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QuickRead: Tinubu’s emergence as president-elect. Four other stories we tracked and why they matter



The All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, last week emerged as Nigeria’s president-elect after defeating 17 other candidates in the country’s national election.

This and four other stories we tracked dominated public discourse last week.

1. Tinubu’s emergence as president-elect

On March 1, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declared Tinubu as the winner of the country’s presidential election after he polled 8,794, 726 votes to defeat his closest challenger, Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), and 16 other candidates in the election.

The INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, who announced the results of the election at the National Collation Centre in Abuja, said: “I, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, hereby certify that I am the returning officer for the 2023 general election. The election was contested.

“That Tinubu Bola Ahmed of the APC, having certified the requirements of the law, is hereby declared the winner and is returned.”

Why it matters

Although there are still question marks on Tinubu’s victory with anger over the alleged serious infractions in the conduct of the election yet to fade away, the poll outcomes continue to to highlight the need for improvements in the country’s electoral processes.

The post-election resentments show that the courts may have to provide further clarity on the electoral guidelines, especially on the vexed issue of electronic transmission of results from the polling units.

It remains to be seen if the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Labour Party will succeed in the bid to get the court to turn the tide in their favour and send the APC packing from Aso Rock.

2 Supreme Court’s ruling on naira redesign

The Supreme Court on March 3 faulted the naira redesign initiated by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

In its ruling, a seven-man panel of the apex court took a swipe at President Muhammadu Buhari for disobeying its interim order of February 8 on the old naira notes.

Justice Emmanuel Agim, who delivered the lead judgment, said: “The president ought to have put in place adequate provisions before giving the directives for the change of currency. The president’s directive is not consistent with the provisions of the law on the redesign of naira notes.”

Why it matters

The apex court with its ruling has ended the controversy generated by the chaotic redesign of the naira notes.

It also suggests that the policy was faulty and designed to crash from the onset with the failure of the president to carry the state governments along on the policy.

The ruling is expected to bring relief to millions affected by the policy.

However, it is unclear what immediate impact the Supreme Court’s ruling will have with many in the country still reluctant to accept the old banknotes.

3. IPOB’s fresh alarm on Kanu’s health

The Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) on March 3 raised a fresh alarm on the deterioration of its detained leader, Nnamdi Kanu.

In a statement issued by its Media and Publicity Secretary, Emma Powerful, the group said the activist needs to undergo urgent heart surgery in the hospital.

The statement read: “The attention of the global movement and family of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) has been drawn to the continued deteriorating health of our Leader, Mazi Nnamdi Okwuchukwu Kanu, who was rushed to an ill-equipped DSS clinic on a medical emergency in Abuja on Monday, February 27, 2023.

“We are aware that the Nigeria Government and her DSS, including the British High Commissioner in Abuja, planned to kill Mazi Nnamdi Okwuchukwu Kanu in DSS solitary confinement but they should also be ready for the consequences.”

Why it matters

The import of Kanu’s continued incarceration is that it stokes further tension in the South-East, a region that is gaining global attention for the wrong reasons.

Read also:QuickRead: 2023 general elections. Four other stories we tracked and why they matter

IPOB’s frequent alarm about its leader’s health and violence in the region reinforces the call for President Muhammadu Buhari’s government to rethink its decision to keep the activist in prison and explore a political solution to the group’s separatist agitation.

4. Trial of Reps majority leader for election violence

Police on March 1 arraigned the House of Representatives Majority Leader, Alhassan Doguwa, at the Kano State Magistrates’ Court over his alleged role in the destruction of the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP) campaign office in the state.

The spokesman for the state police command, Haruna Kiyawa, who confirmed the development in a statement, said: “He (Doguwa) was arrested in connection with a suspected case of criminal conspiracy, culpable homicide, causing grievous hurt, mischief by fire and inciting disturbance .”

Why it matters

The travail of the Reps majority leader again speaks to the culture of political intolerance and win-at-all syndrome in the country’s political space.

The development reinforces the call for the National Assembly to fast-track the process for the prosecution of promoters of violence and other electoral offenders to signpost Nigeria’s readiness for the total reform of its electoral process.

5. EU, US institutes’ positions on Nigeria’s elections

The European Union Election Observation Mission to Nigeria (EU EOM) and two United States institutes on February 27 gave damning assessments of the presidential and National Assembly elections in Nigeria.
In its report, the EU EOM lamented that lack of transparency and operational failures hampered the process.

On their part, the Joint Election Observation Mission (JEOM) of the International Republican Institute (IRI) and the National Democratic Institute (NDI) described the elections as disappointing.

The EU EOM Chief Observer, Barry Andrews, who presented the team’s preliminary findings in Abuja said:
“The election day was marked by late deployment and opening while polling procedures were not always followed.
Polling staff struggled to complete result forms, which were not posted publicly in most polling units observed. The introduction of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) and the INEC Results Viewing Portal (IReV) were perceived as important steps to ensure the integrity and credibility of the elections.
“However, uploading the results using the BVAS did not work as expected and presidential election result forms started to appear on the portal very late on election day, raising concerns.”

Why it matters

On the evidence of last weekend’s polls and feedback from local and foreign observers, it is clear that the country needs a complete reform of its electoral process to produce elections that are acceptable to all.

The onus, therefore, is on INEC to up its game and guard against the flaws that marred the February 25 presidential and parliamentary elections in next weekend’s polls.

Hamed Shobiye

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