A look at the 2023 presidential elections result has shown that only three out of every 10 Nigerians who registered for the electioneering exercise cast their vote, out of which the former governor of Lagos state, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, emerged as the president.
All Progressive Party’s Tinubu pulled 8,794,726 votes to defeat 17 other candidates who contested for the seat on February 25, 2023.
According to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), 93.5 million voters were eligible to participate in the election, but only 25.3 million voted. This is approximately 27 per cent of registered voters.
When broken down into 10’s, it translates into approximately three votes cast out of 10 registered voters.
Meanwhile, the election results post the lowest voter turnout compared with previous elections held since 1999 after the country returned to a democratic government.
Nigeria, according to the constitution, holds its election every four years.
In the 1999 election, 58 million Nigerian were registered, but only 30 million voted. In 2003, registered voters increased to 61 million while those who participated in the voting exercise were 42 million.
This is a 69 per cent increase in voters’ participation compared to the 52 per cent recorded in the 1999 election.
However, from the 2007 elections, the number of recorded vote cast began to drop despite the increasing number of registered voters.
For instance, 62 million Nigerians registered to vote during the 2007 election, but only 34 million voted (56 per cent). This was the election that brought in the late Umaru Musa Yar’Adua as president of the country.
In 2011, registered voters were 74 million, while those who voted were 39 million (59 per cent). Also, in 2015 and 2019, registered voters were 67 and 82 million, respectively, but those who cast their votes were 29 million for both years.
This is a 44 per cent decline and 35 per cent for both years, respectively.
The 2023 presidential election was not any different. Voters’ participation in the election drops to 27 per cent. The ICIR reported how Tinubu won the election despite having the lowest turnout.
Mixed reaction clouds results
Despite the low turnout of voters, several controversies have trailed the announcement of Tinubu as the president by INEC. Major contenders, including Peoples Democratic Party and Labour Party candidates, have submitted petitions to the court to nullify the result or the APC’s candidate.
Of the total votes, APC secured 34.8 per cent, while PDP and LP had 27.6 per cent and 24.1 per cent, respectively.
The ICIR reported how the president has been embattled with several controversial allegations, including his source of wealth and health status.
Tinubu was quick to set up a reconciliation committee to meet with major contenders, but this did not stop the latter from submitting their petitions at the tribunal. The ICIR has been documenting the development of court proceedings between the three political parties.
Meanwhile, public affairs analyst Akpo Ebireri told The ICIR that statistics like this are only indicative of a widening relationship between the government and the people.
He said, “During the polling leading to the last elections, the figures for “undecided” were significantly huge, and that reflected in the eventual participation of voters at the elections. For inclusivity, the government will respond to issues dependent on how loud and united voices are. If there will be a buildup on the momentum witnessed in the last elections, that would be determined by events of the coming months”.
On the effect of the electioneering development in Nigeria, Ebireri said that the attitude and performance of the incoming government would play a key role in determining how other elections would be conducted.
Findings by The ICIR showed that of the 25 million voters who participated in the election, the top four contending political parties secured 92.45 per cent of the vote cast.
“Ordinarily, he ought to be mindful of the delicate state of affairs, especially since he managed to claim only about 35 per cent of the total votes to be announced the winner. There might be the urgency to deliver so as to sway affection in his favour,” Ebireri said.