The figure was obtained from collating active Facebook accounts through which the various support groups are advancing the presidential ambitions of their supporters.
In all, more than 500 such support groups are currently campaigning for Abubakar, Osinbajo, Tinubu and others.
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.
Among the prominent groups is the Atiku Support Group.
Created on October 12, 2018, the group is located in Ibadan and has 202,000 members as at September 14.
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.”
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 groups campaigning for the former Lagos State governor Tinubu is the Tinubu Support Group (TSG).
In August, after campaign posters featuring the pictures of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and Kano State Governor Abdullahi Ganduje flooded the streets of Kano, the VP’s spokesman Laolu Akande said that Osinbajo had no interest in the 2023 presidential election.
But checks by The ICIR show that several support groups are campaigning for the vice president to succeed his boss, Buhari, in 2023.
One of the groups that are campaigning for the vice president is Professor Yemi Osinbajo 2023. Created on April 4, 2021, the group currently has 111 members.
Another group – I Support Yemi Osinbajo – created on June 24, 2014, with the name changed on June 26, 2020, has 10,000 members.