Democracy 101: What is democracy?
By Gharny Yeku
Democracy despite its many flaws is still regarded as the best form of government that can be easily accessible by the people. It has been given many definitions by different scholars but the simplest and most acceptable one is the popular one which goes this “government of the people by the people and for the people.” The above definition only means democracy is a game of numbers.
Though it has been turned to tools to further either to manipulate or enslave the people— politics, religion and everything in between, however, a friend succinctly put it as the most man-made systems that have been in place for the sake of organization and orderliness. If anyone in his/her wildest dreams thought Peter Obi has a better chance to win just concluded presidential election than Bola Ahmed Tinubu (BAT) and Abubakar Atiku then those persons do not understand Nigerian politics. They are only blinded by the fact that they want him to win without considering the scope of how elections are won.
Except democracy is no longer about the majority, the tiny minority alleging rigging of this election will be able to impose their will on the rest of over eight million that voted for the eventual winner. But if democracy is about the will of the majority as expressed by the ballot, then Asiwaju Bola Tinubu has won the presidential election in a free and fair process with the national spread as required by law.
To win the Presidential Election, you have to win the people which is the essence of the inclusion in the constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria of the mandatory 25% of the votes cast in 24 states and must win the plurality of votes to win the presidential election.
And for those accusing other people of ethnic bigotry because a certain candidate did not win, they can be honest to themselves when the dust is settled and can think more clearly.
Peter Obi won in Lagos, Plateau, Delta, Edo and other places outside his tribe. Whereas he won all of the 5 states in South East by over 90% from available results. None of Tinubu, Atiku and Kwankwaso who are major contenders got 5% of total votes cast from South East. It is not rigging and bigotry when Obi won all from his tribe but it is rigging where other candidates won.
Before the election, i maintained the position, and it has not changed, that Obi has no path to winning a national election despite his Nzogbu Nzogbu ethnic & religious politics.
The problem is that most the people complaining about the outcome of the election were not realistic from day one. Celebrate your small wins, Build on it for the future. That’s the way politics is played. Some people here still believed their party would win in all the states.
This is not denying rigging did not happen around in Nigeria likewise not denying voters’ suppression did not happened. INEC had four years on a N300 billion budget on this Abysmal display they are showing. It is sad that Nigerian elections are still at this level.
And before your next accusation of bigotry, here are the issues for you, to know where your man stands, and we can then agree who the bigot is.
Question: Who dragged this election through the tribal and religious routes?
Answer: Peter Obi did.
Obi dragged this election circle through the religious and ethnic paths. He is the only candidate who went to churches & crusades to campaign and seek endorsement.
In a multi-ethnic and a multi-religious society, Obi is the only candidate who asked churches/Christian clergies to ‘to take back their country’ with him as the anointed candidate. Equally, Obi is the only candidate, in this election, that went to campaign majorly in communities and big markets, outside the South East, where his kith and kin are dominant.
Obi played the religious and ethnic identity politics well. It is not surprising, therefore, that he harvested the votes from his target demography. Sadly, the votes from his target population are not enough to make him President in a plural society like Nigeria.
Instead of beating drums of war, the honourable thing to do now by any aggrieved party is to seek redress in court instead of the anti-democratic call for cancellation of election you knew from day one you can’t win from available electoral precedents.
General Muhammadu Buhari with his cult following and influence in the north lost presidential election three times and on each loss, he approached the courts to seek redress. He only became President in the fourth attempt in 2015 when a strategic political alliance with the South West resulting in the formation of All Progressives Congress (APC) to give him the national spread he needed to defeat the then ruling party. The rest as they say is history.
The tragedy of the Peter OBI wave in the South-East is that the numbers in the 2019 and 2023 presidential election results have shown that you can be a Nigerian President without a single vote from the south-east.
The numbers also show that the SouthEast is an electoral minority in Nigeria which can be argued can lead the south-East into political wilderness
Again, hatred is not a political strategy. Divisiveness does not win election. Campaign of calumny, character assassination and defamation never win. Sell the candidate, build bridge and alliance across the Niger to court the silent majority voters of other ethnics group is the the only way that guarantee winning.