The year 2023 will go down in the annals of history as one that would be a landmark in Nigeria.
The Ekiti and Osun gubernatorial elections in June and July 2022, respectively, were a precursor to the 2023 general elections and the successes recorded in both gubernatorial elections, regardless of legal disputes, were hailed as exceptional.
To achieve that level of success, the Independent National Election Commission (INEC), Nigeria’s electoral arbitrator, introduced the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) machine to counter electoral fraud.
The introduction of this new technology upped the game as many politicians were left confused with no choice but to submit to the choice of the people.
Notwithstanding this, it has been alleged in various forums that politicians have been trying other means to circumvent the BVAS machine.
The INEC had scheduled February 2023 for the presidential election in 2022.
The commission implemented continuous voter registration and the collection of Permanent Voter Cards (PVC).
The electoral referee also tested the effectiveness of the BVAS machines and obtained satisfactory results. With the results recorded, INEC had made it clear that it would go ahead with the use of BVAS machine technology.
The protagonists of the elections are Bola Ahmed Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Atiku Abubakar of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Peter Obi of the Labor Party and Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso of the New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP).
The atmosphere is set and the dramatis personae are ready to fight, but the battle cannot be won without the active involvement and participation of the voters.
National population census
2023 is also significant because the administration led by Muhammadu Buhari has also scheduled the national population census for this year.
Whether or not the exercise will take place this year has yet to be determined due to the lack of publicity about it.
The last population census was conducted in March 2006 during the PDP administration led by Olusegun Obasanjo.
The next census was supposed to take place in 2016, but it was shelved.
While the population celebrates the new year, the INEC and the APN worked clandestinely to make these two very important exercises a reality.
Traditionally, since 1999, the handover date of any government has been May 29.
2023 is another year of transition and another government is expected to be sworn in on May 29.
In addition, the 36 state legislatures and a good number of state governors will hand over their functions to their successors or return to office for a second term.
Many of the office holders, especially legislators, both in the National and State House of Assemblies, will not return to their posts.
This Electoral Law gave rise to the introduction of the BVAS machine and the electronic transmission of electoral results. It is believed that this would affect many politicians who lack a support base.
There is the problem of insecurity that has been plaguing Nigeria since 2009, when Boko Haram launched an insurgency against Nigeria.
While the country was still grappling with that challenge, Biafran bandits and rioters also took center stage.
Their activities have kept the Nigerian military alert and many innocent lives have been lost.
Many citizens now admire what the country would be like when a new government is sworn in before May 29.