My parents are from Sokoto and Jigawa — Atiku

My parents are from Sokoto and Jigawa — Atiku

Atiku Abubakar

By John Chuks Azu |

The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar and the party have stated that he is a Nigerian by birth as his parents both have roots in the North West and is therefore qualified to seek office of the president.

Atiku and PDP stated this in reply to claims by the All Progressives Congress (APC) and its candidate, President Muhammadu Buhari, filed at the Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal sitting at the Court of Appeal in Abuja on Thursday, April 18, 2019.

The APC in its reply to Atiku’s petition had claimed that he is Cameroonian by birth and not qualified to contest the office of president based on the Nigerian Constitution.

The party had claimed that Jada in Adamawa State, where Atiku was born on 25th November, 1946, was part of the Germany administered territory of British Cameroons which became a mandate territory of the League of Nations following Germany’s defeat in World War I in 1918, and opted to join Nigeria in a plebiscite in 1961.

But Atiku in a petition by his team of lawyers led by Livi Uzoukwu (SAN), stated that his father, Garba Atiku Abdulkadir was a Nigerian by birth who hailed from Wurno in present day Sokoto State, while his mother Aisha Kande was also a Nigerian who hailed from Dutse in present day Jigawa State. He said both were of Fulani tribe, indigenous to Nigeria.

“The birth of the 1st petitioner (Atiku) in Jada, in present day Adamawa State of Nigeria was occasioned by the movement of his paternal grandfather called Atiku who was an itinerant trader, from Wurno in present day Sokoto State to Jada in the company of his friend, Ardo Usman,” he said.

Atiku contended that he had served in the Nigerian Customs Service, and had been a presidential aspirant under the Social Democratic Party (SDP) in 1992, contested and won the governorship of Adamawa State in 1999 under the PDP, and became vice president under the same platform in 1999 with President Olusegun Obasanjo and was re-elected in 2003.

He further averred that he was the recipient of the National Honour of Grand Commander of the Order of the Niger (GCON), and was the traditional title holder of Turakin Adamawa from 1982 to 2017 when he was elevated to Wazirin Adamawa.

Atiku contended that APC’s reply was incompetent because the counsel who signed it did not reflect his National Identity Number “contrary to the provisions of the Mandatory Use of National Identification Number, Regulations, 2017, made pursuant to the National Identity Management Commission Act, 2007.”

Atiku also countered Buhari’s submission that his petition challenging his qualification to contest the election was not a post-election issue which could be entertained by the tribunal, insisting that the matter was both a pre-election and post-election matter.

He said the issue of qualification of the 2nd Respondent (Buhari) to contest election to the office of president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria was a mandatory statutory and/or constitutional requirement that cannot be waived by the petitioners as erroneously averred in paragraph 499 (d) of the 3rd respondent’s reply.

Credit: Daily Trust

Atiku lied! Documents show he paid $30, 000 to US lobbyist firm

EXCLUSIVE: Documents show Atiku paid $30,000 to US firm

Taiwo Adebulu

Atiku Abubakar, presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), paid $30,000 to Fein & DelValle PLLC, a US firm, TheCable can report.

The PDP presidential candidate sought the services of the company in his bid to unseat President Muhammadu Buhari.

The Centre for Responsive Politics (CRP) had reported how Atiku hired Bruce Fein, a former official of the US justice department, and his firm Fein & DelValle PLLC, in March.

In its terms and conditions for representation, Fein & DelValle PLLC had said it would establish and operate a situation room located in its capitol hill offices in the US and enlist the services of Lloyd Ukwu, a Nigerian barrister and trusted confidant of Atiku, to assist in the operation of the situation room.

The firm also proposed to execute strategies to secure the US endorsement of Atiku’s efforts to defeat what it called “flagrant violence and irregularities orchestrated” by the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Buhari to compromise the presidential election.

Twenty-four hours after the report was published, Atiku denied paying money to US consultants in his bid to dislodge Buhari, his main rival in the February 23 election.

In a statement issued on his behalf by Paul Ibe, his media aide, the former vice-president, described the reports that he paid $30,000 as “a total fabrication”.

He blamed it on the APC which he said had resorted to using “fake news to divert public attention from the historic electoral heist they have committed against Nigerians”.

“Former Vice President of Nigeria, Atiku Abubakar dismisses as total fabrication the latest allegation instigated by the Buhari campaign that he spent $30,000 to hire a US lobby group to persuade the US Congress to stop the inauguration of President Buhari,” the statement read.

“The APC are behaving nervously like a thief living under the fear of being exposed and shamed. No amount of diversionary propaganda and fake news campaign by APC will stop Atiku Abubakar from continuing the court action he started to reclaim the stolen mandate.”

But documents seen by TheCable showed that Atiku paid the money to the firm two days after signing a 90-day contract (April 1,2019, to July 1, 2019). He signed the contract on March 24 and paid the money on March 26.

The amount was budgeted for costs and expenses for the 90-day period. In addition, the agreement was for Atiku to separately pay all pre-approved international travels, business class.

According to a document received by the United States’ department of justice foreign agents’ registration act (FARA), with registration number 6654, on April 2, Fein & DelValle, PLLC, registered as a foreign agent for Atiku and the PDP on March 20.

The registration statement which confirmed that Atiku paid $30,000 t0 Fein & DelValle PLLC

FARA is a disclosure statute that requires persons acting as agents of foreign principals in a political or quasi-political capacity to make periodic public disclosure of their relationship with the foreign principal, as well as activities, receipts and disbursements in support of those activities.

The firm said it received $30,000 from Atiku on March 26, which was confirmed in item 9(a) under the financial information clause of the registration statement.

In item 9(b), the firm made it clear that it did not receive any other thing of value other than money from Atiku.

The lobbyist firm, a registered and active corporate law firm in the US, stated that the agreement with Atiku is in a formal written document.

Atiku’s spokesman had not responded to inquiries from TheCable as of the time this report was filed.

Credit: TheCable

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

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

Why we arrested Atiku’s son-in-law, Babalele – EFCC

EFCC opens up on arrest, detention of Atiku’s son-in-law, Babalele

By Ronald Mutum |

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is investigating the son-in-law of Atiku Abubakar, Babalele Abdullahi over an alleged N61 billion money laundering case, Daily Trust gathered on Monday.

A top EFCC source told Daily Trust that Abdullahi is being detained by the anti-graft agency to shed more light on the movement of the fund, said to be in foreign currency, 150 million Euros.

The amount converted today at the current foreign exchange rate equals; N61,386,983,775 (over sixty-one billion naira).

The source said, “Yes, he (Babalele) is being investigated over alleged case of money laundering. The sum involved is 150 million Euros. Investigation is ongoing.”

He added that, “He is in EFCC. He will be released soon.”

Babalele was arrested on Saturday 2nd March, 2019 in Abuja.

His Abuja homes and office were raided and some documents were reportedly carted away, before EFCC operatives arrested him.

When contacted, EFCC acting spokesperson Tony Orilade said, “Yes, Babalele is with us. We don’t do our investigation in the media; so I don’t have details for now; but at the appropriate time we shall speak.”

Credit: Daily Trust

Why Atiku lost: An analytical dissection of the 2019 Presidential election

Why Atiku lost: An analytical dissection of the 2019 Presidential election

Mayowa Oladeji

To ascribe the defeat suffered by Atiku Abubakar in the 2019 Presidential election to massive rigging is mental laziness.

To also describe the 2015 election that brought President Muhammadu Buhari to power as perfectly free and fair is a distortion of history. The election was given the toga of credibility because the opposition won the election.

The headline on one of the online media on 13th February 2015 screamed, “58 Nigerians killed in 2015 pre-election violence so far – Rights Commission.”

The National Human Rights commission had released a report on pre-election violence in parts of the country and especially in some key flashpoints.

On the 17th of February again, another headline read, “Explosions, gunshots disrupt APC rally in Patience Jonathan’s home town.”

The intention is not to justify the horrific violence that greeted the election, but history is not about morality or passing judgement but recording events, so that lessons could be learnt.

The 2015 election result was disputed by the ruling party, at the National Collation Centre In Abuja.

A former Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godsday Orubebe had accused the-then Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) boss, Prof Attahiru Jega of colluding with the opposition, so the election was not without blemish.

This election like 2015 is not perfect, but there are several factors that worked against the opposition party, most they could have mitigated, but for reasons best known to them, they failed to be proactive.

Five things that cost Atiku the election
Poor winning strategy for North Central
Atiku campaign team placed their hopes on anger in the Middle Belt over herders/farmers clashes. Emotion is never a reliable strategy, while it is a useful too, it’s unstable, that is what transpired in that Presidential election on Saturday, February 23rd 2019.

Most pundits never expected the votes that came from Benue, Plateau and Kogi states, what was shocking was, no message nor structure tailored to harvest the discontent of the people with the ruling party from aforementioned states.

In Kogi for instance, Sen Ahmed Ogembe and Sen Attai Idoko should have been given the needed support, because if they had performed well just like Sen Dino Melaye did, Atiku would have benefitted. No one has ever won the presidential election without winning North-Central.

Despite being obvious that the PDP was heading for defeat in Kwara due to the anger towards Saraki, the party never had any strategy to checkmate the fallout of the ‘O to ge’ movement other than chest-tumping on national television. The ruling party ended up wining North Central with 2.1m to 1.6m, almost the same margin as 2.4m to 1.7m of 2015.

Non usage of incidence form
Since 2011, the quantity of votes in the South East has continued to experience decline. The effect was less felt in 2015 due to the use of incidence form, but with the elimination of incidence form, the effect was devastating for the major stronghold of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

Total votes for the PDP dropped by about 400,000, while the ruling party increased its votes from 198,000 to 403,000. Before we jump into conclusions, only the North East had an increase in this election, but Atiku also benefited from the increase.

Both the APC and the PDP had a 400,000 increase each to their 2015 figures in the North East, so if the party had positioned itself, it could have benefitted from the increase in the North East votes.

Worst hit by the elimination of incidence form is the South South region, where Rivers, Delta and Akwa-Ibom all polled over 1m votes each.

What changed was the elimination of incidence form and presence of strong members of the ruling party in those states, from Akpabio to Omo-agege and the likes.

The governors in those states were lukewarm in their participation in delivering the candidate of their party.

Voting schedule
During the electoral amendment saga, the main issue was the proposed amendment to make the Presidential election the last election.

The President rejected that bill on three occasions. What, that decision saved the president. For instance, the president benefited from the legislative election in places he would ordinarily not have had any vote. For instance in Bayelsa, the president benefited from Senate and Reps elections. Indeed, the ruling party picked up a Senate seat and two Reps seats.

This also reflected in the Presidential election also. If the election were to be between Atiku and Buhari, it would have been annihilation for the incumbent, but local elections benefitted the President.

Atiku also benefited from the schedule. In Oyo and Ondo states, he benefited from from the work done by Kola Balogun and the revolt against Governor Abiola Ajumobi. If this strategy of supporting APC Senatorial and Representatives candidates had been deployed in the North East and NorthWest, probably the result would have been different.

IDP Camp voting
In the aftermath of the election, many were left wondering why Borno and Yobe states had electoral surge – look no further. Before the elections, INEC has revealed that voting arrangmenit had been made for 409,813 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) to vote in Boko Haram-ravaged areas.

One would have expected the PDP to work hard in those places to prevent the political massacre it suffered.

The campaign
The ruling party campaigned as though it was in opposition, touring the 36 states of the federation, with Osinbajo doing his door-to-door campaign and the President and the party doing mega rallies.

Also on social media, the likes of Kayode Ogundamisi were doing the dirty job while Tolu Ogunlesi focused on informing the people on infrastructural achievements of the government, this strategy would be winning template for years to come.

And the wisdom in having Festus Keyamo, a South South man and Senior Advocate of Nigeria as the spokesperson of the presidential campaign was novelty, as against the PDP that had about 6 spokespersons and Kola Ologbondiyan.

However, the opposition party allowed people who should not be around the campaign, like Reno Omokri, Femi Fani Kayode, Ayo Fayose to run riot. These are persons who have expressed anti-Northern statements in the past.

The campaign easily turned into an anti-North campaign, this situation easily fired up the core North.

Whoever suggested this strategy to the party cost the party a golden opportunity to dislodge a president whose popularity had waned significantly.

For The Love Of Atiku

For The Love Of Atiku

Atiku Abubakar

By Ustaz Abubakr Saddeeq Muhammad –

As Opposition leader, you carry great responsibility; to campaign for the top job in any country is onerous. You are the standard-bearer for your politics, your party and the beliefs both hold dear. Anyone who has ever run a campaign to win an election knows how big a task it is.

A Journey: My Political Life by Tony Blair

Having Atiku Abubakar in any political contest heralds the presence of ‘a ferociously effective election-fighting machine’ due to his vast experience in Nigeria’s politics. In the same book where I quoted the above epigraph, Tony Blair said: “The first rule in politics is that there are no rules, at least in the sense of inevitable defeats or inevitable victories. If you have the right policy and the right strategy, you always have a chance of winning. Without them, you can lose no matter how certain the victory seems.’ Of course, Atiku does not lack the right policy or the right strategy in his desire to occupy the highest office in the land.

Unfortunately, politics in Nigeria is hardly about policy. Strategy, yes, and even that is more on how to manipulate the process and “vote” in the stead of the electorate. But what is “most grievous and most bitter” is the employment of ethnicity and religion as a strategy to ascend the throne.

The number of innocent souls mown down during the farmers-herders debacle was huge, and the killings stopped as suddenly as they started especially at the time when politicians became busy with electioneering in the run-up to this year’s elections. Did the cessation of the carnage have something to do with political gladiators?

Amid the ‘riot of celebration’ in the country after (the Independent Electoral Commission), INEC’s declaration of Muhammadu Buhari as the President-Elect, there is need to look at the role played by ethnicity and religion in 2019 general elections.

The politicians found in the farmers-herders crisis, a crisis of their own manufacture, a means to a bloody end – with the aid of the conventional and the social media currency was given the false narrative of a Fulani President using his kin to decimate Christians as part of an elaborate plan to Islamise Nigeria. This message was widely preached in places of worship by men of God quoting copiously out of context from the scriptures to stoke up the embers of ethnic hatred and religious disharmony. One pastor was seen and heard on video goading his flock to kill any Fulani that strayed into the church premises.

False prophets and preachers related what God told them about the general elections, that 2019 is the year of decision in which the Christians will decide the leadership of the country to end Muslim domination and place an iron lid on the Islamisation plan in Nigeria, that President Buhari should not seek reelection otherwise he will die. ‘This is what the Lord Almighty says: “Do not listen to what the prophets are prophesying to you; they fill you with false hope. They speak visions from their own minds, not from the mouth of the Lord”.’ Jeremiah 23:16

There was no abatement of the false exhortation from the pulpit for deliverance against Islamisation even after Atiku Abubakar, a Fulani and a Muslim emerged as the standard-bearer of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP). The pulpit knighted and anointed him as the messiah of the persecuted Christians of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, “to liberate the children of God” from another Fulani Muslim, Muhammadu Buhari and presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC). Mental aberration!

Atiku Abubakar’s demeanour and pronouncements did not belie the apostolic mission assigned him by the church. Every time he spoke there was that tint of affirmation of division and disunity in the country. He said: “…the leader Nigeria needs urgently is one who can unite the country and heal the deep wounds, not another Buhari who would further divide Nigeria and deepen the wounds,…”

The fact that Buhari’s running mate, Osinbajo is a pastor did not lighten the ferocity of the Islamisation storm. There were calls “on (the) General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, RCCG, Pastor Enoch Adeboye to strip Vice President Yemi Osinbajo of his pastorship” for exposing the misrule, embezzlement and corruption of the Goodluck Jonathan-led government. He was further maligned as “a fake man of God” and “a pastor only by name” for insisting that “it was impossible for anyone to Islamise Nigeria, as claimed by Christian interests.”

Socio-cultural organisations came out to endorse the candidature of Atiku Abubakar, and some of Buhari which compounded the situation as internal strife set in splitting members into two – the ones issuing the endorsement, the others repudiating it.

Some Muslim organisations endorsed Muhammadu Buhari of the APC as their presidential candidate and urged their followers to vote for him, not least the Sheikhs that pocketed ample share of the largess of the Jonathan government and now dread what the impending return of a Buhari government portends. The mimbar (pulpit) was transformed into a campaign platform for President Muhammadu Buhari.

Many Muslim, as well as some Christian leaders, paid solidarity visits to the Presidential Villa to register their support for the reelection bid of Buhari. Of course, the presence and participation of a trifle of Christian leaders did not alter the division of the PDP as a party for Christ and the APC as a vehicle for the Islamisation of Nigeria.

Honesty, I do not see any difference between Atiku Abubakar and Muhammadu Buhari in the way they conduct themselves as Muslims in public. This is not to undermine their concealed commitment to their religion if there is any, but I am trying to establish a point. I really cannot say who between the two loves Islam more than the other. I am not speaking concerning their competence, integrity or willingness to fight corruption. I am referring to their relationship with their religion as Muslims. I have observed the Juma’ah prayers with both of them on different occasions, together or singly, at the Abuja National Mosque. My understanding is that both of them are wary of exhibiting any Islamic trait for fear of being tagged Islamists, probably. None of them ever commences a speech with bismillah (in the name of Allah) or suffixes future undertakings with inshaa Allah (if Allah wills). I concede these are not the criteria to ascertain a firm believer from a weak one, but in a country were Christian public officers commission projects “in the mighty name of Jesus”, there is nothing wrong where a Muslim in government uses words of similar import.

The church must by garlanded with roses for effective proselytising in favour of the PDP candidate to such an extent that Christians, especially in the South, were willing to lay down lives for a Fulani Muslim from the North. About a hundred Christians were killed in the South-East, South-South and South-West regions in election-related violence – ballot box snatching or shootings. Conversely, no one was killed from the North, at least during the period that actual voting lasted, trying to help their kinsman be president.

After the declaration of Muhammadu Buhari as the President-Elect by INEC, a scion of my late Sheikh’s family posted a statement on his Facebook page, a statement more deserving of a Secondus than a sheikh, in which he said: “Truly Atiku Abubakar should be saluted for his dogged stand against authoritarian leadership tendencies. He has saved the nation is a way only history will vindicate him. I, therefore, urged him to reject the fake results, no credit should be given to falsehood and seek redress in the court of law, the same way, the president did in his previous attempts, he knows better when injustice is served.”

It is indeed disheartening that the above averment came from somebody who has advocated for the opposite of what he is now urging Atiku Abubakar to do. He has once advised Buhari against seeking redress in the courts after the 2007 elections as that was not the best way to settle disputes between two Muslims. It was unfortunate then that Buhari did not heed to the Sheikh’s advice; that did not affect the fact that it was the right counsel. When Muslims were angry about his taking part in the reconciliation between Atiku Abubakar and Obasanjo after the former’s emergence as the PDP candidate, the Sheikh supported his participation with the “Hilful Fudhul” (League of the Virtuous) incident which established an alliance among Makkans against injustice. Thus, he said reconciliation among people of whatever creed is the task of every believer. Based on this, encouraging Atiku to concede to victory would have been more honourable to both parties rather than urging him to go to court and challenge an election adjudged free, fair, peaceful and credible by local and international observers.

Religious leaders, Muslim and Christian, have failed the nation lamentably in the 2019 elections. They made themselves susceptible to debasement by being partisan. Men of God are not men of gold. They are parents of all regardless of party affiliation, repositories of good counsel and spiritual guidance. But whenever they lean towards a candidate or his political party, they lose the deference their flock accord them.

Leadership

Atiku wins Oyo, defeats Buhari with 1, 490 votes

Atiku records narrow victory over Buhari in Oyo

Praise Olowe

The presidential candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Abubakar Atiku, has recorded a narrow victory over the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate, President Muhammadu Buhari in Oyo State.

In the results from the 33 local governments in the state as declared by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Atiku polled 366,720 votes to beat Buhari who garnered 365,230 votes. He won with 1,490 votes.

Atiku won in 19 local governments while Buhari won in 14.

Below are the results from each of the 33 local governments in the state.

1. AFIJIO – Returning Officer: Prof. Isaac Adetona
APC – 6,874
PDP – 8,325

2. Saki East -Returning Officer -Prof. Kolawole Falade
APC – 5,730
PDP – 5,883

3. Kajola LG – Returning Officer – Prof. Olaniyi Babayemi
APC – 11,665
PDP – 12,282

4. Ibarapa North LG – Prof Abiodun Sanusi
APC – 6,587
PDP – 9,070

5. Ibarapa East – Prof. Gbolagade Jonathan
APC – 7,964
PDP – 10,346

6. Itesiwaju LG – Prof. Ismail Azeez
APC: 6, 193
PDP: 7, 010

7. Iwajowa LG – Dr Bamidele Dahunsi APC: 6, 528 PDP: 7, 477

8. Ibadan Northwest LG – Prof. Temitayo Ewemoje
APC: 11, 126
PDP: 14, 550

9. Irepo LG – Prof. Adebayo Amos Omoloye

APC: 11, 688
PDP: 4, 244

10. Olorunsogo LG – Prof. Nelson Fashina
APC: 5,447
PDP: 5,922

11. Egbeda LG – Prof. Olajide Fashola
APC: 17, 295
PDP: 15, 065

12. Oluyole LG- Prof. Olukayode Ogunsanwo
APC: 12, 522
PDP: 10, 932

13. Saki West LG – Dr Soji Awoyemi
APC: 21, 136
PDP: 10, 452

14. Atisbo LG – Prof. Abiodun Bamidele
APC: 8, 550
PDP: 8, 128

15. Iseyin LG – Prof
APC: 19, 714
PDP: 11, 781

16. Ona Ara LG – Prof. David Aremu
APC: 8, 711
PDP: 9, 747

17. Orelope LG – Prof. John Oyinlola Oladeji
APC: 9, 897
PDP: 4,089

18. Ibarapa Central LG – Prof. Julius Akinyemi Fapaide
APC: 8, 410
PDP: 7,443

19. Surulere LG – Prof. Rahman Akinoso
APC: 9,038
PDP: 10, 604

20. Ido LG – Dr. Adefemi A
APC: 10,762
PDP: 9,715

21. Ibadan North LG – Dr Tijani Musa
APC: 23, 210
PDP: 24,887

22. Ogo Oluwa LG
APC: 5,756
PDP: 7,915

23. Akinyele LG
APC: 13, 695
PDP: 14, 433

24. OriireLG
APC: 9, 693
PDP: 12, 425

25. Oyo East LG
APC: 11, 276
PDP: 8, 289

26. Lagelu LG
APC: 11,482
PDP: 10510

27. Oyo West LG
APC: 11, 535
PDP: 7, 203

28. Atiba LG
Collation Officer:
APC: 13, 116
PDP: 7, 983

29. Ibadan Southwest LG
APC: 22, 546
PDP: 20, 233

30. Ibadan North East LG
APC: 12, 049
PDP: 21, 165

31. Ogbomosho North LG
APC: 6,008
PDP: 18,678

32. Ibadan South East LG – Dr Adedeji Olufemi
APC: 14, 937
PDP: 13,844

33. Ogbomosho South LG – Prof Olutokunbo Oyesola
APC: 4,090
PDP: 16, 090
TOTAL

APC – 365,230

PDP – 366,720

Credit: The Nation

Buhari loses in Aso Rock as results trickle in

Buhari Loses Aso Rock Vote, Atiku Loses Polling Unit


Osinbajo fails in his polling unit
Former vice president makes up in Saraki, Dogara’s

By Our Correspondents

Indications of a projected tight race began to emerge last night after President Muhmadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress (APC) lost to his main opponent, Alhaji Abubakar Atiku of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), in the overall results of the polling units inside the presidential villa. Buhari trailed with a total of 1,013 votes against Atiku’s 1,030 votes.

In the same vein, the PDP defeated the APC in the overall senatorial election results, with a total of 1,081 votes against 1,008 scored by the APC in the two polling units. The opposition PDP also defeated the APC in the House of Representatives election with 1,046 votes to APC’s 995 votes.

But in his native Katsina State, the president scored the highest number of votes cast at his Polling Unit 003, Sarkin Yara, Daura, with a combined 523 votes, while Atiku recorded five votes.

Buhari’s Polling Unit is split into two – A and B. He scored 302 votes at the A section of the Polling Unit, where Atiku recoded two votes. Four votes were however recorded for the Accord Party, even though it had adopted Buhari as its presidential candidate. At the B segment of the Polling Unit, Buhari went ahead with 222 votes against Atiku’s three votes.

The result at Polling Unit 003 A was announced by the Presiding Officer, Mr. Ali Abdullahi, a serving member of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), while Mr. Yusuf Armah presided over segment B of the Polling Unit.
Buhari also defeated the former vice president at his Ajiya 012 polling unit, in Adamawa State, with 186 votes to Atiku’s PDP 167 votes.

Continuing his fragile winning streak, Buhari defeated Atiku at the polling unit of former President Olusegun Obasanjo, in Ogun State, where the president got 87 votes, and the PDP candidate polled 18 votes.

But what the president gained at his unit, he lost at the senatorial contest to a relatively unknown Accord Party. The APC candidate in Katsina North senatorial district, incumbent Senator Kaita Baba-Ahmad, polled 248, losing at Buhari’s polling unit PU003 to the least expected candidate of Accord Party, Lawal Nalado, who scored 263 votes. The PDP candidate, Usman Mani, scored two votes.

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo however, failed to win his polling unit as he was roundly beaten by the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Alhaji Abubakar Atiku who won the election for all positions at the polling unit of the vice president. The PDP won in the two voting points of the Polling Unit 033. For the presidential election, the PDP polled 425 votes while the APC had 229. For the senatorial election, the PDP had 414 votes while the APC had 261. For the House of Representatives election, the PDP had 268 while the APC had 190 votes.

Atiku had been making up for his losses with wins at the polling units of other prominent party men, including Senate President Bukola Saraki and House of Representatives Speaker Yakubu Dogara. At the two polling units of the Senate President, Ode-Opobiyi Ajikobi 005/006, in Ilorin, Saraki delivered Atiku with 219 votes to APC’s 68 in the first, while scoring 234 to APC’s 152 in the second unit. Also at Unit 005, PDP scored 269 at the senatorial contest while the APC polled 59; at the House of Representatives level, PDP scored 255 votes and APC got 53.

At Unit 006, PDP polled 280 for the senatorial election and APC 120, while in the House of Representatives contest, PDP scored 269 votes and APC polled 130 votes.

At Dogara’s Central Primary School PU 007A, Gwarangah, Bauchi State, the PDP scored 285 votes to APC’s 15, while 19 invalid votes were recorded.

However, at Atiku’s Ajiya 012 unit, APC also scored 187 votes to PDP’s 120 in the senatorial contest, while the House of Representatives poll saw the APC parting with 145 votes, PDP getting 121, and African Democratic Congress (ADC) scoring 63 votes.

Buhari Rejected in Aso Rock

At the two polling units in the Presidential Villa, Atiku defeated Buhari in polling unit 022 with 525 votes to the president’s 465, while Buhari defeated him in polling unit 021 with 548 to 505 votes, thus bringing the total votes for Atiku to 1,030 while Buhari’s total votes stood at 1,013, with 17 votes difference.

The total votes scored by the PDP at the senatorial election at unit 021 was 535 as against APC’s 531, with only four votes difference. At polling unit 022, PDP scored 546 votes to defeat APC, which scored 477 votes, thus bringing the total PDP senatorial votes to 1,081 as against APC’s 1008, with 73 votes difference.

In the House of Representatives’ election, whereas APC polled 531 votes as against PDP’s 525 at polling unit 021, the opposition party polled 521 votes to defeat APC with 466 votes at unit 022, thus bringing the total PDP votes in the House of Representatives election to 1,046 as against APC’s 995 votes, with 51 votes difference.

In Ogun State, the governorship candidate of the PDP, Senator Buruji Kashamu, also delivered his ward for Atiku.
At polling unit 026, Okesopen, Ijebu-Igbo, the PDP presidential candidate polled 138 votes to defeat the APC presidential candidate, who scored 110 votes. Also, at the Ogun East senatorial contest, the PDP candidate, Ayoola Sosanwo, defeated Senator Lekan Mustapha, the APC candidate. Sosanwo scored 160, while Mustapha polled 108.
The APC governorship candidate in Ogun State, Dapo Abiodun, failed to deliver his polling unit for Buhari, as Atiku won. At his ward 03, polling unit 2, Ita-Osanyin, Iperu 1, Ikenne Local Government Area, Atiku scored 124 votes while Buhari, polled 118.

But Governor Ibikunle Amosun delivered his ward 6, polling unit 8, Ita-gbangba, Itoko, Abeokuta South Local Government Area, for the APC. Buhari won by 50 votes to defeat Atiku, who polled 20 votes.
At the Ogun Central senatorial contest, Amosun won by 55 votes to beat the ADC candidate, Rt Hon Titi Oseni-Gomez, who scored 17 votes.

Udom, Akpabio Deliver Polling Units

Akwa Ibom State Governor Udom Emmanuel delivered his Ward Awa 1, Unit 1, Onna Local Government Area, to Atiku. Also, the former senate minority leader, Senator Godswill Akpabio, secured his unit, Ukana West 2, Unit 9, Essien Udim Local Government Area for Buhari. Buhari scored a total of 1, 553 votes to win in the ward, while the PDP presidential candidate had 11 votes.

In the senatorial election result also, Akpabio won with 1, 533 votes, while the PDP senatorial candidate, Ikot Ekpene Senatorial District, Christ Ekpenyong, got four votes.

Speaking after the declaration of the result, Akpabio commended INEC for conducting a peaceful election in the state. He blamed the PDP for rigging and using thugs to perpetrate illegality.
The senator said, “When I was a governor I gave respect to the people. I did not use thugs. I am a lawmaker and will never allow myself in anything that will disrupt Buhari’s administration. I am pleading that election should not be war as we are peaceful in this unit.”

El-Rufai Wins Polling Unit, Shehu Sani Loses

Kaduna State Governor, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai, delivered his polling unit in the presidential election in state, trashing the PDP with 371 votes to 44 votes. But Shehu Sani, senator representing Kaduna Central Senatorial Zone, who defected from the APC to the Peoples Redemption Party (PRP) to seek re-election, was defeated in his polling unit at Anguwan Sarki.

Sani who was elected on the platform of the APC in 2015, defected to PRP to seek re-election after he was denied the APC ticket. In the presidential election at his unit, the APC polled 292 votes while PDP got 23 votes.
In the senatorial election, Sani polled 51 votes while his opponent, Uba Sani of the APC, scored 236 votes.

Atiku Clears Votes in Ekweremadu’s Unit

Deputy Senate President and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate for Enugu West senatorial zone , Ike Ekweremadu has won all the votes cast at his Amachalla Primary School Mpu, in Aninri council of Enugu state.
Ekweremadu also delivered 100% of the votes cast for the PDP Presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and the House of Representatives with the All Progressives Congress, APC scoring no votes.

Out of the 499 valid votes cast, the PDP scored 468 votes for Presidency, 490 for Senate and 492 for House of Reps. Other parties scored zero.

The electorates had turned out at the Amachalli polling zone as early as 7:30 am to caste their votes and waited till it was around 9 am due to card reader related challenges.

Speaking to newsmen after he cast his vote, the deputy Senate president who hopes to return to the senate for a record five times expressed satisfaction with the security situation.

He however regretted that voting was yet to start in some polling units even though the electorates were on ground, citing incomplete ballot papers and lack of network for voter accreditation as some of the challenges.

Credit: ThisDay

Buhari v. Atiku: The inconvenient truth

Buhari v. Atiku: The inconvenient truth

by Azu Ishiekwene

If you walk by sight you cannot help approaching Saturday’s presidential election with a heavy heart. The candidates of the two major parties, Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), have been presented in the worst light possible.

One foreign newspaper said Nigerians have to choose between a former dictator and an alleged kleptocrat. Another one, International Guardian, was not so diplomatic. It said Nigerians have to decide between “a stingy rightwing dictator and an established thief.”

In the same article, the newspaper said, “without a doubt, this race might boil down to a choice between Buhari, a timid, nepotic but stingy rightist who would sit down on the national wealth without a clue about how to invest, and a lavish an irresponsible spender called Atiku, who could share the national treasury with the wolves that currently surround his candidacy.”

The local news menu is not very different, only fouled up a bit more by the sour taste of partisanship. But as I prepare to vote on Saturday, I choose to have my omelette sunny side up, and here’s why.

Whatever may be the shortcomings of Buhari and Atiku, their parties believe they are the best candidates they can produce at this time. Buhari was pressed into the race by APC kingmakers who not only regard him as the party’s best bet to retain the centre, but also as their own insurance to keep the spoils, getre-election or both.

Atiku’s candidacy, on the other hand, is a child of aconvenient marriage between a few influential PDPold soldiers feed up with Buhari’s obtuseness and an extremely wealthy business class used to easy money and unhappy with Buhari’s old school economics.

Neither candidate is easy to warm up to. But that appears to be a modern-day problem with politics, the post-modern variety that produced the fantastically ineffectual Theresa May in the UK, the bombastic Donald Trump in the US, and the reprobate Rodrigo Roa Duterte in the Philippines.

On Saturday, we’ll have to choose from what we have or sit on our blistered backsides for another four years.Things are far from perfect but this time, more than ever before, public scrutiny has been reasonably robust in putting the candidates to the test.

For me, that’s part of the sunny side up. In the five national election cycles in 20 years, no set of candidates has been dragged across more public debating floors, questioned and inspected as closely as have candidates Buhari and Atiku, especially.

The two – and other distant runners – have been forced to appear at live debates or townhalls organized by different groups and when they failed to show up, their empty stands have been mocked as evidence of disdain, incompetence or both.

The candidates have been forced to reconnect with different parts of the country, however superficially, and in a few instances, compelled to confront, face-to-face, situations that they had been shielded from in their comfort bubble.

Smaller parties that were shut out of the debates have protested or gone to court for redress, insisting, quite rightly, on fairness and greater transparency.

The fact-checkers have been tracking the exaggerations and outright lies, holding candidates to higher standards and forcing voters to take notice. Twenty years ago, when candidate Olusegun Obasanjo of the PDP was requested to debate Olu Falae of the AD-APP, the latter turned up only to debate an empty stand.

Even if the organiser’s fantasy had been realised and the debate had taken place,the country had no single mobile telephone line at the time for the sort of community and instant engagement now possible.

Thanks to the ubiquity of technology also, we can joke about Buhari’s awkward moments during his Kadaria interview or wince at the audacity of the audience member who pulled out his phone and aimed a devastatingly ugly reference from Obasanjo’s book at Atiku during a live interview.

Those who insist that the cup is half empty must also remind themselves of how the outliers may have set off a momentum that would change politics as it was. It’s not the first time that a host of smaller parties will seek to wrest power from the more established parties.

But I cannot remember any other time when over 90 parties, comprising mostly determined young people, from Omoyele Sowore to Tope Fasua and from Fela Durotoye to Oby Ezekwesili, Kingsley Moghalu and Datti Ahmed, would mount a sustained challenge to the status quo at great personal cost and with very limited resources.

The significant number of young people – 51 per cent – registered to vote in Saturday’s election is not only a reflection of the growing frustration with geriatric politics, it is a result of the rallying cry of the new crop of young politicians.

If they do not despair – and there’s no reason why they should – what they have started will impact our politics more in four years than have the last 20 years of alternating between indifference and moaning. Donald Duke even challenged the nonsense that zoning in a party’s constitution is superior to a citizen’s constitutional right to contest. And he won.

Can the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), be trusted to do its job? I believe it can. No matter what you read on social media, INEC is not playing origami with the ballot; it appears far more prepared for the vote than it has been credited. Politicians know this, that’s why they have been inventing new ways to cheat or doing their best to discredit the commission.

From the time in 2015 when 80 election results were nullified by the courts we have moved to the point where only three court-ordered cancellations occurred out of 178 conducted as at February last year.

INEC Chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, has done more since then, regardless of the multiple social media executions he has suffered. Apart from prosecuting over 100 staff of the commission for various electoral offences, he has scrapped the “incident form”, which the commission’s field staff routinely used to fraudulently bypass the card reader.

But we can’t leave the job to INEC alone. Better voter awareness and more widespread use of technology will also help greater citizen vigilance.

We don’t need to approach the polling booth with a heavy heart. Apart from Buhari and Atiku, there are over 70 other candidates on the ballot, presenting one of the most delightfully confusing crises of choice for voters in recent times.

My prediction is unchanged. Don’t let the surfeit of scientific, non-scientific and pseudo-scientific forecasts from home and abroad compound your misery. In an article widely published in the first week of January, I predicted, among other things, that Atiku will lose and gave reasons: my reasons stand.

When all is said and done, when the name-calling, slander, and scaremongering are over, and the voter is alone in the booth, face-to-face with the ballot paper, it will all come down to this central question: which candidate, given what I know, can I trust to have my back for another four years?

Atiku will not lose on Saturday. He already lost in 2006 when he fell out spectacularly with Obasanjo and suffered a Humpty Dumpty’s fall. The sum of the ongoing feverish endorsements and lobbying, the extravagant claims of momentum and the fantasy electoral maps would be insufficient to stitch his candidacy together forever again. He’s done.

Atiku would lose marginally, not because voters are overdosed on Buhari love, but because when trust is at stake – man-to-man – Buhari is the lesser of two evils. This is the inconvenient truth.

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