The  Edo state governorship elections and  the Rivers State
Legislative elections has thrown up a lots of issues about Nigeria and
our Democratic journey. In 2015 general elections we saw the defeat of
the incumbent  government under former President  Goodluck Jonathan of
the Peoples Democratic Party [PDP]  been  defeated  by an opposition
party the All Progressives Congress  which then threw up  President
Muhammed  Buhari as the President of Nigeria. Many Nigerians were
simply carried away by the thought that for the first time we have an
incumbent President  been defeated by the opposition  and the  believe
is that a second term syndrome is no longer automatic in Nigeria and
that if the current government failed to perform  Nigerians will vote
them out by 2019.  That optimism  was so high in the minds of
Nigerians that we did not bother to look at or even remember  the many
faults and rigging that characterized  the 2015 General elections.
The reality of it is now staring us in the face, with the number of
elections conducted  since the APC  government  of President  Buhari
under the same  Independent National Electoral Commission [INEC]  that
conducted the  2015  General Elections.
The 2019 general elections is fast approaching and Politicians are
already gearing up for  elections. Unfortunately  most Nigerians
especially the Governments at all levels seem not to be paying much
attention to the election and the electoral umpire the Independent
National Electoral Commission [INEC].  Attention seemed to be focused
on Corruption and anti Corruption war of the present administration.
Many Nigerians are however not interested in President Muhammadu
Buhari’s Anti corruption war, what they are interested in now is food
on the table, jobs, power supply etc. The anti corruption war Buhari
seemed to be fighting now is the alleged looting of the treasury by
past administrations in the country, especially by those in the
Peoples Democratic Party the [PDP]. MANY Nigerians are rightly or
wrongly disenchanted with Buhari’s administration so far. But this is
Democracy not a military government, so no way for  coups. They are
however waiting till 2019 so they can vote for a candidate of the
choice. Buhari may still be voted back to office  depending on if he
is still interested in re election..
But there are fears that  going by their past records and the
elections conducted so far under the Buhari / APC  administration
Nigerians may not have an opportunity to  vote for a candidate of
their choice or vote out bad Representatives.
Many have expressed reservations  about the readiness of  the present
leadership of the Independent National Electoral Commission headed by
Professor Yacoub Mamoud to conduct a credible elections in the
country. This has led to many asking the question which INEC conducted
the best elections so far in recent years. Some say it was the 2007
elections conducted by Professor Maurice Iwu, others say it was that
conducted by the immediate past  chairman of the commission Professor
Attahiru Jega. They however said Professor Yacoub INEC has taking
Nigeria back to old INEC before Jega.
But in his remark recently The  Chairman of the Independent National
Electoral Commission Prof Yacoub  stated categorically that that the
2015  election conducted by Professor Jega  recorded  the highest
number of annulled polls. At the meeting with Residents Electoral
Commission [REC]  He stated that there were  20 annulled elections in
2015. These figured did not include those in which the courts upturned
the elections and ordered for issuance of Certificate of Returns  to a
different candidate
I also remember telling some of my friends that if Buhari contest any
election in the country again , he will continue to win. The  Question
is , what has made the APC to win the Edo, Ondo and the Rivers Re run
elections so far. Is it because of their fantastic performance in
office in the last one and half years or simply using their Federal
Might to win. Don’t be surprised that I included the Rivers rerun
election, this is because winning even one  Senatorial Seat  in Rivers
South East is a big victory for the APC. They didn’t deserve it.
President  Buhari must know that the elections conducted so far under
his administration were flawed especially the Edo governorship
election and the Rivers Re run Legislative elections.
In Edo and Ondo states there were massive use of money to influence
voters to vote for a particular party or the order. This is
corruption, which the President claimed to be fighting. In Ondo state
voters were offered Five thousand naira to vote for the APC. At that
election the APC got over 200,000 votes. If each voter got five
thousand naira, that means  APC bribed voters with one billion naira
to win the election. At the period of the so called Recession,  the
question is where did the money come from. Nobody has asked that
question. In Edo state  journalists, Independent Observers and PDP
agents were not allowed into the collation centres.  Because  no
punishment was meted out to the offenders in that election, it had now
been repeated in Rivers state,  and that brings me to the allegations
of the APC  that they had to use their Federal Might  since PDP also
used Federal Might when they were in office.  All these happening
under President Muhammadu Buhari  in office.
This is why I said at the beginning that Buhari must apologise to
Nigerians for the riggings done so far under his administration.
In 1984 when  the then General Buhari overthrew  a Democratically
elected government of Alhaji Shehu Shagari of the then National Party
of Nigeria [NPN]  one of the reasons they gave  for the coups was what
they termed massive election riggings that characterized the then 1983
election which SHAGARI claimed a landslide victory. At that time  the
election was characterized by ballot box snatching, ballot box
stuffing, election violence, intimidation of voters etc. since then we
had  never heard of  ballot box snatching or snuffing again until now
when we had the Rivers Re Run election under President Buhari’s
administration. Please let nobody tell me Buhari was not directly
involved in what happened in Rivers state. But he must take
responsibility, just as Shehu Shagari was not directly involved in the
election rigging that took place in 1984 before  Buhari overthrew him.
SECONDLY The  2003 Presidential election was said to have been won by
the candidate of the PDP Chief  Olusegun Obasanjo. There were series
of protest  by  Buhari to protest the results of the election using
the platform of the Conference of  Nigerias  Political  Party [
CNPP]. Those who led the street protest included  Muhammadu Buhari,
Chief Odimegwu Ojukwu  who was then candidate of APGA, Chief Tunji
Braithwaite, Alhaji  Balarabe Musa,  Barrister Maxi Okwu  who was the
secretary of CNPP among others, police used tear gas to disperse these
eminent Nigerians.
There was also a follow up protest in Kano where  the Police used
poisoned  gas  to disperse the protesters.  Buhari’s  Running mate at
the 2003  election  and former Senate President Dr Chuba Okadigbo did
not survive  from the poisoned gas until he died.  So  many Nigerians
died  in the struggle to make Buhari President  including over 800
people that were killed in  the North in  protest against the outcome
of the 2007 Presidential election.
On the issue of the fight against corruption all Nigerians have agreed
to support the fight against corruption but must be fought within the
ambits of the law. During the first world Press Conference in Abuja in
2003 Muhammadu  Buhari  told the world that he followed closely the
collapse of  Socialism in Eastern Europe and especially the  collapse
of the Berlin wall and disintegration of USSR  and have come to
realize and accept that the best form of government is Democracy. He
said he is now a Democrat. I urge the President to go back to the
speech he made on that day in 2003  at the  conference  hall of the
then All Nigeria Peoples Party [ANPP] in Central District Area of
Abuja. There cant be Democracy without the Rule of Law.  To  me the
fight against  corruption  should not be only  to punish offenders but
also to reward people who have refused to corruptly enrich themselves.
During the last governorship election in Edo state there were
allegations that a former commissioner of Police was offered  bribe.
The  commissioner was said to have  refused the offer and he was
transferred out of the state. I expected the members of the
Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption,  EFCC, POLICE or
even DSS to investigate  the allegation. If it was true the
commissioner should be invited by the President for a breakfast
meeting and be given a Presidential handshake. This will go a long way
to tell the world that there are  still honest Nigerians and that we
are not all corrupt. It will also tell Nigerians that there are still
some Policemen that are not corrupt.  It will improve the image of the
Police and the credibility of the anti corruption fight.  Besides we
also heard of politicians given money for vote. We learnt all the
parties were guilty of this. I expect the Presidency to condemn this
openly irrespective of the fact that his party was the beneficiary of
the buying of vote.  Election rigging, bribery and vote buying are all