The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Chairman announced, in the early hours of Wednesday, 27th February, the final results of the 2019 presidential elections. It was revealed that the incumbent president, Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress (APC) won the polls with 15,191,847 votes while his closest rival, Atiku Abubakar of the People’s Democratic Party, polled 11,262,978 votes. Effectively, as Buhari won 19 states while Atiku won in 17 states of the Federation plus the Federal Capital Territory (F.C.T), the margin of victory for Buhari stood at 3,928,869. In a similar vein, none of the other political actors such as Oby Ezekwesili, Fela Durotoye, Kingsley Moghalu, Donald Duke or Yele Sowore who were well known contestants too, had up to 40,000 votes.
According to Budgit, and going by the figures released by INEC, voter turnout was 35% which was lower than the initially projected 50%. The seeming high turnout witnessed must have been attributable to the increase in the number of new voters who have registered, collected their Permanent Voter’s Card (PVC) between 2015 and 2019 and eventually voted in this election.
We could as well say that the INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, has put an end to his watch as election umpire for the presidential polls; regardless of the myriad irregularities such as underage voting, over-voting, mass thumb-printing, violence, vote buying and voter suppression which marred the conduct of the 2019 elections. Feelers from the public have not been good however; a large number of Nigerians still feel cheated that the results did not truly reflect the pattern of their voting. Aside the objection raised by the opposition party, PDP, there are many allegations of the polls not being free and fair.
Most results for the Senate and House of Representatives are also out. Nigerians, lost in the excitement and tension that the presidential elections pull, tend to underestimate the importance of the National Assembly results too. According to a journalist, Matthew T. Page, who has done an independent collation, APC – 59 seats, PDP – 29, YPP – 1, 6 inconclusive and 14 seats left to be declared; effectively making the APC the majority party in the Senate.
Crunching the numbers even further, assuming the polls were really free and fair – that less than 10% of Nigerians, 15 million out of a projected 180 million population – elected a president on behalf of the whole nation is telling on the dysfunction of the polity; it is akin to the dictatorship of a politically active minority. What were the remaining 90% majority doing that they didn’t exercise their franchise? Afterall, in democracy, they say majority carries the vote. In reality here, it is the opposite.
Notwithstanding, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar has in a statement this morning rejected the results of the elections claiming that the opinion of international and local observers regarding the inconsistencies dotting the elections corroborated his and that of the PDP. Even sources at the PDP earlier revealed that the legal team of the PDP is already being assembled and mobilized to contest the results at the elections tribunal at the Appeal court and this could drag all the way to the Supreme Court. There is no quick end in sight per elections afterall.
Whichever we choose to have it, whether contested at the elections tribunal or not, Nigerians seem to have decided and this can only be reverted by the law court. We can only hope, if nothing happens, that the 2nd term of President Muhammadu Buhari be better than the 1st.
Featured image source: Pulse.ng