The Most Important Election No One Is Talking About

by | Feb 10, 2023


Nigeria stands on the precipice of epochal political change. Nigerians across the country have been captivated by the campaign of a former state governor called Peter Obi. Originally thought to be the distant third candidate in a two party race, even the most sceptical are starting to believe that he could be set to shatter a political consensus that has reigned supreme since 1999.

With perceptions shaped by an economy in turmoil, widespread instability, and frustration at entrenched political corruption, if there ever was a time for a political insurgency, that time is now.

Premise previously conducted a sentiment survey in September 2022 on the Nigerian presidential election. You can see more on this survey here. Only weeks away from election day itself, we asked Nigerians once again what they think about politics in their country, and who they want to see returned to office in Abuja.

Premise’s Approach:

Premise conducted a poll between 26th January and 4th February 2023, gathering results from 2,384 individual Nigerian contributors. Submissions were subject to rigorous quality control. Results were weighted against the original state-by-state age and gender quotas, thereby ensuring representativeness according to the most recent population projections dating from 2019.

We wanted to explore perceptions of the electoral process, peoples’ concerns, and their thoughts on the leading candidates. We asked questions like:

  • Do people trust elections in Nigeria to be run fairly?
  • Do people think their vote makes a difference?
  • Will they vote?
  • Which candidate do they think is best able to improve the economy?
  • Has their preferred candidate changed over the course of the campaign?

The Results:

Overall, 65% of Nigerians either ‘strongly’ or ‘somewhat’ agree with the statement, ‘I trust elections in my country to be run fairly.’

Nigerian political sentiment: I trust elections in my country to be run fairly.


Overwhelming majorities across all age and gender groups believe that their vote will make a difference.

Even though concerns about corruption are considerable, Nigerians seem to expect the candidate returned at the ballot box to reflect their choice.


The principal drivers of electoral choice remain the same as in our poll last September: the economy, corruption, and national security, with the cost-of-living becoming a slightly greater concern.

Nigerians fundamentally want change.

Nigerians fundamentally want change.


Nationwide, Peter Obi remains in the lead among all ages and genders for competence on the economy, corruption, and national security.

This perception appears deeply rooted, with major shifts in candidate preference between now and election day being unlikely given that 93% say that they have decided for whom to vote.

A clear majority of 66% name Peter Obi as their preference, followed by Bola Tinubu on 18% and Atiku Abubakar on 10%.

A clear majority of 66% name Peter Obi as their preference, followed by Bola Tinubu on 18% and Atiku Abubakar on 10%.



This year’s presidential election in Nigeria may well prove to be the most important international event too few are currently talking about. The stage seems set for a result that could destroy the political duopoly that has ruled Africa’s largest economy since the restoration of democracy in 1999.

Peter Obi’s candidacy for the Nigerian presidency simply cannot be ignored. He has mobilised support from demographics across the country, providing a tempting alternative to the traditional two-man race. The support we saw him attract last September has been sustained, and he has continued to make gains at the expense of the two other major candidates. This has come at a particularly turbulent time – with political disaffection, economic hardship, and insecurity looming large across the country – giving Nigerians the chance for the change so many seem to want.

There are many things polls cannot measure, but this election has aroused genuine excitement amongst Nigerians. They are determined to go out and participate at the polls and they expect the result to reflect the peoples’ choice. Given fears of violence and disruption on election day itself, however, it remains to be seen whether the promise of a free and fair election that Nigerians desire will usher in a new democratic dawn.

About Premise:

Premise offers crowdsourced information from real people on the ground in hard-to-reach places. Over five million people in 140 countries are using the Premise app on their smartphones, enabling our customers to monitor a situation over time and employ a data-driven approach to timely decision-making. To learn more about Premise, watch our tech demo or get in touch with us.