Kenyan Presidential Elections and Seven Lessons for Nigeria By Charles Nwadigwe

By Charles Nwadigwe

Deputy President, William Ruto has won the Kenyan Presidential Election with over 50% votes despite falling out with incumbent President, Uhuru Kenyatta who decided to back his longtime rival, Raila Odinga to spite Mr. Ruto.

The electoral outcome has some lessons for Nigeria. We shall summarize sieven of them below:

*Lesson 1*: Having influential Godfathers with power of incumbency can no longer guarantee electoral success. Raila Odinga lost the election.

*Lesson 2*: Political alliances of old foes are now viewed with suspicion by today’s electorates in Africa unlike what obtained in the past. Odinga was a bitter rib and critic of President Kenyatta. People saw them in their new alliance as strange bed fellows.

*Lesson 3*: Money politics and corruption have ruled Kenyan politics over the years. However, abject poverty, high youth unemployment, untold hardship and unfulfilled promises have woken the masses from political slumber to reject money and vote wisely.

*Lesson 4*: The Social Media was very powerful in swinging the victory to the side of Mr. Ruto. Those who still underrate the power of Social Media in modern African politics should have a rethink.

*Lesson 5*: Age has become a key factor in African politics. Voters are now rejecting old, recycled candidates in preference for youthfulness. At 55, Ruto was the youngest of the 4 major contestants. He defeated the older and much experienced Raila Odinga who is 77 and a former Prime Minister. The other two major candidates are also in their 60s.

*Lesson 6*: Contesting several times does not guarantee victory for a candidate in future election. Raila Odinga contested 5 times (between 1997 to 2022) and lost all. He lost to Kibaki, Kenyatta and now Ruto. (A lesson for Atiku Abubakar of Nigeria)

*Lesson 7* Ethnicity is becoming a secondary consideration in Sub-Saharan African politics. Kenyatta is from the dominant tribe, Kikuyu. He played the ethnic card to try and secure victory for Odinga who is a Luo but the people are more interested in honesty and competence than tribal considerations.

We hope the Nigerian electorate will be wiser as the country gets set for the all-important 2023 Presidential Elections.

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