Most fair-minded Nigerians are shocked at the outcome of the much-talked about 2019 elections. It was an election as no other and as INEC declared the presumed loser, a winner, the election result has entered the history books as a fraud like no other.
During the last few days to the election, originally scheduled for the 16th of February, 2019 before it was postponed by INEC, Nigerians looked forward to a robust and keenly-contested election that would mark a turning point in the life of the nation.
Political analysts and commentators of diverse persuasions all expected a closely fought election in which the winner would be the real choice of Nigerians because of the suffering of Nigerians in the last four years during which President Muhammadu Buhari has held sway.
The importance of the election lay in the fact that it was a poll that would signal the choice which Nigerians had made going forward having suffered incompetent leadership of no small proportion under Buhari’s nepotistic and tribalist government run on his behalf by a cabal of close aides and relations of the Daura, Katsina state born former military officer. Thus going by the declaration of Aisha Buhari, it means that Nigerians voted for the continuation of a government run by faceless people in which the President and Commander-in-chief cannot and would never be accountable for any action of his government. Like during his first term in office due to expire in May this year, Buhari would be surrounded by praise-singers, liars and propagandists whose job would be to take on and rain insults on fellow citizens who demand for accountability and responsibility from their leader.
In a way, the cabal and the combative array of Buhari’s aides would be right to shut up their fellow citizens who demand good governance and accountability from a man to whom those qualities are alien because in the first place, it is not the votes of the majority of Nigerians, freely given that gave President Buhari his second term. The President got his second term through voter intimidation and suppression, intimidation of INEC officials nationwide as well as a nationwide security clampdown of supporters and officials of the rival Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) by supporters of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
The above means that the 2019 elections was not organized on a level playing field contrary to the Buhari’s government promises. Second, contrary to the promise of the government, the votes did not count as the number of voided ballots across the country showed that ballot tampering was the order of the day.
Before the election, nationally and internationally, the presidential candidate of the opposition PDP was favoured to win the election based on his achievements and personality. Compared to Buhari, Atiku is a man who has used opportunities available to him to improve his life such that many other Nigerians have benefitted from it to a great extent. As a Customs Officer, Politician and former Vice President and successful businessman, the name Atiku means life more abundant and many including orphans, widows, destitute and the street children in the North known as almajiri have all had a feel of this man. Pitiably, President Buhari, aside being a former military Head of State, and now a civilian President is not known to have shown charity to any group of his fellow humans always pleading poverty but is able to send all his numerous children from two different women to tertiary institutions in the United Kingdom!
Conversely, the man that we are told by INEC that Nigeria chose to be president for a second term has little time or no time at all for the almajiri school urchins and their illiterate parents who form the backbone of his political support. No right thinking elites anywhere except rogues, who enjoy the lack of accountability and due process under Buhari, would agree that he should preside over the affairs of our country for another four years.
A lot of unbelievable things happened during the election which INEC identified with while announcing the results. The first already mentioned is the huge number of voided votes. The question is what led to the votes in the first place before the void? Did the INEC register contain more voters name than necessary or that unregistered persons were allowed to vote? Second, how did states like Borno and Yobe, who are suffering insecurity, instability and dispersal of population caused by the activities of the Boko Haram, return huge votes than peaceful states? There are speculations that Buhari’s aides ferried voters from Chad and Niger Republics where he has kith and kin, to swell the voting figures going by the boast and confidence expressed by President Buhari before the election when he said he would congratulate himself because he would win. The question is how can a sane person who before an election when his popularity had waned severely as a result of incompetence and lack of concrete achievements boast that he would win except he had been assured of a rigging plan.
Third, when the killings, violence and destruction of voting materials that occurred in Lagos, Rivers and Anambra became public knowledge, INEC hastily put out the word that it would organize repeat elections in the affected parts of the three states. Yet, INEC has gone ahead to declare the results of the elections. Now, what becomes of those repeat polls? This gives impression that indeed; INEC and the Buhari government are in collusion to rob Nigerian people of their right to choose credible leaders through the voting process. It will be difficult for thinking people to identify with such a government that emerged through a reprehensible system of voter manipulation, cheating and mass killing of innocent citizens.
*** Amaechi Anaelechi wrote from Enugu.