The much anticipated presidential election in Nigeria has been done and collation is still ongoing as at 10 pm Nigerian time Monday 27 with the candidate of the ruling party; All Progressive Congress (APC) Senator Bola Tinubu leading so far.
The presidential election held Saturday 25th was one of the greatest upset in the history of elections in the country as there were so many unexpected fortunes and misfortunes of victory and losses at the end of the exercise.
Though pockets of violence, snatching of ballot boxes, network failures in some localities and non availability of voting materials were recorded in some instances leading to the extension of voting till Sunday and Monday of February 27, the election was adjudged free and fair by both international and local observers when compared to previous elections.
The unexpected victory of Peter Obi, the presidential candidate of Labour Party, which most considered to be a structureless political party without a single member in the national assembly nor offices across the 36 states of the federation could probably be termed; the 8th wonder of the world. A party that has no party agents in about 70% polling units of the country ended up winning about 11 states out of the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory.
The greatest shock of it all was his victory in Lagos State, the stronghold of the APC presidential candidate Bola Ahmed Tinubu, a state his party has held since the inception of the democratic dispensation in 1999 till now. This victory is still a shock to many political analyst who find it very hard to believe.
Another unexpected political scenario of this election was the victory of the major opposition party, PDP in the state of an incumbent president as President Muhammad Buhari lost his state, Katsina to the candidate of the opposition, Atiku Abubakar.
Many APC governors also lost their states to the opposition, and many incumbent governors lost their bid for senatorial ambitions to the opposition.
So many unexpected incidents really occured. Nobody could claim to have seen the candidate of the Labour party going as far a securing such huge numbers of votes across the country where the stronger APC and PDP were expected to secure victory.
Perhaps, being the only leading Christain candidate may have largely accounted for this unexpected turn of fortune in the election. The APC presidential team has a Muslim / Muslim ticket, the presidential aspirant and his vice are both Muslims. A choice highly condemned by some members of the party with the Christian Association of Nigeria kicking vehemently against it by directing all Christians in the country to reject it in all it’s entirety.
Tinubu whose wife is also a senior pastor of the Redeem Christian Church of God met with different leaders of the Christian Association to explain the political strategy behind his choice of a Muslim vice president in an attempt to pacify the Christian community.
This choice probably almost cost him the victory at the polls. The votes secured by Peter Obi were majorly from the Christian adherents across the country and the determination of his tribes men , (Igbo) to use his opportunity to secure the presidency to their region as almost all Igbos came out for one of their own (compared to the South West that witnessed a low turnout of voters )for their believe that Peter Obi is not just the candidate but Igbo as a tribe is. This is a tribe that has been clamouring for a separation from Nigeria claiming marginalisation by the Northerners.
The apathy of Christians against the Tinubu/ Shetima candidacy was so deep that bishops, clergymen went as far as threatening their congregants with curses from the bible if they voted for any other candidate than Peter Obi their fellow Christian claiming the candidature of Peter Obi and Datti is God’s project.
For almost seven months of the election campaigns, Peter Obi of the Labour Party ( a Catholic adherent) vigorously appealed to the sentiments of Christains across the country, attending various church programmes to further canvass votes from that bloc with some leaders of the church endorsing him as a Christ project and it thus paid out well.
Meanwhile, one time president of Nigeria Olusegun Obasanjo who openly endorsed Peter Obi prior to the election has called for the cancellation of the election in areas where there were irregularities claiming rigging and lack of transparency in the electorat process. His call has equally been met with stiff condemnation by APC stalwarts and some members of the general public for calling for such for a well organised and a freely conducted election compared the ones organised under him during his regime from 1999 to 2007.
The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Observation Mission deployed to the Nigerian general elections also said the exercise was generally peaceful and transparent.
Former President Ernest Koroma of Sierra Leone, Leader of the ECOWAS delegation, disclosed this on Monday in Abuja during a preliminary briefing on the elections.
As at 20.00 Nigerian time, Monday 27 Bola Ahmed Tinubu was far ahead of the two other major contestants with Abubakar Atiku of the People’s Democratic Party coming second and Peter Obi of the Labour Party coming a distant third.
9 more Local Government to go.
There are 774 local governments in Nigeria.
The Independent Electoral Commission INEC has suspended counting of the remaining results of those nine local government till today Tuesday 28 by 11 am Africa time. This could be as a result of suspended election in some polling units of some state which was conducted yesterday Monday.
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