By Suleiman Umaru and Lateef Adegbite
It is no longer news that Asiwaju Bola Ahme Tinubu, a former governor of Lagos state and the ruling All Progressive Congress, APC, Candidate has been declared the winner of Saturday, February 25, 2023, Presidential elections by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, a body Constitutionally recongnised to do so.
The APC Candidate has polled 8,794,726 votes , spread across five political regions of the country , except the south east. He has secured majority of the votes in the south-west states of Ekiti, Oyo, Ondo, Ogun and also got significant number of votes in Lagos, the nation’s Commercial nerve centre , where religious sentiment was said to have played a major role going by the voting pattern and Osun state, where he party came second.
His closest rival, 76 year old, Atiku Abubakar, of the Opposition People’s Democratic Party, PDP, , who has made six attempts to rule the country since 2007 and now, had garnered 6,984,520 votes to Peter Obi, a former governor of Anambra state and Flag bearer of the Labour Party, LP, who polled 6,101,553 votes.
The Nigeria President –elect may have seen Obi, the LP Candidate as no push-over, in Nigerian politics , for being able in less than a year to galvanise the country’s young voters who call themselves Obidents in a manner that have been described as unprecedented in Nigerian history.
Many believe that the LP, Candidate was on his way to coasting home victory both for the political Conspiracy between the power brokers in the APC and INEC, officials , who had removed the party’s logo on the Ballot papers in several polling units across the country.
The former Anambra state governor had said that much in his post-election interview where he expressed worry that ‘’the logo of ”the LP was missing in some Ballot papers that were used in the conduct of the elections in several parts of the country’’. Even many of his supporters were said to have been disfranchised as their names were not found in the master sheet in the polling units they have been known to voting since 1999.
Nyensom Wike , governor of Rivers state, who initially may have been have been seen as an arch-supporter of the LP , Candidate and the wife’s names had disappeared from polling unit 7, Ward 9, in Obio/Akpor , Local Government Area of the state that he has expressed disappointment over the performance of the Bimodal Voters Accreditation System, BVAS, machine , describing it as evidence of the poor level of preparation on the part of the Commission for the conduct of the elections.
He may have hit hard on INEC that despite its promise of fixing the identified problem which has delayed voting in the polling unit, it was still not in full control to ensure that the BVAS machine operates maximally. This was the situation in several parts of the country, particular, in Areas, suspected that theLP, Candidate would garner significant votes, particular, south west state, of Lagos and the south –south state of Rivers and the south-eastern states including Plateau state, leading to many Obidients not votng for their preferred Candidate during the elections, paving the way for Tinubu, the APC , Candidate to coast home victory .
Wik’s attitude towards the APC Candidate many have changed for good when the likes of Eng. Dave Umahi governor of Eboyi state and his counterpart, Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos and Adams Oshiomhole a former governor of Edo state and one –time National Chairman of the APC, successfully worked on him to endorse the party Presidential Candidate. He did, against the wish of other members of the G5, in the PDP who crevealed that they had agreed to support the LP, Candidate. He may have also encouraged Seyi Makinde , a member of the group too also endorse the APC Presidential Candidate, which he did. This is evident going by the significant votes raked by APC Candidates in Benue, Oyo and Rivers.
The APC Candidate had polled a total of 449,884 votes to Obi, of the LP’s 11,397 in Oyo state, The APC Presidential Cnandidate repeated same feat in Benue, where he Polled 310,468 to the LP’S Candidate total scored votes of 308,,372. In Rivers , where Wike, had fully worked for him, and used threatening to sack Local Government and Aides who fail to work tfor Tinubu to win the state, may have facilitated his winning the state with 231,591 votes while LP, the youths preferred Candidate in the state who clinched 169,414 votes.
In apparent reaction to Tinubu’s declaration as the next President of Nigeria, from May 29, 2023, to May 29, 2027, by INEC, President Muhammadu Buhari has described him a’’ the best man for the job’’. I shall now work with him and his team to ensure an orderly handover of power, he had said.
Mohamme Buba Marwa, a retired Brigadier General and Nigeria former Ambasador to South Africa and now Chairman /Chief Executive Officer , CEO, of Nigerian Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, had described Tinubu’s victory in the February 25, 2023, Presidential eections as ‘’well deserved and one built on years of focus, hard work, doggedness and political sagacity of a democrat’’.
Aware that the election has come and gone, the victorious APC Candidate in his acceptance speech was said to have appealed to the 18 Political parties Candidates who were said to have slugged it out with him on the February 25, 2023, Presidential elections to put what has happened and work with him to rebuild Nigeria. ‘’Let us team up together to rebuild the country as it only nation we have’’, he further remarked.
There may not be any major policy shift in new Administration as Tinubu the Nigerian President -elect, had repeatedly said that he will be devoted to continuity , and that his guiding principle will be hinged on providing the best of progressive governance and reform the nation.
The Katsina state born Nigerian President may have known that the Jagaban of Lagos, will emerge victorious in the 2023, general elections, and has made him to have at the back of his mind that he is the ext President of Nigeria after the 2023 general elections gong by the way he spoke at the third inisterial Performance Review Retreat Addressing the participants at the Ministerial Performance Retreat, the former Lagos state governor had said that that as ‘’President , he won’t relent until terrorists are completely diminished in the country’’. He had said that if elected, he will show ‘’to the efforts and legacies of the Katsina state born Nigerian President and work in the spirit of the unity of the country.
Given the President-elect position on the CBN , cash less policy and its disruptive implementation and the hardship it has brought on the generality of Nigerians , who currently could not access their hard earned money and could not meet their family obligations,and its attendant consequences on the informal sector of the economy, where many operates, many expect him to act fact to change the narrative.
The APC Flag bearer and the country’s President elect, who has never hidden his dislike over the charges associated with the apex bank on-line transactions and bank transfers but could not do anything about it now has the opportunity to ask the bank to suspend it to give a breather to Nigerians ho are facing severe hardship.
Indeed, the President-elect has a big task at hand going by the report of the Leadership of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum, NGF, about the damage that has been done to the economy with the implementation of the Cashless policy and the subsequent emergence of naira back market, severe food inflation and variable Commodities prices based on the method of foreign exchange and the long queues around Automated Teller Machines, ATMS and banking Halls across the country.
There are fears in both official and unofficial quarters that he may not do much because of his promise to continue with the legacy of the Buhari’s Administration considered defective by Nigerians.