Many Nigerians are presently holding onto hope like a tiny rope that keeps them from falling over the edge and a dose of illusion that seems to strengthen them. As valid as their permutations with regard to the 2023 election sound, most people do not appear to understand the ruthlessness of the monster they are up against.
There is a general feeling in the land that the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government of the All Progressives Party, APC has been a colossal failure and hence his party shouldn’t be rewarded at the polls. Yet, the candidate of the party, Bola Tinubu from every indication appears to be the man set to take over the reins of power from 29th of May, 2023.
Many Nigerians don’t understand the politics of science. They are known for discussing or analysing politics with emotions rather than with their thinking caps. What they fail to understand is that those who are deft in playing the politics of science do so in the strategy room and not in emotional places. In Nigeria today, the former Governor of Lagos State, Bola Tinubu is easily the best political strategist in the country and this is something many Nigerians seem to underrate.
From the day he won the presidential ticket of the APC on 10th of June this year, Tinubu clearly understood that he would lose the election if he went into a free and fair contest with his opponents in the next presidential election.
Armed with this knowledge, he simply went back to the drawing board to come up with ideas on how to win the same elections by all means, even if it implies subverting the will of Nigerians.
The painful truth is that Lagos Jagaban, as he is fondly called has perfected his strategies and many Nigerians are yet to come to terms with it. This explains why he has continuously paid deaf ears to certain calls from a section of Nigerians. It explains why he looked at Christians in the eye and told them to go blazes when he insisted on a Muslim-Muslim ticket not minding the fact that Nigeria is currently at her most pollarised and divided state owing to religion. It gives an understanding of why Tinubu will not attend any live interview where he will have to face journalists without pre-written scripts. It explains why he told Nigerians who desire a change in government to ‘Shurrup’ their mouths.
To effectively rig the yet-to-be-conducted elections, the first institution Tinubu took over was the electoral umpire itself – the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC).
Sensing a surge in voter registration due to the palpable anger in the land and the willingness of Nigerians to go all out to effect a change through the ballot box, the electoral body, for the first time in Nigeria’s history, closed its Continuous Voter Registration (CVR), exercise with almost 200 days left before the election.
It didn’t end there, the INEC had other plans. The preliminary figures released by INEC showed that a total number of 12,298,944 people participated in the registration exercise and completed their registration. Two months later, INEC announced that about 2,780,756 of those registrations were invalid and cancelled. Now this is where it gets interesting; About 49.3% of those rejected registrations were from the South-South and the South-East at, 859,165 and 510,548 registration respectively. While other regions had an average rejection rate of 17%, the South-South and the South-East had a rejection rate of 35.2%.
Again, despite the fact that the South-East completed the least number of registrations, by the time the numbers were passed through INEC’s knife, they ended up with the highest number of rejected votes.
Till date, INEC did not provide any answers for these ungodly ‘coincidences’ and yet, Nigerians cannot read the room.
Many Nigerians do not know that while INEC is assuring them of free and fair elections, they are also perfecting plans to pre-load the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) which will be used for accreditation on election day. Many Nigerians do not seem to know that this was the sole reason Mr. Chidi Nwafor was redeployed and moved away as the Director of ICT at the Commission.
To think that all these went on almost unnoticed will leave any curious mind wondering if Nigerians are really ready for the change they are yearning for.
Tinubu understood the game from the beginning, met the right people and, of course, was willing to cough out millions of dollars to get it done.
Aside from INEC, Tinubu has managed to capture other instruments of state such as the notoriously corrupt army, criminally minded police force and even the NSCDC. All these actions were carried out while Nigerians were still asleep politically.
It would take much more than social media noise and street rallies to change some of these plots, and that is the truth.
Tinubu has criminally enriched himself so much with slush funds from drug deals and the government of Lagos State which he converted into a private estate two decades ago.
Going forward, it will be best if Nigerians consider boycotting the elections and demand answers for some of these questions. If the answers are not forthcoming, it will be safer if they resort to civil disobedience to demand a restructuring of Nigeria. This may sound impracticable to many Nigerians, but they must understand that if they feel they stand no chance with the calls for restructuring, their chances are even far worse if they opt for electoral disgrace at the polls.
Nigerians must decide for themselves what their best strategy should be. Time is running out and they cannot afford to take risky gambles. Tinubu is poised to secure an easy win in the polls and it will take more superior strategies to stop that from happening.