The 2015 Elections were scheduled to be held on 14 February 2015. However, INEC, the nation’s electoral body shifted it to 28 March. They gave a poor distribution of Permanent Voter Cards and Boko Haram insurgency as reasons for the postponement. The Election was recorded to be the most expensive election ever to be held on the African continent. And this didn’t come as a surprise noting that Nigeria with a population of over 180million people, is the most populous country in the continent.
Amidst the criticism and low approval ratings, it was largely believed that the Incumbent President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan would still win the election. At least I like to believe a lot of the people from the southern part of the country believed this. Of course, Jonathan was unopposed in his party’s (PDP) primaries. He confirmed his candidacy with this quote “After seeking the face of God, and in the quiet of my family, and after listening to the clarion call of Nigerians, I have accepted to present myself to serve a second term.”
Before the 2015 elections, four opposition parties; the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) and a faction of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), all came together and formed the All Progressive Congress (APC). The APC had Muhammadu Buhari, Rabiu Kwankwaso, Atiku Abubakar, Rochas Okorocha and Sam Nda Isaiah in its primaries. Muhammadu Buhari emerged the winner after the party primaries.
Muhammadu Buhari who previously served as the nation’s Head of state from 31 December 1983 to 27 August 1985, is widely believed to be tough on corruption. I remember my father strongly stated that he was the least corrupt Military Head of State, during one of our arguments prior to the elections. Buhari boycotted the Presidential Debate which was even attended by the then Incumbent President, Goodluck Jonathan. But this did nothing in dissuading his strong supporters that he was the right person to root for. They all believed in him. Why wouldn’t they? Everyone in Nigeria had had enough of the corruption in leadership and wanted solutions. Most people believed he was the savior the Nation had been waiting for.
The Independent Electoral Commission (INEC), had promised a better election process. But after the botched Governorship Election in Anambra State, Nigerians were filled with uncertainties. Aside from the technical difficulties experienced with the card readers, the election more or less was smooth and could be described by most Nigerians as both free and fair. The UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and other election observers congratulated the citizens and the government for conducting a peaceful and orderly election.
President Muhammadu Buhari won the 2015 Election. He did because Nigerians voted for him. I do not share the concerns raised by most people about the nation’s voter apathy. Is it completely eradicated? I do not think so either. But I believe it is no longer an issue of great concern. Nigerians have become more aware of the power their PVCs possess. Is the ownership of a PVC sufficient in a democracy like Nigeria? NO. The owner must also ensure he or she comes out to vote on election day, informedly and not give away four years in exchange for four thousand naira.