Champions League final trumps politics in Lagos

As the atmosphere for the 2023 general elections thickens, many Nigerians appear uninterested in the build-up, as various viewing centers in Lagos were shutdown on the back of the UEFA Champions League finals.

On Saturday, while the Peoples Democratic Party presidential primaries was going on, Liverpool was battling with Real Madrid in the UCL finals for the second time in five years.

However, the trending topic on various social media platforms was not the PDP presidential primary but the football match played far out in France by two European football clubs.

BusinessDay took to a Heineken sponsored event at Terraform Bar and Restaurant in Lekki to speak with some football fans in the centre.

Politics being quite a sensitive topic to discuss most people who attended the Heineken event choose to remain anonymous.

One speaker said the PDP primary election should only be followed judiciously by party members and loyalists.

“It’s not as big as the general elections so you don’t expect us to be at PDP national headquarters in Abuja to follow the results.”

He went on to say that because football is a universal language and culture, and Nigerians support some of Europe’s top clubs, the champions league finals, Europe’s biggest club game, should be watched and enjoyed rather than the live results of a primary election.

Read also:UEFA moves Champions League final from Russia to France amid conflict

Ifeanyi Chineke, a graphic designer and a football fanatic, who also watched the game at the centre, stated that young Nigerians lost interest in the PDP presidential primary because Peter Obi, a popular choice for presidency in social media polls, left the party.

“since the PDP primaries had nothing to do with the former PDP member, a large number of young Nigerians who support his aspirations for the presidency will be less concerned about what happened in Abuja and rather watch what was more exciting, the champions league finals.

once Peter Obi left the PDP, you could see that the youths who pay attention to politics and football shifted more attention to the Finals than the primaries, Azuka Ogene, another lover of the sport, said.

He added that those who followed the primaries just wanted to see how it turned out.

In addition, some of these sources pointed out that it is more about their happiness than the heartbreaks that come with following Nigerian politics.

Chineke concluded that football gives Nigerians more joy than all the politics he knows.

“At the end politics will take away our joy as it will be will rigged. Nigerians just want to be happy and Football helps with that.”

Another speaker, said “Nigerians have given up in politics. Football gives many Nigerians more joy and bring people together more than the topic of politics.”

A few vigilant people who follow politics, myself included, had always known the race would be between Atiku and Wike, and both are not my candidate, Azuka said.

“So, I went for the UCL where Madrid didn’t disappoint me.”

Meanwhile, others noted the complication of political primary elections as a reason why they wouldn’t want to waste time watching the results until the winners were announced, regardless of the technique utilized.

On the other hand, Nigeria’s ruling party, APC, has postponed it’s presidential primary to June 6.

The primary, which was initially scheduled to hold between May 29 and 30, was moved up when the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) extended the deadline for the presidential primaries.

Felix Morka, Spokesperson for the party, made this known in an official statement.

He said: “following INEC’s extension of deadline for the submission of list of candidates by political parties, the APC hereby postpones its Special Convention for Presidential Primary from May 29 – 30 to June 6 – 8, 2022.”

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