By Suleiman Umaru
With the Collation and declaration of the Presidential elections results held on Saturday, February 25, 2023, in over 30 out of the 36 states of the Federation and Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, the coast is becoming clearer on who takes over from President Muhammadu Buhari as the next Nigerian President and Commander-In –Chief of the Armed Forces in the controversial elections.
All the results of the Presidential election declared the states and the FCT, have been declared at the national collation centre, under the close watch of Mahmood Yakubu, the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, National Chairman, amid rejection by the Opposition People’s Democratic, PDP and nine other parties Agents , including that of the Labour Party, LP, over alleged irregularities. This may have put Prf. Mahmood Yakubu, the INEC, boss, in a fix, over what next to do, to win the heart of all the participants in the election.
Recall that the Presidential election had started as a three horse race between Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, popular, Jagaban, a former governor of Lagos state and Presidential Candidate of the ruling All Progressive Congress, APC, Atiku Abubakar, a former Nigerian Vice President during Olusegun Obasanjo’s Administration and Peter Obi, a former governor of Anambra state and Candidate of the LP,
Going by the results that have been collated and released by INEC, between Sunday, February 26, 2023 and now, it has been been narrowed down to a two horse race,: Tinubu, of the APC and Atiku, of the PDP.
The Nigerian Youths, may not have found this funny as they believe heir referred Candidate was rigged out and thus have resorted to protest in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, and PortHarcourt, Capital of Rivers state, where the declaration of the state Presidential election results was suspended by the Resident Electoral Commissioner in the state Johnson Alalibo, as on alleged threat to his life .The aggrieved Youths may have sent a message to prof. Mahmood Yakubu, the INEC, Chairman Votes as to give them their vote promised that it will count during the elections.
Tinubu, the APC, Flag bearer, was said to have garnered substantial votes across five geopolitical regions of the country: north west, north east , north central, south west, and the south-south, while Atiku of the PDP, had clinched votes from some north west, North east, and the south – south states while Peter Obi, a former governor of Anambra state , had votes spread across three geopolitical regions: South w south-south and the north central, including the FCT
As at press time , going by the results that had been released at the states and National Collation centres, the former Lagos state governor had clinched the highest number votes in the south western states of Ekiti, Ogun, Oyo, and Ondo and the north western states of Jigawa, Zamfara, and Sokoto, including the north eastern state of Borno and the north central states of Kwara, Benue, Kogi and Niger ,including Rivers state , in the south -south geopolitical region.
His closest rival Atiku, of the PDP, had won in the north western states of Kebbi, Kaduna and Katsina, home state of President Muhammadu Buhari, where many had had expected Tunubu, the APC, touch bearer to win with ease but failed to do so.
The Adamawa state politician ,had garnered the highest votes in his home state, Adamawa, Taraba, Bauchi, Gombe, Yobe, all states in the north eastern region, and the south –south states of Bayelsa and Akwa Ibom, home state of the Chairman of the Party Presidential Council, PCC , Udom Emmanuel, and who incidentally is the governor of the state.
Obi, Candidate of LP, described as the dark horse in the 2023, Presidential elections, and who has the backing of the Ottah farmer, former President Obasanjo, may have shown his political clout as he has won in nine states spread across the south west, south east and the north central regions, including the FCT.
The INEC reports shows that the former Anambra state governor, had won majority of the votes in the south eastern states of Abia, Anambra, Eboyi, Enugu , and Imo including the outh-south states of Cross river, Delta, Edo and the north central states of Nasarawa Plateau and the FCT, where the party had polled 281,717 votes, beating the APC Candidate, who polled 90,917 and Atiku’s 74,193 votes . This is in addition to winning four Area Councils: Bwari, Kuje,Kwali and AMAC, leaving out control of Gwagwalada and Abaji, to the APC.
The LP Flag bearer had won also in Lagos, the nation’s commercial nerve center and ,which had remained since 1999, a strong political base of Tinubu, the APC, Flag bearer, who never opportunity for any other INEC, registered political party make an inroad into the state, thus entering the Guinness book of records.
The LP, Candidate who broken th hase Tinubu myth in Lagos may have sent a message to the L ruling APC, leadership in the state that Babajide Sanwo Olu, the incumbent state governor may lose the March 11, 2023, governorship elections to Gbadebo RhodesiValour of the LP but attracted hatred for Ibo traders from the APC Candidate followers.
The Area boys, popular, Agberos , in the state, may have made matters worse for the ruling APC in thestate by attacking the Ibo traders and burning their shops at the Lagos International Trade Fair Complex, Alaba International market, Ladipo spareparts market, and the the popularComputer Village, in Ikeja, for not voting for the former Lagos state during the February 25, 2023,Presidential elections.
The APC Presidential Candidate may have known that the chances of the party winning the upcoming governorship in the state has dimed because of the attack on the Ibo traders in the state that he has called his aggrieved followers ‘’ to be calm and maintain peace’’, noting that ‘’ Obi’s victory in the state shows the beauty of Democracy’’.
Appealing to his aggrieved followers not to use the Anambra state former governor’s victory during the last Presidential elections as a source of provocation to attack Ibo traders, urging them ‘’to allow the election process to continue unhindered across the country’’.
The APC Leadership may have read the handwriting on the wall of losing the upcoming governorship in the state that they have sent out their foot soldiers to reach out to the Ibo Community in the state to solicit for their votes for the APC, Candidate, during the forthcoming governorship election. Whether the appeal has hit the right chord remain to be seen because of the high level destruction of the Ibo traders shops in different parts in the nation’s Commercial nerve centre.
Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso, the first Executive governor of Kano state and Presidential Candidate of the New Nigeria People’s Party,NNPP, may have sent a message to message to the President and the APC , governor of the state, Abdullahi Gadunje, that he is still a force to be reckoned with in Kano politics , as he scored the highest number votes in the state beating the APC , PDP and LP, to it.
Giving the continued delay in the release of the Saturday, February 25, 2023, Presidential elections results, fears are being expressed in several quarters that if in the next 12 hours, or thereabout, NEC, officials, fail to upload the result to the Commission viewing portal it may lose its relevance and will discourage Nigerians from coming out to vote in future elections which may not be too good in the country.
Indeed, the anger in the country is getting to a feverish height that Obasanjo, a former President has pleaded with Prof. Yakubu, the INEC, boss ‘’to save Nigeria from the looming danger and disaster which is just waiting to happen’’.
Appealing to the Professor of Political Science, to ‘’void declaring results that are brought outside the BVAS, and its server’’, he noted that this is the only way to calm frayed nerves. He has his reason. He believes that since the Nigerian government has spent a lot of money to introduce Bimodal Voter Accreditation System, BVAS, the results from all the polling units must be uploaded to its server with immediate effect. He was said to have made it clear to the INEC helmsman that ‘’no uploading of results through the server, would be acceptable’’.
Lai Mohammed, minister of Information and Culture, at the instance of the Katsina state born Nigerian President may have replied the former Nigerian President , advising him ‘’not to truncate the 2023, general elections with his allegedly inciting, self-serving and provocative letter on the polls’’.
Describing Obasanjo as a wel l known partisan elder statesman, he asserted that the former President is bent on ‘’thwarting by subterfuge, the choice of millions of Nigerian voters’’. The minister had accused the former President of ‘’cunningly framing what he has described as an ’’appeal for caution and rectification but released the letter which he is nothing but a ‘’calculated attempt to undermine the electoral process and wilful incitement of to violence’’.
Even Femi Falana, a senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN, who could not hide his feelings has called into question’’ the credibility of last Saturday’s Presidential and National Assembly elections’’, accusing the security personnel, electoral staff and state governors of ‘’undermining the process’’.