Presidential election in the FCT and a new type of politics

March 15th, 2019

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

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