By Sotonye Ijuye-Dagogo
The February 2023 presidential election result shows that Nigerians rejected the APC and its presidential candidate massively. But the uncontrolled ambitions of Atiku, Obi and Kwankwaso hoisted a minority government on Nigerians and denied the majority the change they wanted.
In the 2023 presidential election, Tinubu had 8,794,726; Atiku had 6,984,520; Obi had 6,101,533; Kwankwaso had 1,496,687.
Collectively, Atiku, Obi and Kwankwaso had a total of 14,582,740 votes. But they balkanized the fourteen million votes because of their uncontrolled ambitions. They messed up the verdict of Nigerians and denied the people the change they desired.
All three of them were PDP presidential aspirants months before the party primaries. Kwankwaso left the party in March 2022 and Obi left PDP in May 2022.
Recall that when Tinubu & Co plotted to unseat the PDP in 2015, they dropped personal ambitions and collapsed ANPP, ACN, CPC, part of APGA and the Npdp into one mega APC. But the reverse was the case with the PDP’s plot to unseat the APC in 2023. The party split into PDP, LP, NNPP and G5.
Tinubu had only 8,794,726 votes. Fourteen million people voted against him. He had 5,788,014 less votes than the combined votes of the three former PDP presidential aspirants.
The conjecture is that the PDP may not have had all the fourteen million combined votes of Atiku, Obi and Kwankwaso had all of them remained in the party. The Obidient movement may not have emerged had Obi remained in the PDP.
The reality however, is that over fourteen million people voted against APC and less than nine million voted for it, yet Tinubu is president.
Atiku, Obi and Kwankwaso pulled fourteen million votes of Nigerians in different directions instead of pooling the votes together. By their actions, they made Tinubu president against the wish of the majority.
But instead of apologising to Nigerians for scuttling the people’s 2023 political aspirations and dashing the hopes of millions of Nigerian youths, Atiku and Obi are in court, each claiming victory. They threw away five penalty kicks in a football game only to take the referee to the court of arbitration.
Nigeria is inundated with the protests of over five million more voters who voted against Tinubu than the eight million that voted for him. The dissenting voices are overwhelming because of the misplacement of fourteen million votes.
All the talks about rigging, BVAS and IREV and electronic transmission of results. All the talks about INEC not implementing its own regulations. All the post election deafening noises are reflections of the fourteen million people who voted against Tinubu. Na today dem begin rig elections for Niger? All the parties are guilty.
We have had elections in the past, most of them rigged brazenly. We had elections in 1999, 2003, 2007, 2011, 2015 and 2019 and none presented us with the exceptional outcome of the 2O23 elections.
In 2023, sitting governors lost senatorial elections. ‘Almighty’ state governors lost ordinary senatorial elections… and eight political parties won seats into the National Assembly.
Rivers State couldn’t conjure the usual two million votes. The legendary Obio-Akpor voting strength was deflated. Former Governor Wike was overzealous but Tinubu would have won without Rivers State anyway.
The point is that Tinubu is a minority victor but he is a victor all the same. The Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria enables him to be president. He lost the majority votes but still met the constitutional provision to be president. He lost but still found a way to win.
Not a few persons had worried, during the wave of the Obidient movement, that Peter Obi could be defeated genuinely but the Obidients would reject the result and go on rampage.
For the Obidients, the only free, fair and transparent election, the only acceptable court judgement is the one that declares Peter Obi president. They forget that a larger chunk of Tinubu’s supporters are youths too.
In the end, when the clouds settle, the 2023 elections will be given its rightful place in our electoral history. The best so far in this dispensation and the president started very well.