BusinessDay
NigeriaDecides2023

As crucial elections approach, are Nigerians tired of their political leaders?

Many Nigerians are losing faith in the septuagenarian titans and established parties that have long dominated Nigeria’s political scene, according to Bloomberg.

That’s clear from an opinion poll commissioned by Bloomberg. Peter Obi, a 61-year-old representing a party with just one seat in the senate, is the preferred presidential choice for most respondents.

The wealthy businessman and former state governor was selected by almost three quarters of those who’ve decided who they will vote for.

Bola Tinubu of the ruling All Progressives Congress was chosen by 16% and Atiku Abubakar of the People’s Democratic Party polled just 9%.

Tinubu, 70, has been a force in Nigerian politics for over two decades, governing the economically powerful Lagos State for eight years. Abubakar, 75, is an ex-vice president who has failed in five tries to win the top post.

The APC and PDP have been the governing parties in Africa’s most-populous country since the 1999 restoration of democracy. Yet, they have little to show for it.

Nigeria has more extremely poor people than any other nation, according to a United Nations measure, unemployment has surged and inflation is at a 17-year-high.

The northern half of the country is beset by Islamist militant activity and banditry.

The survey, conducted by Premise Data Corp., has its limitations.

The survey of 3,973 Nigerians from Sept. 5-20 was by smartphone, and less than half of Nigerians own those devices.

The election is still five months away and the political machinery of the two dominant parties will now grind into action. So, Obi will have an uphill task to keep that lead.

An earlier survey conducted by NOI Polls, an Abuja based polling organisation for ANAP Foundation also placed Obi at the top and has galvanised Obi’s supporters who held huge rallies across Nigeria on Saturday.

It is not clear if the huge momentum building behind Obi will be enough to tumble Nigeria’s large flock of age long traditional politicians in February of next year.

But what the results signal is a deep dissatisfaction with the status quo, among a population with an average age less than a third of those campaigning to be their leaders.

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