Free and Fair Elections in Nigeria

Topics: Nigerian general election, 2007, Atiku Abubakar, Local Government Areas of Nigeria Pages: 7 (2176 words) Published: June 7, 2011
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Lessons Of The 2011 General Elections
Author: pmnews Date: May 16th, 2011. | Category: Opinions. | Follow comments: RSS 2.0. | You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed. | At last, the 2011 general elections have come and gone and, doubtless, not a few Nigerians will heave a sigh of relief. The relief, I can assure you, is not as if the elections were the best or the worst that has ever been held in Nigeria. Rather, it is because of the anxiety it created in all of our minds months before the elections. The issues and controversies that had to be contended with were as many as they were diverse and each of them was capable of blowing up a conflagration in the country.

First was the controversial zoning issue brought into the front burner of the nation’s polity by the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). The contention was whether or not the incumbent President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan was qualified to vie for another term as President going by PDP’s zoning arrangement which “zoned” the Presidency to the North. The Northern Political Leaders’ Forum (NPLF), led by a former Finance Minister, Mallam Adamu Ciroma, took up the gauntlet to fight on the side of the North vowing that the zoning formula must be maintained and President Jonathan must not feature in the primaries of the party.

Lined up behind him were former Vice-President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, former military president, General Ibrahim Babangida, former Chief Security Adviser to the President, Ibrahim Gusau, among other heavyweights from that region. On the side of the President, notable leaders of the party lined up and insisted that the zoning formula did not affect the President. The battle line was drawn. Brickbats were thrown across the divide and threats were made, some bordering on treason. Then the matter went to court and the court ruled finally that the President was qualified to participate in the primaries.

The issue then collapsed into a search for the most credible and politically relevant Northerner who would challenge President Jonathan at the primaries of the PDP. Again, the NPLF took it as its primary, in fact, sole responsibility to produce this personality. The search was narrowed down to four people: General Ibrahim Babangida, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, Governor Bukola Saraki of Kwara State and Ibrahim Gusau. But at the prompting of the NPLF, they all agreed to a consensus candidate which emerged in the person of Alhaji Atiku Abubakar after series of meetings of “the wise men”.

Even before the primaries proper, indications were rife that the political equation was fast being redrawn as notable personalities and politicians from the North began to make favourable statements towards the Jonathan Presidency bid. Then came the primaries and President Jonathan won to become PDP’s candidate for the 2011 presidential election. As soon as the victory was announced, some of the principal leaders of the move against the President’s bid, made a U-turn to pledge their support for him.

Then the campaigns began at both the Federal...
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