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Buhari’s re-election, battle between rich and poor

By Tope Templer Olaiya
08 March 2019   |   2:55 am
It’S barely a week since the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmoud Yakubu, declared President Muhammadu Buhari winner of the February 23 rescheduled presidential polls.

(FILES) In this file photo taken on August 31, 2018 Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari speaks during a joint press conference with the German chancellor at the presidency in Abuja. – President Muhammadu Buhari has suspended Nigeria’s top judge pending the outcome of his disputed trial on corruption charges, the government said on January 25, 2019. “President Buhari suspends the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) Walter Samuel Nkanu Onnoghen and appoints Mr Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad as acting CJN,” presidential aide Bashir Ahmad tweeted. The announcement came ahead of presidential and parliamentary elections on February 16 — a contest in which Onnoghen would rule if any dispute emerged about the outcome, analysts say. (Photo by PIUS UTOMI EKPEI / AFP)

It’S barely a week since the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmoud Yakubu, declared President Muhammadu Buhari winner of the February 23 rescheduled presidential polls. To Emmanuel Umohinyang, convener of the Re-elect Buhari Movement (RBM), it was a sweet victory and a mandate delivered.

The battle was a long one between the followers of 4+4 (Buhari) versus Atikulated (Atiku Abubakar) and in the end; the two leading challengers were separated by 3,928,869 votes.

Assessing the divergent views on the outcome of the presidential election, Umohinyang noted that there is nothing wrong if people look at the outcome from different perspectives. “What is important is what perspective majority of Nigerians look at it from. Don’t forget that the naysayers had predicted all manner of things. 

“Some funny characters had also used the pulpit to dish out what they call prophecies. Projections were made and people had thought the 2019 elections most likely would end in bloodbath, and that the country may not remain the same after the presidential election.

“But ours is a country that has history of overcoming challenges. We had overcome these same group of people in 2015, so I am not surprised because I know that Nigeria is a country that has strong faith in God and we also know that with God we are majority, so those projections may not have ended the way they thought. We have been able to rise against those evil projections.

“The 2019 presidential election has come and gone. It is behind us now. A winner has been declared and the celebration that goes with the celebration of the winner will tell anyone that indeed this is was an election that has more to do with the people, not necessarily with the few elites who feel things should normally go their own way. I think generally the election was peaceful, but for a few skirmishes in a few states.”

Speaking on the factors that made Buhari win the election, the coordinator of the group of professionals, who staked their reputations for the president, said: “I said before that this president would win the election with a wide margin. I wasn’t surprised. If you look at the opposition, most of their campaign was carried out on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Election is conducted on the field. Most of those who make Facebook their pastime don’t have PVCs. About 75.5 million Nigerians collected PVCs nationwide according to INEC, but when you look at the actual voting, you can see the statistics.
“What that tells you is that collecting PVCs is just a step, voting on the day of election is the issue. It was an election between the rich and the poor, and this president in the last three and a half years has shown that he is a president who has come to close the gap between the rich and the poor. Some of the lofty achievements of this administration have been targeted at the poor. You could see how the people reacted to it. 

Are you talking about the TraderMoni, farmers moni, the N-Power?. A whole lot, even though the opposition criticized it as vote-buying.  “Also, don’t forget what the government has done with the Sukuk bond. The second phase of that bond was over-subscribed. What occupies the president’s mind is what can benefit the generality of Nigerians. That kind of government will not be popular with the elite, but it is popular with the people, and the people came out to vote en-masse to demonstrate that this is a government of the people by the people and for the people, which gave definition to democracy itself. I want to assure you that this president will not let them down as he has demonstrated thus far.”On the lessons learned from this election, Umohinyang stated that the people have sent a message to the political actors that performance is the only ground to be re-elected.

“The people have sent a message that if you give them money they will collect it, but that they will vote their conscience. For the first time, we have had presidential election where the president did not give a dime to anybody. Go and find out from all the support groups, not a kobo was given to anybody for this election. But the support groups were not bothered with that because it was our conviction to support and project the activities of Mr. President. It is quite different from the 2015 era when billions of naira was spent on bribing all manner of people in the name of getting re-elected.”