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Stateof the Nation with Olu Fasan

Nigeria’s 2019 polls: The good, the bad and the ugly

AHEAD of this year’s general elections, I wrote a piece in this column, entitled “Nigeria must pass seven basic tests of credible polls” (Vanguard, January 10, 2019). Drawing on Denis and Ian Derbyshire’s work in Political Systems of the World, I stated that, to be truly free and democratic, elections must not involve voter intimidation, vote-buying, vote-miscounting or the abuse of incumbency, such as the militarisation of the polls or the intimidation of opponents. Thus, for the 2019 elections to be considered free, fair, transparent and peaceful – and credible – Nigeria, I stressed, must adhere to the universal standards. So, time to ask: Did this year’s general election pass the credibility test?

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Buhari

Second term: Buhari must work smarter, not harder

PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari recently told leaders of the Arewa Consultative Forum who paid him a congratulatory visit that he would work harder in his second term. “This is my last lap”, Buhari said, “I will try to work harder.” The subtext is an admission that he didn’t work hard enough in his first term. Most people would say he didn’t work hard at all! But a president who ballsed up his first term cannot blithely promise to work harder in his second because it’s “my last lap”. Why is Buhari’s “last lap” more important than his first? Four years is too significant in a nation’s life to be wasted!

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Buhari’s re-election: It’s victory by default

LET’s get down to brass tacks: Muhammadu Buhari won this year’s presidential election, and Atiku Abubakar lost it. The election was, of course, marred by significant irregularities and shortcomings, including violence, intimidation, disenfranchisement and vote-buying. But, as the doctrine of substantial performance goes, while these anomalies undermined the legitimacy of the outcome, they didn’t materially change it. So, Buhari won, Atiku lost!

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Election violence worsens Nigeria’s tainted democracy

ELECTORAL democracy is in a terrible state in Nigeria. Its practice defies universal standards of acceptable behaviour. But while everything is wrong with democracy in Nigeria,the greatest danger to its development is election violence. Elections are a do-or-die affair in this country, with politicians willing to unleash violence to achieve their ambition. That desperation was on display last Saturday as Nigerians voted in the rescheduled presidential and National Assembly elections.

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INEC, APC

Poll shifts in Nigeria: It’s abject state failure

NOTHING is certain in Nigeria until it happens”, a top British business leader once said at a London conference. That was a damning indictment of Nigeria’s reputation for predictability and certainty. But that reputation suffered a further damaging blow last week when the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, cancelled the February 16 Presidential and National Assembly elections just a few hours before voting started. 

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Buhari, Atiku

Buhari or Atiku? No saint, just the lesser of two evils

THIS Saturday’s presidential election features a motley crowd of candidates, about 76 in all! Yet, despite the dense thicket of candidates, only two really matter. The contest is between two recurring faces in Nigeria’s political space: President Muhammadu Buhari, of All Progressives Congress, and former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, of People’s Democratic Party. Both candidates are very different personalities, with diametrically opposite visions and values. But neither possesses, holistically, the qualities needed for a country’s leadership, and, indeed, each has devastating flaws. Thus, Nigerians must decide, based on key evaluative factors, which of the two candidates is the lesser of two evils. 

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Buhari

Vote Buhari, get the Cabal versus Osinbajo

GENERAL Muhammadu Buhari was elected president in 2015. He was not a good, rounded person for the job. He lacked knowledge of economic management. His economic philosophy, Buharinomics, as military ruler from 1984 to 1985 damaged Nigeria’s economy. He also lacked the quality of inclusive leadership; he couldn’t treat all Nigerians equally; championing, for instance, Fulani herders against non-Fulani farmers. Furthermore, he wasn’t well. This was apparently disguised during the 2015 election, but illness later hobbled his presidency.

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Buhari

2019 presidential poll: Buhari is fighting dirty

PRESIDENT Buhari has deliberately upped the ante on corruption in this campaign because he wants to make next month’s presidential election all about graft. His decision last week to suspend and replace the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Walter Onnoghen, on allegations of corruption was calculated to escalate the issue of graft in this election and upend his main opponent, Atiku Abubakar and his party, People’s Democratic Party, PDP. But in seeking to outsmart his opponents and win next month’s polls, Buhari is abusing his incumbency and trampling on the rule of law in a way that risks undermining the credibility of the entire elections.

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Southwest APC’s betrayal of Yoruba cause

THE Yoruba are the most ardent federalist in Nigeria. They don’t believe they must belong to the party controlling the centre to survive. As a result, they are immune to the “bandwagon effect” in Nigeria’s elections, whereby people vote in gubernatorial and state assembly elections for the party of the declared winner of the earlier presidential poll. The Yoruba don’t do that. They are the Californians of Nigerian politics.

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Buhari

Buhari’s uppity is insulting to Nigerians

SUCCESSIVE  Nigerian leaders have either been utterly  inept or woefully visionless, or both. But none combined incompetence with brazen arrogance. Except President Buhari. He is intolerably inept and unbelievably arrogant! Buhari’s ineptitude is recognised globally. Recently, the international consulting group, Eurasia, said in its 2019 Top Risk Report that Buhari “lacks  the energy, creativity or political savvy to move the needle on Nigeria’s most intractable problems”. His stubbornness and arrogance are legendary too.

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Nigeria must pass 7 basic tests of credible polls

The campaign for next month’s presidential election officially started on November 18 last year. Yet, to date, beyond the glossy manifesto booklets and the propaganda blitzes that followed their launches, few Nigerians really know the issues the candidates are canvassing. Their ideas are not ventilated on the campaign trail or scrutinised by the media. Nothing is heard about presidential debates, the sine qua non of any serious presidential contest.

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Jonathan

The world will be watching Nigeria next month

THE 2015 general election was conducted under the watchful eye of the world. The flurry of diplomatic activity before, during and after the election was unprecedented. It was such a high stakes election that the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom and the United Nations weighed in heavily from start to finish. Indeed, ahead of the elections, President Obama made an unusual video appeal to Nigerians, telling them that: “To keep Nigeria one is a task that must be done”!

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On parliamentarism and Sagay’s sophistry

THE recent introduction of a bi-partisan bill in the House of Representatives by 71 members seeking to return Nigeria to the parliamentary system of government was significant. But while the legislators’ action received a supportive shot in the arm from Afenifere, the Yoruba socio-cultural group, and Professor Ango Abdullahi, a chieftain of the Northern Elders Forum, it got a damning shot across the bow from Professor Itse Sagay, chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption.

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Nigerian

2019: Nigeria needs a unity government

NIGERIA will go through another four-yearly ritual of a general election next year. It will be the country’s sixth since returning to civil rule in 1999. Given its chequered democratic history, the long period of uninterrupted civil rule is a credit to Nigeria. Yet, true democracy transcends routine elections. It is about a social contract under which the elected improve the general welfare of the society and the electors. Democracy is seriously undermined when it is reduced to a tiresome routine exercise of just electing governments with no subsequent positive change. Sadly, that’s the nature of democracy in Nigeria.

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