There Is A Lot Of Work To Be Done


Reflections on the presidential election and the work ahead for Nigeria’s incoming president

We have gone to the polls, we have voted, and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has declared Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu as the winner of the Presidential election. He has since received his certificate of return which officially declares him the president-elect. Loved by some, hated by many, the journey to this win has certainly been a very arduous one, not just for him and his contenders but also for the people.

The elections were not the best organised as even President Buhari admitted that there were technical issues with the electronic transmission of the results. He further noted that there are also areas that need to be improved on to ensure transparency and credibility in the voting process. He, however, also stated that none of the identified issues represented a challenge to the freeness and fairness of the elections.

Some would disagree with his position as representatives of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), the Labour Party (LP), and the African Democratic Congress (ADC) had previously held a joint press conference the day before. They requested that the INEC Chairman, Prof Mahmood Yakubu, step aside as they alleged that the 2023 Presidential and National Assembly elections were marred with violence, rigging, and intimidation of voters. The three parties requested that the elections be conducted afresh as they believe INEC compromised the election before the collation process began. This is because the total number of accredited voters and the results from all of the polling units were not updated on the IReV portal before the results from each state were announced as provided in the electoral act. Both the INEC Chairman and the President have asked all aggrieved parties to bring forth their evidence of election fraud and go to court. I would very much like to see this happen.

Neither of the two main contenders, Alhaji Abubakar Atiku and Mr Peter Obi, has so far made a statement or congratulated the president-elect. Their parties have also not made any statements about the declaration of the president-elect. I can only imagine that they are in deep discussions weighing all available options and strategising for their next move. Barring any surprises, the president-elect would be sworn in on May 29, 2023, and any cases brought before the courts must be concluded before that day.

Since the elections ended, many people have exercised caution whilst moving around. Some companies had declared early closure or asked their staff to work from home in case there were civil disturbances. A few skirmishes were also reported around Lagos but these were quickly quelled. It is hard to tell if the results favour many people. Vox-pops organised by some media houses showed people seem indifferent to the news. It appears as though there has been no widespread jubilation except within the APC’s ranks. On social media, whilst some people are rejoicing that their candidate has won, many others have registered their displeasure believing that their candidate was cheated out of his mandate. Emotions are high and nerves have been strained.

It is easy for non-supporters of the APC to assume all is lost but that should not be the case. Winning the presidency is a big deal but influencing the status quo and potentially launching change across the political landscape could be an even bigger deal. This election has revealed some positives most notably, the fact that many people have become more politically aware. A lot of people were encouraged to get their voter’s cards, and many others aligned with political parties to promote their preferred candidates. I was hoping that this increased awareness would translate to a massive turnout of voters but sadly, many were unable to collect their voter cards and many others failed to turn up to vote.

Seeing people come together to support their preferred political party was quite heartwarming. Consider the Labour Party for instance. Previously a little-known party, once Peter Obi joined and many people decided they would root for him, awareness increased, never mind that many did not even understand the party’s ideology. The Labour Party may not have won the presidency as declared by INEC but they were able to win a good number of votes spread across the country. They have also won several seats in the National Assembly and who knows what the outcome of the forthcoming gubernatorial and state houses of assembly elections would be?

It is now time for all parties to count the gains, note the losses, and prepare for the future. After the elections and all other associated events are done with, there would be the swearing-in of the new president. The work ahead will not be easy. I always wonder why anyone would take the challenge of leading this diverse nation considering all of the issues we have and those that are certain to arise. What would I love to see the next president achieve as quick wins?

One of the things that I found most heartbreaking about this election cycle was the amount of bitterness and divisiveness spread about by several people, both from the political parties and within the citizenry. Many people could not reconcile that their friends and family were supporting candidates other than theirs. Insults, unprintable names, and accusations have flown around freely. If the new president could form a cabinet that would include members of other parties, it would probably help calm some nerves. The people expect a cabinet filled with the best brains that the country has to offer and spreading the tentacles wider could aid this. I only wonder if other political parties would be open to joining a cabinet formed by their opponent.

Several issues need to be urgently addressed, such as the dwindling economic fortunes of the nation, the naira cash swap programme, fuel subsidy, banditry, and the terrorism war. The plans to address these issues need to be communicated and implementation should commence immediately.

I would also like to see a president who is very responsive to the people. Unfortunately, our recent experiences in this regard have been quite poor because leaders have ended up acting like rulers who are not accountable to the people who put them in office. Consistent media sessions addressing current hot topics would be a welcome change. Utterances need to reflect the unity of the country rather than fuel the embers of hate.

The discussion on restructuring the country has been the elephant in the room and we need to have this discussion. There are so many fundamental issues that are hinged on restructuring together with many aggrieved parties. Addressing this issue is bound to alleviate many of our national problems. Tied to this discussion is state autonomy regarding several areas such as internal security and resource control. We will continue to suffer in those areas if we do not address these issues.

Whilst it is clear that the president is neither a magician nor a saviour, it is also important that verifiable action is taken towards addressing our national issues even if they will not all be solved overnight. The incoming president has his work cut out for him. It will not be easy but we, the people, need to play our role in ensuring that we hold government at all levels accountable. We must all take part in steering this country along the right course. This is the way I see things today.



‘Gbubemi Atimomo
The Way I See Things Today

Writer | HR & Business Consultant | Entrepreneurship Advocate | People Observer & Harmony Seeker