FIC Report (Edo State) – Nigerians will definitely remember President Muhammadu Buhari for his numerous achievements while in office as the Country’s President.
One of such achievements is his democratic principles; His belief in the tenet of democracy; His respect for the power of the ballot box and the wishes of Nigerians to choose who will govern them.
The President has always promised not to interfere in the electoral process in Nigeria. He had at several fora promised to allow the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to be really independent in its activities.
The non interference of the President in the electoral process handled by INEC so far, has laid credence to the above promise made by him. Results that have been produced by the electoral umpire from elections so far handled under the President have been encouraging, as the true winners of the elections have been declared as winners.
Unlike in the past where parties of the incumbent Presidents automatically became the winners of every election through some illegal means, the narrative has changed for the better now. Under President Muhammadu Buhari, It is now possible for a party of an incumbent President to lose elections.
The elections overseen by the President so far, are the types that any corrupt leader of a country would have manipulated to favour his political party. But this did not happen.
First was the gubernatorial election in Anambra State in November 2017 .The election was a litmus test for the President’s credibility and neutrality in the operation of INEC in terms of conducting elections. During that period, the President’s party, the All Progressives Congress (APC ) had no Governor in any of the States in the South – East Geopolitical Zone. Many Nigerians therefore suspected that President Buhari will seize the opportunity to interfere in the electoral process and ensure that his party won the election. To the surprise and admiration of many Nigerians, the candidate of an opposition party, the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA ) Mr. Willy Obiano won the election.
Another gubernatorial election took place in Edo State in 2020. At the time the election took place, Edo State was the only State in the South – South Geopolitical Zone where President Buhari’s party, (APC) had a Governor. That same incumbent Governor had to defect from the APC to an opposition political party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to contest for the aforementioned election. Many political watchers expressed fear that the President would influence the result of the election to favour the candidate of his party, Barr. Ize Iyamu. To the surprise and admiration of many Nigerians that didn’t happen. Instead, the candidate of the opposition party, the PDP, Mr. Godwin Obaseki was declared the winner of the election.
In November 2021, another gubernatorial election was held by INEC in Anambra State and the candidate of an opposition party, APGA, Prof. Charles Soludo also won the election.
The most recent gubernatorial election after that of Ekiti State, was the one in Osun State. The importance of the gubernatorial election in Osun State to the President and his ruling party, the APC, at this period cannot be over emphasized. Some people saw it and still sees it as a show of strength exercise in the build up to the 2023 general elections.
Some people had concluded that Mr. President will use the security apparatus and INEC to rig the election in favour of the candidate of his party (APC), Chief Adegboyega Oyetola. However, the President refused to enmesh himself in the electioneering process that could derail democracy in Nigeria. Again to the admiration and surprise of many Nigerians, the President allowed a free and fair election and the candidate of the opposition party, the PDP, Senator Ademola Adeleke, was declared the winner by the electoral umpire. The winner has since been given a certificate of return by the electoral body.
This action of President Buhari is a strong departure from the old order or narrative. Many people had complained about the handling of some gubernatorial elections in the past, under the previous administrations. The gubernatorial election that took place in Ekiti State in 2014 cannot be forgotten by Nigerians in a hurry .That election was one of those trailed by allegations of electoral fraud , said to have been perpetuated by the incumbent Presidents at that time.
This time, many people, including members of the opposition parties have showered encomium on President Muhammadu Buhari for his unprecedented and unparallel feat in the Nigerian democratic process.
The President has demonstrated that he is a true democrat, a progressive and one that will be remembered for contributing to the stabilization of democracy in Nigeria. With his neutrality he has fine tuned the country’s electoral process and changed the narrative for the better.
With the antecedent of the President, one will not be afraid but bold to say that he will organize a free and fair general elections that will yield credible results, that will be acceptable to all reasonable Nigerians in 2023.
In this regard, Nigerians should be proud of the President. Whenever there is a roll call of those who stabilized democracy in Nigeria, the name of President Muhammadu Buhari will not be missing. His name will certainly be mentioned.
BY BESIRU ENAKHIMION,