‘Why PDP lost presidential election’



Human rights activist and National Coordinator of Rights Monitoring Group (RMG), Olufemi Aduwo, speaks on the result of the presidential election and his expectations from the President-elect, Major-General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd)

2015 elections
IF you recall, before March 28, we heard from various prophets of doom that there would be bloodshed after the elections but God proved them wrong. The elections came and the result was announced and nothing happened. Even the whole world is applauding us because it was wonderful.

Apart from God, we should also appreciate President Goodluck Jonathan. The statement he made was very timely and was able to douse a lot of tension. If he had kept quiet for two days, Nigeria would have been a different country by now.

President Jonathan has shown that he is a real democrat. This is the first time something like this is happening in Nigerian, when an incumbent accepted defeat. I think the people should applaud him. We love his courage because it takes a lot of courage and sportsmanship to do what he did.

I will score the election about 80 percent. When you do elections and a party was able to win in nearly all the states of the federation, and the opposition leader also applauded it, it gives a level of credibility.

Of course we have some challenges for example in the area of child voters, which has become an issue in the north for years now; we must look into it. By and large, all parties benefited from child voters, but when someone loses, it becomes an issue. In 2011, child voters were involved in the north and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) won and this time around, it is a different thing.

So it revolves because even if you go to court because of child voters, we don’t know whom they voted for, so it is an issue, which we must resolve, more importantly, the voters’ registrar and the permanent voters card.

If you go to open an account, it takes a bank less than two weeks to get you your ATM card; the same thing should apply to INEC. We don’t want to see an INEC that will wait till the end of four years or towards the election period before talking about PVC.

INEC knows that every Nigerian around 18 years is eligible to vote; therefore voters’ registration should be done every year. It should not be a one-time affair that you do towards election. Let it be done every year so that people can register and get their PVC’s in two weeks.

Card Readers and polls credibility

Yes it did one way or the other. The only shortcoming was that INEC could have done what their counterpart in Ghana did, where they test run the card reader for two years and were able to build the confidence of the people in what they are doing.

If not for the postponement, INEC would not even test run the card readers. It could have been a plus to the whole electoral process because the card reader is there to checkmate people who believe they can rig election, but we can improve on it.

Why PDP lost

Nigerians wanted a change. Not because the APC is better than the PDP because the same people that are in PDP are also in APC.

Nigerians don’t want to be taken for granted. For instance in Ondo State, when Governor Segun Mimiko returned to the PDP, he met some people who had been building the party when he left.

It was a suicide mission for the party to have allowed Mimiko to come back and take 100 percent control of the party. If you have a party that is disciplined and the leaders can read between the lines, the position of leadership could have been shared between Mimiko and other members of the party who have labored over the years.

What happened in Ondo State was a protest vote, not that Mimiko didn’t work but the elite believed it shouldn’t be like that, otherwise the governor should have given Jonathan nearly a million votes.

Nobody knew APC in Ondo about two months ago. Also in the days of former National Chairman of the PDP, Alhaji Bamaga Tukur, he disallowed the governors to handle the affairs of the party at the state levels, but when Mu’azu came, the governors were able to hijack the structure at the state level and were imposing or disallowing some to contest.

Everybody knows that when Tukur left, there was a lot of dislocation in PDP. Five governors left a party at a go and noting is done about that. A former president who is on the board of trustees also left and nothing was done to bring him back. It was a big blow but people around President Jonathan thought it was not. If you go to the north and you mention Obasanjo before any governor, they are not comfortable; they see him as a semi God and call him Baba.

Expectations from President-elect

My expectations are very high. He told us many things during the campaign, and some of these things cannot be achieved. For example Pastor Yemi Osinbajo said if they win the election, the naira will be equal to one dollar but it doesn’t go like that.

There are a lot of economic indices that must go right before that happens. Take for example because he won, between two days, dollar to the naira has fallen. But to get some of these things done goes beyond one or two years. But if you have a leader that has a will, others will key into what you are doing. I never wished him to be president of Nigeria as a former military Head of State, but Nigerians have spoken. People said he is honest but let us remember this is a democratic setting, it is not that you just say ‘let there be light’ and there will be light.

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