Stop Blaming Tinubu!
I will begin this article by congratulating Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu (ABAT), who has been declared as the President-Elect, Federal Republic of Nigeria by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), following the February 25, 2023 Presidential Elections.
A national election is not a one-day event. It is a process-involved phenomenon. Over the years, issues have been raised about the process of emergence of political leaders in Nigeria. The process includes membership of a political party, political party primaries involving aspiring candidates’ screening, screening of party flag bearers by the INEC, political campaigns and eventual general elections. This process takes months and years to conclude.
How do members of a political party select and throw up candidates for their political primaries? What were the characteristics of pre-primaries and pre-election campaigns? What was the feedback from party members and the electorates that witnessed the electioneering campaigns during the campaigns? What were the factors that guided voters in their choices on the election day? What were the electoral guidelines provided by the electoral body for the electoral process? Were there natural structures or deliberately positioned structures to ensure rigging of the elections? What was the performance or level of compliance of with the guidelines provided by the electoral umpire by the umpire itself? Was the electoral body deliberately compromised or insincere in carrying out its duties? Was the electoral body challenged in carrying out its duties by factors that were beyond the control of its personnel and other factors?
These and many other questions which are not new, are questions that usually surround the emergence of eventual political leader or leaders in Nigeria.
The February 2023 Presidential election was a contest between candidates representing APC, PDP, LP, NNPP, ADC and other 13 political parties. None of these candidates declared themselves as flag bearers of their parties. It was the system that threw them up for the contest.
It looks unfair therefore to after the contest, begin to condemn or blame the contestant that was declared winner of the contest for the errors in the method of emergence. ABAT did not declare himself as the President-Elect after the presidential election. It was the referee of the contest, INEC that declared him President-Elect, after the system threw him up. ABAT did not create the Nigerian political system and process. He is merely a beneficiary of the system and process.
Presently, other candidates in the contest do not agree with his victory and they have gone to the courts with their protests. The law court (Judiciary) is expected to uphold or nullify the victory of the person declared as President-Elect by the institution responsible for that.
Let me state here that if the Supreme Court eventually nullifies ABAT’s victory and declares another contestant as the election’s rightful winner, I will be quick to congratulate whoever is declared winner.
Experience they say, is the best teacher. It does the flogging before the lesson. There is no intellectually exposed, globally enlightened, sincere and patriotic Nigerian with sound mind and understanding of systems, processes and their implications, who would be happy with how the Nigerian 2023 Presidential elections went.
It is okay to be angry with a bad system. Such anger however, should not be channeled at a mere beneficiary of the faulty system. Rather, the bad feeling should produce a resolve to initiate and contribute efforts towards improving Nigeria’s political systems and processes of emergence of leaders across this potentially great country.
The take-away from Nigeria’s recent political experience should be the urgent need to review the entire processes of emergence of our political leaders. I think it is irrational to blame the beneficiary of a faulty process for being thrown up by the process.
This is the time to address the flaws in Nigeria’s political systems and processes. For instance, is it not laughable and childish to see a political party’s members sit down to draft their party constitution only to rush to law courts during a minor disagreement, asking the courts to interpret to them, the meaning of what they wrote by themselves? This is a simple reflection of individual self servitude and insincerity.
Again, considering the age of Nigeria’s democracy, it is not proper for Nigeria to be tilting more towards having the judiciary determine the winner of general elections. It is time to outgrow that scenario. Democracy is a government of the people, for the people and by the people. Political actors need to grow up into maturity, exercising sincerity in their activities surrounding elections. Electorates also need to develop sound mind in judgement of choice of candidates. Such judgements should be bereft of mundane, petty and selfish considerations.
The spirit of patriotism among most Nigerian politicians is very weak and until it gets to be strong, the country may never go beyond where it is, in terms of political development. Patriotism in an aspiring leader is evident and reflects in prioritization of respect for morality, the law, rights and aspirations of citizens he or she intends to lead. These are what build up into indisputable popularity and legitimacy, which power the freedom to lead without distractions. This is why the process of emergence as a leader has to be excellent if the leader intends to be addressed as Your Excellency. In other words, how an election was won or lost affects the tenure of the declared winner.
A consensus effort to address the flaws in the system that produced a leader you did not desire will be more fruitful than blaming the system’s beneficiary for being produced.
By the way, I did not vote for ABAT and may never do even if the election is re-conducted 10 times over. Today, he is the President-Elect until and except if the status is changed by the status awarding institution.
Once more, I say Congratulations to ABAT, President-Elect, Federal Republic of Nigeria. Let no one blame ABAT for a flawed leadership emergence process. He is only a beneficiary of Nigeria’s political system and processes.
WRITTEN BY ALBINUS CHIEDU, PUBLIC ANALYST/JOURNALIST, +234 8038117704, [email protected]