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Surprises from the 2023 presidential poll

In fulfilment of Allah’s covenant of giving power to whom He pleases as affirmed in Qur’an 3:26, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu is Nigeria’s President-Elect. In…

In fulfilment of Allah’s covenant of giving power to whom He pleases as affirmed in Qur’an 3:26, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu is Nigeria’s President-Elect. In spite of the saying that “All’s well that ends well”, Tinubu’s long path to victory was hard, rocky and thorny. Given all the hurdles that stood on his way, his emergence as President-Elect from the presidential election of Saturday February 25, 2023 is a substantiation of Allah’s Omnipotence who when He intends a thing, His command is “Be”, and it is!

Like a cat with nine lives, Tinubu was able to keep faith with destiny; surviving all the frustrations, intimidations, blackmails, false alarms, and intrigues meant to scuttle his decades-old ambition. In the buildup to party primaries in 2022, the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) threatened to deal with Tinubu who was seeking the party’s nomination. Tinubu’s crime was his mentioning that was instrumental to Buhari’s victory as President in the 2015 general elections. To preclude Tinubu from winning APC’s presidential ticket, efforts were made to woo former President Goodluck Jonathan who was in the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) to contest for the APC ticket.

When Jonathan’s kite failed to fly, political calculations shifted to the Senate President Ahmad Lawan, yet, as alternative to Tinubu. Even after clinching APC’s presidential ticket, Tinubu continued to endure and survive one huddle after another. Even the choice of a running mate was made to be a hard nut for Tinubu to crack. Not until Governor Ahmed Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State disclosed that a cabal within the presidential villa was working against Tinubu’s victory in the polls, many could not  believe that some men around Mr. President were working to undermine Tinubu’s success. When this insinuation became what Nigerians call ‘confirmed rumour’, Tinubu declared at one of his political rallies that with or without the naira re-design, he remained resolute and determined to win the presidential election.

The wonders that emerged at every stage of the electoral process in last Saturday’s presidential election were interestingly amazing. In spite of the malfunction of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) attributed to infrastructural deficiencies and late start of polls occasioned by logistic reasons were recorded in some parts of the country, political thugs were not seen going after ballot boxes. Instead, their chase was after the BVAS because of its utility to prevent multiple voting or voting with someone’s Permanent Voter’s Card (PVC) in the same way it was programmed to expose over-voting. At the National Collation Centre of the results of the presidential election, INEC’s server became the ‘weak point’ sought after by few agents of presidential candidates that saw their parties losing in the election.

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Some outcomes of the 2023 presidential election, in the form of victories or defeats, defied the political topography that for long defined the voting pattern some geo-political zones, senatorial districts, and federal constituencies. For example, Tinubu’s loss of Lagos State to Obi, the Labour Party (LP)’s presidential candidate is as amazing as Buhari’s loss of Katsina State to Atiku, PDP’s presidential candidate. For the first time after Tinubu’s tenure as Lagos State Governor, his political grip over the “Centre of excellence” was challenged by an opposition party in an election. Similarly, Iyorchia Ayu’s loss of Benue State as PDP’s National Chairman to the APC is no less mind-boggling than Abdullahi Adamu’s loss of Nasarawa State, as APC’s National Chairman, to the LP.

The failure by some serving state governors or their children to individually win their constituency’s senatorial seat is one of the many surprises of the 2023 elections. The ‘casualties’ include Simon Lalong who is the Director-General of the Tinubu Presidential Campaign Council and Governor of Plateau State (an APC-controlled state); Samuel Ortom who is a member G-5 Governors of the PDP and Governor of Benue State; Governor Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi State, which is an APC-controlled State; Governor Darius Ishaku of Taraba State; and the son of Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje of Kano State, which hitherto is known to be one of the stronghold states of the APC.

While it isn’t any wonder that the presidential candidate of the LP won in all states  the South-East geo-political region of the country, there’s is wonder in his victory in Nasarawa and Plateau states. More wonderful is his overwhelming victory in the FCT. While Atiku’s victory in Osun State is another shocker from last Saturday’s election, a greater shocker came from the victory of an Okada-rider in Kaduna State who won a house of representatives’ seat in Kaduna State. Likewise, the victory of Adams Oshiomhole as Senator on the ticket of the APC in a PDP-controlled state is another surprise.

Other wonders of last week’s election include the drama staged at the International Conference Centre, Abuja, venue for the collation of the presidential election results. The ‘comedy’ which was acted by former Senator Dino Melaye was a perfect cast of Orubebe-incarnate. While Melaye who was the PDP agent along with the LP agent staged a walkout at the collation center, eleven other parties including the Chairman of IPAC, Alhaji Yabagi Sani (who is also a presidential candidate) passed a vote of confidence in the results collation process that was being led by the Chairman of the country’s electoral body, Prof Mahmood Yakubu.

One bizarre that was considered unstatesmanlike and inciting came from former President Olusegun Obasanjo who called for the cancellation of the presidential election results; asking the INEC Chairman to halt the collation of results. Fortunately, he was countered by many including the Sultan of Sokoto, the Oba of Benin, General Abdulsalami Abubakar as Chairman of the National Peace Committee, and Bernabas Gemade (former National Chairman of the PDP) who separately sued for peace and asked aggrieved parties to seek redress in the courts of law. While Tinubu and obi called on their supporters to remain calm, no word came from Atiku and Kwankwaso.

The announcement of Malam Ibrahim Shekarau of the PDP as winner of a senatorial seat in Kano State in place of Rufai Sani Hanga that won the election under the platform of the NNPP was another surprise. The worrisome surprise was in the partisanship and the loss of professional touch by a section of the print media in their reportage of the presidential election. May Allah guide us to conduct next week’s election in the most peaceful manner, amin.

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