First ballot may not provide president in 2023 – Sen. Hunkuyi

Kaduna state gubernatorial candidate of New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP), Sen. Suleiman Othman Hunkuyi has stated that the first ballot may not provide clear winner of the 2023 presidential election, considering the strength of the parties and their presidential candidates. 

Hunkuyi, who represented Kaduna North in the 8th Assembly on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC), said considering the strength of the APC, the NNPP, the People’s Democratic Party, the Labour Party and other small parties in the race for the coveted position, apart from winning simple majority, it would be difficult for a presidential candidate to win 25% of votes in 25 states of the federation, which is one of the conditions to be met by the winner of the presidential election, adding that this could lead to a run-off to determine the winner of the polls. 

Speaking with select correspondents of national dailies at his Kaduna office on Wednesday, the guber hopeful noted that with the presidential candidates being given religious and ethnic colouration, for any presidential candidates to secure 25% votes in 25 states might be an herculean task in the first ballot.

He however warned that no political party big or small should be underrated as any of the parties could spring a surprise in the 2023 general elections in a free, fair and transparent election.

When asked about his party’s leader and presidential candidate, Sen. Rabi’u Kwankwaso’s rumoured possible withdrawing for another candidate, Hunkuyi said, “I’m not Kwankwaso, I’m not speaking Kwankwaso’s mind, neither am I capable of talking for Kwankwaso in that pedestal and on that matter, but I have a position. It does not appear any party today in Nigeria, including NNPP may make it in the first election. There might have to be a run-off. Because the law requires some minimum scores from the total votes cast, in a required minimum number of states apart from simple majority scored. 

“I feel no one party, no one candidate may be able to make it  and that is why the laws of elections permits for a re-run. So, for anyone to say because NNPP may not make it, which party then may make it? Am talking from the background of the politics in Nigeria today. You see PDP and APC as the biggest of them all, but try to plot the graph, and when you do it, try to do it dispassionately. We have 36 states and to win election, you need 25% of votes in minimum of 25 states. So, go ahead and count. 

“So, the responsibility of Kwankwaso and NNPP is to put up through a required credible alternative platform, a responsible government for the polity in Nigeria. The NNPP cannot arrogate to itself, neither can APC or PDP arrogate to themselves that they must win the minimum required votes in the required number of states. Nigeria is too big a polity, the polity is erratic. From where is APC going to gather what you are talking about? Count, look around. If you are talking about what the polity used to be before, it was just two parties, APC and PDP.

“Now, you have the APC, PDP, NNPP, Labour Party and other smaller parties. Nobody can arrogate to himself, if you take a hundred votes say in Lagos, yes, you can say maybe two parties may not get 25 per cent, maybe three parties may not get it and if you start going round, you will see that, two, three parties may not likely get the 25 per cent in more than 10 states. Come back to APC itself, go to the East, plot the graph, come back to the North, plot the graph. 

“A politician leaves his window open, he talks to every citizen because every citizen is entitled to a vote. If there will likely be a run-off, the strongest may require the weakest, the weakest may do with the strongest or choose to do with the middle cadre. It is a complex arithmetic. Nobody will just close his own door and sit in his own house and become an island not this polity, not this 2023 election. If Kwankwaso wants to win election, he may have to fraternize whether he likes it or not.”