Tinubu/Shettima: Interim government plot and the delusional groups

The attempt to sow doubt over the outcome of the 2022 general elections are not just historical curiosities. Post-election litigation is nothing new in Nigeria. Except for the 2015 election when the former President Goodluck Jonathan conceded to President Muhammadu Buhari, every presidential election since 1999 has ended in legal fireworks. But none quite as dramatic as this year’s, considering the religious, regional and ethnic bigotry that dogged the process.

Political attention is shifting to the courts as aggrieved candidates and political parties that contested the elections are heading to the courts to challenge the outcomes not in their favour. Before the just-concluded elections, polling units were the soft targets for electoral competitions. It is now obvious the elections petition tribunals and courts have displaced the polling units as aggrieved candidates are looking up to them as an arena of contesting the results officially declared by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC. Concerns are only where the aggrieved lost that are rigged but turn out to be credible where they same aggrieved won.

The judiciary, which is the constitutionally empowered body to settle election disputes, oftent end up being the determiner of the winners and losers of elections.Though no presidential election has ever been annulled or invalidated by the court in Nigeria, there’s a litany of situations when the third arm of government acted as a last resort in cases of electoral result disputes. Though, is being accused of corruption, but this are not enough to blackmail the entire system. This is because there are many political victories that were upturned in favour of some aggrieved politicians in Nigeria.

Since the return of democracy to Nigeria in 1999, INEC has struggled to conduct credible polls. Elections in Nigeria are consumed by post-election legal battles. This is because electoral malpractice has become part of Nigeria’s electoral culture. These nalpractices take place before, during and after elections. Some of the most common include manipulation of voters’ registration, intimidation of voters, rigging, violent clashes between supporters, disruption of voting by thugs, and the snatching of ballot boxes and electoral materials. It is, therefore, on this note that political parties and their candidates, disfavoured by the election results, hurriedly head to court to seek redress.

The electoral umpire has conducted seven general elections in 24 years and has also had many of those elections upturned by courts as a result of electoral malpractices. Within those years, a number of governors lost their seats after election petition tribunals and of course the Supreme Court nullified their elections. The court has restored mandate of seven governors two of them in the current political dispensation alongside many legislators.
The ICIR compiled the list of governors who were the beneficiaries of this kind of court action. These are Rauf Aregbesola, Peter Obi, Rotimi Amaechi, Adams Oshiomhole, Segun Mimiko, Bello Matawalle and Hope Uzodinma..

The world’s attention is understandably taken up by headline-grabbing events such as Russia’s brutal war against Ukraine, the aftermath of earthquakes in Turkey and Syria, Trump arraignment and skirmishes in the “great power competition. However, the international community cannot afford to overlook elections and importantly democracy across Africa this year. Case in point, Nigeria: Africa’s most populous country and one of the world’s largest democracies.

Tinubu/Shettima ticket

The ongoing ethnic, regional and religious hatred by some loose politicians must be resisted by all right thinking Nigerians.There is no word in contemporary dictionary that has not been used to describe the President-elect Bola Ahmad Tinubu and his deputy Kashim Shettima during the electioneering. The bitter truth is that, elections have been won and it is a time for healing orocess which requires all hands to be on deck.They are all winners because they made our democracy interesting and keenly contested.

Tinubu/Shettima were governors who ruled in very difficult circumstances yet transformed their states; both set the foundation and standard for good as governors of Lagos and Borno states, respectively. Fact checks have proven that Tinubu is the architect of modern Lagos, heart beat of the nation’s economy. Shettima was elected governor of Borno state at the peak of the Boko Haram insurgency but proved to be a daring leader. Noteworthy is that, during the dark days of Borno state, he has never ran away from responsibilities and refused to an Abuja based governor.

Tinubu/Shetima ticket scored a total of 8,794,726 votes to defeat his closest rivals and candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Atiku Abubakar and Peter Obi of the Labour Party, LP, who polled 6,984, 520 and 6,101,533 votes, respectively. The results shamed the emperors who have been preaching the narrative of exclusion against their tickets.To be elected in the first round, a candidate must receive a plurality of the national vote and over 25% of the vote in at least 24 of the 36 states of the federation. It means Tinubu/Shettima currently holds the mandate of the majority of the lawful votes cast and have met the requirements by law to succeed President Muhammadu Buhari on May 29, 2023.

Another important factor that gave them an edge over their counterparts is their legislative experience as both were senators. Although, their victory was predicted long before the election by those who prioritise credibility, competency and capacity ahead of regional, religious and ethnic politics. It is obvious that Nigerians are now silently celebrating the triumph of Tinubu/Shetima ticket as one that has ended the ugly syndrome of religious politics in Nigeria. It has flipped a new page in our nation’s history that despite the secularism of the State of Nigeria, the best will always have an edge. It is not Muslims that won but Nigerians and Nigeria won against their enemies. No matter the factors that played out, Tinubu/Shettima are now officially President and Vice of President in-waiting of Nigeria where the symbol of hope, peace, unity and prosperity shall prosper under the principle of justice, equity and fairness.

Interim government and delusional groups

The rumours and accusations of a plot by yet to be identified delusional elements to foresee the installment of an interim government are worrisome and condemnable. This is coming when Nigeria is working round the clock to dislodge elements of secession, banditry and Boko Haram that have terrorised the country in the last few years. Nevertheless, elections have been conducted and despite some hitches, the elections were free,fair and credible.

The irony is that those behind this daydream seem not to be good students of history and have not paid due attention to the supreme document that bind us together as an indivisible nation. They contested elections because, there is a country called Nigeria. Having lost at the polls, they should not shy away from defending the constitutional that offered them the opportunity to contest. The platform paved the way for Tinubu/Shettima May 29 presidency through a constitutional mandate on February 25 and anyone doubting this falls in the delusional group. Just like the advanced democracies where the laws protect their democratic institutions, our laws should not allow these goats behind this illusionary movie to go free.

Danaudi, National President of Arewa Youths Advocate for Peace and Unity Initiative, writes from Bauchi via [email protected].