The hot topic in town, what everyone is talking about, both locally and internationally- the just concluded Nigerian Presidential Elections and the unprecedented fact that an incumbent President was defeated by a candidate from a party that is just 2 years old. General Mohammad Buhari, commonly referred to as GMB defeated Sitting President Goodluck Jonathan by about 2.9 million votes in what was a tight race to the Aso Rock.
The elections were given a huge pass mark by Local and international observers, even the American President expressed his delight about the conduct of the elections. The Electoral Commission Chairman, Attahiru Jega has been widely applauded for putting up such a good outing with even the American Ambassador to Nigeria commending his decision to use the high tech Permanent Voters’ Card (PVC) to reduce election malpractices which has perennially plagued Nigerian electoral system.
Anyway, away from the electoral process. This is the fourth consecutive time that Buhari would be contesting the Presidential elections, his first time being in 2003. He was defeated by the incumbent President, Good luck Jonathan in 2011 by more than 12 million votes. Fast foward to 2015 and the same Buhari beat him by a little less than 3 million votes. What many people want to know is ‘What Changed’?
Buhari contested on the platform of Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) in 2011; a new party then that quickly gained support from the Muslim North because of Buhari. However, Buhari was unable to defeat Jonathan was then perceived to be the saviour of Nigeria. Jonathan then had just completed the term of his former boss, President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua who died in office. He was seen as a cool and honest man who could lead Nigerian to its promise land and his ‘Transformation Agenda’ campaign was widely supported by the entire Christian South and parts of the Middle Belt.
President Jonathan’s Government however didn’t deliver on its promises to Nigerians. It was plagued with corruption allegations, economic crises including the controversial oil subsidy, security issues and the Boko Haram threat including the very poor way the Government handled the Chibok Girls’ case. All these cumulated to Jonathan being labeled ‘a failed President’.
So, Nigerians wanted change and change was viewed by some as the All Progressived Congress (APC) which is a new party formed by a coalition of the three major opposition parties in Nigeria. Buhari’s Party is the APC.
Many others neither saw Buhari nor APC as the change or alternative Nigeria needed.
Just as I said before the elections, it was going to be a case of choosing between two evils, the lesser evil. The ECONOMIST and NEW YORK TIMES also said the same thing. Two evils: ‘A failed President’ and ‘Former Dictator’.
Well, Nigerians have spoken. They decided that they have no faith in their failed President and they would rather go with a former dictator.
Although there were other factors that led to Buhari emerging as the President-Elect. The APC coalition earned Buhari the votes of the South West and combined with the North, he was nearly unstoppable. Buhari won five of the six South West states. Also, the Nigerian population votes along Ethnic and Religious lines and so the more populous votes of the Muslim North favoured Buhari.
All that being said, NOW THAT BUHARI WILL BE PRESIDENT, I’m so glad because I was one of the Nigerians who was so tired of the Jonathan led Government. However, Buhari has a herculean task in front of him. He is inheriting a failing country plagued by Security and Economic issues, not to talk of the horrible corruption situation. He was voted by many Nigerians on the basis that he’ll be tough on corruption and he has to deliver. He can’t afford to fail.
Congratulations, Buhari!!! Its time to move Nigeria in the right direction.