Implications of Nigeria’s flawed presidential election

Many people, both Nigerians and foreigners, have wondered aloud why Nigeria, which is blessed with equable weather conditions, large arable landmass, and abundant material and human resources, has remained trapped in the mire of national undevelopment.

But the reason for Nigeria’s economic distress and technological backwardness is not farfetched. The fact is, we have not got our politics right, even for once, since our country’s attainment of political sovereignty in 1960.

Nigeria, we all know, has always been led by her third eleven politicians, who are moral derelicts, intellectual midgets, ethnic jingoists, and religious bigots. Over the years, our egregious and atrocious culture of the imposition of leaders on the populace by kingmakers, which was introduced to by us the British imperialists, has led to the emergence of third-rate political leaders in Nigeria. So imposing political leaders on the people by political kingmakers has become part of our political culture.

For example, when we became a sovereign country in 1960, the departing British imperialists clandestinely helped Alhaji Tafawa Balewa to become our Prime Minister at the expense of the Rt. Hon. Nnamdi Azikiwe and Chief Obafemi Awolowo, who were his political and intellectual betters. And Alhaji Shehu Shagari, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, Alhaji Umaru Musa Yar’adua, and Dr. Goodluck Jonathan became our executive presidents at different periods in our democratic journey either through the help of kingmakers or fortuitously.

The disputed presidential election, the winner of which is likely to be decided by the courts, has the potentiality of throwing our country into a political cul-de-sac, if the judgement on the presidential election is thought to be unfair

But none of the aforementioned political leaders, who led Nigeria in the past, could leapfrog her to the acme of economic and technological development. And none of them could bridge the chasm of disunity, which has separated the northern people from the southern people. They failed to extirpate corruption, the cankerworm destroying Nigeria, from our body politic, too. As a result, Nigeria has not realized her potential. She is the giant with the feet of clay.

However, the coming of Muhammadu Buhari to power some eight years ago rekindled hope in the minds of millions of Nigerians, who were, hitherto, dispossessed and disillusioned. Given his much-touted zero tolerance for corruption, patriotic zeal, ascetic lifestyle, and messianic aura, millions of Nigerians believed that he would bring about political renaissance, economic recovery, and technological development in Nigeria. And they thought that he would unite the peoples of Nigeria instead of deepening the country’s ethnic and religious fissures.

But President Buhari’s leadership of Nigeria is a study in economic ruination of Nigeria, impeding our country’s march to technological development, polarisation of Nigeria along ethnic and religious lines, and the enthronement of the Fulani hegemony and irredentism in the country. And his inability to rein in the Boko Haram insurgents, terrorists, bandits, and fulani herdsmen, who are kidnapping rich Nigerians for ransom and killing other people is an index and/or proof of the ineptness and ineffectiveness of his political administration of Nigeria.

Now, not a few Nigerians want to see his back. They are tired of his political ineptness and cluelessness. Those disenchanted and disillusioned Nigerians trooped out en masse to exercise their franchise on February 25, 2023 during the presidential election. But their political will was subverted by the political desperadoes and the APC head honchos, who want a continuation of the ugly status quo ante in Nigeria.

Based on pieces of evidence obtained from participants in the February 25, 2023 presidential election, the election was deeply flawed. Millions of people were disenfranchised. And it was conducted in total disregard of the electoral laws, which made the presidential polls susceptible to manipulation by unscrupulous APC political stalwarts. So the result of the presidential election is not by any stretch of the imagination a reflection of the people’s political will.

Now it is evident and clear to us that the next occupant of the presidential seat at Aso Rock, Abuja, will be determined via electoral litigation. So far, the presidential candidates of PDP and the Labour Party have got court rulings to inspect the electoral materials used in conducting the February 25, 2023 presidential election in Nigeria. Politicians’ seeking of redress in courts of law has become part of our democratic culture.

So members of the judiciary who will handle electoral matters arising from the general election should live up to billings and our expectations. They should know that the judiciary is a component of the government, which checks the excesses of the executive arm of government. The judges should not compromise on their integrity and morality so as not to allow themselves to be used by unscrupulous politicians to truncate our democratic journey and progress. A judiciary that is independent in the true sense of the word can save our democracy from destruction.

Read also: Election: Can the judiciary save Nigeria?

The judiciary should act right and handle 2023 presidential electoral matter dispassionately given the fact that millions of Nigerians feel that Mr. Peter Obi of the Labour Party won the presidential election, but was robbed of victory. The mood of the people, now, is disillusionment and indignation. And the atmosphere of fear and uncertainty reigns in the country. So Nigeria can be said to be sitting on a tinderbox as the followers of Mr. Peter Obi, who number in the millions, can be rallied to cause civil unrest in the country.

Nigeria, which is a heterogeneous country, is already buffeted by disunity and is bifurcated along ethnic and religious lines. And the fact that the three top contenders for Nigeria’s 2023 presidential election, who belong to the three major ethnic groups in Nigeria, each have a large following, is a portent of doom for us. So if the disputed presidential election is not handled fairly, it will likely cause political instability in Nigeria, and tip Nigeria over the precipice.

However, surprisingly, prominent Yoruba leaders such as Chief Ayo Adebanjo, Chief Obasanjo, and others have continued to lend support to Mr. Peter Obi in his quest to become the next president of Nigeria. And his victories in Lagos and Abuja in the presidential election has lent credence to his claim that Nigerians from diverse ethnic groups and religious affiliations are solidly behind him.

But the fact is that our February 25, 2023 presidential election was marred by massive irregularities, which made its result unacceptable to us. The disputed presidential election, the winner of which is likely to be decided by the courts, has the potentiality of throwing our country into a political cul-de-sac, if the judgement on the presidential election is thought to be unfair. So I urge the top members of the judiciary to treat all electoral matters arising from the general election(s) with absolute impartiality and emotional detachment.

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