Lessons From The 2015 Elections By Bemdoo Hulugh
Before the Presidential election many who were of the opinion that President Goodluck will win said so because they believed strongly in the power of the incumbent. For them only a fool should challenge the President of Nigeria. When you give them examples of how the people’s power has prevailed over more brutal dictators in many parts of the world,they tell you it can’t happen in Nigeria. It finally happened on 28 of March,putting to bed the argument that a Nigerian President is a god that should be worshipped. This is the major lesson in the 2015 election. These politicians are not god and no matter the political power,man can never be God.
Another take away is that those who underestimate the electorate,do so at their peril. Governor Suswan of Benue State is a perfect example of someone who underestimated the power of the people. How can someone who hasn’t paid Civil Servant salaries for months and allowed all state owned tertiary institutions to close down be running for senate? How can you ask a person who hasn’t been paid for months,whose child is also sitting at home with him because of an avoidable strike action to go vote or mobilise votes for Governor Suswam to become a Senator? Definitely he wasn’t counting on their votes,he was counting on his powers as a sitting Governor to impose himself on the people but it failed woefully. Lesson number two: the power of the people is greater than the power in power.
Looking back,the people would not have been able to carry out their franchise if INEC didn’t bring in some innovations and ideas that gave the elections more credibility. Is this the same INEC Prof Maurice Iwu was heading? It was the leadership of Prof Attahiru Jega that Changed everything. This INEC was surely made up of almost the same people that worked with Prof Maurice Iwu but under Prof Jega they produced a more credible result. This means leadership is key for any organisation to work.
We can still see how a leader can inspire people in the right direction with the number of politicians calling their victorious rivals to congratulate them when it was obvious they lost. They were all following the example of President Jonathan who called General Buhari to congratulate him. I see almost all state Governors and their commissioners declaring their assets immediately General Buhari do so on his assumption of office as the President. I will come to General Buhari later but the message here is that good leadership is necessary to make progress.
Prophets of doom said so many scary things about the 2015 elections. Non of them came to pass. This was more so because of the relative credibility of elections and maturity of the major actors when it mattered most. The elections were credible enough to allow the will of the people prevail but it wasn’t perfect. Credible elections can prevent unnecessary violence. Moving forward INEC must learn from these elections and create an electoral process that will render political thugs useless. This will encourage voters’ turn out,reduce electoral violence to the barest minimum and deepen our democracy.
The way APC was created by merging the major opposition parties also has a big lesson for us all. They said those kind of people can’t stay together for long. One clown went as far as saying if APC survive he should be called a bastard. The APC survived and mobilised Nigerians to vote out President Jonathan. They achieved what has never been done before in this country. They unseated a sitting President through the ballot and Nigeria will never be the same again. The APC story has all the ingredients of greatness. When you are set on doing something great,people disagree with you,they will spit on you,throw every thing at you and swear by everything they know that you will fail. But you must remain focus and stay the course for there is always light at the end of the tunnel.
It was Mallam Aminu Kano who once wisely said “nothing is impossible if human endeavour is willing and ready to make it possible”. The APC also proved to us all that anytime a people come together with their all to achieve a particular goal then nothing can stop them.
Last on my list is the victory of the people’s General. The victory of General Buhari has so many lessons to learn from. One of them is his tenacity and his consistency. He remained true to himself till it paid off. Despite losing one election after another,he remained focused and stayed the course. Things became so bad in this country that people thought Nigeria will never get it right in their life time but General Buhari,a man of more than 70years still believed and continued the struggle. He has proved to us all that even in the face of impossible odds,those who truly love their country can change it. His story will be told to generations and when he succeeds by putting us on the right track to greatness,he will be remembered as the father of modern Nigeria.
There are too many lessons from the 2015 election to write down in just one article or one book. I only tried to put some down to make us understand that as we celebrate a new Nigeria,there are so many lessons to learn from this victory and the entire election.
Bemdoo Hulugh is an Active Citizen And He Writes From Makurdi.
You Can Also Interact With Him On Tweeter @bumy04.