The 2015 presidential election was the most critical and delicate election in the history of our democratic evolution, in that it held serious consequences for the future of our country; it could have made or marred our collective existence as a nation.
In the build up to the elections there were many events that occurred that set the ball rolling for the most interesting and delicate elections in the nation’s history; the main ones were the successful merger of formidable opposition parties, the famous Obasanjo letter to the outgoing President, and the divisive rifts within the ruling party. Other factors were the supposed Northern agenda and the desperation of the Niger Delta to keep one of their own in power for another 4years.
The stakes were indeed very high when the electioneering campaign started. It was characterized by hate speeches, mudslinging and propaganda at its highest levels, all of these contributed into heating up the polity. For ordinary Nigerians however, it was very interesting to see how politicians were trying to outplay each other in the political chess game.
Though I concede to the fact that religion and ethnicity played a role in the choices of the electorates, there were other pertinent factors other than those base considerations and primordial sentiment. The main issue was that people were disenchanted with PDP led federal government. It is important to note that PDP has been in power for 16 straight years and that is long enough to be extremely critical about their achievements in government. In my opinion Nigerians were more critical about PDP than they were of President Jonathan. However, at the time of the elections, he was the yardstick of PDP’s performance. He got all the knocks and rightly so.
Under President Jonathan’s watch the standard of living of an average Nigerian has not improved despite the statistics of economic performance being bandied around by government officials. Corruption and impunity have also taken on a new level in the country.
As I have said on many other fora, the main bane of our development is corruption and the culture of impunity in our system. Therefore, APC’s choice to present Buhari/Osinbajo as candidates for the top seats in the country – men publicized to have integrity – was astute and almost irresistible to many Nigerians who subscribe to the notion that corruption is the main
problem that undermines our development. The APC understood this point and it was not a surprise that this became their strongest argument in getting the public behind their candidates. In fact, they were branded ‘incorruptible’.
Other factors that contributed to the success of Muhammadu Buhari and the APC in the recent elections include the notable performances of APC governors at the state level; the calibre of competent Nigerians they paraded in their team; the effective usage of the social media and their mantra of ‘Change’ which stuck more with Nigerians than the ‘Transformation Agenda’ employed by the PDP. All of these steered the contest in their favour.
In contrast, President Jonathan’s team was full of perceived political profiteers and sycophants who ultimately orchestrated his defeat.
In the end, there are no losers and there are no winners in the last elections because after all, it is all in the good of Nigeria and Nigerians above any individual ambition. At this point I must commend the statesmanship and patriotism shown by the President to immediately concede defeat and congratulate the president-elect. That action has further entrenched our democracy. It shows maturity and Nigeria can now raise her head high with pride amongst the comity of democratic nations.
I must also commend the Independent National Electoral Commission chairman, Professor Attairu Jega for his unwaning commitment, determination and patriotism to ensure the process was free, fair and credible. By his leadership he has restored hope to Nigerians that indeed Nigeria can be great again if we are committed to the cause.
For the president-elect he has his work cut out: the Change must be indeed delivered. Nigerians look forward with renewed hope and high expectations. But I do think with the right team in governance and it’s sincere committment to fighting corruption
headlong, the hopes and yearnings of Nigerians will be delivered steadily. God bless Nigeria.