What to know about campaigns in Nigeria

The clock is ticking as Nigeria pushes her way through to the next Presidential election in 2023. The race for the crown is on, with different aspirants declaring their intentions to join the race.

For an ordinary Nigerian, this period is counted as one of the most crucial period because the future of the next four years lies in one main event.

Looking back from independence till date what keeps this moment promising are the assurances layered out by the various aspirants. To many, this could be in form of campaign songs, to some animations, pictures and latterly the mantra (campaign theme) keep us up, waiting to know what new agendas this new leader would have.

Let’s play out the presidential campaign since independence; the promises, the value, and the hopes, and to as many readers, cast your mind back to which you remembered, which you supported and which campaign promises came through for you.

1. Nnamdi Azikwe / Abubakar Balewa 1959 Election


Many remember him as the great Zik, Nnamdi Azikwe alongside other nationalist fought for the independence of Nigeria. Under the National Council of Nigeria and the Cameroons (N.C.N.C) the great Zik ran for presidency though no party was named victor due to none of them having a majority. N.C.N.C and Northern People’s Congress (N.P.C) formed an alliance and ruled with Nnamdi Azikwe as the ceremonial head and Tafarawa Balewa as the head of state. Though the campaign didn’t carry the same hot vibe as now. We must say it was very effective. No graphics or eye catching pictures but the words where from the heart.

Campaign Mantra: A CALL FOR INDEPENDENCE

Independence was promised independence was given with a prospect of a country that we all desire.


2. Shehu Shagari 1979

Citation: (Vote President Shehu Shagari. Vote NPN. National Party of Nigeria, one nation, one destiny, 1983)

The first democratic president with a rather promising future we must say. Shehu Shagari ran for the presidency under the National Party of Nigeria (N.P.N) in 1979 and came out victorious.

Campaign Mantra: ONE NATION, ONE DESTINY

With the desire for unity came the campaign promises of a one Nigeria we all pray for, void of dispute and disunity. With four years under his reign can you say one nation was achieved? Comment below


3. MKO Abiola 1993


Though he never became president MKO Abiola campaign sparked something different for Nigerians and that is hope. Running under the Social Democratic Party (S.D.P) MKO Abiola won the 1993 election but unforunately this dream was never achieved as the election result was annulled by the preceeding military head of state General Ibrahim Babaginda. Maybe if he was given a chance we would have had a ray of “Hope”

Campaign Mantra: HOPE

If there is something to pick from MKO Abiola’s campaign then it is the fact that good campaign songs can live on. A good campaign shouldn’t be easily forgotten it should be mirrored and remodified.


4. Olusegun Obasanjo 1999



Olusegun Obasanjo still ring the bell to many Nigerians today both great and small. Though not much can be remembered from the campaign but the leader played his part in creating a lasting impression. Olusegun Obasanjo ran under the umbrella of the People’s Democratic Party (P.D.P) in 1999 and came victorious.

Campaign Mantra: THE LEADER WE CAN TRUST

He was trusted to deliver, can we say he was exceptional in living up to his campaign promises?


5. Umaru Musa Yar Adua 2007


The late Umaru Musa Yar Adua was one leader that will forever live in the hearts of Nigerians. Umaru Musa Yar Adua ran under the People’s Democratic Party (P.D.P) in 2007 and came out victorious above all odds.

Campaign Mantra: FORWARD EVER, BACKWARD NEVER

Another ray of hope in his promise with a desire for a better Nigeria; far better than we could have imagined but the question could this promise be fulfilled fully if he was still alive? Guess we would never know.


6. Goodluck Ebele 2011

After the painful demise of the late Umaru Musa Yar Adua, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan took over power as the acting president in 2010. With a step further he ran for president under the People’s Democratic Party (P.D.P) in 2011 however he lost to Muhammadu Buhari in the year 2015.



Campaign Mantra: TIME FOR TRANSFORMATION



Campaign Mantra 2015: LET’S DO MORE

Notable campaign, modern look with a promise for more but we guess more might not be what Nigerian needed.


7. Muhammadu Buhari 2015

If there is one man who didn’t give up then he is President Muhammadu Buhari but taking a look at his campaign there where unique features that differentiated it from the rest and that is the ability to form a campaign based on what the people desire. And to all that might want to know more consistency really works


Buhari/ Okadigbo 2003 (Lost to Olusegun Obasanjo)



Campaign Mantra: CHANGE


Buhari (A.N.P.P) 2007 Lost to Umaru Musa Yar Adua




Buhari/Bakare | Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) | 2011 | Lost to Goodluck Ebele Jonathan)



Campaign Mantra: CHANGE


Buhari/ Osinbajo 2015 (WON)



Campaign Mantra: CHANGE


Buhari/Osinbajo 2019 (WON)


Campaign Mantra: NEXT LEVEL


8. Atiku Abubarkar

While he continue his pursuit for victory there are one or two lessons to be picked from the former Vice president campaign so far. The push and the zeal, the creativity and consistency may one day get him the presidency like the current president.



Campaign Mantra: BE ATIKULATED


So many promises have gone down in record but how many did you remember and how many came through for you.


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