ABOUT 300 ‘support groups on Facebook are campaigning for former Vice President Atiku Abubakar to emerge as Nigeria’s president in 2023, checks by The ICIR have revealed. And more than 200 others are rooting for the APC Chieftain Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and Governor of Kogi State Yahaya Bello. The figure was obtained from collating active Facebook accounts through which the various support groups are advancing the presidential ambition of the former vice president. In all, more than 500 such support groups are currently campaigning for four politicians – Abubakar, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, former Lagos State governor Bola Tinubu and Kogi State Governor Yahaya Bello. Bello has signified his intention to succeed President Muhammadu Buhari as Nigeria’s president in 2023. Tinubu and Abubakar are yet to formally declare their intentions to contest the presidential election in 2023, but they are expected to be among the leading contenders when the race is eventually thrown open by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). Osinbajo is not known to harbour any presidential ambition, but several groups have, in recent times, been making a case for him to succeed Buhari in 2023. Created on October 12, 2018, the group is located in Ibadan and has 202,000 members as at September 14. According to its Facebook profile, the group’s mission is to “disseminate information about the presidency ambition (sic) of Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, GCON.” Another group – Support Atiku for 2023 – was created on December 20, 2017, with the name last changed on June 16, 2021. Located in Abuja, the group currently has 893 members, and is aimed to “inform Nigerians nationwide of the need to support Atiku for a better Nigeria.” With 1,800 members, another group ‘Atiku for President 2023,’ describes itself as a pressure group for ensuring the election of Abubakar Atiku for president in 2023. The group was created on February 9, 2013 but the name was last changed on March 16, 2021. Another prominent Pro-Atiku group is one known as ‘Atiku Abubakar is Coming Next Year.’ The group was created on November 25, 2019 and currently has 19,000 members. Atiku Youths Campaign Group, currently with 380 members, was created on November 1, 2018, as a ‘platform for all Nigerian youths with a common goal to support, campaign and help market the ideas of Atiku Abubakar.’ On the group’s Facebook profile, Abubakar was described as a politician “whose main vision is to transform, unite this nation, stop the killings in the land and grow our economy with the best hands.” Another group, the Atiku Abubakar Campaign Group Organisation, was created on September 17, 2020 and currently has 671 members. As of September 14, another Pro-Atiku group – Atiku Support Group, 2023 General Election – created on May 14, 2020, has 25,000 members. The ICIR’s checks show that many of the existing pro-Atiku groups were formed to campaign for the former vice president in the 2019 presidential election, which he contested as the candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP). Abubakar lost the election to the incumbent President Buhari of the All Progressives Congress (APC). Some of the groups which promoted Abubakar’s candidacy in 2019 have had to change their names to reflect the subsequent goal of supporting his presidential ambition once again in 2023. However, others who campaigned for Abubakar in 2019 did not change their names to reflect the current 2023 agenda continue to use their platforms to mobilise support for the former vice president ahead of the next presidential poll. Among the Pro-Atiku groups are also many which were formed after the 2019 elections, in anticipation of his expected presidential bid in 2023. Groups campaigning for Abubakar to succeed Buhari as Nigeria’s president also include U and I for Atiku 2023, Dr Atiku Abubakar Support Group, Atiku Support Group Youth Movement, Atiku Students Support Group, Atiku Diaspora Support Group the USA, Atiku Support Vanguard Nationwide, Coalition of Atiku Support Groups, Atiku Special Support Group, 774 Support for Atiku 2023, Coalition of Atiku Support Groups Initiative (CASGI), and Atiku Support Group Come 2023 General Election, among others.