The presidential candidate of the African Democratic Congress, Dumebi Kachikwu, in an interview with FRIDAY OLOKOR, analyses the February 25, 2023, presidential election and believes that all the four major political parties rigged the poll in their strongholds
There have been controversies over the failure in the use of technology, particularly, BVAS ( Bimodal Voter Accreditation System ) during the presidential election held on February 25. What are your reactions and suggestions?
We went into this contest knowing that we were operating within a flawed system. I, for once never expected anything from INEC (Independent National Electoral Commission). I made it known to Nigerians that an INEC that refused to obey court orders and an INEC that had conducted sham elections could not overnight give us proper elections across the country. So what I said is that I predicted what happened in the presidential elections.
INEC operates in mediocrity because they assume that we’re a country of mediocre people and that ultimately we will accept mediocre or sham elections. The four major parties, that is the PDP (Peoples Democratic Party), APC (All Progressives Congress; Labour Party and the New Nigeria Peoples Party rigged in the domains of their strengths but their rigging did not materially affect the outcome of the elections. What do I mean by this? 14 hours before the elections, I told Nigerians that I as a candidate representing the ADC had no pathway to victory. I said this because it was the proper thing to do. It is what people do in an advanced democracy. You let your supporters know your position so that they can make an informed decision as to if to continue with you on what seems to be a suicide mission or to take their votes somewhere else that might be similar to your convictions, or might align more with your views and policies.
This is what I did. I am aware that other parties, the PDP, the LP and other parties knew that APC was stronger and would win the elections. A strong opposition could not overcome the APC in the election four years ago, now how could a divided opposition, a PDP broken into an NNPP, LP, G-5 and PDP take on the same united APC, a sitting political party in government?
We all knew it wasn’t impossible but those who were the candidates of those parties were being egotistical because they failed to see that what was more important were the wishes and aspirations of the Nigerian people. They failed to see that taking Nigeria on the forward path to progress was more important. They only cared about getting power for the sake of power. I warned them. I said the ruling party would win. No party has a pathway to victory.
The Labour Party was only in this because it hoped to get a run-off so that at that point, Peter Obi could tell his supporters that the only choice he had was to negotiate.
For the PDP members, their only belief was Atiku would get the nod of northern Nigeria who would say vote for Atiku Abubakar, and that might help tilt victory his way, but northern Nigerians who were the true heroes of this election said no, ‘It is the turn of the South. We will not support Atiku who is our northern brother’’ which is why Northern Nigeria decided to vote for a southern candidate but when voting, they said they would not vote for a candidate whose all campaign reeks of ethnicity and religion, which is why northern Nigeria supported Asiwaju Tinubu.
Tinubu read the campaign. He is a political maestro. He understood what was going to happen and he stayed true to form. He took on a government that wanted to demystify him and put obstacles in his way and stayed to message and he won the election. So, I congratulated him because in spite of all the odds and all the obstacles, in spite of his obvious health challenges, he was able to take advantage of our flawed political system. A flawed candidate manipulated a flawed political system and won an election in a country of flawed people. This is our situation today.
What do we do moving forward?
There are two options before us. We can go the Labour Party or the PDP route, which is to burn down Nigeria. What this also means is that denying that someone has won, start a protest and hope that the protest consumes the country so that we can have an interim government or something. Or we can then come together as an opposition, chart a way forward, define a clear-cut agenda for Nigerians and also urge the winning party to chart an agenda that we will hold them accountable to.
We must understand that Nigeria and Nigerians are bigger than political parties and the egos and ambitions of individuals. Our country at this point is challenged. Our economy’s in tatters. Security failed, our youths are unemployed, the poverty index is at an all-time high, and infrastructure deficits all-time high. We are challenged because we have failed in all sectors critical to human development. We must now come together as a people to make sure that Nigeria work.
One of the issues that really tainted the just-concluded election was the failure of BVAS and IREV and then a lot of people felt that it was possible because some forces in INEC might have been compromised. What’s your view on this?
I will say this simply as someone who is technologically inclined, who runs a technology company that BVAS as a system is not designed to give us credible elections. If we see credible elections, there are better systems that we can use.
For example, BVAS is not a voting system. It is simply an accreditation system and a system to upload results. If we speak of electronic voting, it means that we must vote electronically. But these people have hoodwinked Nigeria because Nigerians believe that they’re doing electronic voting. Voting done on the ballot paper is not electronic voting. So if we seek to do electronic voting, it means that your thumbprint must be captured electronically and uploaded immediately after you have voted onto a server and counted for everybody to see wherever they are.
That is a true electronic system. But what they’ve done is give us an accreditation system and a system which has electronic transmission capabilities. But remember that this system has not really been tested. It failed in Osun and Ekiti, how, then do we expect the system to work when we’re having nationwide elections? So what’s happened? The four political parties who understood the failures in this system took advantage of the failures to help themselves but what they did, as I said, did not materially affect the outcome because anybody who is an amateur politician understands that only the APC could have won unless there was a formidable opposition.
So in the South-East of Nigeria, we have seen one party getting 95 per cent of the votes. How is that even possible even if we’re voting for Jesus Christ? People were able to rig in their domains of strengths.
We saw what happened in Lagos, what were they trying to do? They were trying to reduce the embarrassing numbers. They knew they could post a victory there but what they did was reduce the embarrassing numbers. So it was a difference of 10,000 votes almost.
The APC were able to bring down the numbers there to a number that would not embarrass him (Tinubu). That’s what they did there. We saw areas of strength of the PDP, and how they were able to shore up the numbers to help them there. We saw what happened with the NNPP in Kano, where they were able to raise numbers and we saw children voting. In the local government where I come from, children were voting for the LP. Yes, we have the videos. So all these parties rigged in their domains of strength. But as I said, their rigging could not affect materially the outcome of this election. Ultimately, the majority of Nigerians had their way and say with the outcome of the election.
Both the LP and the PDP are challenging the election outcome in court. Do you see this as a wild goose chase?
What I expected the LP and PDP candidates to do is if they say they won, let us also hear the number of states they won and the figures. Let them show us their pathway to victory. You will never see them saying that or showing them to you. All they are doing is essential to build energy for their party going into the elections this weekend. That’s all they’re doing.
They want their people angry and charged up to go and fight and do anything possible to go and win states this weekend. Were they to concede victory to the APC, their supporters would immediately collapse and support the APC for the governorship poll.
In Rivers State, from the election results, it seems Governor Nyesom Wike supported the APC. Would you have acted differently if you were him (Wike)?
Let me break down Wike’s position for people to understand. Wike saw that certain elements within the PDP believe that the only way the PDP will win elections is by putting forward a northern candidate. Understand that Wike and co are of the old school where tribe, religion, and all these things matter. So he believes strongly that it’s not possible for a Muslim Fulani candidate to replace another Muslim Fulani. For Wike, it is absolutely impossible. It can never happen. So sensing that this was going on within his party, he started fighting to ensure that all the people who would go in that direction are neutralised. He fought to ensure that the PDP would produce a Southern candidate. This didn’t happen. He lost at the primaries. The party eventually produced a candidate from the North. Then Wike said give us a chairman from the south. The chairman who promised to resign refused to resign.
Now let me say this, history repeated itself as history always repeats itself. We saw what happened when Jonathan lost certain governors in the PDP and he lost the election. This time around, we saw what happened when some governors pulled out. Atiku messed up and missed a golden opportunity.
APC Hails Uzodimma, Ododo On Election Victory, Commends INEC
The All Progressives Congress has congratulated its governorship candidates in Imo and Kogi states, Hope Uzodimma and Usman Ododo, respectively, on their victory at last Saturday’s election.
The party’s National Publicity Secretary, Felix Morka, revealed this in a statement signed on Monday, November 13.
The statement read, “The All Progressives Congress congratulates His Excellency, Hope Uzodimma, on his re-election as Executive Governor of Imo State, and Usman Ododo on his emergence as Governor of Kogi State.
“The landslide victories of both Governor Uzodinma and Ododo at the just-concluded gubernatorial polls attest to the exceptional performance of the APC-led administrations in both states and resonated loudly with voters.
“We are confident that Governor Uzodimma will consolidate and extend the impressive accomplishments of his first term in Imo State, while Usman Ododo, on his part, will build on the solid record of the outgoing APC-administration in Kogi State.
“We commend the Independent National Electoral Commission and security agencies for professionally discharging their constitutional duties during the election in both states.
“We salute the Imo and Kogi electorate for their invaluable and massive support of our great party.”
Breaking News! IMO DECIDES: Hope Uzodinma Steps Down For Anyanwu, Looses Presidential Support
Gov. Hope Uzodinma has stepped down for SamDaddy Anyanwu as he could not garner support from Mr. President, Bola President Tinubu.
Ahead of the November 11th governorship election, the All progressives Congress (APC) candidate, Gov. Hope Uzodinma, has stepped down for Sen. Samuel Nnaemeka Anyanwu, also known as SAMDADDY, as he could not garner a nod and/or any iota of support from Mr. President, Bola Tinubu.
recall that during the presidential primary election of All Progressives Congress (APC) in 2022, Gov. Hope Uzodinma personally purchased the #100m nomination form for Ahmed Lawan, the former Senate President, who got the support of the National Chairman of All progressives Congress (APC), Sen. Abdullahi Adamu.
Our investigation revealed that the embattled Gov. Hope Uzodinma, for over two months now, has been restless trying ferret and/or fetch the attention of Mr. President to help him clutch at his re-election ambition by directing the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the security agents to lend him cooperations to rig off the upcoming governorship election but Mr. President insisted while maintaining that he would not interfere in the said Imo election.
Standing on his firm resolve, Mr. President promised that there would be fair play, free and/or unhindered participations in the said upcoming polls in Imo State to all the parties and their candidates without any interference and/or undue favouritism and/or supportations of any kind of from the security agents: military, police, etc as well as the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
In fact, it’s gathered, from inside Aso Rock, that Mr. President, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, would not want Gov. Hope Uzodinma to be re-elected to quell and/or douse the burning fires of insecurity in the State.
Political analysts as well as some political high-fliers both in Imo State and in Nigeria, including elsewhere, have interpreted Mr. President’s position as a payback in Gov. Hope Uzodinma’s coin for the socio-political betrayal or sabotage from Gov. Hope Uzodinma against Mr. President, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, during the days in “wilderness” at All Progressives Congress’ (APC’) primary in 2022.
On Thursday, the 9th day of November, 2023, after all efforts made by Gov. Hope Uzodinma to obtain Mr. President’s support dashed away or proved abortive, unfortunately, the said embattled Imo State governor, Gov. Hope Uzodinma, has informed his loyalists and his few myopic supporters in the State that his guber aspiration and/or project was unsure and visibly in confusing jeopardy as his sordid plans to use the military, police and Ebube Agu security to rig the said election has been shattered as the Presidency has directed the disbandment of Ebube Agu secret militia and redeployment of Imo State Commissioner of Police, Mohammed Barde, whom Gov. Hope Uzodinma had already but heavily sorted with millions of Naira and Dollars.
Inside information indicates that Gov. Hope Uzodinma has been directed by the Presidency to work together with the People’s Democratic Party’s (PDP’s) Candidate, Sen Samuel Nnaemeka Anyanwu, (SAMDADDY), to save himself from pepertual socio-political condemnation and/or being disgraced by probe.
In compliance with the above, Gov. Hope Uzodinma has directed his loyalists and/or supporters to mobilize and support the candidature of Sen. Samuel Nnaemeka Anyanwu (SamDaddy) of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and vote for him come Saturday, the 11th November, 2023 governorship election in Imo State.
Afenifere: Fasoranti Differs With Adebanjo On S-Court Verdict
FORMER Leader of the pan-Yoruba socio-political organisation, Afenifere, Pa Reuben Fasoranti, yesterday, disagreed with the leader of the group, Pa Ayo Adebanjo, over the Supreme Court verdict that affirmed President Bola Tinubu’s victory during the February 25, 2023 general election.
Pa Adebanjo and other Afenifere leaders had met in Isanya Ogbo area of Ijebu in Ogun State, and faulted the Supreme Court verdict, which affirmed the victory of President Tinubu.
They said that the judgement has rendered the billions of naira expended on electoral reform, a waste.
But, in a counter-reaction, Pa Fasoranti, in a statement, disowned Adebanjo’s position on the Supreme Court judgement.
Fasoranti said: “The attention of Chief Reuben Fasoranti and other leaders has been drawn to a communique purportedly released in the name of Afenifere by the General Secretary, Chief Sola Ebiseni, where Afenifere is said to fault the Supreme Court judgement upholding Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu’s election as the President of Nigeria.
“This is far from the truth about Afenifere’s leadership position on the matter.
“Let it be on record that Chief Fasoranti and other Afenifere leaders are not privy to such ignominious press release, did not authorise it and do not subscribe to the seditious act such may portend.
“It is merely an unfortunate misadventure of some Labour Party elements within the Afenifere fold who would rather drag the body’s reputation in the mud to achieve whatever sinister and seditious end they might have concocted.
“The world will recall that Chief Fasoranti had congratulated the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces on his election into office, and also expressed solidarity over his victory at the apex court.
“It is then clearly underhanded and mischievous to have such preposterous attack on the judiciary by intemperate elements within the fold, fanning the embers of national discords with political motives, using the name of Afenifere.
“We are unequivocal in reiterating that Pa Ayo Adebanjo is the Acting Leader, who, in the natural and traditional order of Afenifere, is expected to defer to his leader who appointed him, Chief Fasoranti, without reservations.
“To do otherwise is to tread such ignoble path in national discourse as this unfortunate release reveals.
“The meeting recently held in Ogbo Ijebu, at no point raised or decided on the attack on the judiciary as the statements of the General Secretary seemed to portray.
“The leaders of Afenifere would like to challenge Chief Ebiseni to offer the world, the true record of deliberations at the said meeting to confirm its concurrence with the communique he so released to the world.
“The ethos and structure of Afenifere vest the leadership authority in the Leader as the Olori Ebi; until such time that he joins his forebears, notwithstanding whoever he has chosen to act on his behalf.