KING AT LAST!: Tinubu’s Long Journey To Presidency
Presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu has been declared winner of last Saturday’s presidential election.
In an ironic political turn of event in which the kingmaker has suddenly become the king himself, Tinubu who is considered as the kingmaker behind the emergence of President Muhammadu Buhari (PMB) in 2015 is now the president-elect of Nigeria.
It is mission accomplished for the former Lagos governor who said it was his turn to lead Nigeria, but the road to Aso Rock has not been smooth sailing; it is a difficult journey, such that Tinubu himself would readily attest that he did not relax and could not enjoy all through.
Tinubu Known as the son of late Alhaja Abibatu Mogaji, the Iyaloja of Lagos, Tinubu had a commendable professional life with a number of international concerns as an Auditor before joining politics in 1992, on the platform of the Social Democratic Party led by late Shehu Musa Yar’Adua. He was elected to the Nigerian Senate, to represent the Lagos West constituency.
Military President Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida’s (IBB) unending transition, witnessed a dribbling that saw the annulment of the June 12, 1993 presidential election that was to produce M.K.O. Abiola.
This development brought Tinubu into the limelight as he became a major arrowhead of the struggle to realise MKO’s mandate. With MKO in jail, he fled into exile in 1994, becoming a leader cum financier of the National Democratic Coalition (NADECO), against General Sanni Abacha (GSA). GSA had pushed IBB aside, later dismissing after 84 days in office, the interim government of Ernest Shonekan that Babangida had put in place. Tinubu only returned to Nigeria in 1998 after the death of GSA. General Abdulsalami A. Abubakar (AAA) who took over wanted to quickly leave office and Tinubu was one of the beneficiaries of the General’s call for Nigerians to canvass for offices.
In the run-up to the 1999 elections, Bola Tinubu was a protégé of Alliance for Democracy (AD) leaders Abraham Adesanya and Ayo Adebanjo. He won the AD primaries for the Lagos State gubernatorial elections, and in January 1999, stood for the position of Executive Governor of Lagos State on the AD ticket and won.
On October 7, 1999, the late human rights lawyer, Gani Fawehinmi (SAN) filed a request at the Federal High Court, Lagos, to compel an investigation of criminal allegations which he made against BAT. This process was stalled in court given a serving governor’s immunity. Fawehinmi’s death ended all issues.
Tinubu, alongside a new deputy, Femi Pedro, won re-election to office as governor in April 2003. He survived President Obasanjo’s attempt to sweep all the Southwestern States into his ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP). How he outsmarted President Obasanjo (OBJ) is a story for another day. He was involved in a struggle with the Federal government over Lagos State’s right to create new Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs) to meet its large population’s needs. The controversy led to the federal government seizing funds meant for local councils in the state in spite of the decision of the Supreme Court against Obasanjo, the President.
His tenure as Lagos State Governor ended on 29 May 2007. There are suggestions that he was wealthy before coming into politics. But many dubbed him the owner of Lagos. A 2015 documentary alleged BAT’s stranglehold on the political and financial jugular of Lagos. Tinubu sued the producers, AIT, for N150 billion for libel, and the documentary was taken off the air on March 6, 2015 as AIT allegedly made restitution and apologized. Similar controversies over the ownership of Alpha-Beta, a consulting entity that massively assisted in raising the internally generated revenue of Lagos State has been settled with Dapo Apara, a chartered accountant and former company M.D.
Tinubu had a history of being too controlling over his successors. For example, in December 2009, there were reports that serving Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola and Tinubu had a fight over Fashola’s re-election against 2011.
A similar imbroglio happened in 2015 over Fashola’s replacement. Tinubu allegedly decided on Akinwunmi Ambode, who was in turn denied a second-term and incumbent Babajide Sanwo-Olu was put in place.
Many people suggested that PMB did not want Tinubu as his successor in spite of the role the former Lagos governor played in ensuring that he became President of Nigeria in 2015. In June 2021, for instance, in an interview, PMB stated that: “You cannot sit there in Lagos… and decide the fate of APC on zoning.” This was in reaction to a suggestion that the All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential candidate had been zoned to the South against the 2023 elections.
This message was read as meant for Tinubu, who was the frontrunner for his party’s nomination. The body language of PMB, as he foisted a chairman on the party who in turn tried to foist Ahmed Lawan as the APC presidential candidate gave the impression that all was sealed against Tinubu. Against all odds, with the support of nine APC Governors from Northern Nigeria, the use of his war-chest, etc., Tinubu emerged as APC’s presidential candidate.
The ill-fated currency redesign policy was clearly read as geared at preventing Tinubu’s success, given the untold hardship that was added to the lackluster performance by the APC government during PMB’s eight years in office. However, this policy backfired in the north pushing people to look forward to BAT’s election to change the situation.
Little wonder that as Tinubu took a careful position of embracing PMB’s failure in office but skillfully suggesting that he is different, PMB was pushed into a corner of lack of trust on his support for his party’s presidential candidate, hence he had to show his ballot paper to the world to prove that he voted in favour of his party.
Tinubu faces a plethora of challenges. There is the controversy on whether Nigeria needs restructuring to avoid secession. The low international rating of Nigeria and worsening exchange rate, petrol “subsidy” removal, inflation, excruciating debt overhang, the youth bulge, accompanied by high unemployment etc., are major challenges. More importantly is the general insecurity that PMB slightly reduced by pushing Boko Haram out of territories it once held but with mayhem continuing in many parts of Nigeria.
APC Candidate Wins 25% In 30 States, Scores 8.8m Votes
Meanwhile, the APC presidential candidate was in the early hours of today declared winner of Last Saturday’s presidential election by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
According to the commission, Tinubu scored 8,794,729 and got the required 25 percent in 30 states to defeat his major opponents, Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) who came second with 6,984,520 votes and followed by Peter Obi of Labour Party (LP) who scored 6,101,533 votes.
Section 134 of the 1999 constitution stipulates that a presidential candidate can only be announced as the winner if he or she has the majority of votes cast at the election; and has not less than one-quarter of the votes cast at the election in at least two-thirds of all the States in the Federation and the FCT.
Sub-section 3 of the said section provides that “in default of a candidate duly elected in accordance with subsection (2) of this section there shall be a second election”.
Meawhile, senior lawyers have continued to argue whether otherwise, a presidential candidate is required to score 25% in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
Mahama, Jonathan, Others Call For Calm As PDP, LP Kick
Meanwhile, former President of Nigeria, Goodluck Jonathan; head of the West African Elders Forum (WAEF) Mission to Nigeria’s 2023 general polls and former President of the Republic of Ghana, John Dramani Mahama, as well as other members of the forum have called for calm over Saturday’s presidential poll.
They made their position following the call by the PDP, LP and the Africa Democratic Congress (ADC) for outright cancellation of the poll, saying it was irretrievably compromised.
Other members of the Mission include former Beninoise President, Boni Yayi, former President Goodluck Jonathan, former Vice President of The Gambia, Fatoumata Jallo Tambajang, former Burkinabe Prime Minister and President of the Economic Community of West African States, Kadre Ouedraogo and former Deputy Chairman of the African Union, Erastus Mwencha.
The Election Mission Forum led by the former President of Sierra Leone, Ernest Bai Koroma, urged political parties, candidates and their supporters to remain calm and peaceful while awaiting the final outcome of the election.
In a statement signed by the convener, former President Jonathan, and the Head of WAEF Mission to Nigeria’s 2023 and former Ghanaian President Mahama, WAEF c stated that as former leaders who are committed to peace and stability in our sub-region, they have begun a round of consultations with some of the presidential candidates and other key stakeholders, taking to them the message of hope, understanding and peace.
WAEF said so far it has held meetings with some of the presidential candidates including NNPP’s Kwankwaso and PDP’s Atiku in Abuja.
“This afternoon we also held consultations with the All Progressives Congress Presidential candidate Senator Bola Tinubu and the Labour Party Presidential candidate, Mr. Peter Obi, in an expanded meeting that included the Heads of Missions of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the African Union (AU), His Excellency Ernest Bai Koroma and His Excellency Uhuru Kenyatta, respectively, as well as the President of the ECOWAS Commission, His Excellency Dr. Omar Alieu Touray.
“We have continued, in all of these meetings, to urge the candidates and their supporters to maintain peace and use all available legitimate means to sort out their concerns and grievances. We hope to sustain this Mission until the electoral processes are successfully concluded.
“We, therefore, urge everyone to be circumspect in their actions and responsibilities, during this moment in order not to jeopardize the collective stability and peace of the nation.”
Earlier yesterday, vice presidential candidates of the PDP, Ifeanyi Okowa and his Labour Party counterpart, Datti Baba-Ahmed, yesterday rejected the results announced by the INEC national chairman, Prof. Yakubu Mahmood, saying it is illegal.
They added that Yakubu should within 60 days get new BVAS to conduct fresh elections, adding that the law made provision for extension of election.
According to them, the call by INEC chairman for the opposition parties to go to court is a joke, adding that those who ask them to head to court have ulterior motives.
Okowa and Datti, at a joint press conference in Abuja, said INEC’s refusal to upload and transmit elections from the polling units at the polling units as provided by the law is a breach of the Electoral Act.
Okowa said it was unfortunate that the INEC chairman is carrying out the assignment in breach of the law.
He noted that it was unacceptable for the chairman to insist that the process should be completed before reviewing it.
Addressing the media in Abuja, the duo said there’s no cost to democracy and the commission should look for money anywhere to conduct fresh elections.
They insisted that the INEC Chairman was reneging on the promise he made at Chatham House in London, where he promised to conduct the best election and the use of transmission of results.
They stated: “We wish to state for the record that last weekend’s election was a sham. It was neither free nor fair. What played out yesterday at the National Collation Center exposes the National Chairman of playing to a predetermined script. Our position remains that the election and transmission of the results must be in tandem with the Electoral Act and the INEC guidelines.
“There is no doubt that INEC is under a statutory obligation to transmit election results electronically. Paragraph 38 of the INEC manual made pursuant to section 149 of the Electoral Act 2022 and the 1999 constitution as amended provides for this.
“That paragraph, which deals with the transmission of results at the polling units, is crucial, and it imposes statutory obligations on the part of INEC to upload polling units results on its portal.
Datti-Amed who adopted the position of Okowa said INEC has put itself in a tight spot and is now relying on the court to sort its mess.
He said INEC is grandstanding despite realising the inconsistencies raised so far by the parties.
Also, the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP) has called on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to stop the collation process and cancel the 2023 general elections and organise a fresh one.
NNPP who said its members were disenfranchised with their logo blur in the ballot, also said that president Muhammadu Buhari and Minister of Justice Abubakar Malami violated the electoral act by campaigning on the day of the election through the display of the candidate of their party the voted for.
Speaking at a press conference on Tuesday, the national chairman of the NNPP, Prof Rufai Ahmed Alkali said the election should be canceled while a fresh one organised.
On the declaration of Ibrahim SheEarlier yesterday, the PDP, LP and the Africa Democratic Congress (ADC) said last Saturday’s presidential election was irretrievably compromised and called for its outright cancellation.
The parties called for a fresh election to be held within the window allowed by the Electoral Act and in accordance with the laid down INEC procedure for the conduct of the 2023 Elections.
They also called for INEC chairman, Prof Mahmood Yakubu to step aside, adding that they have lost confidence in him.
They called for a credible Nigerian to oversee the fresh election that should be held.
The parties stated this at a joint world press conference by their national chairman, namely, Dr Iyorchia Ayu of PDP; Julius Abure of the Labour Party; and Okey Ralphs Nwosu of ADC.
Others who were present at the briefing include members of PDP and LP presidential councils, including Oseloka Obaze; Liyel Imoke; Dele Momodu; Dino Melaye; Emeka Ihedioha.
Speaking on behalf of the parties, the national chairman of LP, Julius Abure, described the ongoing collation of results by INEC in Abuja as a sham and that the election should be immediately cancelled.
He added that the results announced by INEC so far show monumental disparities between the actual results reported by their agents, party members, and millions of Nigerians, on election day from the polling units.
He added that parties are constrained to believe that INEC compromised the integrity of the election even before collation began at the Polling Units.
Abure said, “We have, therefore, arrived at the conclusion that the presidential election of Saturday, February 25, 2023 conducted by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has been irretrievable compromised and, we have totally lost faith in the entire process.
Speaking for ADC, Mani Ibrahim said, “We are hopeful that some of the wrongs can be done in some ways. The rigging is widespread.
“Where rigging is enough to affect the outcome, the best thing is to follow what we are saying.”
Concede Defeat Like Jonathan In 2015, Tinubu Tells Atiku, Obi
But the president-elect, Tinubu, implored his PDP and LP counterparts, Atiku and Obi, to accept defeat by calling to congratulate him the way former President Goodluck Jonathan did to President Muhammadu Buhari in 2015.
He said the call for cancellation of the presidential poll is an illegality and those calling for it, including former President Obasanjo, are not true adherents of democracy.
Tinubu asked supporters of Atiku and Obi to avoid heating the polity, insisting that they can borrow a leaf from the exemplary leadership of Jonathan in the spirit of sportsmanship.
The former Lagos governor spoke through the special adviser, Media and Strategic Communications, of the APC presidential campaign council, Dele Alake.
Speaking at a world press conference in Abuja, Alake said, “We call on Atiku Abubakar and Peter Obi, to emulate former President Goodluck Jonathan by conceding defeat. This election has already been won by our candidate, according to the results declared at the collation centres in the state.
Tinubu descended verbally on former President Obasanjo for also calling for the cancellation of last Saturday’s presidential and National Assembly elections, saying his demand was premised on unsubstantiated claims, rumours and allegations of fraud by the opposition parties after observing that they have lost the election.
Expressing disappointment at the elder statesman statement, Tinubu said recalled that Obasanjo himself once admitted publicly in an interview that there is no perfect electoral system anywhere in the world.
Alake who also played the video of Obasanjo’s interview in which he admitted that elections cannot be 100 percent perfect said, “The APC-PCC wants to say emphatically that former President Obasanjo has no moral right to meddle in this election let alone calling for its cancellation because he is an interested party having publicly, on January 1 this year, endorsed the candidate of Labour Party, Mr. Peter Obi.
Alake further alleged plans by the PDP and Labour Party to heighten tension in the country and create general state of fear through their sponsored surrogates who have continued to push false narratives about the general conduct of the election.
Afenifere, Falana Ask Aggrieved Parties To Seek Legal Redress
But the pan Yoruba socio cultural and political organisation, Afenifere, appealed to those who are aggrieved about the outcome of the presidential and National Assembly election results to allow INEC to do its constitutionally-assigned job, saying denying the commission its duty may constitute a serious danger to civil rule.
Afenifere, in a press statement signed by its national publicity secretary, Comrade Jare Ajayi, yesterday urged the politicians that are aggrieved to seek redress in court of law.
The group said the call was necessitated by a statement credited to former President Obasanjo in which he demanded for the stoppage of the Presidential Election Results being released by INEC.
The organisation, while making allusion to the press conference jointly addressed by the PDP, LP and ADC, in Abuja yesterday where they called for the suspension of the electoral process demanded for the resignation of Yakubu, Afenifere pointed out the perceived shortcomings, “do not constitute enough grounds to truncate the entire process.
Afenifere stated that while conceding that the 2023 Presidential and National Assembly Elections that was held on February 25 might have some shortcomings, the organisation insisted that the perceived shortcomings “do not constitute enough grounds to truncate the entire process.
“The ongoing announcement of election results should be concluded. Those who are not satisfied either with the process or the outcome can seek redress through the paths outlined by the law – Elections Tribunal and the court.
“Anything short of that may lead to the truncation of the democracy we are practicing now.”
Also, Human rights lawyer Femi Falana (SAN) urged all aggrieved parties to pursue their genuine grievances arising from the conduct of the just conduct 2023 general elections under the Electoral Act by approaching the court for redress.
Falana, who is also the chairman of the Alliance on Surviving Covid-19 and Beyond (ASCAB), also urged the INEC to immediately uphold the results of the presidential election on its portal in line with the provisions of the Electoral Act and INEC Guidelines.
The senior lawyer advised in a press statement he issued in Lagos on Tuesday.
He said that all aggrieved parties are given 14 days after the declaration of the results of the elections to file their petitions before the Election Petition tribunals and the Court of Appeal.
Source: LEADERSHIP NEWS
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