2015 General Elections And Aftermath The nation entered the 2015 General Elections with a number of daunting and disastrous challenges. Analysts summarized the problems into three key compartmentsinsecurity (Boko Haram Insurgency, kidnapping, armed robbery, human trafficking, etc), corruption and unemployment.
However, suffice it to say that any of these major challenges has all the tendencies and appurtenances of state failure. Is Nigeria a failing state or failed state? What are the indices of a failed state? All of them could be found within the Nigerian scenario at the moment. Again, as a built up towards the 2015 polls, there were palpable fears that Nigeria might disintegrate as was already projected by some Western powers. The fears were really founded, what, with Boko Haram bloodletting, suicide bombings, political tensions across the nation as politicians overheat the polity with hate speeches and ethno-religious sentiments.
It was even the volatile issue of religion that was feared most. Buhari, the presidential standard bearer of the new coalition, All Progressive Congress (APC) was largely perceived in some quarters as an Islamic fundamentalist who might be the needed instrument to make the nation fullfledged Islamic State that the terrorist (Boko Haram) sect members have desired Nigerian to be. However, Buhari, who contested the presidential election for the fourth time- 2003, 2007, 2011 and 2015- was undeterred, not even the decapitating campaign of certificate forgery could dissuade millions of Nigerians who made up their minds to go for him. He was seen as the symbol of “change” which APC was propagating and which indeed a cross-section of Nigerians clamored for. Even the West and other members of the international community overtly or covertly endorsed Buhari’s candidacy and he was treated like a sitting president already when he visited London, United Kingdom, Nigeria’s erstwhile colonial masters. The West still influence the outcome of elections in the Third World, observers strongly believe.
Valuable Lessons And Impressions Of 2015
One of the most keenly contest polls ever in the annals of the nation, the 2015 Nigeria elections represented a study in political re-awakening and development, especially for researchers and scholars interested in African politics. The level of political consciousness which the electorate exhibited at the polling units indeed surprised the entire world. For the first time since the history of elections and electioneering in Nigeria, people wanted their votes to count, they wanted “ change, they pursued their convictions and aspirations without much minding the state apparati-soldiers, DSS, Police, NSDC, para-military forces, etc, unleashed on them.
Although, the lesson for future amendment and vigilance by the electorate remains that the final outcome at most of the collation centres did not reflect the result/will of the voters at the polling booths and units, meaning that desperate politicians, colluding with INEC officers, still had their way, some way, somehow card readers or not. As a political commentator, Opeyemi Ekundayo puts it, “don’t be surprised that by 2019, everybody would head to or besiege final collation centres to monitor whether their votes or figures have been altered or not”. According to another political analyst, Dr. Stephen, Ogbonnaya of Caleb University, Imota, Lagos, the introduction of Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs) and Card Readers did not make the last election actually free and fair, arguing that electoral fraud starts even during delineation of polling units, distribution of PVCs, posting of electoral officials and materials.
“They can use even logistics problems to manipulate election because when they disenfranchise you, your preferred candidate loses”, the lecturer contended. Indeed, there were plans by the electoral umpire (INEC) to create additional 30,000 polling units, of which 20,000 units would have been sited in the North but public outcry made the Jega-led INEC to suspend the move. However, despite the success recorded, INEC was accused of distributing more PVCs the Far North including Boko Haram- held areas than it did in the South-East and South-South zones which eventually became PDP only stronghold across the nation after the election.
Buhari: The Man, The Promise
He has ridden to power on the crest of popularity, integrity and tremendous goodwill not only in Nigeria but across the world. History therefore beckons on him to perform, deliver on his promises and take Nigeria out of the woods. If he fails, he and APC would definitely be consigned to the wrong side of the same history books because his job is like what the characters in Charles Dickens Great Expectations, would have been expected to carry out. For now, it would appear that the challenges are really overwhelming. Analysts say Buhari might end up beating the bush if he has no focus of what he intends to do. They say his ability to fix regular power supply alone would make Nigerians happy and prosperous. Now, Buhari and his APC have inundated Nigerians with the “change” slogan.
It is left of be seen whether the “change” would be positive or negative in view of the increasing pains and hardship which ordinary Nigerians have faced so far few years into Buhari’s years. To be fair to President Buhari’s, observers and analysts say one thing is clear: His uncompromising attitude and stance against corruption (stealing of public funds) would put him on head on collision course with public officers including Ministers, Lawmakers, public servants and his aides. According to an insider, the President has vowed to block financial leakages and merry-go-round, even the APC-dominated National Assembly members might want to impeach him because cash (Ghana-mustgo) would seize coming to them automatically with Buhari in the saddle.
Another area which Buhari is expected to make an impact is the fight against Boko Haram insurgency. If Boko Haram is not completely wiped out in the next few months, it would mean that Buhari has failed. More than 5 million Nigerians have been killed by the sect since 2009 even as nearly two million people are internally-displaced (IDPs), according to statistics released by the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA). So tackling unemployment, power outage, crime and insurgency, insecurity, poverty, exchange rate, graft, corruption and inefficiency in public service, decayed infrastructure and other national malaise, are indeed the Buhari’s promise. Nigerians, investigations showed, indeed expected Mr. President to hit the ground running as soon as he was sworn in on, May 29. However, democratic governance does not operate like that. The elements of consultations and consensus are required on national issues otherwise it is no longer a Constitutional Presidential System of government. That is where Buhari would not find it easy as a civilian president. But can the Legislature afford to hold him to ransom at this material point in time in the nation’s history? Time will tell.
Requiem For Pdp ?
The party is experiencing opposition for the first time in 16 years. Can it even provide formidable opposition more so when the unprincipled members have since joined the APC bandwagon, more PDP members are already on their mark to run to APC for pecuniary gains. The immediate past Senate President, David Mark, who has been in the Senate for 16 years and still holding his seat, has been upbeat on why the PDP should provide credible opposition that would make the Buhari-led Federal Government accountable and transparent. The party’s hierarchy recently collapsed following the forced resignation of its National Chairman, Alhaji Adamu Muazu, paving way for Prince Uche Secondus from Rivers State to emerge as Acting National Chairman while ex-President Jonathan is said to have turned down the offer to head the party’s Board of Trustees, abandoned by Tony Anenih. It is now former Defense Minister, Dr. Bello that chairs the party’s BOT.
putting a sharp knife on the things that held it together, hence things fell apart, apologies to the late celebrated writer and literary icon, Professor Chinua Achebe. As people like Senator Mark have rightly said, “being in opposition is strange to the party because it has been in power for 16 years”. According to Prof. Osisioma Nwolise, Professor of Political Science, University of Ibadan, the PDP indeed dug the grave for its own burial following its intractable internal crises as well as lack of internal democracy. “In fact, it reached a stage whereby the bloody fight over the party’s ticket became bloodier that whoever secured the party’s ticket automatically went to sleep because he/she would see it as being already elected for the post he/she was vying for”, the University don declared. However, whether another party would emerge from the ashes of PDP is left for time, depending, of course, on how the APC, filled with numerous bedfellows manages its victory and success in the next four years. As early as the day has begun, the APC house is already caving in, as the crisis in National Assembly over principal offices is expected to exacerbate, making the expectations of millions of Nigerians that the party would deliver on its promise, invariably dying at the end of the day. Nigerians are eagerly and earnestly watching and waiting.
-By Ifeanyi Alia