By Jamila Musawa
The recently concluded presidential elections in the FCT. has been acclaimed as one of the best election ever witnessed in the FCT in our recent memory. This statements is trite with facts emanating from the comments made of the election by local and international observers alluding to the facts that the election has been generally fair and peaceful. This accolade has made the FCT the example of how elections can be held without the meddling of major players and the government of the day.
It is amazing and disturbing to see that instead of applauding this perfect feat as achieved in the FCT where the people are left to vote freely and peacefully without the coercion, intimidation and inducements of voters and the political class as often witnessed in our sordid political past, some became critical of the minister of the FCT. Mallam Mohammadu Musa Bello for not employing this same tactics in winning the elections by any way possible for the ruling APC and the president, Mohammadu Buhari. This can be seen from comments, statements and even press releases by some disgruntled politicians who are pro-maintain the status quo of the old order of the past against the new form of politics regime of the Mohammed Bello administration. When results of the recently concluded presidential and parliamentary elections began to trickle in and it was confirmed that the APC lost the majority votes in the FCT, alarm bell quickly went off in some quarters fingering the minister of the territory as been responsible for the APC ,s defeat and that of the president.
The claim was that the minister’s reluctance to approve money in contravention of the change mantra of the Buhari administration for the purposes of elections in the FCT may have ruined the chances of the APC in the capital city. Those making this statements are the ones that against all efforts by the administration of Mohammed Bello to see the change mantra as a policy that has come to stay, clunged to the dark ages of our country’s electioneering history where our elections are characterised mainly by financial inducements of voters and electoral officers and unpires, among others.
The minister in conformity with the democratic wish of the present administration to deepen the democratic processes allowed the wish of the people to prevail irrespective of the fact that the ruling party is a participant in this election.
I have not seen anywhere in the world that a leader is criticized for doing the right thing as our amiable minister has demonstrated in the last three and years of his appointed as the minister of the federal capital territory. He has been a respecter of the rule of law and all extant laws of the federal Republic of Nigeria which is exemplified by his creation of the enabling environment in the FCT to make our democracy grows.
I want to state here that clearly, what happened in the FCT is that the will of the majority was allowed to prevail in a very peaceful atmosphere as the minister promised before the elections. It is a promise made and fulfilled to the glory of God. The minister at no point promised that he would deliver the FCT to the president or anybody as he has only one vote to deliver to the president which is his and the people has the right to cast their vote to any party or individual of their choice-which is democracy in action. He only gave reasons and soundly too, of the need for the electorate to vote for the APC and invariably the president to continue the people oriented policies of his administration. He has also promised that the elections would be conducted in a peaceful atmosphere as this is unlike the past dispensation in parts of our country where elections are seen as a do or die affair.
We should also recognise that the FCT is not the only stronghold of the APC supposedly that did not lived up to the expectations of the ruling party in the presidential election and even the parliamentary election. In Edo state which is the home state of the APC chairman, Adams Oshiomole, the will of the people prevailed against the expectation of the chairman and that is democracy in action. All of this trend depilates that our democracy is being allowed to evolve and the wish of the people allowed to count. This government by its deliberate action of making the tenets of democracy count will go down in history as the administration that has systematically and pragmatically took us away from the old ways of doing things democratically to new ways of playing politics.
The words going around that the minister is to blame for the president’s loss in the FCT was because he did not dip his hands in the governments coffers to make funds available for electioneering, against the provisions of the constitutions of Nigeria and the electoral act should be seen as a patriotic and accountable act as there is no budgetary provisions made to include buying of votes in the FCT budget by the national assembly which serves as the legislative arm of the FCT administration based on the provision of the 1999 constitution. He has done his work as required of the minister of the FCT which is the provision of security and other incentives that is legally required of the FCT administration to compliment and make the work of INEC which is the electoral umpires work easy.
This is not to say that the recently concluded election in the FCT was perfect as there is no perfect elections anywhere in the world. The elections even in advanced democracies are always improved upon in subsequent elections as there is always rooms for improvements. But what the common denominations of elections required is that the choice and vote of the people should count and be heard clearly and that is what unapologetically in the FCT and the minister is proud of this common feat even though he regrets that his party lost.
It is important for us Nigerians to see the outcome of this elections as the will of the people and not the failure of the minister of whom this critics see as a supposedly appointed strongman that should do the bidding of vested interests electorally against the choice of the people. The mandate given to this minister by the president is that all votes must count and that is what happened and our president is happy that his orders where strictly adhered to.
Musawa sent this piece from Abuja