The Potential Effects of Peter Obi’s Landslide Victory in UI on the Student Elections


By Oluwapelumi King

“If Peter Obi was contesting for UISU Presidential elections, he would have won resoundingly”

This quote caught the attention of many UItes as news of Peter Obi clearing all polling units began to surface. While originally intended for humor, the statement holds some truth upon closer examination. At one polling unit, INEC officials counted LP/Peter Obi’s votes while several UItes shouted ‘No structure.’ This video went viral, seen as a response to the popular belief that Peter Obi couldn’t win the presidential elections due to his lack of a political structure. This article will analyse these two scenarios and their relevance to the upcoming UI student elections.

No Structure
In this context, “structure” does not refer to physical buildings, offices, or organizational systems. Instead, it pertains to the political landscape, specifically the number of government officials, big politicians, and grassroots agents that a political party has in a particular state or region. These structures are essential to winning elections, particularly Presidential elections. Some opponents and analysts claimed that the Labour Party’s perceived lack of political structures was a major hindrance to Peter Obi’s emergence as President, while Labour Party supporters rebutted this by stating that the people themselves are the structure. This is why several individuals were seen chanting “No Structure” in their polling units as votes were counted.

The University of Ibadan is similar in many ways, with its own political structures consisting of stakeholders, Hall Chairpersons, Faculty and departmental presidents, and other political stalwarts that support a particular candidate. It is widely believed that winning UISU Presidential elections is virtually impossible without the support of these structures, and candidates themselves actively seek the endorsement of these individuals to secure more backing for their candidacy.

One question that arises is whether these structures have proven to be effective in previous elections. It is an undeniable fact that these structures have been effective, primarily due to their ability to turn out voters during elections. Those who own these structures ensure that the people they have influence over come out to vote for their preferred candidate, and they may also help to sway undecided or apathetic voters towards their preferred candidate on election day. However, this practice of convincing people on Election Day is illegal. Moreover, these structures make the results of press night (an event where candidates present their manifestos to the public) inconsequential in the sense that a candidate can perform poorly during press night but still emerge victorious. Also, it takes an effect on the relevance of the manifesto night too or the presidential debate, as candidates would not see it as important since you can perform poorly and still emerge victorious.

Peter Obi’s landslide victory at the University of Ibadan could potentially change the dynamics of these structures, particularly in UISU Presidential elections, if a candidate can generate enough interest and support from the general populace to break down these structures. The people themselves have the power to make these structures effective, and while many political stalwarts supported other candidates during the election, it ultimately proved ineffective.

Turn Out

The statement, “It will not have been a victory if there was no turnout,” holds true, as a low turnout of voters in any election cannot be considered a victory. In the 2019 presidential elections, there was not only a low turnout in the registration of voters but also a low turnout of voters on election day. However, in the 2023 elections, there was a significant increase in the collection of Permanent Voter Cards (PVC) and voter turnout, especially among young people, including students of the University of Ibadan (UI) who showed a great interest in exercising their right to vote. The number of first-time voters who participated in the election was also high, and some students chose to remain on campus to vote. The voter turnout among UI students in the 2023 elections was significantly higher compared to previous elections. It is reasonable to assume that most of the voters who voted in UI were students of the university.

It is worth noting that low turnout seems to be a recurring phenomenon at the University of Ibadan, especially during faculty elections. For example, in the Faculty of Arts, out of over 1,500 students, only a little over 900 voted, with a significant number of students casting their votes only in the presidential election and ignoring the other positions. Similarly, in the last UISU (University of Ibadan Students’ Union) elections, several UItes did not vote, although some of the factors responsible for this could be attributed to server errors at the time.

If the general populace turns out in large numbers to vote for their preferred candidate(s), it could result in a landslide victory similar to that of Peter Obi.


There appeared to be a sense of unity among the majority of UItes who voted for Obi and were happy he won in UI, despite their diverse backgrounds. At that point, it did not seem to matter whether one was Ibo, Yoruba, Southerner, or Northerner; it was almost like a melting point for voters from all tribes. Peter Obi had brought all the voters together in UI, and the tribalism and sectionalism that existed outside the university seemed not to affect the voters in UI. Unfortunately, this does not necessarily hold true within the university itself. People are divided by departments, halls, fellowships, faculties, voluntary associations such as Sigma, etc., but mostly among departments, faculties, and halls. A candidate may not necessarily possess stellar qualities for that leadership position, but they may still garner a lot of votes from their department, faculty, and other affiliations. For example, the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and the Department of Animal Sciences may vote for the same candidate as they are closely affiliated, taking many courses together. At this point, it is not solely about qualities but also about departmental-ism, faculty-ism, hall-ism, and affiliations linked to departments, faculties, and halls.

If the majority of UItes can unite and vote for a candidate based on their qualities and abilities, it could result in a landslide victory.

Peter Obi’s overwhelming victory and the current political climate have highlighted the need for change, which has the potential to initiate a period of revitalization in both the political arena and leadership. In an era where some current student leaders are perceived as weak, ineffective, and self-centred, the University of Ibadan requires a leader or group of leaders who genuinely have the students’ best interests at heart. To achieve this, an atmosphere of political openness and high turnout must be fostered, leading to unity among UItes. In actuality, the people are the structure, and in UI, the UItes are the foundation and structure.

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