Big losers in Nigeria’s 2023 elections

THE 2023 general elections have largely come and gone but will go down in history as one of the polls that recorded some of the biggest shocks in Nigeria.

Unarguably, the emergence of the Labour Party (LP) was a game-changer and watershed for the nation’s politics, at least since its return to democracy in 1999.

The party is making inroads into the country’s National Assembly with some seats it won, though it lost the presidency, according to the presidential election result announced by the Independent National Electoral Commission. 

Below are some of the major big losers in the elections

Atiku Abubakar fails after six shots at Presidency 

Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar came second in the presidential election held on February 25.

Atiku, 76, has contested for the top office for 31 years and has had his hope dashed.

He came second in the February election and got 6,984,520 votes, trailing the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate, Bola Tinubu, who polled 8,794,726.

He has rejected the election result.

The ICIR reported how hope dims for the Adamawa-born politician after his sixth attempts at the presidency ended in a fiasco.

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Peter Obi could not sail through

Peter Obi was phenomenal in the election, being his first time to play on the national front.

A former Anambra State governor, he came third in the poll, scoring 6,101,533 votes.

Obi and most of his supporters did not accept the election result.

The LP candidate officially petitioned the presidential election tribunal on Tuesday, March 21.

Governors Ortom, Ugwuanyi, Ishaku, Lalong, Ayade routed

The ICIR reported five outgoing governors who lost their election to the Senate during the Presidential and National Assembly election conducted on February 25.

They are Samuel Ortom (Benue), Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu), Darius Ishaku (Taraba State), Simon Lalong (Plateau State), and Ben Ayade (Cross River). 

Two more governors (not captured in the report) lost their election to the Senate. They are Abubakar Bagudu (Kebbi) and Abia State Governor Okezie Ikpeazu.

Bello Matawalle fails reelection 

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Zamfara’s incumbent governor, Bello Matawalle, lost his reelection bid to Lawal Dauda of the PDP..

Dauda polled 377,726 votes to defeat Matawalle, who had 311, 976.

Matawalle became governor after the Supreme Court nullified all the PDP votes across all levels of the 2019 elections in the state for failing to conduct a valid primary.

The state witnessed worsened insecurity occasioned by banditry during his tenure.

Ganduje’s party trounced in Kano

Efforts of Kano State Governor Abdullahi Ganduje to ensure his party continues to rule the state when his tenure ends on May 29, 2023, failed.

The gubernatorial candidate of the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP), Kabir Abba Yusuf, was declared the winner of the governorship election held on March 18. 

Yusuf defeated the APC candidate – the incumbent deputy governor of the state, Nasir Gawuna, by a wide margin.

Yusuf harvested 1,019,602 votes, while Gawuna got 890,705 votes.

The election outcome confers superiority on the NNPP’s leader, Rabiu Kwankwaso, a former governor of the state who handed over to his estranged and now humbled Deputy, Ganduje.

Chimaroke Nnamani, a former governor and sitting senator, loses reelection

The senatorial election could not hold in Enugu East on February 25 because of the assassination of the LP candidate Oyibo Chukwu three days before the poll.

After the INEC delayed the election to enable his party to name his replacement, his brother, Kelvin Chukwu, eventually replaced him and won the election on the rescheduled date – March 18.

He defeated Nnamani, a former governor who has spent at least two terms at the Senate.

While the former governor polled 48,701 votes, his LP counterpart won 69,136 and ended his dream to continue at the Red Chamber.

Tambuwal’s anointed successor loses

Sokoto State Governor Aminu Tanmbuwal’s anointed successor, Saidu Umar, lost to the APC’s Ahmed Aliyu.

Aliyu won with 453,661 votes to defeat Umar, who garnered 404,632 votes.

Aliyu was Tambuwal’s deputy during the governor’s first term in 2015.

The governor-elect ran against his former principal in 2019, but Tambuwal emerged the winner with a slim win (342 votes) after a run-off.

Simon Lalong’s anointed candidate fails to become governor

Caleb Muftwang, who ran on the PDP platform, won the governorship poll in Plateau, thus returning the state to the PDP from the APC, which has been in charge since 2015.

Muftwang scooped 525,299 votes to trounce his close rival, Nentawe Yiltwada, a professor, and the APC candidate, who got 481,370 votes.

Ortom loses Senate, also fails to install House of Assembly Speaker as governor 

Benue State governor Samuel Ortom could not install the House of Assembly Speaker, Titus Uba, after floundering in his Senate bid.

INEC returned the APC candidate, Hyacinth Alia, a Catholic priest, as governor-elect.

Alia polled 473,933 to beat PDP’s Uba, who scored 223,913 votes and came second in the election.

Oyetola’s APC base shrinks

In Osun, former governor Adegboyega Oyetola’s political base may have diminished with the PDP’s sweeping victory at the state House of Assembly election that took place in the state on March 18.

The PDP won 25 of the 26 House of Assembly seats.

PDP claimed all seats, except three, won by the APC in 2019.

The only seat the APC won is Boripe/Boluwaduro state constituency, where the state’s former governor, Gboyega Oyetola, hails from.

Adeleke had defeated Oyetola, who was seeking a second term at the governorship poll held on July 16, 2022.

However, a tribunal nullified Adeleke’s election on January 27, 2023, after Oyetola disagreed with the result and filed litigation.

Adeleke has appealed the tribunal ruling.

35-year-old ends Yobe Speaker’s 6th term dream

A -35-year-old thwarted the sixth-term dream of Speaker of the Yobe State House of Assembly, Ahmed Mirwa Lawan.

Lawan, a candidate of the APC, lost to the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Lawan Musa.



    They both contested for Nguru II Constituency.

    The Speaker has represented the constituency since 2003.

    Musa polled 6,648 votes to defeat the Speaker, who got 6,466 votes.

    Meanwhile, notwithstanding the results announced by INEC from the elections, The ICIR reports that aggrieved parties could challenge the results in court and have the court’s judgment in their favour.

    Marcus bears the light, and he beams it everywhere. He's a good governance and decent society advocate. He's The ICIR Reporter of the Year 2022 and has been the organisation's News Editor since September 2022. Contact him via email @ [email protected].

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