Stakeholders speak on the conduct of the Presidential election and their expectations from the new government. OKUNADE ADEKUNLE reports
The presidential election has come and gone, but the fallout of the election will take time to settle. But what is historic is the response of the out-going President Goodluck Jonathan to the result of
the election when many had thought that he would not accept the result. It is proper to commend President Jonathan for displaying true spirit of sportsmanship, and setting a new precedence in the country’s political process.
Although there are mixed reactions over the conduct of the general elections, however the general consensus is that the election met the standard practice. Some stakeholders argued that the card reader system which was employed by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for the elections played a key role in reducing electoral malpractices especially over voting. There is also the argument that the failure of the card reader may have disenfranchised many eligible voters who wanted to be involved in the voting process to choose their leaders across the board.
Speaking with Hallmark, the Coordinator of Activists for Good Governance (AGG), Comrade Ihkehaire Declain, stated that the conduct of presidential election and its result reflected the position of the people in the country, adding that the future of Nigeria is bright with the emergence of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Presidential candidate, Gen Muhammadu Buhari, as the President-elect.
Declaim, who was part of those that monitored the election in Lagos under the Civil Society Organisation stated that Buhari would have a lot of challenges to face at the commencement of his administration, stressing that the hope of Nigerians is high on him and so it would not be business as usual for the next administration.
“The conduct and the result of the Presidential election have reflected the position and voice of Nigeria people. Let me tell you frankly that the future of Nigeria is in a bright light with the emergence of the APC Presidential candidate, General Muhammadu Buhari as Nigeria’s next president”, said Declain.
He believes that Buhari would be a better President based on his track records, stressing that if he does not perform to people’s expectation the CSO would mobilise against his re-election and his party in the next election.
“I believe Buhari would perform and if he fails to perform we would mobilise against him and his political party in the next election in the way we mobilised against President Jonathan at the Presidential election and we would vote him out”, he said.
The Minister of state for Foreign Affairs 11, Senator Musiliu Obanikoro, stated that there was a lot of issues around card reader malfunctioning and many people were at the risk of being disenfranchised, adding that the hoped INEC would improve in the subsequence election.
“The entire country should not be turned into a guinea pig with the card readers. It should have been tested with smaller elections before being deployed for the presidential election”, said Obanikoro.
“It is the totality that will determine. If 25 percent of people are marginalized across board, there will be need to review the process but if its marginal like two or three per cent, I think the society
can gloss over that”, said Obanikoro.
The Minister of Trade and Investment, Olusegun Aganga, in his own comment, stated that democracy in Nigeria has got to an advanced stage, describing the effort of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as highly professional.
The Minister of Trade and Investment said that the electioneering process was a smooth one, adding that the whole process is for Nigeria not about any individual.
He stressed “the next four years will be critical in the history of Nigeria. It is important for Nigeria to have a steady ship and someone to stir it”.
“I congratulate the political parties. They have been very mature and have fought a good fight. It is a sign of advancement in Nigeria’s democracy”, said Aganga.
Speaking with Hallmark, the Coordinator of Women Arise who participated in the monitoring of the Presidential election, Dr Joe Odumakin, stated that efforts have been put in place by INEC for the
successful conduct of the election, adding that it is good decision by the election umpire to extend the conduct of the election as it was the first time in Nigeria history to have a presidential election that extended to the next day.
She stressed that INEC needs to step up in their game so that the people can have confidence in them, stressing further that she would rate INEC above 50 percent in the presidential election.
Odumakin noted that Nigerians lack information on the operation of INEC on the conduct of the general elections, arguing that enough and adequate information on the subsequent election should be made available to electorates, who are eager to participate in the electioneering system of the country.
It is observed that Nigeria’s political consciousness have increased as there has been more political education from stakeholders and political parties to the electorates over their participation in the electoral process.