By Yinka Ogunlana
Elections! Elections!! Elections!!! On the 28th March, 2015 Nigeria once again witnessed another wrestle of power in her political space, but this time, it was the battle of the fittest as the people’s choice determined the winner.
Many Nigerians became enthusiastic about the election process as some attended rallies, some stayed glued to their television set, some to their radio set, some to the newspapers and some even surfed the internet rigorously to stay turned with political events such as campaigns, rallies, conferences and news of political actors such as their decamp, comments, speeches among others.
Of a truth, the election was never as heated compared to what the electorates and even the politicians used to experience. However, we heard promises upon promises, several manifestos among other good will messages from different political parties. Though it’s not a surprise because many Nigerian politicians have always been desperate to either retain power or assume power. Politically, speaking, this is what ought to be as political parties are meant to keep the nation politically alive and active, though we cannot over-emphasize the fact that many of these political parties in their quest for power have bridged the rules guiding the game of polities as molestation, threat, blackmail, political violence and assassination of political opponents has gradually become a norm in our current political dispensation, most especially during the pre-election exercises of the 2015 general election.
Viewing the presidential election, Nigerians came out in their large numbers to cast their votes both in the sun and rain as they believed that, that is the only way in which their voices can be heard coupled with high hopes that their desire for change will actualize not minding how powerful or influential the word “incumbency” can be. Fortunately, the long awaited change came to play as the results showed clearly the choice of the people as the Chairman of INEC Prof. Attahiru Jega competently and carefully handled issues surrounding the election process and coalition of result before the final announcement of the winner. With that historical act, it is believed that many Nigerians will denounce their dis-belief in the electoral system. Moreover, there was violence in some parts of the country, however, security agencies was said to have intervened to salvage the ugly situation which made the conduct of election relatively better in terms of security. Also, President Jonathan on Tuesday evening was reported to have called General Mohammed Buhari to congratulate him on his victory after a fierce competition, it could be recalled that this was done before the official Announcement of the Winner by INEC, this single act shows the spirit of sportsmanship, a good example of a leader and above all, the president’s true intent to conduct a free and fair election.
Moreover, the early action taken by Mr. President may as well be to discourage or dispel any likely form of violence which may occur as his close rival was already leading by over 2m votes with just a few states to go. Indeed, it was a commendable effort by the president.
On the other hand, major General Mohammed Buhari quickly thanked Nigerians for their support and he also urged them to have a sober reflection, although GMB has been described by many Nigerians has a dogged fighter bending on the fact that he never gave up on his political ambition has he contested and lost 3 consecutive time from 2003 – 2011 under different political parties before finally making an head way in 2015.
As many Nigeria celebrate this political transition, it is imperative to note that many things went against Jonathan’s re-election bid and this may include, the emergence of APC, the coalition of three (3) opposition political parties, ACN, CPC, ANPP and a faction of APGA, this historical event that occurred in February 2014 leaves many Nigerian with no conclusion than “the election was going to be the end of the People’s Democratic party (PDP) 16 year rule at the centre and the beginning of change in our political space. Not under estimating the fact that south-west is the defunct ACN’s strong hold as the party ruled 5 out of 6 south-west states in 2013, before it lost Ekiti to PDP in 2014, also the CPC and ANPP ably representing the North-West and East geo-political zones as they won majority of the Northern states during the 2011 presidential election. Perhaps these are the two (2) major geo-political zones in Nigeria considering the population. He also lost the support of elder statesmen for instance president Olusegun Obasanjo, he was also unable to address properly, the issue of corruption of which his major opponent is known for discipline among other virtue, more so, security is detterolating day by day, with the presence of Boko Haram and other anti-peace groups, the economy is degenerating as Naira value drops frequently, most importantly many Nigerians wanted change.
Now, that the change, many Nigerian (both at home and in Diaspora) yearned for is here, the expectations of many Nigerians are high as an average citizen hopes that as the new government elect assumes power; Nigeria will get closer to achieving its 2020 vision, corruption will be reduced to the minimum if not eradicated, Boko Haram and other anti-peace groups will be conquered, human rights will be protected and promoted, unemployment will be astronomically reduced, justice will be done according, in every sector of the economy, Nigeria’s economy policy will be reviewed, mono-economy trade will be abolished, social security will be put in place as this is the bedrock of western liberal democracy Limpsman (1975). And that Nigerians will begin to reap the dividends of democracy.
These Nigerians’ hopes among others looks forward to be actualized as the president -elect and his new government on may 29th 2015, takes off the Nigeria plane for the next four (4) years.