And Endorsed President-Elect, TINUBU
After all the hue and cry over the election victory of the president-elect, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the inauguration day and swearing–in is finally here. There had been palpable tension in the past weeks, raising doubts as to whether the President-elect would actually be sworn in. From the moment the presidential election results were announced and the winner declared, the supporters of the Labour Peter presidential candidate, Peter Obi, have known no rest. They have sworn that they would do everything within their power to stop the inauguration of the Tinubu administration. And if truth be told, this group, who call themselves the Obidients, have gone the whole ten yards for their candidate.
First, they began by raising their voices within and outside the country. Their legion of followers in the diaspora also joined in, calling the attention of the international community to what they perceived as the robbery of their candidate, Peter Obi’s mandate. They believe, and insist, that their preffered choice won the presidential election. According to them, the election was rigged in favour of the eventual winner, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and they wanted their ‘stolen’ mandate returned to them. Different Obidient groups wrote letters to the United States government and the British government, requesting that they disregard the results of the presidential election and not recognise Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu as the winner of the election.
They mounted pressure on the United States government especially, asking that it should not have anything to do with the incoming government. They staged several protests in the US, one of them was held in front of the US Capitol, a grim reminder of the fateful insurrection of the Capitol by the mindless Donald Trump’s mob. While protests were going on in the United States, protests were also going on in Nigeria, Abuja particularly. Peter Obi’s supporters have been protesting outside the courts where the LP and PDP cases against Asiwaju were being held. They have also dominated the social media space, taking on anyone and everyone that holds a contrary view to their position regarding the recently held presidential elections. And their methods have been, to say the least, very crude. They are vile. They are toxic. It is so difficult to engage them in any constructive conversation or argument, they know only one way to defend Peter Obi and drive home their point- insults! It does not matter whether you’re elderly or you appear more knowledgeable about the issue at hand, they will shred you apart with insults and abuses.
It will be recalled that renowned writer, Chimamanda Adichie, also wrote to the US government, seeking for their support in the defence of her kinsman Peter Obi. She wanted the President Joe Biden led administration to disregard the electoral victory of Asiwaju and rally round the hordes of Obi supporters who are agitating for the cancellation of the election results. But, as we speak, the US neither acknowledged the letter nor hinted they weould act on it.
There were expectations on the part of Peter Obi supporters that the United States would come through to help them stop the inauguration of the Tinubu led administration. How they thought that would be possible remains to be seen. Many political observers have argued that the United States understand what it means for the electoral body of a country to declare a candidate winner of its election only for a group of people to rise up in protest of the result, insisting their preferred choice must be declared winner. It experienced that in the wake of the last US presidential election that Donald Trump lost. The US certainly will be the last country you would think will be part of such illegality. At the end of the day, nobody was surprised that they ignored the calls, except the Obidients.
Another point, they argued, is that the candidates who felt dissatisfied with the results had gone to court, so why would anyone expect the US government to take sides and choose to stand against the Nigerian people. The Joe Biden administration had seen clearly that the agitations of the Obidients were not a true representation of the entire country. Many of the international observers had hailed the electoral process and reported that the election was widely free and fair.
They were also availed of a clearer picture when Festus Keyamo led a team of strong APC officers to the United States to speak to the US government and give them a broader perspective of how the elecvtion went.
Keyamo explained to the US government that the Nigerian constitution requires that to be declared the winner of a presidential election, a candidate must secure the highest number of votes and score at least one-quarter of the votes in two-thirds of the states of the Federation, which includes the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.
“Only Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu met these requirements especially that of the spread (he scored 25 percent and above in 29 States), even though all 3 top candidates won 12 States each. The candidate of the PDP scored 25% and above in just 21 States, falling short of the 24 States required and the candidate of the Labour Party scored 25% and above in 15 States plus the Federal Capital Territory, making it 16 States,” Keyamo tweeted.
He said the lack of national acceptance by his major contenders, Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Peter Obi of the Labour Party, made it nearly impossible for them to win based on the constitution, thereby rubbishing the claims of rigging.
Keyamo, who was accompanied to Washington by Sunday Dare, Minister of Youth and Sports, and Ajuri Ngelale, assistant principal spokesperson, said further that the elections were so credible that upsets such as key members of the ruling party losing their home states or states of strength without state apparatus involvement wouldn’t have been possible.
He said, “It is significant to note that the elections were so credible that it threw up some upsets in our otherwise settled demography. “For the first time, 20 sitting Governors lost their States, mostly those of the ruling party. Seven Governors who sought elections into the Senate failed to scale through. “This has never happened in the history of Nigeria. In addition, the President-Elect lost his home State (Lagos State); the sitting President lost his home State (Katsina State); the Director-General of the Campaign lost his home State (Plateau State); the ruling Party Chairman lost his home State (Nassarawa State); the Chairman of the ruling Party’s Governor Forum lost his home State (Kebbi State) and the ruling party lost some of its traditional strong holds like Yobe State, Kaduna State and Kano State. All these go to show that it was a keenly contested election and one of the most credible in our history.”
He insisted that Tinubu’s victory should be accepted as the product of an improved electoral process that used the Bimodial Voters Accreditation System (BVAS) and iRev to sanitize the voting system and wondered why pockets of irregularities seen in a few polling units should be used as a reason to discredit the entire results.
He stated, “The reports of some irregularities and violence in some polling units could not have affected the overall outcome of the elections too. “There are 176,974 polling units in Nigeria and infractions and violence were recorded in less than one percent of these units.
“How could these have affected the overall results of the elections? Whilst we look forward to an era when there would be no single casualty during elections in Nigeria, however, the statistics show that 2023 recorded the lowest casualty rates ever.
“During the 1964/65 elections about 200 deaths were recorded as a result of election violence; 1993 election recorded 100 deaths; 1999 election recorded 80 deaths; 2003 polls recorded 100 deaths and 2007 polls recorded 300 deaths.
“The 2011 polls recorded 800 deaths, the 2015 polls recorded 100 deaths and the 2019 polls recorded 150 deaths. However, the 2023 polls recorded no more than 28 deaths as a result of election violence. So, the claim that this is the “worst” election so far is totally unfounded.”
On reservations raised by the opposition, Keyamo said that BVAS wasn’t deliberately compromised to alter the results but that it only suffered a few technical glitches in a few polling units, a claim supported by all the local and international observers.
“All the local and international observers scored the use of BVAS very high, with one local body called YIAGA, working in coalition with the EU and other International Observers, saying it recorded 88% success in all the polling units it monitored,” he said.
“The Nigeria Bar Association also issued its report saying only 8 percent of voters were not satisfied with the process on that day. The portal that the opposition made so much noise about, IREV, is just a viewing portal, which has nothing to do with accreditation or verification of voters or even the counting or recording of votes.”
The United States must’ve done their own findings and found that most of Keyamo said was true. And they took their decision. The outcome of that decision is what we are seeing, starting with the high powered delegation they sent to represent the US government at the inauguration.
– WALE LAWAL