By Our Reporter
There appear to be a conspiracy between the ruling All Progressive Congress, APC, and the Opposition People’s Democratic Party, PDP, to be alternating the rulership of the country between them without giving any opportunity to another party that may pose a threat.
The PDP, which had been ground since 199 and the APC, which was a fallout of a merger between Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu, a former governor of Lagos state, Popular, Jagaban, led Alliance For Democracy,AD, and The Congress for Progressive Change, CPC, and factions from other parties , may helped it to defeat the PDP in the 2015, Presidential elections, and thus perfected plans to retain power.
In spite of the fact that Usman Alikali Baba, the Inspector General of Police, IGP, who had deployed 310,973, to cover the Saturday , February 25, 20223, Presidential and National Assembly Elections, with the support of 93,133, Department of State Services, DSS, personnel, and an undisclosed number of Soldiers and the Civil Defence Commission, CDC, the election , was marred by vote buying and crisis in different parts of the country going by reports from different accredited observer groups.
The foot soldiers of Tinubu, the APC, Candidate and those of Atiku Abubakar, a former Nigerian Vice President, during Olusegun Obasanjo’s Administration, who were said to have Mapped out strategies to win the elections were said to have matched each other with the spending of foreign currency to allegedly buy votes and induce the Independent National Electoral adhoc staff to do their bidding.
. The duo were alleged to have been involved in spending the North American country of the United States dollar and the British pounds sterlings since Godwin Emefile , at the instance of President Muhammadu Buhari who has created artificial scarcity of the newly designed N200, N500 and N1000, bank Notes , to discourage vote buying.
Take for instance in Rivers state, which Atiku , the PDP, Presidential Candidate , has targeted to win to prove Nyensom Wike , the state governor wrong that he is not a factor in the state politics may have emptied his vaults as his foot soldiers and those of Tinubu, who was alleged to have gotten Wike, a member of the G5 or Integrity, in the PDP, who were said to have earlier agreed to back Peter Obi, of the Labour Party, LP, andwho appear to have emerged a third Force in Nigeria Politics may have changed mind.
Wike may have won the art of Tinubu, the APC, Candidate, because of the impression he has created that whoever he supports as his preferred Candidate will win the state. He got it wrong. He may have read the handwriting on the wall that the people of the state are not ready to follow him sheepishly to to vote Tinubu of the APC, that his foot soldiers had devised strategies to force people to vote for the APC Flag bearer.
This is evident going by the reaction of some of the adhoc INEC officials at the some of the polling units in Rumudara area and other parts of PortHarcourt, the Rivers state Capital, where thousands of voters had turned up to vote were asked to go home if they are not voting for Tinubu, the APC, Flag bearer.
In some other polling units in the state, the INEC, adhoc staff were said to have clearly told the desperate voters to go as Peter Obi, the LP, Candidate’s name was not on the list of Candidates contesting the Presidential elections, advising the voters to either vote the APC Candidate or Atiku , since there is no other option for them.
.The situation in Lagos, the nation’s Commercial nerve centre, was more worrisome because of the high level of intimidation of non –Yorubas by the APC thugs with the collusion of INEC officials and security agencies personnel. In the Lekki area of the state, the voting process in Elegushi and Ikate, and other parts of the state were disrupted.
Fighting was said to developed in Lagos Island, that both not for the intervention of the Law enforcement agencies personnel, the situation may have degenerated beyond control. It was the same situation in Edo, heartbeat of the nation, as some people who had been armed with PVCs that belong to voters who had failed to collect it and which the INEC , officials, had said were not ready for their owners to collect.
Some of the fake voters were said to have ben arrested by Baba, Inspector General of Police, IGP’s, men covering the elections. This is where Mahmood Yakubu, a Professor and INEC, Chairman, may have to tell Nigerianns how such P PVCs, which his men had said are not available got into the hand of these unknown voters in the state.
The vote buying and crisis in Cross river state, may have become so pronounced that INEC, was encouraged to extend the elections in some polling units till Sunday, February 26, 2023, in Bakassi Local Government Area, Dayspring I and Qua Island of the state . That much was confirmed by Anthonia Nwobi, the Commission’s Head of Department, Voter Education and Publicity. There were also an opportunity for those who could not vote in their polling units in Imo, Kano, Lagos ad Delta states.
In the south west states of Osun , Ondo, and the south-south state of Akwa Ibom, home state of Senator Godswel Akpabio, former minister of Niger Delta, who is seeking re-election, into the Senate, Borno, home state of Kashim Shettima, APC, Vice Presidential Candidate , for the 2023, elections and Sokoto state, where Waziri Aminu Tambuwa, a former Speaker of House of Representatives and Director General, PDP, Presidential Campaign Council, PCC, several vote buyers loyal to Tinubu and Atiku, were said to have been arrested by officials of the Independent Corrupt Pactices and other related Offences Commission, ICPC, during the Presidential and National Assembly elections. The suspects arrested in Osun state, were said to have been found with document containing lists of names, phone Numbers and account details of voters during the election in the state.
Former President Goodluck Jonathan had compared , the politicians, attempting to win the Presidential and National Assembly elections by’’ unorthodox means’’ , such as vote buying, ,’’ to armed robbers and grifters’’ .
In spite of the large, array of security agencies personnel that had covered the elections, the INEC, Chairman , who could not hide his feelings had said some Bimodal Voter Accreditation System, BVASA, machines were snatched, noting that there were also reports of attacks by the Islamic Fundamentalist Insurgents, BokoHaram and the Islamic State of West African Province in Bono state and Bandits in Niger, Kaduna and Katsina states, as well as attacks by party thugs Delta state , where the suspected thugs were said to have two BVAs in a polling unit in Oshimili Local Government Area and which are currently being investigated by the Commission.
He had said that the Isurgents , who had fired shots on voters, during the elections, from the top of the Mandara Mountains , in Gwoza Community , located in the north east of Maiguri, capital of of Borno state , are being tracked by the military. The good news was that no INEC facility was destroyed and there was no disruption in the election process or casualties as reported by the INEC boss.
There were major upsets during the elections . Senator Abdullahi Aamu, National Chairman of the APC, and Femi Gbajabiamila, the Speaker of House of Representatives were said to have lost their polling units in Lagos and Nasarawa , states, respectively to Obi, the LP Candidate. The polling unit of Ahmed Lawan, the Senate President , in Yobe state but lost to Atiku, the PDP Candidate. Even Senator Datti-Ahmed, the Vice Presidenial Candidate of LP, could not deliver polling unit in the Zaria Local government Area of Kaduna state but lost to Atiku, the Opposition, PDP, Candidate.
Another major upset, was Obasanjo’s inability to deliver his polling unit for his preferred Presidential Candidate, Obi, of the LP, in Ogun state, fueling speculations making the rounds that he may have supported Tinubu, the APC Candidate.
Many had expected Tinubu, the APC, Presidential Candidate to win his closest rivals in the Saturday, Presidential election at Bashir Sheriff Machina’s polling unit, Kofar Inji 00IB, in Machina, home town of Lawan Ahmad, the Senate President but lost to AtikuCandidate of the PDP.
Perhaps, the biggest upset during the lections,was Obi, the LP, Candidate, defeat of his closest rivals, Tinubu and Atiku, described as ‘’the City boys’’ , in the first polling unit located around the Aso Rock premises. The LP Flag bearer was said to have polled 17 votes to Tinubu’s six and Atiku of the PDP’S three votes.
Given the delay in uploading the polling unit results for the Presidential election on the INEC portal , may have informed why Yiaga Africa, a civil society orgnisation from South Africa, has cried out of attempt to manipulate the election results . It was not surprising why the officials of the Civil society, were said to have advised Nigerian voters ‘’allow INEC adhoc staff or any of the Commission other staff leave their polling unit without ‘’uploading the results into the electoral umpire portal. ‘’it I the Law’’, the Organiation had said.
The alarm raised by Yiaga Africa over the delay in uploading the polling units Presidential elections results into the Commission portal, may have forced the officials to immediately commence the uploading of the 2023 Presidential election results on its portal, from 176,846 polling units across the country.
Going by reports from the party agents situation room in Abuja, Tinubu , the APC, Candidate, may likely be Nigeria’s next President, after the exit of the incumbent President on May 29, 2023. Indeed, not many will be surprised if the APC Candidate eventually wins the election because he has the full support of the Katsina state born Nigerian President who had already seen him as his successor.