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Another look at February 23rd presidential election


Photo by Luis TATO / AFP

It is neither our custom nor our habit to congratulate a person who failed in an endeavour or a goal either set for him by the society or assumed as a personal task. And why should any person identify with failure? What is to be achieved in that regard? As stated at the threshold of this letter, it is not our custom or habit to identify with failure much less to congratulate or celebrate it. To do so, in some ways, is mockery. To mock Atiku Abubakar is to mock Nigeria for Nigeria is the victim, not him. To me, success and failure share the same value, and they serve the same purpose. They are faces of the same coin just as life and death are faces of one natural process. Without one, there cannot be the other. Life begets death and vice versa just as success begets failure and vice versa. So, Sir, I am justified to congratulate you on your INEC-declared ‘failure’ in the 2019 Presidential Election of Saturday, February 23, 2019. Congratulations, Sir!

If you take time to review the electoral result you cannot fail to note that you performed exceedingly well in four of the six geopolitical zones and the FCT, Abuja. And this gallant effort was more like squeezing water out of a stone given the daunting challenges/obstacles deliberately placed on the field-of-play by officialdom to defeat you. This, of course, is the way of all authoritarian and despotic regimes the world over. It was a surprise that you gain any mileage at all, and that says much about your person for you would have effortlessly won the election but for the determined and resolute resolve of your opponent not to build on the ‘mistake’ of President Goodluck Jonathan, who building on the tradition set by President Umaru Yar’Adua and resolved to break away from the tradition of militaristic electoral banditry entrenched by the military regimes of Sir Robertson in 1959, Balewa regime in 1964/1965, Shehu Shagari in 1983, Obasanjo in 2003/2007.


It is true President Buhari never accepted defeat in 2003/2007/2011 and contested the elections up to the Supreme Court, which held his case unmeritorious hence his disenchantment with the judicial process leading to hatred and distrust of the judiciary. Against the backdrop of your rejection of 2019 presidential result and resolve to seek judicial review, I have my personal opinion and advice for you. I voted at my polling unit and witnessed various rigging scenarios (delays, system malfunction, violence, etc) sure to have been repeated elsewhere. They were devastating clinical rigging techniques. So, given this electoral-rigging scenario, I assume the system has grievously and unfairly dealt you a blow but this is certainly not a provable complaint peculiarly directed at you alone for you can never say who your supporters were until the vote was cast. So, if your complaints border on this type of rigging device I would urge you to forbear going to the tribunal. But if you have polling units/collation centres returns that are materially altered in favour of your opponent or that unaccredited votes were given him, my candid opinion is that you are by law and public morality entitled to pursue your case to its logical conclusion. For those urging you to accept the result as declared regardless of its credibility, I can say they are neither on the side of history nor of posterity; these being the greatest judge. Justice is the bedrock of society and where justice is destroyed the society is imperilled with destruction. So, sir, proceed to the Election Tribunal if you have credible evidence. The benefit is not yours alone. It is for Nigeria that is being electorally ravaged and blatantly returned to militaristic electoral banditry.

Sir, the 2019 Presidential and National Assembly Elections have unfurled a new political culture. I hope you observed this incipient culture through the feedback from the campaign trails and the results of the elections. Some people think Nigerians are ignorant, fickle-minded and idiotic. This much is gleaned from Babachir Lawal, former SGF, who dismissed the social media and educated voters as insignificant, noting that President Buhari’s support-base are mainly illiterates, poor and ignorant and so oblivious of the campaigns through newspapers and information technology social media, which they neither have nor can access. But the trends of these elections have shown otherwise. If you check the demographics of your support base that voted for you, they are preponderantly in highly educated zones of Nigeria; Southwest, Southeast, SouthSouth, North Central and Abuja, these are where the educated voters are concentrated, and they voted for you despite the obstacles and challenges.

The second lesson, I believe you should take from these elections are institutional and it forms part of the so-called restructuring policy you promised Nigerians. Restructuring simply means reorganizing Nigeria on a governance template that promises fairness, justice and truth, and these are the bedrock, and fruits of democracy and republicanism. I wonder how you would have handled this obviously volatile but misunderstood issue had you won. You, see, the electoral infrastructure of Nigeria is founded on falsehood and nothing destroys man or society like lies or falsehoods. Britain created Nigeria as special facility for capitalist exploitation. It is not only in Nigeria that Britain devised this system. It replicated same in its former colonies. Only USA, Singapore and Botswana challenged Britain, defeated it and designed and operated republican/democratic societies which are now models. Having succeeded in Nigeria, Britain created autocratic and undemocratic polity and sowed it with mistrust and fears. The apartheid policy it created in population segregation in Northern townships ensured that Nigerians have an amalgamated country with disunited peoples wrecked by tribalism, religious bigotry and poverty. Whenever you visit London, do obtain the declassified British imperial records now compiled into a book by the University of London, which has the details of British subterfuge against Nigeria. The census infrastructure is false, so also the electoral data based on it. Does it strike you that Lagos State, which had five million people in 1991 Census to former Kano State’s (Kano and Jigawa States now) four million have almost doubled the population of Lagos in 2006 census. It is this fraudulent data that has been deployed from time to time and you are now a victim. So injustice is a threat to all. And this system may continue to a disastrous end as new generation Nigerians are not so enarmoured to the beauty of a big political space as dreamed by Nnamdi Azikiwe. You can see protests against it by Massob, Ipob, Boko Haram, Oduduwa Republic, Niger Delta agitators, etc.


Finally, I urge you to seize the moment and become the leader of the democratic movement, which your participation in 2019 General Elections has unfolded in the Nigeria. How this becomes your concern is what I tell you now. Sir, let me not belabour the attacks you received from your opponent’s camp about your perambulatory predilection in party politics. This is because; almost every politician in Nigeria is guilty of this sin which your opponents in their hypocrisy accused you of. For me, we have no political party in the real sense of the word as all the parties are the same. They are different only to the extent of their desperate quest for power which requires that they contest in different platforms. So, as you have been honoured by your colleagues by offering you their presidential flag do not forsake it or abandon it because of this disappointment. I understand the fact that due to age and the requirement of zoning of which you were, and still a staunch advocate, you may not likely be given another opportunity to contest the presidency, if it turns out that the judicial process fails to find your case meritorious by restoring the electoral mandate which you accused President Buhari of stealing from you. My candid advice is that you assume the leadership of the PDP and help to nurture it as a democratic platform for Nigerians to challenge the incipient autocracy which has made itself manifest since 2015 in the governance of Nigeria. You have very dedicated partisans as you can attest to in Wike, Tambuwal, Saraki, Dino Melaye, Fayose, Dogara, Ekweremadu, Udom Emmanuel, Jimi Agbaje, the Adelekes, Gbenga Daniel, Obi, Dickson, Secondus and thousand of longsuffering Nigerians. Waziri Adamawa, the great-bridge-builder and man of the people, take up this challenge, this duty and patriotic call, not like your ‘friend’ the National Leader of the other divide, for he made himself national leader and has been desperate to justify his megalomaniac claims and rabblerousing and he has failed and will fail disastrously in 2023 when he asserts his claim to Nigerian presidency.

Once again, I congratulate you on your superlative performance in the Presidential Election of Saturday 23, 2019 and wish you Allah’s favours. Say my regard to Madam Titi who fought like a lion at the Western front, Madam Jenifer who watered the grounds for your tree of love in the Southeast and SouthSouth and the other Hajias that did their best in Northern Zone. Once more, congratulations, Sir!
Onwe writes from Igbeze Chambers, Abakaliki.

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