Is President Buhari’s Verdict on Why Opposition Lost 2023 Election True or False?

Is President Buhari’s Verdict on Why Opposition Lost 2023 Election True or False?

This is not to fact-check whether what President Buhari adduced as reasons for opposition’s loss of the 2023 election are factually correct or otherwise. But a review of the President’s conclusions and other viewpoints on why an incumbent government seemingly unpopular with the masses won a popular mandate to remain in power for another four

This is not to fact-check whether what President Buhari adduced as reasons for opposition’s loss of the 2023 election are factually correct or otherwise. But a review of the President’s conclusions and other viewpoints on why an incumbent government seemingly unpopular with the masses won a popular mandate to remain in power for another four years.

“A combination of over confidence, complacency and bad tactical moves made them lose, plain and clear. This has created more problems in their camp. Why did they fail to remove us? Said President Buhari.

The President explained further: “They were already telling their foreign backers that they would defeat the APC. Our Party blended confidence with caution, we worked hard and won…“Now, their over confidence is creating more problems for the opposition than anyone else. They are finding it hard to convince those who supported them from outside why they are unable to beat us.

That is true because polls after polls conducted prior to the election suggested victory for the opposition, especially, Peter Obi of the Labour Party. The odds were stacked further against the APC and its candidate, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu. Their condition was further endangered by their insistence on a Muslim/Muslim ticket by the party. The country was nearly polarized on religious ground. The 2023 election was the most competitive in Nigeria’s recent history and perhaps, the most divisive.

President Buhari spoke to a familiar audience on Thursday at his residence in the State House, where he received the Progressive Governors Forum led by their Chairman, Governor Abubakar Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi State. True talk, it is right for the President whose tenure has imposed hardships on the masses of Nigeria to gloat and clink glasses over their “undeserved” victory. Undeserved, not because some candidates are in court against the victory but going by all the hardships experienced by the people especially in the last four years.

From the state of insecurity in the country, to prolonged economic hardships compounded at the twilight and during the countdown to the February 25th presidential election by acute and persistent fuel scarcity and Naira scarcity courtesy of a botched currency swap torpedoed by the Supreme Court. It’s been a season more of curses than blessings for the APC government from Nigeria’s ordinary folks. It was therefore widely believed that the Party that has bequeathed the hardships would lose the election. But, the outcome was an anti-climax, not just to the ordinary folks but the international community whose respected pollsters conducted the polls predicting the loss of the incumbent party in power. But, there are good and bad polls.

The APC, against all expectations won the election with less than 37 percent of votes cast and less than 10 percent of registered voters in the country. It cannot be argued that the victory was as a result of the superlative performance of the party in power but many analysts blame it on the arrogance and over confidence of the opposition parties. Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress (APC) was declared the winner with 8,794,726 votes representing 36.61 percent of total votes cast. Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party came second with 6,984,520 votes representing 29.07 percent of the total votes cast and Labour Party’s candidate came third scoring 6,101,533 votes amounting to 25.40 percent. Bracing up at the fourth position is Dr. Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, who scored 1,496,687 votes or 6.23 percent of total registered number of voters in the election.

Collectively, the opposition should blame itself for the final outcome of the 2023 presidential election. Assuming the PDP, Labour Party and the New Nigerian Peoples Party had come together, theoretically, they would have polled a total of 14,582,740 votes which would have knocked Tinubu and APC off their feet. But, blighted by their individual ambitions, they failed to align and at the end of the day failed and made the candidate of the ruling party to win against the run of play.

I guess it is for a likely scenario as painted above that made President Buhari to come to his conclusion that “A combination of over confidence, complacency and bad tactical moves made them lose, plain and clear”. Truly, it took an amalgamation of several political parties to get the behemoth PDP booted out of power in 2015.

President Buhari as a military tactician also spoke about bad tactics on the part of the opposition. It was bad tactics on the part of the PDP to allow its Chairman, Prof Iyorcha Ayu, to continue to hold sway at the expense of five of its governors, some of them holding forth in traditional strong bases of the Party. Expectedly, the PDP eventually lost those states to the ruling party and other opposition parties. It was bad tactic for Alhaji Atiku Abubakar to have dropped Mr. Peter Obi, his running mate in the 2019 election, being a core South Easterner for another Vice in the South South. The Obi’s phenomenon may not have arisen if he had been kept on the ticket.

However, losing is not the end of the world. The opposition parties will have another opportunity in four years to re-strategise and push out the APC and this is without prejudice to the suits at the presidential election tribunals. That would depend on the performance of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and how far he’s able to mitigate the pains and anguish of the people. With the right strategy, candidate and good messages from the opposition, the APC could bid power bye in the next four years.

Ayo Aluko-Olokun
ADMINISTRATOR
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