GEJ: Honour in Defeat
I worked as an INEC adhoc staff in 2011 election, I make bold to say that for me it is still the freest election that has taken place in Nigeria.
While the victory in this election might have been resounding for All Progessive Congress [APC] and General Buhari in this presidential election, as Nigerians expressed their feelings through democratic process.
Let us quickly differentiate between this election and that of 2011 as the circumstance around them dictates.
In 2011, President Jonathan represented a lot of positive things: A young president, with an impressive academic CV, from a largely under-represented region. Also, his meteoric rise in political life is too phenomenal not be seen as an ideal candidate. You can say he has the Halo effect and the stage was perfectly set for him to be elected as the president of the 7th republic after two years as a vice president and 2 years as an acting president. In my opinion, to stage a rightful claim to the office of the president of Nigeria, anything short of free and fair election will give create tension.
Fast forward to 2015, President Jonathan has been distant from the qualities and potentials seen in him 6-7 years ago. Surrounded by sycophants who make him suffer delusion of grandeur suggesting he is a messiah, ferrying cash on private Jets to purchase arms, Mismanagement of state resources on a grand scale without culpability, inexplicable mis-handling of the state of insecurity, misguided and reckless utterances of the President and unacceptable public abuse of unrecognized power by the first lady (especially in Rivers state) and many acts unworthy of recounting. While some of these have not been directly tied to President Jonathan, the fact that he surrounds himself with unscrupulous characters speaks volume of his incompetence to square up to forces behind the scene working against the prosperity of Nigeria as a nation.
The election earlier slated for 14th of February was delayed by 6 weeks to wrestle back the controlled areas from Boko Haram that have been abandoned before now in search of sophisticated weapons to combat them. I personally find this excuse flimsy and I choose to believe this is due to the handwritings on the wall that the election will not return him to the office on 29th of May if it goes as initially slated.
Attempts to salvage the election eventually proved abortive. Thank God it was largely violence free, but it was not without theatrics that could have caused ripples.
President Jonathan congratulated General Buhari even before INEC announced the winner with just Borno state only to be announced and it was mathematically impossible to stage a comeback. The show of sportsmanship has been praised both locally and internationally but it is not enough to say the president has a large heart but his ability at the moment in time to put Nigeria ahead of any personal gain or advantage even before his sycophants starts drumming up beats of discord and tunes that can heat up the polity of Nigeria.
With that done, I make bold to say the most (and probably the only) enduring legacy that will be left by GEJ is the conduct of a free and fair election in his own right not once but twice and the humility to know when to concede. This is will be foreign to a lot of African leaders and in annals of history, this is a moment of grace could actually mitigate the degree of incompetence that has characterized his tenure. I hope this set the standard not just for Nigeria leaders but African leaders that it is a call to service, when the people look the other way you could still hold your head high.
No ambition is worth the blood of any Nigerian – President Goodluck Jonathan said this and he stood by it.
All Progressive Congress: Finally an institutionalized Party
The party of the moment is APC with or without victory in the presidential election the party has redefined what opposition is in Nigeria and broke the hegemony of Peoples Democratic Party for close to two decades.
Although the being of the party is largely owed to steady and organic growth of All Progressive Congress in the southwest, and decision of CPC and ACN to agree on the primary objective to break the PDP hegemony. This has helped institutionalized a strong opposition.
However the popularity too benefit a lot from the failings of President Goodluck Jonathan and implosion of PDP. With Nigerians tired of ineptitude in rule, undisguised corruption, and unbridled abuse of power, the bar for a failing government in Nigeria was set at an all-time low since the start of the fourth republic.
It was going to be now or never for any opposition. I have mentioned in my previous discourse that the survival of APC will largely depend or their victory at the presidential polls. If that was not the case, the party would probably have returned back to its regional domination and never attain the nationalist status as even the party faithful do not believe the cross country support could stand the test of time if it fails to secure the presidency against a very weak government.