The pervasive atmosphere of uncertainty in the country as a result of the rising levels of insecurity, may have forced politicians and their associates to temporarily put on hold, political discussions and moves about the 2023 election, especially in the public sphere. According to the timeline set by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the presidential election is expected to hold on February 18, 2023.
However, the electoral body is expected to conduct the Anambra State governorship election in November and a couple of other off-season governorship elections next year, before the 2023 general elections.
Lately, the upsurge in insecurity in the country has raised concerns and fuelled tensions in many quarters, necessitating some stakeholders to express fears that the 2023 general elections may not hold unless government nips in the bud, the scourge.
According to data by the Nigeria Security Tracker (NST), a project of the Council on Foreign Relations’ Africa Programme, in the first six weeks of 2021, lives of no less than 1, 525 persons were lost across the country. On Saturday, Ahmed Gulak, a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), was shot dead by gunmen while returning to Abuja from Owerri, the Imo State capital.
The killing of the former presidential aide sparked outrage across the country and also forced the House of Representatives to postpone the planned zonal public hearing on the review of the 1999 Constitution scheduled for Owerri on June 2 and 3. And 72 hours after Gulak’s murder; the Senior Special Assistant to the Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, on Security, AIG Christopher Dega (rtd), was shot dead in Jos, the capital of Platue State. Dega, a former Commissioner of Police in Borno and Edo states, was said to have been murdered by three yet to be identified gunmen in an isolated restaurant at Bukuru, Jos, at about 8.30pm, having just arrived from Makurdi in Benue State only a few hours earlier.
Since the March 31 attack on a campaign rally by one of the leading candidates in the Anambra guber election, Prof. Charles Soludo, in which three policemen were killed, the former Central Bank of Nigeria governor has virtually ‘disappeared’ from the campaign trail.
Speaking with New Telegraph, a Senior Aide to a 2023 presidential hopeful from the South-West said the nation is bleeding and it will be insensitive to go fullthrottle in politics at touchy period of insecurity in the country.
He said: “First, you must know that INEC has not opened the space for political campaign, but all that is being done are behind-thescene meetings and followups. “Some of the meetings may have to be limited especially as it concerns physical meetings because nowhere is safe again, not even Abuja where the next door neighbour, Niger, is already crying.
“We have few scheduled physical meetings and events, but I doubt if we will honour it because one needs to be careful and sensitive as well,” he said. Speaking with New Telegraph, President, Rights Monitoring Group and Centre for Convention on Democratic Integrity, Mr Olufemi Aduwo, said the current situation in the country is not conducive for open political conversation for 2023. He said: “We are in a very trying period in this country and all hands must be on deck to find solutions to these challenges that aimed at throwing us under the bus as a nation. “I think it is too early in the day, though, some have started moving around, but it might be insensitive on their parts to do that.
Can anyone go to Benue to consult for 2023 when women, children are being killed and harassed by herdsmen there?” Some of the gladiators, hoping to succeed President Buhari within the APC and PDP folds, have mainly announced their ambitions through campaign posters sponsored by either cronies or support groups on the various social media platforms.