Nigeria’s just concluded presidential election that saw Bola Ahmed Tinubu of the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) declared winner in the wee hours of Wednesday, March 1, 2023, has been described as a sham, which should not be allowed to stand.
The ruling party in Nigeria won the controversial poll after days of intrigue and disaffection among the people who have been calling on the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) to stop the collation of the results due to noticeable irregularities.
But the INEC Chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, the Chief Returning Officer for the February 25 presidential election, ignored the calls from the opposition and international observers and went ahead to announce Tinubu as the winner.
According to INEC, Tinubu polled 8.8 million votes and won in 12 states to beat Alhaji Atiku Abubakar of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), who came second with 6.99 million. The Labour Party (LP) of Peter Obi polled 6.1 million votes to place a close third.
Former Governor of Kano State and New Nigeria Peoples Party, NNPP, Candidate, Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso, came fourth with 1.5 million votes.
In an exclusive interview with Timescape Magazine on Wednesday evening, Dr. Adetokunbo Pearse, a former political ally of Nigeria’s declared president-elect, said the just concluded presidential poll would go down in history as the most shameful election ever conducted in Nigeria.
“The whole thing is a sham, we cannot have a good election if we continue with this crude arrangement, we call a presidential poll. Despite calls that the collation of results should be on hold by reputable people, organizations, and international observers, I found it hard to believe that the INEC went ahead to announce the winner,” says Dr. Pearse a Senior Lecturer at the Institute of African and Diaspora Studies, University of Lagos.
He adds: “Though all the allegations and other malpractices have to be left with the specialists to figure out, it is clear INEC never delivered on the electronic voting promise”.
Dr. Pearse, a leader in the main opposition PDP party who lived and worked in the United States between 1986 to 2006 wondered why Nigeria could not replicate the system of holding credible elections.
“I had lived for 20 years in the U.S., and I knew how the thing was being done when we talked about electronic voting. You would go into a cubicle as if you wanted to make a call and do your voting very easily. But here in our country (Nigeria) in this modern age, we see an electoral umpire, collecting a huge allocation to organize this sham. It is disgraceful. Anyway, the government must be blamed for giving us this joke,” he said.
About Nigeria’s President-elect, Pearse says the winner is a mistake that must not be allowed to stand.
“I heard his acceptance speech; the man is speaking like a nonentity, like somebody whose mind was totally off. We have seen lots of his incoherence and inconsistency in speeches throughout the campaign. A man like this cannot represent the image of the country abroad. I am telling you; we are in for a shock if we allow this to stay. This man is not capable. You can see him going to the stage being helped, he could not work,” he said.
According to the former University of Lagos don, the country should be prepared for a series of chaotic events across the nation, adding that the people are tired of the APC government and the pattern of voting across the country has vividly shown the feeling of the people if the results were to be genuinely collated.
“I foresee a lot of upheaval in the next few days across the country. I see a lot of chaos and instability in the country. Many people doubt the result,” he says.
Former president Olusegun Obasanjo called on Buhari to help end the sham and make sure the mandate of the people is not stolen. The EU observers said the election was not credible. Afenifere, Ijaw Nations, and other people are in doubt about how the results were manufactured to favour the ruling party.
However, Buhari has only advised those that are aggrieved to go to court, which according to Pearse is a dereliction of duty on the part of Nigeria’s outgoing President.