Factors Behind Obi's Win in Lagos & Why Sanwo Olu ...
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Opinions - March 2, 2023

Factors Behind Obi’s Win in Lagos & Why Sanwo Olu Should Be Worried 

One of the big wins of the just concluded 2023 presidential elections is the notable performance of Peter Obi, the Labour Party presidential candidate in Lagos.

Reports by the electoral umpire, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) showed that Obi polled 582,454 votes to trounce Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the presidential candidate of the All Progressive Congress (APC)who scored 572,606 votes. 

The strategic win which tested the position of the former Lagos state governor as the political godfather of the state could break APC’s long-standing record in the commercial city of Nigeria at the forthcoming gubernatorial elections.

While a lot of factors could be responsible for Peter Obi’s win in Lagos, Babajide Sanwolu’s victory at the polls on the 11th of March is being threatened. Examining these factors and the reasons why Sanwolu should be worried will give us an insight into what could be the outcome of Saturday’s election.

The active participation of youths 

Figures from the Lagos state Ministry of Youth and Social Development assert that 60 per cent of the estimated 25 million people in Lagos are young people between the ages of 15 and 35. This percentage which stands at approximately 10 million, the largest in the country is one of the factors that influenced Peter Obi’s win in Lagos. 

Ahead of the election, Lagos youths took to social media to express their readiness for the election. Most of them who went through a tedious process to secure their Permanent Voter Cards (PVC) were at their polling units very early to cast their votes. After casting their votes, most of them took to social media to share pictures of their marked fingers, which showed that they participated in this process. This mass participation of youths made Obi floor Tinubu in Lagos.

APC’s Muslim Muslim Ticket 

This is another factor that gave Obi an edge over Tinubu. The Muslim-Muslim ticket presented by the ruling party was not accepted by most Christians across the nation.

The ticket increased the fear that the nation could be Islamised following the recent attacks on churches. One such is the June 6, 2022, Owo attack that claimed several lives and plunged the nation into mourning. The hurts and disappointment birthed by the attack on churches made pastors counsel their members to go get their PVCs and participate in the electoral process.

Citizen’s determination to take back their country 

Closely linked to the previous factor is Nigerians’ determination to take their country back. This comes on the heels of broadened voter education by the electoral umpire. Nigerians were reminded that they owned the nation and by casting their votes, they can elect a leader of their choice. So they came out en masse to vote for Peter Obi, a candidate who ticked all their boxes with his unique political and social records.

Minimized fear of violence 

Over the years, Nigeria has recorded low voter turnout because of fear of electoral violence. Citizens in time past chose to safely stay in the corner of their homes, rather than come out to vote. However, the 2023 election was different as the Nigerian government ensured that security agents were deployed to polling units to ensure maximum security. This minimised the fear of violence and made many Lagosians participate in the election. Also, the easy identification of polling units helped minimise the fear of violence as voters were assigned to areas they were familiar with.

The notable presence of the Igbo people in Lagos 

Lagos is home to a large number of businesses, some of which are owned by Igbos. It is believed that the number of people in the state influenced Obi’s win in Lagos. 

A chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party, Dele Momodu who spoke on Channel Television’s Sunrise Daily programme on Thursday, said “What transpired last Saturday, the major factor was ethnic: the Labour Party was able to take over the APC behemoth because of the preponderance of the Igbo people in Lagos. They are everywhere.”

Going further, it is pertinent to examine why the incumbent Lagos state governor, Babajide Sanwolu should be worried. Here are some reasons:

The youths are unhappy with the outcome of the 2023 presidential elections 

Nigerian youths are generally unhappy with the collation and announcement of the 2023 presidential elections. This unhappiness could make them use the power inherent in their PVCs to vote for another candidate that relates and believes in the “OBIdient mandate.”

Their unhappiness which dates back to the 2020 EndSars protest and the attitude of Sanwolu to the movements could be the reason why youths may decide to vote him out.

LP governorship candidate has gained momentum 

Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour (the Lagos face of Obi) has over the past few days gained momentum. This comes as the running mate of Obi, Yusuf Datti Baba-Ahmed charged Nigerian youths to come out and vote for the party in next week’s governorship and the house of assembly polls.

Gbadebo is the son of former Supreme Court of Nigeria Justice Olawale Rhodes-Vivour and Mrs. Nkechi Rhodes-Vivour. He holds a degree in architecture and founded Spatial Tectonics. The Lagos gubernatorial candidate also serves on the boards of Alhuda Construction Nigeria and Delta International Commercial City Ltd. 

The above factors could deprive him of a second term 

Most importantly, Sanwolu should be worried because his dream of a second term could be aborted by the possible factors that made Obi win Lagos during the 2023 presidential election. 

Lagosians who are aware of the political relationship between Sanwolu and Tinubu have learned through the just concluded elections that they possessed what it takes to seize Lagos from Tinubu. They could use their PVCs to hand the state to Gbadebo.

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