Nigeria’s post-election campaigns

By April 12, 2023 April 13th, 2023 No Comments

Nigeria is still in campaign mode despite having concluded the 2023 elections. Such has not been experienced in the past when the winner of an election, won convincingly or the opposition determined to not fight forcefully in the belief of not having a chance at the court.

It was different in 2023 due to the obvious and blatant manipulation of election results, relegation of the new electoral law by the INEC, the people’s conviction that the election will be conducted in a free, fair and credible manner but got disappointed with the outcome. There is also a need to strengthen the electoral process of the country by ensuring that the court did the right thing.

In the aftermath of the election, and after the middle of the night announcement of Bola Ahmed Tinubu as the president-elect, the ruling party and its supporters have ensured that the campaign season is reenacted. There are certain behaviours expected of the group who was awarded the election win. They are expected to begin healing the country, bringing together the peoples and preaching peace. They are expected to assume leadership and show they are ready to lead the country. They are expected to be statesmanly. But these expectations are contrary to their conduct so far.

The presidential campaign of Bola Tinubu has been highly incensed that their supporters are unleashed to compete in bigotry, incitement, profanity, unpatriotic and vitriolic utterances heating up the polity. They act like state grabbers who are vicious in protecting and dispelling their opposition.

The ruling All Progressives Congress Party and the Buhari administration, have joined in the post-election campaign mood, while the APC has the need to protect their candidate, they have organised protests to ask Nigerians to accept their win, the federal government has taken it up to use the instruments of government to run a international media campaign to promote the election and present it as a better ran election while attacking the opposition with label of treason.

The Independent National Electoral Commission is also in a campaign mood trying to convince Nigerians that the election was well conducted even as it was glaringly manipulated and rushed through despite protests and complaints of unmatched results.

As these happen, the Labour Party and their supporters who believe that the election should have been conducted well and results glaringly decisive of who won, while that was not the outcome, they are in a protest mood that their mandate was stolen and awarded to the declared president -elect. They are in defence of their stolen results even when they are the prime receivers of the vitriol from the agents of government and the ruling party.

Read Also: Power politics in the aftermath of election

In the midst of these squabbles, it will be seen as though the election was conducted between APC and the Labour party, as other political parties have seemingly remained out of the fray. The parties are deploying every and necessary tactics to divert attention from the courts as well as to pressure the court to give a favourable ruling.

At the background of the post election campaign mood is the fact that the ruling party and their president-elect, want the courts to rule in their favour and because of this, they are willing to deploy all they can do to taint the Labour Party’s presidential candidate, Peter Obi and their supporters from whom it seems majority of the votes were diverted – the evidence of which was glaring from Rivers state.

The other parties and their petitions don’t seem to attract the ire of the ruling party in that they are not considered a threat. For eight years as the main opposition, the Peoples Democratic Party did not act as the opposition party. They allowed the APC so much pass that the ruling party has become tyrannical which they are exhibiting forcefully post election.

Under the Buhari administration, the country has been under serious insecurity and multidimensional poverty with the party and the administration not batting an eyelid. This is not worth defending but instead of criticising all these wrongs and INEC relegating its rules, the erudite Prof. Wole Soyinka who seemed drafted by the APC and government rather criticised the Labour party and their supporters.

The situation in the country is a do over or carry over campaign season which may not die down no matter the route the courts consider to follow. But not giving a clear, decisive, fair and credible judgement may send the country to a situation beyond the current but vicious campaign mode. The ruling party, the Tinubu campaign, the federal government and the courts have the responsibility to leave the country in tatters or in peace. Their conduct in dividing the country further than it has been in the last eight years is worrisome.

The courts have so much to do. As the cases are laid before them to determine the rightful winner of the election, there is a lot of expectation from them as their conduct will finally set off the country to a route of perdition or their courage will bring it back to peace for development.


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