Nigeria’s general election, Israel-Hamas war… major political incidents in 2023

 Nigeria’s general election, Israel-Hamas war… major political incidents in 2023

In the political spectacle of 2023, Nigeria witnessed a historic election as President Buhari gracefully stepped aside, paving the way for a vibrant contest.

However, in this report, CrispNG’s Hamzat Ibrahim Abaga examines the major political activities that shape Nigeria, Africa, and the world in 2023. Ranging from the Russia-Ukraine war, the Israel-Hamas conflict, and African coups, reshaping geopolitical landscapes among other issues. 

Nigeria‘s political stage buzzed with anticipation on February 25, 2023, when Africa’s most populous country hosted a grand electoral spectacle. The seasoned incumbent, President Muhammadu Buhari, gracefully bowed out due to term limits, setting the stage for a riveting contest that echoed the echoes of history since the dawn of civilian rule in 1999.

A vibrant array of eighteen contenders eagerly threw their hats into the ring, each vying to ascend to the helm of Africa’s economic powerhouse. 

Among the luminaries was Bola Tinubu, a two-term luminary from Lagos and a prominent figure within the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC). 

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On the opposing front was Atiku Abubakar, a resilient force from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), seeking the presidency for an unprecedented sixth attempt.

Israel-Hamas war

In October 2023, an armed conflict erupted between Israel and Hamas-led Palestinian militants, primarily in Gaza but also affecting the West Bank and Israel–Lebanon border.

Triggered by a surprise multi-pronged invasion from Gaza, Hamas cited reasons such as the Gaza Strip blockade, Israeli settlement expansion, and settler violence. Israel responded with a massive aerial bombardment, a blockade, and a ground invasion. 

The conflict resulted in over 15,500 Palestinian casualties, including 6,000 children, making it one of the deadliest wars for children. Accusations of war crimes were leveled against both Israel and Hamas. 

The humanitarian crisis in Gaza escalated due to collapsed health systems, displacement of populations, and shortages of essential supplies. Global protests called for a ceasefire, with the United States vetoing a UN Security Council resolution. A temporary truce was agreed upon but broke down, leading to renewed combat on December 1, 2023.

African coups

In a ruinous period across West Africa, political upheavals have unfolded, leaving nations grappling with transitions of power.

Burkina Faso 

Burkina Faso experienced two coups within eight months. President Roch Marc Christian Kaboré was ousted in January 2022, succeeded by Lieutenant-Colonel Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba. Later, Damiba was dismissed, and Captain Ibrahim Traoré became the transitional president until the 2024 elections.


In Niger, President Mohamed Bazoum was ousted on July 26, 2023, with General Abdourahamane Tiani assuming control for a proposed three-year transition. ECOWAS planned to deploy a regional force to restore constitutional order.


In Sudan, General Abdel Fattah al-Burhane ousted civilian leaders in October 2021, leading to a power struggle causing a war since April 15, 2023, resulting in at least 5,000 casualties.


Guinea saw President Alpha Condé’s overthrow in September 2021, replaced by Colonel Mamady Doumbouya, who pledged to return power to elected civilians by the end of 2024.


Mali experienced two coups in nine months, with President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta overthrown in 2020 and Colonel Assimi Goïta assuming transitional presidency in 2021, promising civilian return post-February 2024 elections.

Ukraine-Russia war 

In February 2022, Russia initiated a major invasion of Ukraine, escalating the long-standing Russo-Ukrainian War since 2014. This became the most significant assault on a European nation since World War II, resulting in substantial casualties and displacements.

By June 2022, Russian forces controlled around 20% of Ukraine, leading to widespread internal displacement and a substantial refugee crisis in Europe. The conflict, labeled as an ecocide, exacerbated the global food crisis. President Vladimir Putin defended the invasion as a “special military operation” to support breakaway republics, falsely depicting Ukraine as governed by neo-Nazis. 

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The international community condemned the invasion, with the UN General Assembly urging Russian withdrawal, the International Court of Justice demanding a halt to military operations, and the Council of Europe expelling Russia. Sanctions were imposed on Russia and Belarus, triggering global protests and arrests. The ICC initiated investigations, culminating in an arrest warrant for Putin in March 2023.

Bayelsa, Imo and Kogi state elections 

On November 10th, 2023, elections were conducted in Bayelsa, Imo, and Kogi states to choose the governor who will rule the states for the next four years.

However, in Bayelsa, PDP’s Douye Diri secured 175,000 votes, surpassing APC’s Timipre Sylva with 110,000 votes, while Labour Party’s Udengs Eradiri trailed with 900 votes. 

Clashes and an electoral official’s abduction marred the voting process. Imo state witnessed Hope Uzodinma’s victory with over 540,000 votes, followed by PDP’s Samuel Anyanwu with 71,500 votes, and Labour Party’s Athan Nneji Achonu with 64,000. In Imo, residents queued for water due to a strike affecting water and electricity supplies. 

Kogi state saw APC’s Ahmed Usman Ododo leading with 446,000 votes, SDP’s Alhaji Muritala Ajaka with 260,000, and PDP’s Dino Melaye with 46,000. Two individuals attempting ballot box theft were reportedly shot dead. 

Despite fraud reports, the electoral commission deemed it insufficient to impact the overall outcome, canceling initially proposed reruns. Some losing candidates alleged malpractice, but legal challenges became the only recourse post-announcement of winners, testing public confidence in the electoral process following contested presidential election results.

Amidst state elections and global tensions, 2023 saw triumphs and challenges. Nigeria navigated political shifts, the Israel-Hamas war spurred global outcry, and African nations grappled with coups. These events underscored the intricate tapestry of political dynamics shaping the world in a year marked by seismic changes.

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