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Who really won the presidential election?

By Emeka Ugwuonye


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If I announce here that I’m on my way to Abuja, my detractors will shout: He is going to cheer Ashiwaju on his inauguration. Well, I have a different mission. My views on the election and inauguration are pragmatic. I have to live in peace with things I can’t change. And that is my advice to all. Otherwise, you live a life based on wishes.

Since my critical analysis of the situation surrounding the presidential elections and the seemingly inevitability of Tinubu’s inauguration, one important question people have asked me has been: “Who won the election?”

My answer to this question has been: “I don’t know”. The reason I do not know who is the winner of the election is because INEC did not conduct a fair and free election, which could produce the result you are asking me for. The election was rigged with the connivance of INEC. What happened in the presidential election was not credible enough for me to objectively assess who won the election. My honest personal opinion is that either INEC would follow the law and properly count the votes or the election should be redone.

What I wish has not happened. Instead, INEC gave us a result and told us to go with it. That is not consistent with what I want or what I consider fair. The options are: (1) to enter the street and protest or (2) to stop INEC through the courts. This is where the reality sets in. I will not ask anyone to enter the streets because I have an idea what will happen. Secondly, I do not have confidence in the Nigeria judiciary to stop an incumbent president. Our judiciary is not independent enough for that. It can happen at the state level. Our courts have a number of times in the past removed an incumbent governor who got into office through rigging. But our court has never done that with respect to presidential elections. I knew for certain that President Yar’Adua did not win his election. I knew how the incumbent bought the courts to declare that a rigged election was not rigged.

The reality I kept hammering at is the fact that the situation in Nigeria today does not allow either of the two options I mentioned above. Nigeria remains a country where the DSS arrested 7 senior judges in the middle of the night, and nothing happened. If judges could be arrested without consequence, how could you ever expect the courts to decide against a sitting president as to his right to remain in office or obligation to vacate.

Does this mean I am saying that we should allow a rigged election to hold? No, I am only saying that you can only do what is feasible. You cannot pursue an impossibility just because you feel you must try something. Besides, I believe that Nigeria has continued to make progress, though at a snail pace, and with progress, the next election will be better than the last because the people have learnt from the past.

Anyway, just watch out to see if the Government will declare tomorrow a public holiday. Whether they do or not, I am skeptical about what the courts can do. Tomorrow is the last chance for the judiciary to make to stop the inauguration of Tinubu. After tomorrow, you must learn to live with it.

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