It is not only unfathomable but also preposterous and downright stupefying that some fellow Nigerians and their foreign sympathisers are still engaging in arguments about the veracity and authenticity of the outcome of the February 25 presidential election results. It even gets to most irritating levels that in their hearts and genuinely in their private moments they admit to themselves that from the campaigns to the rallies, recruitment of new voters and execution of their campaign strategies both at the communication and logistics levels, there was no iota of hope towards a pathway to victory of any sort.
Yet after the denouement of electoral failure, they are now hell bent on clutching at straws hoping they can pull down the house if they can’t occupy it.
The intelligence community has duly alerted Nigerians and stakeholders alike about the deadly plot by some disgruntled politicians to truncate our long suffering 24-year-old fourth democratic journey. The hunter has sounded his whistle, calling his dog to return to base! The Department of State Services has not for the first time appealed to all detractors to tow the line of peace and tranquility in their response to their electoral calamity.
Even the Abdusalaam Peace Committee extracted a commitment from these political combatants to uphold the peace before, during and after the elections. Yet, we had violence in some deep country precincts. The hunter’s dog, it would seem, has lost its way. For them because it’s raining in their villages, they ignorantly conclude that it’s raining all over the world. They shut their minds to the fact that it might not be raining elsewhere.
Let’s us recall how we got here. It was common knowledge that the opposition Peoples Democratic Party started its campaign early and seemed to have gathered some momentum by the first month of 2023, but alas the fallout from its presidential primaries caused an irrevocable angst between some governors and the candidate for reasons of non-adherence to the rotation principle entrenched in the party’s constitution as well as the “parapoism” of Governor Aminu Tambuwal’s stepping down for candidate Atiku Abubakar much to the chagrin of the Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike, whose chances of victory was dealt a deadly blow by Tambuwal’s action. PDP never recovered from the opprobrium and “internal war” that ensued.
Secondly, non-political, non card-carrying voters who constitute about 70 per cent of the populace were torn between voting for another eight years of another Fulani president after President Muhammadu Buhari or choosing a southern candidate.
In comes the Labour Party, whose poster boy is a southern candidate, Peter Obi. He fitted the bill. So PDP’s stronghold in the South East of Nigeria where it used to reign supreme was further decimated. PDP was in trouble. As if that wasn’t enough, the master strategists of the APC presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, took him into the creeks of Gbaramatu Kingdom to meet Tompolo in Okerenkoko as part of search for votes. Government Emuopkolo, alias Tompolo, is “government” of his own if you know what I mean. Even the dreaded Asari Dokubo jumped on the “Sell Tinubu” train courtesy of Asiwaju’s magnanimity to his wife and children while Asari was in custody.
As the final nail on its coffin, the PDP literally gave up campaign in the South West and seemed to rely on Fulani hegemony and a few northern APC governors to betray the ruling party and vote PDP. Of course the APC governors of Kwara, Kogi, Jigawa, Zamfara, Niger and Borno States all delivered as expected and Senator George Akume wrestled Benue from PDP and gave Asiwaju as a bonus. How could PDP have won the presidential election with these uncertainties and topsy-turvy rollercoaster journey? Not in the wildest dreams.
The other dog of our famed hunter that is not listening to the hunter’s whistle is the Labour party and its candidate, Peter Obi. Whoever thought Peter Obi was going to be president was living in some extra-terrestrial bubble oblivious of realities on ground in this 925,000 square kilometers of land called Nigeria. Indeed the large population of non card-carrying voters come from a culture where a voting pattern bequeathed to them by their grandparents and parents have been entrenched in the family psyche and sub-culture over long decades.
For instance, most Yorubas would vote Unity Party of Nigeria, Alliance for Democracy, Action Congress of Nigeria or its current version of APC. The appellation “progressives” fits the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo philosophy they grew up with. So on election day they are not going to wake up one morning and change because a certain Peter Obi has shown up. Likewise, numerous Hausa Fulani will go the Northern People’s Congress route and its modern day version of the National People’s Party. There is a history to the voting behaviour of every family.
Of course some of today’s youth generation will break the ranks, but it has now dawned on Peter Obi that they don’t form the critical mass needed to upturn voting pattern and long standing behaviour in his favour. The Labour Party needs another four years of mobilisation to get the the remote villages of Konshisha (Benue), Jekanadu (Sokoto) Yorla (Rivers Ogoni), Ipokia (Ogun Stare), Rikoto (Kebbi) and Dawakin Tofa (Kano) and all such communities where 70 per cent of Nigerian dwell. Not on the internet.
The party needs another four years to get foot soldiers in the 176,000 polling units who will go on election eve and appeal to the locals from house to house to come out and vote, sometimes coax them, sometimes induce them! That’s how it works, my friend. The trajectory of the media and internet simulation in favour the Labour Party was exaggerated and completely misdirected. Be that as it may, the six months effort of Peter Obi;s resurgence of the Labour Party to produce one governor and more than 30 National Assembly members is commendable, but it also accentuates the volume of humongous work and gargantuan goodwill Tinubu and Senator Kashim Shettima have built over the decades for them to amass eight million votes on February 25.
From the forgoing, the opposition Peoples Democratic Party and Labour Party have no reason to claim they won the elections. Asiwaju had 22 governors at his disposal for heaven sake with all their resources and voter strength. Tinubu picked his mandate in style, grand style, with a gap of close to two million votes.
The path of self destruction that the disgruntled politicians the DSS mentioned are embarking on is needless, irresponsible and totally suicidal. These fifth columnists who have no capacity to handle failure are refusing to heed the call of their hunter-master. When you prepare for war, you crave for victory, but also make provision for possible failure. That’s the mark of a great warrior.
This is the time to sheath their swords and prepare for the next elections in four years time. The democratic journey we seem to be nurturing successfully does not need this aberration of already doomed idea of “interim government”. As we say in Hausa: “Wanda bai ji bari ba ya ji hoho (one who refuses to listen to advice will feel the pain later).”
. Dr. Bako is a members of the Media Directorate of the All Progressives Congress Presidential Campaign Council.