Experts watching political developments in Nigeria predict a tight presidential race in the 2023 elections between Bola Tinubu who is running on the ruling All Progressives Congress ticket, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar of the opposition People’s Democratic Party and Peter Obi of the Labor Party.
Experts add that Obi, the former southeast Anambra state governor, and one-time PDP vice presidential candidate, is gaining momentum among youth, especially urban Nigerians who call themselves “Obi-dients.”
Joseph Nwankwo, a 35-year-old footwear seller in attendance of a rally held by the Labor Party candidate said it is time for the West African nation to elect a president who will prioritize the youth of the nation.
“I never voted for any party because they believed our vote never counted,” said Nwankwo, adding, “we are the youth and if we don’t do it, who will do it for us?”
Rivals Tinubu and Abubakar have openly dismissed Obi as a social media phenomenon that is devoid of a national party network to challenge their deep pockets.
Ikesemit Effiong, a Nigerian analyst said local polls remain unclear but strongly suggest a Peter Obi presidential victory in 2023, a development that would complicate the political outlook for the ruling APC and main opposition PDP.
“All of the political, economic and social conditions have made him a palatable alternative,” said Effiong, adding, “it is beginning to dent the image of the traditional political parties.”