Lawan, Ndume and the politics of endorsement

Lawan, Ndume and the politics of endorsement

By Solomon Fowowe

“May the best man win.” The catchphrase that precedes every contest even if there is barely any belief in it. It’s simple, the All Progressive’s Congress wanted their man to win. The opposition People’s Democratic Party crunched the numbers, knew there wasn’t any way they could pull off a win with a PDP candidate.
They simply acted as the opposition party unwilling to endure an embarrassing loss, pitched their tent behind the APC dissident, Senator Ali Ndume. It’s APC vs APC for all PDP cares.

“As the opposition political party, we must be seen to play a responsible opposition role. Yes, none of the two presiding officers we are rooting for belong to the PDP, but we know that as a critical member of the National Assembly, we must have a say in the election of its leaders. This is the reason why we are backing both Ndume and Bago,” PDP Chairman, Uche Secondus told Punch

In a statement signed by PDP’s national secretary, Umar Tsauri, the party noted that its decision was in order “deepen democracy, ensure a strong and independent legislature, strict compliance with the principle of separation of powers as well as constitutional checks and balances in the polity.”

Admittedly, there were a lot of factors at play as the leadership of the 9th National Assembly was contested. Many dealings, tacit and clearly stated promises, quid quo pros but there was something that came first for the APC – the smooth relationship between the Executive and the National Assembly.

None of the frosty, stilted air between President Muhammadu Buhari, Senator Bukola Saraki and Hon Yakubu Dogara regarding bills and the budget.

APC looks to have learnt from the leadership tussle of the 8th National Assembly where they were undercut by Saraki and Dogara. They leveraged on alliances with the opposition People’s Democratic Party to emerge the president of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives against the wishes of the APC leadership.

Saraki’s defiance set the tone for the next four years, his defection from the party three-quarters into his tenure merely formalised the lingering distrust.

APC placed their seal of approval on Senator Ahmad Lawan, made sure there was no meeting on the voting day and persuaded/ordered other candidates from the party to step down. Senator Danjuma Goje stepped down but Senator Ndume remained in the race.

He hoped his act of defiance would produce results. It produced 28 votes while Lawan had 79 votes.

Senator Ndume couldn’t pull off a Saraki-esque machination, for one APC are the wiser, PDP doesn’t have vested interests and Ndume doesn’t quite have the gravitas of the former Senate President.

PDP knew it was going to be a coronation, still, they went through the motions to put up an endorsement as a mere formality. Even if the endorsement meant, parking behind the same senator the PDP led government accused of sponsoring terrorism in Nigeria.

It does feel firmly like an APC-led house. But for democracy’s sake, the big hope will be that the National Assembly will put the country ahead of their party inclinations. That there will be an independent legislature that checks the excesses of the executive.

Credit: The Guardian

APC and its midnight children 

APC and its midnight children

APC chairman, Adams Oshiomhole

By Louis Odion, FNGE

The custom in most African societies forbid whistling at night. Man is presumed to exercise dominion only over day. The ungodly hours are, in turn, conceded to dark creatures and fearsome principalities. So, it is thought that any unnatural sound may arouse the wrath of the gods of the night, thereby rupturing the harmony and balance of the social space.
In folklore, deviants of this ancestral norm are characterized as a curse on the community.

But to be sure, these are not to be mistaken for the loftier characters in Salman Rushdie’s magic-realist novel, Midnight Children. The magical exploits of Rushdie’s own fictive Saleem bear striking semblance with postcolonial India in turmoil. Though losing his power of telepathy after a medical procedure, Saleem instead gains a powerful sense of smell.

However, unlike the sometimes transformative magic of Rushdie’s incarnation, the midnight children in the referenced African fable revel in mischief, malice and pettiness.

In contemporary Nigeria, no one presents a more compelling parallel than All Progressive Congress. On the eve of its supposed hour of glory, the ruling party is in the news across the federation for the wrong reasons — troubles stirred by its own mutation of the metaphorical midnight children, increasingly constituting a nightmare to the nation at large.

So, even as resolute mother APC seeks to forge ahead in the communal market, her preoccupation now partly seems how to rein the wayward hands of the child on her back into the girdle, lest they scatter the merchandise on display sideways.
Nowhere is this anxiety better dramatized than Ogun where people have been forced to watch the comic folly of the Governor Ibikunle Amosun seeking to hide behind a finger. Though still wearing APC colours, it is open secret that the departing Ogun governor is funding the cases of all APM candidates at the election tribunal against APC members — from those elected into the state assembly to the governor-elect.

Still, bitterness over the defeat of his anointed (Adekunle Akinlade) by Dapo Abiodun in the last governorship polls has turned Amosun to a squirrel digging holes all over Abeokuta, curiously on the eve of his exit. And whenever he bites his own finger to ventilate that seething rage, his anger is probably compounded realizing that what hits him back instead is physical pain and that no blood drips from the swollen bite-mark.

When Abiodun’s people protested the festering plague of holes in Abeokuta, Amosun told another cheap lie to defend the first one. The man with the distinctive machete cap or “Fila-defia” (a jocular allusion to America’s Philadelphia city of highrises, “fila” being Yoruba word for hat) said he was only sprucing the state capital up ahead of the visit by President Muhammadu Buhari to commission his legacy projects, as well as prepare the grounds for the subsequent inauguration of the governor-in-waiting on May 29.

If that was the sincere intention, you would expect that drab walls be painted anew and gaping potholes filled instead. But in Amosun’s warped logic, you dig holes to make a city more alluring.

Worse, while the governor’s towncriers were busy parroting that spin last weekend in response to public outcry, they did not seem to realize that what was left unsaid showcased them in squalid lights. One, transition of this nature is supposed to be a colloboration between officials of the outgoing administration and nominees of the incoming. Instead, magisterial Amosun was said to have made public buildings and vehicles inaccessible to the committee raised by Abiodun to midwife his inauguration. Besides, not a single kobo was said to have been made available by the Amosun administration for Abiodun’s team to work with.
So desperate have matters become that Abiodun’s people have had to make contigency arrangements on some necessities. For instance, this writer reliably gathered that his team had to travel to Osun State to borrow an open-back jeep for the customary parade at the inauguration. Since Amosun has continued to hold tight to Ogun’s, insisting on deploying same for an elaborate “pull-out” ceremony he was arranging for himself on May 28.
Apart from digging craters, Amosun’s mischievous caterpillars were also reportedly deployed to either crack the soil in some communities or cannibalize the royal institutions across Ogun. In a desperate craving for public applause, the governor was also sighted performing “flag-off” rites for road projects amid dancing and praise-singing by paid drummers in a mindlessly elaborate exercise in public deceit barely a week to his departure! Of course, everyone knows that even the drivers of the emergency earthmovers would soon leave with Amosun.
While such ground-breaking event may soon be forgotten, not so with the royal gerrymandering Amosun has inflicted. No fewer than 73 chiefs who had lent themselves to Amosun as political hirelings were unilaterally upgraded to Oba status without due consultation in what is widely seen as a vicious slap on the Alake of Egbaland and the Awujale of Ijebuland. So, it is obvious that the incoming Abiodun administration will be inheriting a royal crisis.
In Zamfara, it is a case of shortlived revelry. Fumbling Governor Abdulaziz Yari would be made to realize rather too late the limit of the power of American dollars. Under him, the ruling party has made history as the one who supposedly won landslide victory at the polls but denied the trophy eventually.
The story we heard initially was that the state chapter of the ruling party failed to meet INEC’s deadline for primaries. When told this bitter truth, the deluded emperor in turn threatened to literally plunge everyone standing in his way to foisting all his stooges on Zamfara into the grave, not excluding himself.
First resorting to the sorcery of a cartel of shifty judges, Yari pushed himself over the first hurdle by securing assorted “black-market” court orders. Then, he fell for the sweet tongues of some Ponzi conmen lurking around Abuja. The whiff of American dollars in uncountable sacks apparently proved too irresistible at the party headquarters. In fact, the fixers with itchy fingers and wearing necklace made of glutton teeth hardly thought twice before surrendering the entire booklet of party tickets to the dollars Sheik from Gusau.

But just when Yari probably began to visualize Zamfara in his grotesque image beyond the midnight of May 28 (when his second tenure would end), came the rude shocker from Supreme Court last weekend pronouncing a regicide of sorts against all those elected on APC platform in the last general elections. In what could only have been inspired by a sense of sardonic humour, the court further slapped him with a fine of N10m (American dollars?).
With that, Yari’s earlier bluster to dispense political euthanasia freely would now seem to have partly turned a self-fulfillig prophesy.

Yari’s career bofoonery is perhaps only matched by Rochas Okorocha’s epic fawning in Imo State. For a man who rode to power eight years ago chanting “Rescue Mission”, how ironic that he himself is ending at the terminus politically wounded, his political empire in utter disarray, after a failed experiment at monarchism (“iberiberism”?).

While a sulking Okorocha would today lament a high conspiracy against him, what he would not admit is that he was actually outbidded in the sleazy bazaar camouflaged as party primaries last October, from where the rain truly began to beat him. As the popular account goes, someone supplied four times the amount of American dollars Okorocha allegedly offered to have his son-in-law made APC candidate in the governorship polls.
Now, aside the eternal shame of not having his son-in-law succeed him as governor after all the public boast, Okorocha faces additional trauma of a hostile take-over of the Douglas House with EFCC Rottweilers already barking ferociously at the gates.
In Oyo, we are listening to the bitter ending of the “Koseleri” panegyrics. When Abiola Ajimobi took over in 2011, workers jubilated. But he is leaving office amid labour strike. Being the first to win a second term democratically after a long succession of governors apparently got him so intoxicated as to arrogantly proclaim himself “the constituted authority” when some poor students heckled him for a more humane administration of their institution. Those still in doubt were taken into the literary appreciation of the term, “Koseleri” (it has never happened before).
But beaten silly in the subsequent polls and apparently afraid history might not remember him afterall, Ajimobi has embarked on perhaps the most bizarre pursuit of self-validation — a cynical attempt at self-immortalization. By not seeing any shame in rushing to name a major street after himself in Ibandan few days to his exit, Ajimobi has only ended up portraying himself as another incurably insecure megalomaniac seeking to preempt the verdict of the posterity.

In Lagos, sadly, Akinwunmi Ambode appears too traumatized, too disoriented by the loss of second term ticket last October to sustain his earlier presence of mind and finish strong. Nothing perhaps tells the tale of his diminished shadow better than the staccato of discordant tunes around his last days.
The magnificence of the new Oshodi bus interchange is, for instance, tainted by the side-talk that what President Buhari commissioned in April was a half-completed job. The allure of a section of the International Airport Road reconstructed is, in turn, smeared by the deepening squalor of the equally important Lagos-Badagry expressway. So much that last week, thousands of protesting residents of the axis poured onto the now famished road completely forsaken in the past four years.

Again, the transformation of Epe to a scenic wonder is contrasted by the continuing degradation of Apapa today. Added to that is a rather disturbing and yet undischarged allegation of squandering a staggering N49b of taxpayers’ money on the eve of Ambode’s exit from power.
Everything considered, it will, therefore, not be incorrect to say that these midnight children of APC are exiting the stage not in a blaze of glory, but with the whimper of a broken whistle.

Credit: The Nation

Sunset on Saraki’s political dynasty

Sunset on Saraki’s political dynasty

By Dayo Omotoso

In a 1796 letter, third president of the United States, Thomas Jefferson wrote: “I have no ambition to govern men.
It is a painful and thankless office.” And, former British Prime Minister, Sir Winston Churchill, observed that “Politics are almost as exciting as war and quite as dangerous. In war you can only be killed once, but in politics many times.”

For about four decades the Saraki family of Ilorin dominated the politics of Kwara State. The patriarch of the family, Dr. Abubakar Olusola Saraki, a medical doctor and politician, was the prime mover. Dr Saraki first entered politics in 1964 when he contested the parliamentary election for Ilorin as an independent, but lost.

After the election he returned to his medical practice in Lagos, only returning to party politics in 1978.

Earlier in 1977, Olusola Saraki had been elected as a member of the Constituency Assembly that produced the 1979 constitution. He won election into the Senate in 1979. He was re-elected in 1983 on the platform of the National Party of Nigeria (NPN) and became the Senate Leader. Between 1979 and 1983, he was a member of Ilorin Emirate from Agoro compound in Agbaji.

In 1998, Olusola Saraki became a National Leader of the Board of Trustees of the All People’s Party (APP), contributing to the victory of the APP in Kwara and Kogi States. He assisted Mohammed Alabi Lawal in becoming Governor of Kwara State.

In 2001, Olusola Saraki was head of a team from the Arewa Consultative Forum, a Northern Cultural and political group, sent to meet and discuss common goals with Northern state governors and other stakeholders. Later Olusola Saraki defected to the People’s Democratic Party (PDP); and in the April 2003 elections the kingmaker supported his son Bukola Saraki as candidate for governor of Kwara State and his daughter, Gbemisola, as Senator for Kwara Central Senatorial district.

In March 2003, the Societe Generale Bank (SGBN) of which Olusola Saraki was the Chairman was investigated by the National Drug Law Enforcement
Agency (NDLEA) for alleged money laundering. Later, SGBN was investigated by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) under Nuhu Ribadu, and its licence was suspended.

The SGBN eventually went under. Many depositors and customers of the bank lost a fortune in the process but there were no consequences.

Dr Olusola Saraki’s last political party was the Allied Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN) on whose platform Gbemisola contested the 2011 Kwara State gubernatorial election.

The attempt created a schism in the Saraki family because Olusola Saraki wanted Gbemisola to succeed her brother, Bukola, as Governor of Kwara State but Bukola preferred his own anointed candidate, Abdufattah Ahmed, instead. Bukola Saraki’s candidate defeated his father’s candidate.

Popularly known as Baba Oloye, Olusola Saraki was allegedly deeply hurt and humiliated. Rumour, however, had it that father and son later reconciled.

Olusola Saraki was born in Ilorin on 17 May 1933 and died of cancer in Ikoyi, Lagos on 14 November 2012. His mother was from Iseyin in Oyo State; his father hailed from Ilorin, Kwara State. Saraki’s paternal ancestors were Fulanis from Mali about 200 years ago.

Olusola Saraki attended Eko Boys’ High School, Lagos; University of London; and St George’s Hospital Medical School, London. He worked as medical officer at General Hospital, Lagos and the Creek Hospital, Lagos. He had four children: Bukola, Gbemisola, Temitope and Olaolu.

Abubakar Bukola Saraki followed closely in the footsteps of his wealthy and influential father. Born on 19 December 1962, Bukola was educated at the Corona School, Victoria Island; and King’s College, United Kingdom: 1979-1981 for Higher School Certificate (HSC); and London Medical College: 1982-1987. He worked as Medical Officer at Rush Green Hospital, Essex: 1988-1989; and Director of SGBN: 1990-2000.

In 20000, President Olusegun Obasanjo appointed Bukola Saraki as Special Assistant on Budget. During his tenure, Bukola Saraki initiated the Fiscal Responsibility Bill. He also served in the Economic Policy Coordination Committee, where he was responsible for the formulation and implementation of several key economic policies for the nation.

Bukola Saraki was elected governor of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in 2003. He served for eight years: 2003-2011. As governor, Saraki became the first state chief executive to complete the Nigeria Independent Power Project in collaboration with the Power Holding Company of Nigeria. He introduced innovations in the Primary health care, agriculture and infrastructural development. He also brought revolutionary changes into the Nigeria Governors’ Forum

In April 2011, Saraki was elected into the Senate on the platform of the PDP representing Kwara Central Senatorial District, and then re-elected in March 2015 on the ticket of the All Progressive Congress (APC) after he had decamped from the PDP. Saraki was the arrowhead of those who moved against President Goodluck Jonathan’s second term bid for the presidency in 2015.

However, Saraki defected back to the PDP on 31 July 2018 some days after 14 Senators decamped from the APC to the PDP. He blamed his defection on intolerance of some influential persons in the APC.

The party’s national Chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole actually campaigned vigorously for the removal of Saraki as Senate President. Indeed, the national leadership of the APC never liked the emergence of Bukola Saraki as President of the Senate and they never disguised their disdain for him.

The 2019 National Assembly election was therefore, an opportunity for the APC hawks to take their pound of flesh. Before the election the Senate passed the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill but President Muhammadu Buhari rejected it, stating that it reduced the President’s powers. The Senate said the Bill was passed to promote transparency and accountability. Buhari has no petroleum minister of cabinet rank.

In the February 23, 2019 election, Bukola Saraki lost his senatorial seat to Dr Ibrahim Oloriegbe of the APC. Saraki polled a total of 68,994 votes against Oloriegbe’s 123,808 in the four Local Government Areas of Kwara Central Senatorial District leaving a margin of 54,814 votes. Oloriegbe is a former Majority Leader in the Kwara State House of Assembly.

A political scientist, Dr Kehinde Awujoola, commented on the shocking defeat of the Senate President. He said he was not surprised that Saraki was ousted considering the several unsavoury occurrences since he became the Senate President in June, 2015. He said “First, you will recall that the leadership of the APC did not want him as the Senate President.

The party had a preferred candidate from the North East. Saraki’s tenure was tempestuous. He encountered many tribulations. Several wild allegations were hurled at him including the Code of Conduct Bureau saga and the futile attempt to link him with the Offa robbery case.

The immediate past inspector general of police, Ibrahim Idris, had no respect for the office of the Senate President.

On several occasions, Idris derided the Senate President with impunity without consequences. The Executive arm of government did not help matters. Nobody in Buhari’s administration wanted Bukola Saraki. They saw him as a liability. So, the APC cabals waited for the right moment to humiliate him at the poll.”

Another commentator, Dr Tosin Iyaniwura, observed that the rivalry between the Saraki siblings, Bukola and Gbemisola had destroyed the cohesion of the Saraki political dynasty.

She said: “The current problem began in 2011 when the once united Saraki family became polarised over Gbemisola’s gubernatorial ambition. Unfortunately, those who were envious of the family’s streak of luck and influence exploited the crack to convince the Saraki teeming followers that it was time for them to chart a new course hence the new political slogan “ O to gee” in Kwara politics.

For several years, the Sarakis had always kept their followers happy and loyal by distributing food and money to them with some getting killed in the stampede for the items. But, now, some young Kwarans who were probably former followers of Baba Oloye have decided to challenge the Saraki dominance of Kwara politics.”

Reacting to Saraki’s defeat, a former media adviser who prefers anonymity said, “If an unwanted visitor comes to your compound, you quickly sweep off his or her footprints. Bukola Saraki is too arrogant and self-centred. He is a butterfly pretending to be a bird. When you talk of Kwara politics, we were loyal to him and his father.

The people served them faithfully but Bukola took their love and loyalty for granted. He became swollen-headed, and we said O to gee, meaning enough is enough. Bukola Saraki has become a pariah in Kwara politics.”

But, earlier in a newspaper interview in October 2014, a former Commissioner for information under Saraki’s governorship, Raheem Adedoyin, had argued that “The system in Saraki’s political dynasty is not about struggling for anything…”, adding that “Elections in Kwara had never been a tea party; but from 1979… the winning machinery is the Sarakis. The founder, a great visionary, Late Olusola Saraki, established the machinery and the machinery…has even surpassed the founder. Bukola Saraki, our leader is the Senior Prefect of the dynasty.”

The plot against the Saraki political machinery in Kwara first reared its ugly head before the 2015 general elections when some former loyalists kicked against an alleged plan by Bukola Saraki to impose a gubernatorial candidate on the APC. He compounded his political woes in 2018 when he decided to go back to the PDP.

Shuaibu Iyanda, a resident of Ilorin, is from the Amilegbe area of the state capital. He sympathised with Saraki’s political misfortune but eulogised Ibrahim Oloriegbe’s modesty and humility in victory. He said: “Dr Ibrahim Oloriegbe is a noble man. I congratulate him on his modesty and humility in victory. Oloriegbe is not like some proud Abuja politicians who regard themselves as the Alpha and Omega of Kwara politics.

They have been going about boasting that they are behind the APC victory in Kwara. These pretenders are not even from Ilorin. Why, then, are they claiming to be leaders? Ilorin people have just shaken off the hegemony of one family. We do not want a new imposition from any quarters. Nobody should use us to secure appointments in Abuja,” he concluded.
Omotoso, a journalist, wrote from Ibadan

Osun Governorship: Court of Appeal nullifies tribunal judgment, pronounces Oyetola winner

Osun Governorship: Court of Appeal nullifies tribunal judgment, pronounces Oyetola winner

BREAKING: Court of Appeal nullifies Adeleke’s electoral victory

Halimah Yahaya
The Court of Appeal on Thursday in Abuja nullified the electoral victory of Ademola Adeleke in the Osun State governorship election petition tribunal.

This was after the appeal filed by the governor of Osun State, Gboyega Oyetola, challenging the declaration of Ademola Adeleke as the duly elected governor by the state election petition tribunal.

The appellate court also set aside the judgement of the tribunal of March 22, which declared Mr Adeleke winner of the election.

A five-member panel of the appeal court led by Jummai Sankey delivered the judgement with three members of the panel agreeing with the lead judgement.

A panel member, Justice Mbaba, is currently giving a dissenting judgement.

Mr Adeleke contested the governorship election on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

The Independent National Electoral Commission declared Mr Oyetola winner after a supplementary poll but the tribunal said Mr Oyetola won the election at the first ballot.

Specifically, he faulted the judgment as unknown to the law because Justice Peter Obiorah who prepared and read the lead judgement did not participate fully during the hearing of the petition.

Mr Oyetola whose appeal was first heard by the court of appeal drew the attention of the court to the February 6 proceedings in which Mr Obiorah was absent at the tribunal and did not sign the proceeding of that day.

The appellant contended that what Mr Obiorah did amounted to judicial hear-say because the proceedings of February 6 when he was not in court was copiously copied in his lead judgement.

Insisting that judicial hear-say has no place in law, Mr Oyetola asked the appeal court to quash the judgement, allow the appeal and uphold the governorship election.

On his part, the counsel to APC, Akin Olujinmi, also faulted the judgment of the tribunal led by Ibrahim Sirajo, on the ground that the petition was based on the rerun election of September 27.

Credit: Premium Times

Ndume v Lawan: The danger ahead

Ndume v Lawan: The danger ahead

Azu Ishiekwene

What would it take President Muhammadu Buhari to get the politics of the National Assembly right? Four years ago, he had a problem which, like a stubborn fly, has refused to go away.

After his election victory speech in 2015 when he was for all and for none, things went haywire, leading to the emergence of a National Assembly leadership that would haunt him for the rest of his tenure.

His wars with the legislature – from inflated budgets to outright refusal to confirm a number of high profile appointees and God knows what not – were probably next to his ill-health in the pecking order of his woes.

Most people blamed Buhari. If he had taken the lead early on and given a clear indication who he was comfortable to work with, instead of barricading himself in Aso Rock after the election, his party and, perhaps, his government, might have been spared the misery of a tumultuous executive-legislative relationship that made Tom and Jerry look like best of friends.

To avoid that this time, it appears that at Buhari’s behest, the APC has made its preference clear: Ahmed Lawan for Senate president, and Femi Gbajabiamila as speaker for the House of Reps. Buhari did not issue a statement or call a press conference to announce his preference. He apparently gave his party the hint and left Chairman Adams Oshiomhole to do the rest.

If delay or indifference was the source of his problem the last time, it does not look like speed or enthusiasm will make any difference now. Not only have significant numbers of legislators made it clear that it is not the business of the President or the executive to choose their leaders for them, politicians within the ranks of the ruling APC have also told Oshiomhole to find a job and Buhari to mind his business.

Buhari, an introvert by nature and practice, must be wondering how he got himself into this mess: Steer clear he’s damned, get involved he’s damned. Interestingly, Ali Ndume who is probably the biggest threat to APC’s official candidate, Lawan, said he had personally informed Buhari of his decision to contest and received the President’s consent. Two private meetings with Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on the matter have, so far, been unable to persuade Ndume to drop his ambition.

Ndume has maintained that he is opposed to anyone “imposing” a candidate on the Senate. Which sounds sensible until you remember that in 2011 Ndume was not the preferred candidate of Southern Borno senatorial district. A returnee member of the Peoples Democratic Party at the time, he was, in fact, imposed on the district over GarbaSanda, who was forced to step down for him.

But in politics where one week could be a lifetime, eight years are like eons past.

You would think that after the bloodletting of the last four years, the ruling party would have learnt its lessons and members would desperately avoid anything that could make it a laughing stock so soon. But politicians, being politicians, they have only one motivation: power and how to keep or advance it at any cost and for as long as possible.

Ndume’s case is complicated by two things. The first is the nagging sense of injustice which goes back to his roots in Southern Borno, generally regarded and treated as the political backwaters of the state. If a Gwoza, Shani or Biu cannot be governor in Borno but manages, against all odds, to make it to the Senate, why should the candidate be prevented from pursuing his ambition to the end?

The second complication is Ndume’s sense of entitlement. Having occupied a leadership position in the Senate before Lawan, he feels the prize should naturally come to him. Why should he sacrifice his rank for Lawan’s ambition or the party’s vanity? He fancies himself as the truly “independent” candidate, a worn-out mask for self-interest.

Beyond Ndume, however, there is what may be described as the latent spite factor – the resentment of APC national leader, Bola Ahmed Tinubu – who for some strange reason is regarded as good party talisman at the time of election but resented and despised as bad omen when it is time to share the spoils.

A lot has been said about what the so-called Tinubu agenda might be: that he’s lining things up for a bid for the presidency in 2023; that he is planting his men everywhere – including the National Assembly – to expand and consolidate his power base against the next general elections; that he is driven by an obsession for control and power grab and nothing else. Quite harsh and mostly far-fetched, to be honest. Does anyone seriously believe that Tinubu is single-handedly pressing the candidacy of Lawan and Gbajabiamila without the consent and approval of Buhari? Seriously?

It’s shaping up like an answer to the prayer of the PDP. Nigerians rejected the party at the polls in 2015, but Bukola Saraki and Speaker Yakubu Dogara, both elected on the ticket of the APC, opened the backdoor for PDP and consummated a marriage of convenience whose illegitimate children have haunted the country for four years.

And I’m not talking here about insinuations that Saraki is prepping DanjumaGoje or whoever he thinks can smear pepper in Buhari’s eye to take over the leadership of the National Assembly. I’m saying that I’m shocked beyond words that once bitten, the APC is not even remotely shy to see that the precarious numerical advantage it has in the Senate, for example – 65-41 – would again be exploited ruthlessly by the PDP.

It may appear that this is not our business: that the results of the last general elections show that some regions are overrated and those who have delivered the numbers should not only get preferential share of the pie but also the legislature as a whole should be left alone to choose its leaders.

That sounds great, except that after four years of weaponised hybrid leadership in the National Assembly, we have seen that it only produces stalemate, blackmail and a permanently divided house fighting over more allowances and benefits for its members.

It’s difficult to hold the National Assembly to account when its leadership, which sets out and provides direction for legislative business, has been subverted by the opposition. We cannot and will not have another four years of the minority tail wagging the majority dog after voters made their preference clear at the polls.

PDP is waiting to pounce again – and it will if APC refuses to look in the flea market just to purchase common sense. If other contestants refuse to step down for the party’s preferred candidates – and they have a right to refuse – then the party should ask the pre-designated zones to present candidates.

There’s no guarantee that desperate, wounded moneybags will not find their way to the zones, but that’s a lesser evil compared with the chaos that awaits the party if matters continue this way, and eventually end up on the floor of the National Assembly.

Since indifference is proving to be as deadly as meddling, a viable way to manage the chaos would be to let the candidates test their strength at the zones. The irony of these matters is that we may never see the real demons in the candidates – and that includes even the most carefully pre-selected ones – until they have been tested with power.

Ishiekwene is the managing director/editor-in-chief of The Interview and member of the board of the Global Editors Network.

NASS leadership: APC moves against PDP plot to snatch 13 senators-elect

NASS: APC moves against PDP plot to snatch 13 senators-elect

• Lawan opts for one-on-one engagement, • Omo-Agege, Alimikhena, Amosun battle for Deputy Senate President
by Yusuf Alli

• Opposition party targets APC men from Borno, Abia, Oyo, Gombe, Bayelsa, Bauchi, Ogun, Kogi, Sokoto, Imo

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has launched an audacious move to win to its side 13 All Progressives Congress (APC) Senators-elect as part of a grand design to hijack the leadership of the 9th Senate.

But the alleged plot has leaked to the APC which has launched a counter move of its own to avoid a repeat of the 2015 infiltration of its ranks in the National Assembly by the PDP, highly placed party sources said last night.

The APC is in talks with all its state governors and national leaders to support President Muhammadu Buhari’s choices for the President of the Senate, Dr. Ahmad Lawan and the Speaker of the House who may be named this week.

The party is determined to ensure that none of its members contests against APC’s official candidates for leadership positions in the Senate and the House of Representatives in June.

Another option is a likely waive of the Standing Rules of the two chambers to allow open voting during the election of principal officers to monitor the loyalty of the party’s Senators-elect.

Besides, the APC is discussing with some PDP Senators-elect with a view to giving them the chairmanship of juicy committees.

But some PDP leaders are targeting 13 ‘rebellious’ Senators-elect from the APC to produce the next President of the Senate, Deputy President of the Senate and other principal officers.

If the PDP’s plan sails through it will have on its side about 56 votes for a majority decision leaving APC with 53.

The PDP targets are Senators-elect from Borno, Oyo, Gombe, Bayelsa, Bauchi and Ogun states.

The party is insisting that the Standing Rules do not expressly state that presiding officers must come from the ruling party.

The opposition party said the fact that it has been a convention for the majority party to produce presiding officers does not make it legal or the norm.

Following the APC’s endorsement of Dr. Ahmed Lawan for the position of Senate President, the battle for the Deputy President of the Senate is hitting up between Senator Ovie Omo-Agege (Delta Central ) and the outgoing Deputy Chief Whip of the Red Chamber, Senator Alimikhena Asekhame (Edo North)..

The outgoing Governor of Ogun State, Mr. Ibikunle Amosun is believed to have joined the race for Deputy Senate President even though it was not zoned to the Southwest.

Investigation by The Nation revealed that APC and PDP have been trying to outwit each other on the election of the new Senate President, Speaker and other officers.

While the APC leadership and Dr. Lawan have been engaging Senators-elect on one-on-one talks, the PDP has been trying to mount pressure on most Senators-elect to resist what it has termed “imposition of principal officers” by the Executive.

Sources said PDP’s agenda is to share power with the APC in the two chambers.

A top source in APC, who spoke in confidence, said: “The race is still open despite the fact that APC has made its position known and released its zoning formula for the Senate. We are expecting the party’s idea of power sharing in the House this week. What we are trying to do is to keep our caucus united in the two chambers.

“But not all Senators-elect and House members-elect have bought into the party’s zoning formula. This is why we have sought the assistance of APC governors and national leaders to engage the new National Assembly members to avoid a repeat of 2015 episode which was plotted and sealed by the opposition.

“Our main target is to assert our right as the party with the majority in the National Assembly to produce the new set of leaders.

“We have already asked the nominee for Senate Presidency, Dr. Ahmad Lawan and some Senators-elect to meet with all Senators-elect on why APC must forge a common front. To us, delivering democratic dividends is more important than the sentiments being whipped up by the opposition.”

Asked if the APC could regain the control of the two chambers, the source added: “We want to speak with one voice this time around; we plan to present common candidates for all offices due to APC without counter-nominations; and we are also negotiating with PDP Senators-elect and House members-elect.

“We will not underrate the opposition but we won’t let them have their way like the case in 2015. We are hopeful of getting the figures from APC and PDP members before the inauguration of the 9th Senate.

A ranking Senator in PDP said: “We are really opposed to any plot to foist leaders on the two chambers. Our fears border on a possible rubber-stamp legislature.

“Our position is that it is not mandatory for the principal officers of the Senate and the House to come from the party with a simple majority in the two chambers. This has been successfully proven in the 7th and 8th National Assembly.

“And going by Section 60 of the 1999 Constitution, the two chambers can come up with rules and regulations to guide its proceedings. The section says: ‘Subject to the provisions of this constitution. The Senate or the House of Representatives shall have power to regulate its own procedure, including the procedure for summoning and recess of the House.

“The modes of voting can be by voice vote, signing of register in a division, electronic voting or even by secret ballot if it is the wish of the new members of the National Assembly.

“So, if a PDP lawmaker will lead the Senate or the House better, let us go for him or her.”

On the alleged plot by PDP to poach 13 APC Senators-elect in order to influence the election of new principal officers in the Senate, a party source said: “With 13 Senators-elect from APC teaming up with 43 PDP Senators-elect, we can comfortably elect independent-minded Senate President and other principal officers with 56-man strength.

“We are discussing with some Senators-elect from Borno, Oyo, Gombe, Bayelsa, Bauchi, Ogun states.

This is our target which we believe is realizable. We will field candidates for all available offices in the two chambers.”

The race for the Office of the Deputy President of the Senate however took a new turn with the emergence of three contenders.

The zoning of the position to the Southsouth has made it a close race for Sen. Ovie Omo-Agege (Delta) and the outgoing Deputy Chief Whip of the Senate, Sen. Alimikhena Asekhame from the Southsouth.

But the outgoing Governor of Ogun State, Mr. Ibikunle Amosun was said to have joined the race for the Deputy Senate President even though it was not zoned to the Southwest.

The outgoing President of the Senate, Chief Ike Ekweremadu, has been silent on whether he will vie for the office for a third term.

A source said: “So far, three candidates have emerged from the APC but being a deft politician, Ekweremadu can spring a big surprise like he did in 2015. The zoning formula favours Sen. Ovie Omo-Agege(Delta) and the outgoing Deputy Chief Whip of the Senate, Sen. Alimikhena Asekhame from the Southsouth but if Amosun goes ahead with his ambition, it can redraw the permutations.

“The zoning formula put in place by the APC is yet to favour the Southeast and the PDP will not mind reaching some accord which can make Ekweremadu to remain in office.”

Credit: The Nation

Several ‘flaws’ identified in Atiku’s presidential election ‘server result’

Several ‘flaws’ identified in Atiku’s presidential election ‘server result’

Atiku Abubakar

Abdulaziz Abdulaziz
The computation of presidential election results filed before the elections petition tribunal by the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, shows that all accredited votes cast in 33 states of the federation were shared between him and President Muhammadu Buhari.

Mr Buhari was declared the winner for a second term of four years with 15,191,847 votes to defeat Mr Abubakar who polled 11,262,978 votes. The two got lion share of the 27,324,583 valid votes recorded in the election.

Over 1.2 million votes were also voided in the course of the election.

However, excerpts of court filings published by PREMIUM TIMES give Mr Abubakar’s state by state breakdown of votes which, he claims, placed him ahead of Mr Buhari with 18,356,732 against the incumbent’s 16,741,430 votes. The result is exclusive of figures from Rivers State.

The Flaws
Mr Abubakar’s purported result implies that no invalid votes were recorded in the 33 states, and none of the 71 other presidential candidates obtained any score.

In three states; Abia, Bauchi and Cross River, the documents show that the two candidates collectively got votes higher than the number of accredited voters.

Mr Abubakar claims that he obtained the results from the server of the electoral commission, INEC.

The document is included in the petition filed by Mr Abubakar in a suit seeking his declaration as the validly elected president.

The purported result shows that Mr Abubakar defeated the incumbent president by a margin of 1.6 million votes.

The ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) has dismissed the alleged figures as a product of the opposition’s “hallucination.”

Mr Buhari’s campaign later accused Mr Abubakar and the PDP of gaining illegal access to the INEC server.

An analysis of the alleged INEC server result by PREMIUM TIMES show that the figures given as total accredited voters in at least 33 of the 36 states and the capital, Abuja, show a clean sweep of the entire figures between the two major candidates.

A different result
Contrary to Mr Abubakar’s computation, INEC’s official result obtained from the electoral commission’s website show that all the 73 candidates who participated in the election scored some votes.

The result showed that 71 other candidates in the election shared the remnants of 869,758 valid votes collated.

The person who came a distant third in the election, Felix Nicholas, of the Peoples Coalition Party (PCP) scored a total of 110,196 votes.

He was followed by Obadiah Mailafia of the African Democratic Congress (ADC) who polled 97.874.

Gbor Terwase of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) clinched the fifth position with 66,851 votes.

Candidates with least scores are Angela Johnson of Alliance for a United Nigeria (AUN) with 1,092, Abah Elaigwu of Change Advocacy Party (CAP) with 1,111 and Edosomwon Johnson of the Nigeria Democratic Congress Party (NDCP) with 1,192 votes.

The Atiku result
In Mr Abubakar’s home state of Adamawa, where INEC officially declared Mr Abubakar winner with 412,266 against Mr Buhari’s 377,488, Mr Abubakar claims that he got 646,080 out of the total 815,680 accredited voters with Mr Buhari scoring 161,600. The result show only the two got all the possible votes.

In Akwa Ibom, Messrs Abubakar and Buhari, according to the computation, received all the votes by the 925,370 accredited voters with Mr Abubakar polling 587,431 votes ahead of Mr Buhari’s 337,939.

It is another clean sweep in Enugu as Mr Abubakar claimed that the state’s 965,940 accredited voters gave him 698,119 as against 267,821 for Mr Buhari.

The 1,169,303 voters accredited in Sokoto State, according to the purported result, all shared their votes between Mr Abubakar (552,172) and Mr Buhari (617,131).

Mr Abubakar’s 442,380 votes allegedly polled in Taraba and Mr Buhari’s 188,389 votes put together represent 630,769 total accredited votes for the state.

Yobe’s 750,745 accredited votes, Mr Abubakar claims, were shared in total between him and Mr Buhari who got 443,904 against Mr Abubakar’s 306,841

In Zamfara, the result shows that total accredited votes of 792,796 were shared between Messrs Abubakar and Buhari with the former having 379,022 while the latter got 413,774.

Irregularities?
Aside the exactitude between summation of figures for the two candidates and the number of accredited voters, there are other issues that are either arithmetic errors or over voting.

In Abia, for example, 853,050 were recorded as “accredited voters (actual)” but the sum of the votes allotted to Messrs Abubakar and Buhari alone, outshot the accredited voters by 10,000.

Mr Abubakar, according to the result, polled 664,659 while Mr Buhari obtained 198,391.

It is a similar case in Bauchi, where the total for Messrs Abubakar and Buhari’s purported votes outnumber total accredited voters by 287 votes.

Mr Abubakar claims 187,668 votes a far cry from 854,037 the document said Mr Buhari obtained. The summation comes to 1,041,705 while the document gives the total accredited voters as 1,041,418.

In Cross River, the document shows that votes obtained by the two leading candidates amount to 691,640 which is higher than the 690,890 accredited voters’ figure by a total of 750 votes.

Tribunal Continues Sitting
The presidential election petition tribunal has continued to hear Mr Abubakar’s petition against Mr Buhari’s victory.

On Monday, the tribunal granted Mr Abubakar and the PDP the permission to serve the petition on Mr Buhari and the APC through substituted means.

State Registered Voters Accredited Voters (Actual) Atiku Abubakar Muhammadu Buhari
ABIA 1932892 853050 664659 198391
ADAMAWA 1973083 815680 646080 169600
AKWA IBOM 2119727 925370 587431 337939
ANAMBRA 2447996 1157378 823668 333710
BAUCHI 2462843 1041418 187668 854037
BAYELSA 923182 466264 332618 133646
BENUE 2480131 670252 529970 140282
BORNO 2315956 1131496 281897 849599
CROSS RIVER 1527289 690890 572970 118670
DELTA 2845274 877572 778369 99203
EBONYI 1459933 857608 565762 291846
EDO 2210534 1212781 677937 534844
EKITI 909967 373263 154032 219231
ENUGU 1944016 965940 698119 267821
FCT 1344856 786151 419724 366427
GOMBE 1394393 799302 684077 115225
IMO 2272293 909428 485627 423801
JIGAWA 2111106 1084753 539522 545231
KADUNA 3932492 1430145 961143 469002
KANO 5457747 2068140 522889 1545251
KATSINA 3230230 1715836 160203 1555633
KEBBI 1806231 1074456 493341 581115
KOGI 1646350 935787 504308 431479
KWARA 1406457 732816 353173 379643
LAGOS 6570291 2526203 1103297 1422906
NASARAWA 1617786 726691 344421 382270
NIGER 2390035 1080526 576308 504218
OGUN 2375003 920198 438099 482099
ONDO 1822346 818215 451779 366436
OSUN 1680498 685033 337359 347674
OYO 2934107 1000608 527873 472735
PLATEAU 2480455 421299 273031 148268
RIVERS 3215273 ******** ********* *********
SOKOTO 1903166 1169303 552172 617131
TARABA 1777105 630769 442380 188389
YOBE 1365913 750745 306841 443904
ZAMFARA 1717128 792796 379022 413774
TOTAL 84004084 35098162 18356732 16741430

Credit: Premium Times

INEC Declares APC’s Dapo Abiodun Ogun Governor-Elect

BREAKING: INEC Declares APC’s Dapo Abiodun Ogun Governor-Elect

Ogun State Governor-elect, Prince Dapo Abiodun

By Olayinka Olukoya, – Abeokuta

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Ogun State, in the early hours of Monday,, declared the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Prince Dapo Abiodun,, as the winner of the March 9 governorship election.
The State Returning Officer and Vice Chancellor, University of Ibadan, Professor Idowu Olayinka, announced Abiodun as the state governor-elect, at the State Collation Centre of INEC at Magbon, Abeokuta,having polled 241,670 in the election.
Abiodun was closely followed by the APM candidate, Hon. Adekunle Akinlade who scored 222,153 votes.
The margin lead between the scores of APC and APM was 19,517.
The ADC candidate, Prince Gboyega Nasir Isiaka polled 110,422 votes and won in Imeko-Afon and Egbado South local government areas while Prince Buruji Kashamu of PDP scored 70,290 votes and won only in his council area, Ijebu North.
In the breakdown analysis, APC won in 11 local government while APM won in six local government areas.
The APC candidate won in eight out of nine local government areas in Ogun East Senatorial District which include Ijebu East; Odogbolu; Ijebu North East; Ogunwaterside; Sagamu; Remo North; Ikenne and Ijebu-Ode.
He equally won in Abeokuta South; Odeda and Obafemi Owode council areas.
While Akinlade of the APM won in Ewekoro; Abeokuta North; Ado-Odo /Ota; Egbado South;Ipokia and Ifo local government areas.
The state had 2,375,003 as the total number of registered voters.
The total valid vote cast in the election according to Olayinka was put at 680,947 while 701,916 represented the total valid votes cast and 7100 as total cancelled votes.
The total number of rejected votes was 20,969.
Meanwhile, the State Caretaker Committee Chairman of APC, Chief Yemi Sanusi, said the victory of the party was expected because the people wanted a change.
He said, “Yesterday elections showed the wishes of the people. The turn out was very encouraging, everybody were ready to exercise their rights.
“The victory of the party is expected. If you look at the faces of the town for the past one year, people are really expecting a new person that will take over the government of APC, not that will take over from APC. What Buhari government is doing at the top, people are satisfied.”

Breakdown of governorship election result from the 20 LG areas
Ijebu-Ode LG

APC-13,234
APM-4,401
PDP-7,289
ADC-349
Winner -APC
Odogbolu LG
APC-12,529
APM-7,516
PDP-3,418
ADC-1,001
Winner -APC
Odeda LG
APC- 8,030
APM-6,454
PDP- 1,041
ADC-4,327
Winner -APC
Ijebu North-East LG
APC-7268
APM-2785
PDP-3482
ADC-541
Winner -APC
Ewekoro LG
APC-6,492
APM-7,588
PDP-1,418
ADC-3,241
Winner -APM
Sagamu LG
APC-23,737
APM-14,469
PDP-4,415
ADC-2486
Winner APC
Abeokuta South
APC-19,414
APM-18,767
PDP-1,770
ADC-13,572
Winner APC
Ijebu East LG
APC -10,726
APM-5,147
PDP-5296
ADC-574
Winner-APC
Ado-Odo /Ota
APC-24,838
APM-27,859
PDP-3575
ADC-12699
Winner -APM
Remo North LG
APC- 7,437
APM-4,987
PDP-930
ADC-947
Winner -APC
Ogunwaterside LG
APC-8757
APM-5803
PDP-3211
ADC-497
Winner -APC
Abeokuta North LG
APC-12, 130
APM-16, 780
PDP-951
ADC-10, 453
Winner APM
Imeko-Afon LG
APC-2657
APM-7401
PDP -529
ADC-15, 272
Winner ADC
Ikenne LG
APC-15, 109
APM-6, 553
PDP-1040
ADC-653
Winner APC
Egbado South LG
APC-8804
APM-13622
PDP-1721
ADC-9935
Winner APM
Egbado North LG
APC-7742
APM-12208
PDP-1590
ADC-17, 046
Winner ADC
IPOKIA LG
APC-12890
APM-26419
PDP-1846
ADC-3334
Winner APM
IJEBU NORTH LG
APC-10574
APM-7477
PDP-21851
ADC-1189
Winner PDP
IFO LG
APC-15642
APM-17614
PDP-2684
ADC-7260
Winner APM

Presidential Poll: A Post-mortem

Presidential Poll: A Post-mortem

By Simon-Kolawole, Email: simon.kolawole@thisdaylive.com, sms: 0805 500 1961

Since I have been old enough to follow presidential elections in Nigeria, I have to admit that I have never experienced the kind of gloomy mood that hit some sections of the country after the declaration of Presidential Muhammadu Buhari as the winner of the February 23 poll. In the past, there would be spontaneous outbursts, demonstrations and riots by the aggrieved. This time around, the atmosphere was more like a funeral in certain places. Many looked severely bereaved. A friend of mine, an entrepreneur, was so distraught that he sent me a chat after the announcement of the final result: “Simon, where do we go from here?” I joked in response: “Canada.”

In my opinion, there were generally two categories of people that backed Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), in the presidential election. In one category are those who genuinely believe his presidency would be better for business in particular and Nigeria as a whole. They are convinced that Atiku has a better grasp of the economy, is more pan-Nigerian in outlook and can assemble a winning team — compared to Buhari. In the second category are those who feel persecuted and marginalised by Buhari and would be too glad to see his back. It is not so much that they all passionately believe in Atiku, just that Buhari is bad news to them 24/7.

I can identify two of the strongest responses to the outcome of the election in the pro-Atiku camp. One is that the poll was rigged. They maintain that if everything had run normally, Atiku would have won. Their grievances are well known: they think that the votes for Buhari were inflated in some northern states, that the security agencies terrorised Atiku’s supporters in some parts of the south and that state institutions worked actively for Buhari’s re-election. I would conclude that a good number of Atiku’s supporters are of the opinion that the election was rigged. Atiku himself has headed to the election petitions tribunal to challenge the outcome.

Some prominent Nigerians have asked Atiku not to go to court. The former vice-president has even been derided by some APC supporters on the social media for daring to challenge the outcome of the election. I take it that people are simply playing politics. We know how many opposition candidates became governors via court judgments when PDP was in power from 1999 to 2015, and I think it is most unfair to mock Atiku for choosing to exercise his democratic and constitutional right. As to whether or not he can win his case, why not wait for the courts to decide? Why pre-empt? It appears many of us still do not have the temperament for democracy in Nigeria.

The second strongest post-election response from the Pro-Atiku camp, which has been picked up and amplified by the international media, is that the results were reflective of the social strata and tendencies in the country. Infographs have been designed along this line of thinking: that the educated voted for Atiku and the uneducated preferred Buhari; that the lovers of prosperity chose Atiku and the lovers of poverty trooped out for Buhari; that earners of higher income were in love with Atiku and the wretched of the earth stood firmly by Buhari. I have seen maps being circulated to support this thinking. Many foreign journalists and analysts have bought fully into it.
Any student of statistics will tell you a guiding principle: that correlation is not the same thing as causation.

If PDP wins the 11 states in the south-east and south-south, it may have nothing to do with the levels of education, poverty, violence or income. It may just be that the PDP is still very strong in those states. It may have more to do with their political leanings and traditional voting patterns rather than an addiction to university degrees. I don’t know. I can’t say. But just sitting down in our living rooms and drawing conclusions from election data without a proper survey of the voters themselves might turn out to be unhelpful.

In the first place, you have to choose one argument. You have to either argue that Atiku won the election but it was rigged or that voters made the wrong choices by not preferring prosperity, which Atiku is said to represent, to poverty, of which Buhari is meant to be the poster boy — in the opinion of these analysts. If you believe the election was rigged, how can you go ahead to say Buhari won because the uneducated, unenlightened and wretched Nigerians voted for him? That would be contradictory. Also, you cannot argue that the wretched re-elected Buhari and still maintain that the election was rigged. You just have to pick one line of argument.

If we are to go by the educated vs uneducated parameter used by some analysts in their post-election commentaries, then we will end up confused. In the south-west, for instance, APC won four of the six states. Should we conclude that the majority of the south-westerners are illiterates and poverty-lovers for voting APC? In 2015, five south-west states voted APC. In 2011, five south-west states voted for PDP. Should we say south-westerners were educated and prosperity-loving in 2011 but became illiterates in 2015 and 2019? In states such as Benue and Oyo where votes were almost evenly split between PDP and APC, how do we separate the literate from the illiterate?

Correlation is definitely not causation. In 2011, the south-east gave 4,985,246 votes to PDP. The figure dropped to 2,464,906 in 2015 (when the PDP controlled all the instruments of power, including the security agencies). In 2019, the tally for PDP further dropped to 1,693,485. I do not want to believe the south-east has been falling in love with poverty and illiteracy since 2011. There may be another reason the voter turn-out has been dropping. Between 2011 and 2015, PDP lost a total of 2,520,340 votes in the south-east in the presidential election — even with a sitting PDP government at Aso Rock. We need to be more sophisticated in our thinking.

I am beginning to come to the conclusion that we only have some respect for democracy in Nigeria when the outcome of an election conforms to our bias. I remember when President Buhari lost to President Jonathan in 2011, the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), which did not have any presence beyond the core northern states, kept insisting they won. In fact, CPC said there was a bug in INEC computers that was deducting Buhari’s votes. CPC questioned the results from the south-east and south-south, where Jonathan scored 97% of total votes cast. The reverse is not the case: PDP is questioning the results from the north-west and north-east.

What is the conclusion of the matter? Those who believe the 2019 presidential poll was rigged should stick to their position and support Atiku in his litigation. Nobody should say “it is a waste of time”. No litigation is ever a waste of time. Some improvements we have witnessed in our electoral system were influenced by previous legal experiences. For instance, the principle of “substantial compliance” came into being in 1979 when Chief Obafemi Awolowo mounted a legal challenge against Alhaji Shehu Shagari. It is relied upon by the courts till today. There is a reason our laws provide for post-election petitions. Atiku should be supported to exercise his options.

Those who cast the election as a battle between literacy and illiteracy should also stick to their story. They are inevitably saying the election was not rigged. They are only saying the outcome was reflective of the preference of the majority of voters, whom they consider to be illiterates and lovers of poverty. That means 15.1 million illiterates re-elected Buhari while 11.2 million professors voted for Atiku. This narrative is condescending, no doubt, and reinforces inherited prejudices and biases against certain sections of the country — but at least it represents the mindset of some analysts. My only problem with that is the abuse and misuse of statistics that readily comes with such a mindset.

However, when the emotions of the presidential election have cooled, I would advise the protagonists and antagonists to take a second look at the figures both retrospectively and introspectively. The APC should ask itself: is this really an endorsement of our performance or a mere benefit of the cult followership that Buhari enjoys in some parts of the country? Could we have turned out this performance if Buhari was not our presidential candidate? Should we gloat or keep our feet on the ground, knowing the enormous tasks ahead? Are there expectations from Nigerians tied to this victory? What do we owe to the millions who re-elected us into office?

The PDP, as the biggest opposition party, should also ask itself the critical questions: what did we not get right? Where did the rain begin to beat us? Did we overrate our chances? Was it just the incumbency factor that worked against us? Why has the voting trend for us in the south-east been on a downward spiral? How did we descend from the height of having 24 governors at some point in Nigeria’s history to having just 13 today? What did we do wrong? How can we rebuild faith with Nigerians? No doubt, we need a very strong opposition party in Nigeria. It is in the interest of our democracy. Going forward, therefore, the protagonists and antagonists need self-appraisal.

AND FOUR OTHER THINGS…
VOTER APATHY

From indications, voter turnout for Saturday’s governorship and house of assembly elections was lower than we saw in the February 23 presidential poll. Why? There would be many reasons. I think one of them is the sequence of elections. If I had my way, we would do state elections first and the presidential election last. That is a way of building momentum and generating interest in the elections. But I understand the politics of it all: if governors secure their own positions first, they may not work hard for the president two weeks later! That is why election sequence has always been a battle from the days of President Olusegun Obasanjo. Anti-climax.

MILITARISED ELECTIONS

Does anybody still remember when the All Progressives Congress (APC) used to kick against the deployment of soldiers for elections? The defence of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) then was that the deployment was necessary to secure the peace and avoid bloodshed. An APC lawmaker even went to court and won. Students of history should find it amusing that with APC now in control, the militarisation of elections has continued. There is always a reason to justify it: to safeguard lives and property and prevent violence, you know the rest. Give the average Nigerian politician state power and he is likely to use it the same way. It is the same difference. #APCPDP.

JUDICIAL PRIMARIES

Many of us have simplistic theories on why Nigeria remains backward in the comity of nations but we don’t need to be too hard on ourselves: it is just that we are not like any other people on earth. It is only in Nigeria that candidates of political parties are determined by the courts. The moment our politicians and lawyers figured out how they could use and abuse the laws of the land, it has become fashionable for them to engage the courts to play the role of political parties by determining who is a candidate and who is not. The courts are supposed to serve the cause of justice, we cannot deny that, but why must our own case in Nigeria be always upside down? Mystery.

AND FINALLY…

Election times can be very stressful and even life-threatening in Nigeria, but many people are making lemonade from the lemon. In affluent neighbourhoods, people set up canopies, play music and do barbeque while waiting to be accredited and while voting goes on. But you have to do a thumbs-up to the lively woman in Enugu, said to be a teacher, who came with a pillow and a mat to her polling unit during the presidential and national assembly elections. On Saturday, she turned up again for the governorship and house of assembly polls with more than a mat and a pillow: she brought Whot for a game of cards with fellow voters. Life is too short. Have fun. Chill.

Source: ThisDay

Going Forward or Backward?

INEC Chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu

 By Simon-Kolawole, Email: simon.kolawole@thisdaylive.com, sms: 0805 500 1961

Going Forward or Backward?

The conduct of the 2019 general election has, expectedly, become the subject of heated discussions and debates everywhere — offices, schools, homes, newspaper vendor stands and social media. Predictably, supporters of President Muhammadu Buhari are satisfied with the outcome which favoured their candidate, while those in the corner of Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, the flag bearer of the leading opposition party, have questioned the integrity of the elections. In the opinion of Buhari’s supporters, the overall result reflected the wishes of Nigerians. Atiku’s supporters are, however, crying foul. Like Buhari did thrice, Atiku will challenge the outcome in court.

In December 2018, I made presentations on the 2019 presidential election to a group of corporate executives in Lagos and thereafter to my colleagues at TheCable. I started my projections with the south-west. I said Buhari was not more popular in the zone today than he was in 2015, and that he would win there but with a narrower margin. I was right. His 612,000 margin of 2015 was reduced to 260,000. I also said Atiku would get more votes from the south-west than Buhari would get from the south-south and south-east combined. I was also right. Atiku got 1.77m from the south-west while Buhari scored 1.4m in the south-south and the south-east put together.

I projected that the north-central would go Atiku’s way. I was wrong. Buhari got 2.46 million votes — taking four out of the six states like he did in 2015 — while Atiku scored 2.02 million. To be honest, I never saw that coming. I was thinking more about pre-2015 voting patterns and the recent herders/farmers clashes — although, on hindsight, I would say only Benue and Plateau are really in the thick of the crisis. The development in Kwara is historic — the Saraki dynasty finally fell. Or did it? Given that Senator Gbemisola Saraki is in APC and her brother, Senate President Bukola Saraki, is in PDP, it may be a case of the baton changing from one Saraki to the other. Watch this space.

On the north-east, I still remember my words: “I don’t know what Buhari gave them to eat, but he will always win in Borno, Yobe, Gombe and Bauchi. They have always voted for him since 2003.” Someone who hails from that axis looked at me in a way that showed he disagreed. The thinking was that because Boko Haram was still very much alive, the people are disappointed with Buhari and would vote against him. I said it does not work like that. It is a devotion to Buhari. Most people’s minds were made up long ago. And I was right. I also said Atiku would win Adamawa and Taraba. I was right, but I exaggerated his margins. The two states were more competitive than I projected.

I moved to the north-west and reasoned that the zone would determine the overall winner. I said Buhari always does well in the north-west — which has the highest number of states and highest number of votes in the country. I, however, said unlike in 2015 when Buhari rolled over Jonathan by over five million votes in the zone, he would not beat Atiku by the same margin. Was I right? Buhari defeated Atiku nationwide by 3.9 million votes — but in the north-west alone, he had 3.7 million more than Atiku! If you are thinking what I am thinking, you would agree with me that the north-west is the real deal. It has always been so since 1999. Seven states cannot be a joke!

Nevertheless, I got my conclusion wrong. I predicted a “very tight” race and said the winning margin could be in hundreds of thousands or at most a million. I was completely wrong, judging by the final results announced by INEC. A margin of 3.9 million votes is not the definition of “tight”. In the end, Buhari has held on to his traditional base in the far north, made gains in the south-south and south-east (from 616,838 votes in 2015 to 1.4 million in 2019), maintained his new base in the north-central and just managed to keep the south-west on his side. Those are my preliminary observations on the official results.

A PDP supporter is reading this and calling my analysis “bunkum”. Atiku himself has described the election as “the worst” since 1999 — a dubious distinction previously conferred on the 2007 polls when people hardly voted. There are various complaints of malpractices, all boiling down to allegations of voter suppression in Atiku’s strongholds and vote inflation in Buhari’s safe havens. The role of the military in the south-south has also been questioned by Atiku, who believes it was responsible for the low figures from Delta, Rivers and Akwa Ibom. I am happy that these grievances will be addressed in the courts rather than on the streets. We have shed enough blood in this land.

While this controversy rages, I want to offer a critical overview of the first half of the 2019 elections. Have we regressed or progressed — compared to four years ago? For starters, more voters were registered and more PVCs were collected but the turn-out was lower. Total votes cast were less and total ballots rejected were more. This is not progress, if you ask me. It is not a good testimony that 5.5 million collected PVCs in Lagos and only 1.1 million voted. The shortfall is ridiculous. The disrupted votes in Ago and Surulere were in thousands, so it cannot explain the low turnout in Lagos. We have to explain the voter apathy despite all the noise on social media and the like.

Despite the postponement of the elections by one week for logistical reasons, there were still reports of late arrival of materials, missing result sheets, multiple voting, manual accreditation and other issues. Many will argue that these issues were not widespread enough to undermine the final outcome, but INEC needs to step up. I also thought the final results of the presidential election should have been announced earlier than Wednesday morning. I reckoned that we held three elections same day, had nearly 100 political parties on the ballots, and voting closed at 6pm — not at 2pm as it was in 2015. These factors caused delays. We need to improve the speed.

Related Post

Guber Election: Osinbajo, Tinubu, Ambode Hold Emergency Meeting

I Will Not Be Cowed, Says Atiku, IBB Urges Him to Work with Buhari
It is also very important for us to take a second look at the number of parties taking part in the presidential election. It’s becoming a joke. I think there is confusion somewhere. In 2002, the Supreme Court ruled that INEC does not have the power to deny political parties registration because the constitution guarantees “freedom of association”. However, the court did not say they must participate in presidential elections. We need a regulation that says for a party to participate in the presidential election, it must meet some requirements. For one, I would suggest that a party must have won at least a seat in the House of Reps in a previous election.

Furthermore, I was very sad about the reported intimidation of voters of Igbo origin at Ago in Lagos. As someone with interest in how we can intelligently manage our ethnic and religious differences for the sake of the peace and progress of Nigeria, I see no sense in trying to suppress the political choice of anybody. If Yoruba leaders would not tolerate the intimidation of their kith and kin in other parts of Nigeria, why should they endorse same of other ethnic groups in Lagos? It all boils down to my diagnosis of the Nigerian problem: the manipulation of our differences for political gain disguised as group interest. Why set Nigeria on fire because of personal ambitions? That’s backward.

Finally, I remember telling my colleagues at TheCable two days to the election that unfortunately, many people would die because of these elections. I stood right in front of them in the newsroom and declared: “Guys, by this time next week, there will be many dead bodies, most of them poor and lowly people, because of these elections. No politician is worth dying for.” As at last count, the body bags were in excess of 20. What a waste. What a needless waste. This is not a sign of progress. Sadly, it has become part of our political culture for lives to be wasted. The winners will enjoy their booty. The losers will reconcile with the winners. Life goes on. The dead die in vain. Shame.

It was not all bad news though. Judging by the voting figures from 2015 and 2019, I think we are finally getting to the real voting population of Nigeria. Obasanjo scored 24 million in 2003, Alhaji Umaru Musa Yar’Adua also got 24 million in 2007 while Dr. Goodluck Jonathan had 22 million in 2011. However, since the introduction of biometric voter cards and electronic accreditation in 2015, the winning figures have come down to 15 million and the winning margins are becoming more reasonable. I have always believed we sex up figures in Nigeria. I don’t believe our population is up to 190 million. We cannot be more than 120 million. The truth is coming out gradually.

In all, I do not believe we made enough progress with our elections this year compared to 2015. INEC is still basically a shambles in terms of logistics. Voter intimidation remains in some places. Violence and deaths are still features of voting in Nigeria. State institutions, such as EFCC and security agencies, are still not neutral. Voter turn-out remains disappointing — it should be going up, not coming down. Why should we have more registered voters, higher PVC collection rate and less voter turn-out? When the dust has settled, INEC needs to commission a study on this. But let me end this discussion on an optimistic note: cheer up, it could have been worse!

AND FOUR OTHER THINGS…

HOT SEAT
President Buhari lost the two Presidential Villa polling units to Alhaji Atiku Abubakar by a margin of 17 votes (1,030/1,013). This came as a shock to many, but the Aso Rock jinx is real. Sitting presidents hardly win there. In 2015, Buhari defeated Jonathan 613-595 — a margin of 18 votes. In 2003 and 2007, Buhari won the Presidential Villa against the PDP. Jonathan had broken the jinx in 2011 when, as president, he defeated Buhari by 1,232 votes to 696. The conventional wisdom is that a sitting president should ordinarily enjoy the votes of those who live within and around the premises of power, but only once has that happened in this democratic dispensation. Jinxed!

HOME DISADVANTAGE
Am I the only one who found it amusing that Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, former President Olusegun Obasanjo, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, Mr. Jide Sanwo-Olu and Mr. Jimi Agbaje all lost their polling units in the presidential election? Of the lot, it must be quite humiliating that Atiku was not supported by his Yola neighbours. In December 1998, Obasanjo lost his Abeokuta ward in the local government poll, but managed to win his polling unit in subsequent elections, although he could not win Ogun or any other south-west state in the presidential poll. Is this a case of prophets not having honour at home — or prophets not popular enough on their own streets? Goodness!

SPREAD OUT
Alhaji Atiku Abubakar won 13 of the 17 southern states, while Buhari won 14 of the 19 up north. Atiku did not win any of the three northern geo-political zones, while Buhari claimed the south-west. Atiku had a better spread: he won at least two states in five zones. Buhari did not win any state in two southern zones, but he did far better than expected in the south-south and south-east, thus having more spread in 2019 than 2015. Buhari’s spread this time around suggests that he is finally burying the electoral baggage that hovered around him for over a decade. Now, he has to run an all-inclusive government as he promised after his victory. Imperative.

  
Credit: ThisDay

AND FINALLY…
Alhaji Sani Shinkafi, the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) in Zamfara state, angrily ejected refugees from his shelters after the February 26 elections. He could not believe they still voted for the All Progressives Congress (APC) despite their condition. He said: “I have asked all the IDPs residing in my Shinkafi houses to immediately pack out because they are not serious in life. These are people who had to leave their villages due to insecurity caused by a government that could not provide such basic necessity to them, yet they went and sold their votes trying to bring back the same gang.” Devotion.