Let presidential election petition run its course, By Emma Nwosu
Emma Nwosu

For many reasons, President Bola Tinubu’s election to the presidency of Nigeria cannot be a fait accompli or our elections will get worse until our democracy dies.

To those of us, who have witnessed Nigerian elections since the First Republic, the presidential election of February 25, 2023 was, indeed, the worst. Those challenging it should be commended for controlling their followers against chaos and for resorting to the rule of law and orderly conduct of court proceedings, to save our democracy.

First, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has maintained that all voting and result handling technology and protocols worked perfectly in the accreditation of voters and in real-time transmission of National Assembly results from the polling units to the INEC result viewing portal (IReV) but only failed in concurrently transmitting the presidential election results from the same polling units “due to glitches”.

Yet, there is no evidence that the so-called glitches have been investigated. No reason for their occurrence has been made public and nobody is known to have been brought to book for the “accident”. Only a fool would not figure that the non-transmission of polling unit results, in real time, in the presidential leg of the election, was selective and intentional – against the run of votes.

Second, further to the allegations of money and certificate laundering and belated nomination of vice president, President Tinubu’s declaration as winner is rendered more suspect by the fact of his failure to secure 25 percent of the votes in the Federal Capital Territory (where there was no governor to run the rigging machinery) in military districts (where fraud could not be easily perpetrated) and in cosmopolitan Lagos. We know who won, landslide, in those benchmark constituencies.

Third, the polls, local and international, predicted landslide victory for someone else, other than Tinubu. In addition, the election had subsequently been condemned by both local and international observers, who have no interest in who wins but only in credibility and transparency. To “let the sleeping dog lie” is to embolden election criminals and to expose the country to opprobrium in the comity of nations.

Fourth, the more the propensity of our politicians to hijack the freedom of the people to change the government is condoned, the more democracy, accountability and inclusive prosperity declines, until the country, inevitably, perishes – an undesirable outcome to any well-meaning Nigerian.

Unfortunately, President Tinubu is fingered as the promoter of the “at all cost fight for it, grab it, snatch it and run with it” election strategy, which underlies the coup-like and commercial mindset by which our politicians bulldoze their way to power and, therefore, owe no allegiance to voters they deem bought and subjugated, but concentrate on making “profit” from their “investment”. This strategy was, apparently, deployed, in the February 25, 2023 presidential election, to his advantage.

Money and violence must be eliminated from our elections if those motivated by service to the state must emerge, for our democracy to see the light. After all, people campaign vigorously (without money) to serve their communities, professional associations, clubs and societies, gloriously, without pay. At most, they are re-imbursed for professional services rendered. It was a mistake to make the case of state elections and political office different, which mistake then rendered them predatory.

A usurper’s leadership can never deliver unity, peace, trust and cooperation between the government and the people, not to talk of development. It cannot correct itself. Instead of prudence and transparency, it would enthrone the oligarchy and rascality by which it came to power. Already, only those with whom President Tinubu seems to have an axe to grind have been indicted. No one has been indicted for fuel subsidy and other deadly scams! Therefore, he does not seem bent on fighting corruption, because, you cannot be selective in fighting corruption and succeed.

Moreover, by his culture of paternalism, President Tinubu is bound to further decapitate our institutions and the Rule of Law, from where Muhammadu Buhari left. Already, we are saddled again with a servile, quid pro quo, National Assembly incapable of overseeing the executive. Everything the President presented has been passively and speedily passed while the legislators got everything they wanted. The Senate President now wears the Tinubu trademark cap to office, perhaps, as a mark of submission.

And on July 25, 2023, the Department of State Services (DSS) stormed the Federal High Court and re-arrested Mr. Godwin Emefiele (suspended Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN) in flagrant violation of his bail, under “instruction from above”. Meanwhile, the only charge ever brought against him was for illegal possession of a firearm. Does it make sense that a CBN governor cannot possess a gun while non-state actors enjoy the company of the President and maintain armies and brandish guns?

Fifth, unlike President Umaru Yar’Adua (in 2007) President Tinubu has not uttered a word of contrition about the bizarre election by which he was declared president (insisting, instead, that he won, fair and square), which is indicative of an unrepentant and dictatorial mindset, also visible in his imposition of National Assembly leadership and economic policies. It can even be predicted that a repeat election in which he would participate would still be chaotic and should be ruled out.

One could go on and on. But, in summary, let the presidential election litigation run its course. The judges should aim to satisfy well-meaning Nigerians as to who actually won that election of February 25, 2023, with facts and figures, so that we can face the future in serenity rather than suspicion.


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