By Layi Deinde
Out of 109 senators, only 26 will be returning to the National Assembly, this is another pointer to the fact that gone are the days of using vantage positions against the wishes of the electorate.
Nigeria indeed deserves an improved system, a way of getting that is through the electoral process.
The 2023 general election happened to be another opportunity for Nigerians to invest confidence in those who will pilot state affairs for another four-year tenure.
The recently conducted election might not be the very best however there are notable positives from the results.
The electoral law enacted as you pointed reinforces credibility with the infusion of better procedure backed by technology.
A look back at 1999 general election
Out of registered voters of 57.94 million, a total number of 29.85 million total voters which represents 52.26 % participated according to the INEC Nigeria report. The winner polled at the time 18.74 million votes, 62.78% of the total votes cast.
Then coming to the highly controversial 2007 general election
Of a registered voters list of 61.56 million people, 35.40 million voters came out to vote according to to report a turnout of 57.49 %. Yar’Adua the eventual winner polled 24.64 million votes, 69.60 % of the total votes voiced his disapproval of the outrageous electoral figures and vowed to see to electoral reform.
The electoral reform is what led to more realistic figures of elections where it is extremely difficult to cook figures as the gadgets Biometric Voters Accreditation System record all that come to polling unit to exercise their civic duty.
The total number of registered voters in 2023 according to INEC is 93.47 million. It is worrisome that only 25.43 million citizens came out to choose who leads us for the next four years a paltry 27.2 % turnout. It is not enough to say the process is now perfect, however, accreditation and the device used for the exercise have helped with the falsification of figures.
Votes now count, unlike days of outrageous and over-bloated figures. That is the reason Asiwaju lost in Lagos his stronghold to Labour Party.
It is the reason the Labour Party clinched Abuja FCT the seat of the APC government at the centre.
Incumbency is of less consequence in our election, a confirmation of this is as stated:
Buhari and APC lost Katsina to PDP.
Senate President Ahmad Lawan lost Kebbi his state to PDP in the presidential election.
El-Rufai lost Kaduna to PDP.
Ganduje lost in Kano to NNPP.
Out of 109 senators, only 26 will be returning to the National Assembly, this is another pointer to the fact that gone are the days of using vantage position against the wishes of the electorate.
I wish to draw your attention to how a 35-year-old teacher floored the current Speaker of the Yobe State House of Assembly. Lawan Musa of the PDP defeated Alhaji Ahmed Lawan Mirwa to clinch the Nguru II state constituency. Musa the young teacher polled 6,648 votes while the four-term assembly member got 6,466.
Results sheets are to be uploaded in real-time as promised by Mahmoud Yakubu the INEC head. The reasons adduced for the delay are somewhat tenable the INEC portal was a subject of online attacks, we should picture the chaos Nigeria might be subjected to in event of hackers gaining upper hand over the INEC server. Thinking that failure to upload results instantly is behind the loss of any candidate at all is laughable. It is never late for loyalists of any political party that feel they are rightful winners to put together pictures of results sheets recorded at each of the 176,974 polling units spread across Nigerians, it is reasonable to gather such information for the possible challenge of either the process of election and or the outcome.
America and the Western world have a lot to contend with, going to them with our local problem serve no good course, instead it exposes us to ridicule. I ask; how has America sorted the claim of rumoured Russian influence in the election that ushered in Donald Trump during 2016 election. Talk about the embarrassing invasion of Capitol on January 6th , 2021 by some supporters of Donald Trump claiming they won the election and seeking for a reversal of election result through a means unknown to law and strange to American 250 years of democracy. To me American intelligence will rather prioritise the stated ahead of Nigerian election which they also monitored and passed their verdict through the US State Department. As compatriots, I strongly feel our problems should be our headache, to disagree along ideological lines towards addressing our challenge should be it.
The young people who in your estimation 70 % of the population and under age thirty by your assertion have loads of responsibility towards achieving Nigeria of their dreams. According to you, many of them voted in the election. What I experienced on 25th March was completely different. As election materials were being awaited, I took a walk around the neighbourhood, I was shocked at the sight of many young, strong people playing football! This is not to say all young people didn’t participate in the electoral process but we can actually do better.
You are at liberty to align with any candidate, having a preference for Peter Obi is not out of order that falls within your right as a human being but how honest is he as claimed by you?
How reliable are the two pairs of black shoe ownership?
Is it true he owned and wore a single wristwatch for seventeen years?
In an interview with Khadaria Ahmed, a question about the investment of Anambra State funds in his family business was put to him, which he struggled to justify. In another interview with Rufai Oseni, Peter Obi denied investment of Anambra State funds in any family business.
I can actually not agree less on traits of desperation from a few support base of the victorious party, APC which doubles as incumbent who ought to be magnanimous in victory as the first move towards bridging gaps and filling cracks political difference generated since September 2022 when campaign commenced full-fledged. You owe Nigeria a duty to use your voice and influence on how aggrieved parties seek redress within the ambit of the law.
Personally speaking, Nigeria deserves a better deal. Africa has waited endlessly for Nigeria to chart a course for the continent to traverse, this has been elusive. Without doubt there is urgent need for a radical deviation from present ways in the land, actualisation of this requires putting together the very best available in each locality bound together by unity of purpose of propelling the nation along the path of greatness.
Peter Obi and Labour Party surpassed my expectations and those of many clinching 7 senatorial seats, 36 House of Representatives slots, 68 assembly seats and a governorship seat. I don’t think the party has had it so good in the history of the party. This is best consolidated by ensuring all candidates of the party run people-centric programs. They should bond with their constituents instead of the usual isolation and insulation political leaders are synonymous with.
I am aware of numerous Nigerians who travelled to the country from different parts of the world to cast their votes in the 2023 presidential election, did you Adichie deem it fit to do the same or did you just contribute to nation-building by proxy?
We should rebuild Nigeria by ourselves and not depend on the Western world to do for us what we ought to do by ourselves.
Oloye ‘Layi Deinde.
*Oloye Layi Deinde, a public commentator writes from Ogun State