Off-cycle elections: Some lessons

Off-cycle elections in Kogi, Imo and Bayelsa states have come and gone. The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) announced the winners and awarded them their certificates of return. Although there were occasional disputes by the losers, the election appeared to be largely free, fair, and free of violence.

While there was evidence of imperfection in the election, as no human enterprise is perfect, the election was better organized than the one on February 25 this year. It’s easy to see why. He had only 5.4 million voters to deal with, not his 87 million in February. The voting unit he received was only 10,470 instead of 176,846 in February.

INEC had to deploy 27 resident election commissioners and 14 national commissioners for the three state elections to support field staff. Security authorities also had the opportunity to deploy as many security personnel as they wished to police this election without significant differences in other areas of security enforcement.

Days before the election, there was intense drama in Imo State. NLC Chairman Joe Ajayero led a group of workers in a demonstration against the governor, Senator Hope Uzodimma, for allegedly failing to pay workers 20 months of salaries that they were owed. went. Ahaero was severely assaulted by thugs who were said to have been hired by the state government for this purpose. The governor denied that he owed anyone money.

Since he denied non-payment of salaries of his staff, it was expected that the NLC in Imo State would counter him, but that was not the case. That means the governor probably told the truth. He even said he would pay his staff their 13th month’s salary for their Christmas fun. You can call your monthly salary Uzodimber.

It is also possible that workers and their stakeholders would have voted against the governor if he had been in arrears with his salary for months. Instead, they gave him 540,000 votes, with PDP candidate Mr Samuel Anyanwu receiving 71,500 votes and LP’s Mr Asan Achonu 64,000 votes.

After Uzodimma’s victory was announced, a large group of Imo workers stormed the State House to celebrate his victory. He must be doing the right thing that pleases the Newt’s heart. Even when the NLC announced a nationwide strike for November 14, Imo workers refused to join the strike.

They simply continued their work as if they were giving the governor a second vote of confidence. Perhaps it is the developmental gains he has made in the past four years that won him the election, or perhaps his promise to transfer the government to the numerically stronger Owerri zone after his term of office is what made the people Did they vote for him or the fact that Imo, an oil producing country, decided it was better to associate with those who exercise federal power than remain in the opposition.

For some people, being at the center is a big deal because it means the state can get some benefits from under the table. For Uzodinma, the win brought a high level of excitement and he felt a strong sense of victory due to the hurdles he had to overcome to reach the podium.

In the Kogi elections, the main candidates were Mr. Ahmed Usman Ododo of the APC, Mr. Murtala Ajaka of the SDP and Mr. Dino Melaye of the PDP. Mr Ododo won by a landslide with 446,237 votes, followed by Mr Ajaka with 259,052 votes and Mr Melaye with 46,362 votes. Mr. Ododo won a landslide victory in the Ojo Central and Ojo West senatorial districts, giving him an advantage over other candidates in both constituencies. Some analysts believe that Bello’s influence may have played a role in why so many voters approved of Ododo.

In Bayelsa state, incumbent governor Duoye Diri of the PDP won with 175,000 votes to former governor Timipre Sylva’s 110,000 votes. Silva rejected the results, which he claimed were the result of massive fraud.

There are several reasons for Diri’s victory, including his incumbency despite being in the opposition party. Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, a former governor and former president, campaigned vigorously for Mr. Diri. Jonathan is highly respected as a politician and has been the toast of the international community since admitting his defeat in the 2015 presidential election.

There was no evidence that President Bola Tinubu tried to use the power of the federation to elect Bayelsa to the APC. He did not go to the party’s election campaign there. He only handed over the party flag to Silva and two other APC candidates. The president’s non-interference in elections worked to Dili’s advantage.

Former vice president and presidential candidate of the PDP, Atiku Abubakar, congratulated Diri on his victory, saying he had won “against all odds”. He did not say what the odds were. Addressing the Executive Committee of the Nigeria Inter-Party Consultative Council, Mr. Atiku advocated for the merger of opposition parties to present a strong front against the ruling party in future elections to avoid a one-party state.

He said: “If we don’t come together to challenge what the ruling party is trying to create, our democracy will suffer because of it, and the consequences will be felt for generations to come.” “It will be,” he warned.

Atiku’s call for opposition parties to merge reflects the pain that divisions have inflicted on the PDP since the 2019 elections. The PDP has since split after Atiku’s running mate in 2019, Peter Obi, deserted him and the PDP ran for office. Tent with the Labor Party (LP). Former Kano State governor and PDP lawmaker Musa Kwankwaso also left the party and formed the NNPP, which is currently making waves in the North West.

This departure also created a gaping hole within the party. To make matters worse for the party, five of its governors, known as the G5, gave the party and Atiku months of hell before the elections. This friendly quintet complicated the party’s problems and led to its recent election defeat. The fact that Atiku is now calling for a merger of opposition parties means that he did in fact lose the February 25 election, and that future elections will be difficult unless the opposition unites to confront the ruling party. This is a tacit confession.

In Nigeria, any ruling party always has an advantage because politicians are always willing to join the ruling party to benefit from the infrastructure of the stomach. Politics in Nigeria is mainly about bureaucrats. It is the only ideology known in our politics.

Atiku’s merger proposal is good for Nigeria’s democracy. There are currently 18 parties of desperate, unhappy, helpless couples. They are simply sterile and unproductive, unable to provide anything tangible to the development of our democracy. For a strong political party he does not need more than three. If Mr. Tinubu and others had not united his four political parties to form his APC, the PDP would have remained the only dominant and reigning party today.

For our democracy to grow into a vibrant one, we need a strong opposition party that can effectively challenge the ruling party in future elections. But will the other two parties, the LP and the NNPP, want to merge with the fleeing party, the PDP? It’s like going back to vomit. Peter Obi said he was not interested. The truth is that Nigerians do not like mergers, either in politics or business. We prefer to go it alone. That’s sad.

Off-cycle elections in three states suffered from voter apathy. It won’t be long before we find out why. Many Nigerians believe that INEC is incompetent and that going to vote is a waste of time as your vote may not be counted. This is an exaggeration. Voting matters in most elections. People tend to exaggerate the flaws that occur in the electoral process. These deficiencies are mainly caused by politicians and some of his INEC officials who colluded with them.

Some voters have multiple registrations and INEC is able to use modern technology to detect and remove these multiple registrations. That is, the actual number of voters goes down during voting.

Another reason for low turnout is that some voters are afraid to go to the polls for fear of violence on election day. Some people don’t have the means to get to and from the polling place. Some people have lost faith in government at various levels due to strong evidence of government corruption. Therefore, they cynically believe that there is no difference in the quality of leadership or governance whether they vote or not.

The losers of the three state elections all rejected the results, while the winners praised INEC for a good job. To them, our democracy is thriving and it is a habit and norm in our society for losers to reject election results.

Some of them take the matter to court, go through all the courts, lose at the last court, and still refuse to accept the outcome. If they win, INEC should be efficient and allowed to conduct elections permanently. If they lose, INEC will be compromised, incompetent and unqualified to even conduct village council elections.

The truth is that we are just bad losers. Jonathan accepted defeat in his 2015, congratulated Mr. Muhammadu Buhari and set an example for us. We are not ready to follow in his footsteps.

In Liberia, incumbent President George Weah was just defeated by opposition politician Joseph Boakai. Mr Ware congratulated the man who was declared the winner.

The problem here is that we view elections as a desperate act in our desperation to occupy the office we desire, even if it means using devious tactics. I don’t know how to save myself from that despair. you?


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