The year 2023 will go down in the annals of history as one that would be a reference point in Nigeria.
The Ekiti and Osun gubernatorial elections in June and July, 2022, respectively, were a forerunner to the general elections in 2023 and the successes recorded in both gubernatorial elections not minding the legal squabbles, were hailed as exceptional.
To achieve that level of success, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Nigeria’s electoral umpire, introduced the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) machine to counter electoral frauds.
The introduction of this new technology upped the game as many politicians were left confused with no other option but to submit to the choice of the people.
Notwithstanding this, it has been alleged in several fora that the politicians have been trying other means of circumventing the BVAS machine.
The INEC had in 2022 scheduled February 2023 for the presidential election.
The commission rolled out continuous voter registration and the collection of Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs).
The electoral umpire also tested the efficacy of the BVAS machines and it came out with satisfactory results. With the results recorded, INEC had made it a point that it was going ahead with the use of the BVAS machine technology.
The front liners in the election are Bola Ahmed Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Peter Obi of the Labour Party and Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso of the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP).
The atmosphere is set and the dramatis personae are set to do battle but the battle cannot be won without the active involvement and participation of the electorates.
National population census
2023 is also significant because the Muhammadu Buhari-led administration has also scheduled the national population census for this year.
Whether the exercise would hold this year or not is yet to be ascertained due the lack of publicity about it.
The last population census was held in March 2006 during the Olusegun Obasanjo-led PDP administration.
The next census was supposed to be conducted in 2016 but it was shelved.
While the populace is celebrating the new year, the INEC and the NPC were working underground to make these two most important exercises a reality.
Traditionally since 1999, the handover date for any government has been May 29.
2023 is another transition year and it is hoped that by May 29, another government will be sworn into office.
Also, all the 36 State legislatures and a good number of State governors will hand over to their successors or return to office for a second term.
Many of the office holders, especially the legislators, at both the National and State Houses of Assemblies will not be returning to their positions.
This Electoral Act gave room for the introduction of the BVAS machine and the electronic transmission of election results. It is believed that this would affect many politicians who lack a support base.
There is the issue of insecurity which has been plaguing Nigeria since 2009 when Boko Haram launched an insurgency against Nigeria.
While the country was still grappling with that challenge, bandits and Biafra agitators also took the centre stage.
Their activities have kept the Nigerian military on their toes and many innocent lives have been lost.
Many citizens now look up to what would become of the country when a new government is sworn-in by May 29.