Healing 2023 elections fractures in Lagos (Part 1)

March 27, 2023 By News Editor

Healing 2023 elections fractures in Lagos (Part 1)

Nigeria’s electoral umpire INEC conducted a round of elections for Governorship and State Legislative positions across the country earlier this month. It was keenly contested, results reflect actual voting pattern, and observers have noted remarkable improvements over the last 24 years of election history.


The spate of social and political problems will increase in the present to near future. According to Pathfinder, “58000 women die from pregnancy and childbirth complications in Nigeria, and more than 40% of the population are children under the age of 15 years”. Nearly 12% of the world population in extreme poverty lived in Nigeria, considering the poverty threshold at 1.90USD a day; and the equivalent overall figure for Africa will be 422 million in 2025. Meanwhile, Governor Babajide Sanwoolu is positioning Lagos as the next African Global economy.


According to National Bureau of Statistics Multidimensional Poverty Index (2022) report, “Sokoto, Bayelsa, Jigawa, Kebbi and Gombe States are the poorest”. A closer look at segmented data for each State is quite appalling. For instance, the Africa Signal earlier reported that Ajegunle, an inner-city community in Lagos State has 550,000 population. This translates to 57,276 inhabitants per square kilometer, making it one of the most densely populated area in any part of the world. In contrast, the current population density in Nigeria is 226 people per square kilometer.


The facts inferred from data interrogation would suggest Northern political elites actually supported Asiwaju Bola Tinubu’s candidature as President, and were happy to risk their personal ambitions as observed in the Federal elections, in the hope that Tinubu would reverse the perennial problems of poverty in the North, and restore good fortunes for the people.


Some Southern States did not share this optimism, and rather voted along ethnic lines. This opposition was dramatically reflected in Tinubu’s Lagos home base presidential election results as a deliberate and specific war of attrition. The subsequent use of affirmative campaign strategy by Lagosians for the Gubernatorial election was therefore inevitable. This approach was described last Saturday by Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, the Chairman Council of Elders of Ohaneze Ndigbo, as “political rascality…”


The incoming Bola Tinubu’s Presidential Administration therefore has a job well cut out. Economic transformation and empowerment should take a centerstage as the bedrock upon which security, peace development, education, infrastructure and other topical objectives are built. Strategic communications with diverse stakeholders, coherent implementation plan and transparent disclosure of facts will be crucial for his goals attainment.


The Administration of Governor Babajide Sanwoolu on the other hand, cannot deliver on mandates without adopting a more pragmatic approach to opposition management, given the need for maintaining freedom and equal opportunities credentials of Lagos State.


It can no longer be denied that the political struggle over Lagos since 1999 has found an anchor in highly motivated secessionists with annexation motives. Africa Signal has consistently reported Lagos as being disproportionately exposed to post-election risks. The metropolitan nature of Lagos makes subterfuge a native opposition strategy worse than asymmetric warfare, with serious implications for good stable governance of the State.


It will be recalled that Lagos was a positive exemplary city for 70 years until governance standards declined when political control of Lagos came under military rule (1966 – 1979, 1984 – 1999). Subsequent efforts have revitalized the city in terms of a cleaner and greener environment, improved road and water infrastructure, urban bus system and waste management, overhaul of security and improved access to quality education among other baselines. The Nigerian 2022 – 2025 Sensitivity Analysis commissioned by Africa Signal reported that a failure in Lagos universal service delivery will be catastrophic for Nigeria.


Instructively, the people of Lagos have chosen stability, continuity and progress represented by Sanwoolu but the fundamental agitation for a change in political control cannot be summarily dismissed. Emboldened by the effectiveness of #LekkiProtest and #Obidient campaign, a new wave of opposition strategy fully tested and deployed in Lagos with astonishing success, will go full circle as it gets deployed for off-cycle elections, and serve as the new standard for adoption by opposition and pressure groups in future elections and matters of public policy respectively.


This new development is expected to impact Lagos government efforts over the next four years. Implementing the recently endorsed Constitutional amendments on exclusive economic powers has provided an easy target for class interest battles. The cash crunch debacle has revealed how easy it is for public servants to undermine governments and make people’s lives miserable without any form of accountability. Contiguous States will not be spared. The Lagos #Obidient strategy was replicated by PDP and other opposition parties in Ogun State hard-fought Governorship election, so a resurgence of historical G11/G15 debacle could be imminent.


The problems are not insurmountable, but a proper identification and checking the urge to oversimplify, will save the people from hardship and ensure Lagos is well protected from political fallouts as a time-honored business city.


Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu will be sworn-in as the next President of Nigeria; but his legacy will be measured by how well the respectful, diligent and likeable Governor Babajide Sanwoolu, could respond to these post-election threats. His actions and errors will define the prospects and living conditions of Lagosians going forward.



(Updated: Part 2 published as “Unlocking the Gains of Constitution Amendment“)

(Samuel Odebowale)




Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Contact Us

The Africa Signal News Magazine is published by OceanSpring Group

Olu Awotesu Street, Jabi District, Abuja, FCT Nigeria.

+234 (0) 803 805 3726 editor@theafricasignal.com

Business Development &
Marketing Hotline:

+234 (0) 812 736 9971

Complaints: Ombudsman@theafricasignal.com

Standard terms apply to published views.