Presidential election: How Nigerians defied ethnic lines

The voting pattern during the just-concluded 2023 presidential election has shown that Nigerians are beginning to move away from ethnic inclination in the country’s political sphere.

Recall that the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, declared Bola Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress, APC, winner of the just-concluded presidential election after polling 8,794,726 votes to defeat his closest rivals and candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Atiku Abubakar and Peter Obi of the Labour Party, LP, who polled 6,984, 520 and 6,101,533 votes, respectively.

DAILY POST reports that despite hailing from the Southwest, Tinubu defeated Atiku, a core Northerner in four states in the North; while Atiku won in eight states of the region. Also, Obi, who hails from the Southeast, pulled a major shocker when he defeated Tinubu in Lagos State.

Obi’s victory in Lagos State was a clear sign that Nigerians are beginning to abandon ethnicity and religion in their quest for a good leader.

The LP candidate also defeated the PDP vice-presidential candidate, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa in Delta State.

Tinubu had opted for a Muslim-Muslim presidential ticket when he settled for former Borno State Governor, Kashim Shettima as his running mate, an action that was contrary to the permutations of most Nigerians. Nigerians had expected Tinubu to balance his ticket by picking a Christian from the North as his running mate.

Commenting on the voting pattern, a lecturer in the Department of Curriculum and Teaching, University of Calabar, Okey Samson, said Nigerians are beginning to jettison ethnic inclination in their voting pattern due to political civilization.

He told DAILY POST that: “People no longer vote according to ethnic inclinations due to the high level of political civilization, unlike what we used to have. People now go for candidates aspiring for positions across party lines, not just the political party’s name. People are getting to know that the party is just an umbrella and a channel for individuals to get to the top.

“Voting along ethnic lines is archaic; you will see someone who supports a candidate because of the person’s record. You will see somebody leaving his own brother, ethnic-wise to support another person. We are now moving away from ethic-based politicking.”

Also worthy of note is the fact that Nigerians voted against religious lines during the just-concluded presidential election.

Speaking on the issue, the Arewa Youth Consultative Forum, AYCF, said electorates voted along ethnic and religious lines in the past because they didn’t see themselves as Nigerians.

National President of AYCF, Yerima Shettima, lamented that the Federal Government’s weakness had given room to preachers to propagate hate messages in churches and mosques.

“The issue of ethnicity comes to the fore because people refuse to see themselves as Nigerians but are being over-cloned by religion and start brainwashing their followers with sermons in churches and mosques; this portends a lot of danger.

“And because we have a government that does not care, people preach hate in the churches and mosques.

“People have taken advantage of this weakness on the part of the government and today we are more divided along the ethnic lines, a situation that portends danger for our unity and democracy,” he told DAILY POST.

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