Nigeria is making steady progress in the transformation of its electoral processes to a globally acceptable standard.
This is the opinion of the Buhari Media Organisation (BMO) while reacting to last Saturday’s gubernatorial elections in Kogi and Bayelsa States.
The group in a statement signed by its Chairman Niyi Akinsiju and Secretary, Cassidy Madueke, noted that the Nigerian electoral system has graduated from the old era where votes were in fact announced before they were counted, to a system where every vote cast counts.
“Nigerians can now confidently beat their chests and say that votes are counting and that victories recorded at polls are indeed victories earned from votes and not scripts from politicians. This is regardless of the desperation and evil machinations of some few politicians who are intent on promoting violence and attacking polling units.
“The elections that held on Saturday 16th November 2019 were a testament to President Buhari’s resolve that the State would never again be an instrument of manipulation of elections, and that the votes of people would count. Save portions of violence, and the unfortunate killing of some, sponsored by irresponsible politicians who put their desperations above the will of the people, it was not a bad outing.
“The good thing is that what these sinister people hoped for did not happen. Nigeria and the will of the people of Kogi and Bayelsa States prevailed.”
BMO noted that some disagreeable politicians who had seen that votes cast at the polling booths would count, sponsored violent attacks on polling stations in order to weaken the electoral processes.
The organisation also stated that the Buhari administration would continue to do all within its means to improve the quality of the electoral system.
“These elections were holistically an improvement on the ones previously conducted in the last two decades. The elections of 2007, and especially 2011, and those within the period leading to 2015 were everything far from what elections should be like. Opposition members were locked up days to elections, some were disallowed from moving around.
“Organs of State were made tools to fight the opposition. This is a world apart from what has been obtainable under the President Buhari’s administration, and more recently the Kogi and Bayelsa State elections. There were no such instances in these elections. Indeed we have improved.
“The process of the collation of results was also remarkably transparent. From the collation at the ward level to collation at the local government and then at the States we could see transparency and the counting of every vote that was cast.
“The calls by opposition members castigating the elections hold no water. Yes, there were issues, but in few pockets, and not enough to sway the elections by any means. This, however, does not take away the right of those who feel there were issues from seeking redress in the courts.”
The group further congratulated the Governors-elect of Kogi and Bayelsa States, and also the people of the two States for the victories, adding that the electoral environment under President Buhari would continue to improve and that democracy would be on a firmer footing.