violent rerun, and claims for the mandate, we could have a situation where an interim government takes charge to pacify the polity with the promise and hope to adhere to court order reinstating the eventual winner after a runoff.

However, I am persuaded that given the sweetness of power and the game of thrones that can be played with it in such a tense and uncertain atmosphere as predicted above, the man who is seen as a restorer of the mandate soon becomes a 'Mario', not willing to relinquish power. Your four horsemen are in for a shock. They are not prepared for what is to come.

History is a badass. Another scary stuff is the De Ja Vu scenario that's currently playing out. Bola Tinubu's Renewed Hope manifesto resonates with MKO Abiola's Hope 93 slogan, which did not manifest. Could it be that, once again, the former Lagos state governor is going to be the one running for a mandate that never was as he steps into the shoes of his late mentor?

'O lule' might just be happening again to not just one but all. Some will have to comport; others will be excited, crying once more for a return to what? From 93 - 2023, some things never change, and some lessons are never learned.

If you have an idol in a candidate, good for you. Vote, it's your right. However, zero your mind regarding the wind that might come to blow them all away. Your Messiah is not coming. Relax! We'll be fine. Nigeria will emerge stronger from the aftermath of its agonizing birth pangs. It's not coming the way you think it will.

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