Nigerians Divided Over Buhari’s Victory

The declaration of President Muhammadu Buhari as winner of Nigeria’s presidential election has attracted mixed reactions among Nigerians in Ghana.

While a section of the Nigerians the Daily Graphic spoke to in Accra yesterday said the victory was well deserved because the President was working hard to turn the country’s economy around, others said the election was rigged and that the outcome was not a reflection of the reality on the ground.

Winner & legal action

The sitting President, Mr Buhari, was last Tuesday declared the winner of the country’s election after results showed that he claimed 56 per cent of the vote.

With ballots from all 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, counted, Buhari’s All Progressives Congress (APC) garnered 15.2 million votes, while his main contender, Mr Atiku Abubakar of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP). obtained 11.3 million votes.

 The election turnout was 35.6 per cent, compared with 44 per cent in the 2015 presidential election.

Declaring the results, the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Mahmood Yakubu, told election officials and reporters in the early hours of yesterday, said “Muhammadu Buhari of the APC, having satisfied the requirement of the law and scored the highest number of votes, is hereby declared the winner.”

Buhari won in 19 states – including the two most populous, Lagos and Kano – while Abubakar was victorious in 17.

Mr Abubakar has, however, described the elections as a “sham” and has vowed to challenge it in court.

“If I had lost a free and fair election, I would have called the victor within seconds of my being aware of his victory and offer not just my congratulations, but my services to unite Nigeria,” he said in a statement.

President Akufo-Addo congratulates him

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo congratulated President Muhammadu Buhari on his re-election for a second successive term, saying his re-election was a renewal of the confidence the Nigerian people had in his programme of governance.

President Akufo-Addo also congratulated the ruling party, All Progressives Congress (APC), for maintaining control in an emphatic manner over the Senate and the House of Representatives.

“It is my sincere hope that President Buhari will continue on the path of delivering unity, security, progress and prosperity to the Nigerian people. It is also my overriding hope that, during his second term, the already strong relations between Ghana and Nigeria will be deepened even further, on a shared agenda of stability, security, development and prosperity,” he said.

He also commended the PDP presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, for a vigorous, well-fought campaign, and applauded his decision to ventilate his dissatisfaction with the results of the election through a constitutional process.

“It is testimony to his credentials as a well-established statesman. Strengthening the frontiers of Nigerian democracy, and consolidating the peace and stability of Nigeria, Africa’s giant, which are important for the progress of our region and continent,” President Akufo-Addo stated.

Reactions in support of Buhari

Commenting on the outcome of the election, a former senior journalist of the  Daily Graphic, Alhaji El Alawa, who is a Ghanaian of Nigerian origin, welcomed the re-election of President  Buhari, describing it as a victory for democracy and the fight against corruption.

“Buhari is incorruptible; he has been fighting corruption since his early days. I believe he is a better choice as compared to Atiku,” he said.

On the decision of Atiku to reject the results, Alhaji Alawa said that was the normal reaction of most politicians in Africa.

“Atiku has all the rights to complain and protest, but that’s the behaviour of politicians in Africa when they lose elections. He has not been able to prove any act of irregularities or rigging ,” he added.

A leader of a Nigerian group in Kasoa in the Central Region, Mr Murtala Seidu, said most Nigerians were happy that President Buhari won the election.

“Even though Nigeria is going through some tough moments economically, since President Buhari came to power, he has tried to put in place structures to ensure that issues that continue to slow down the country’s development are addressed,” he said.

Mr Seidu, particularly, mentioned President Buhari’s commitment and determination to fight corruption in the country as one of the key indicators that got him more votes.

A cross-country driver, Mr Smart Adelosope, said preparation for the election was good as compared to past elections.

“It is good that President Buhari has won the elections; this will allow him to continue his good works.

“I always say that one needs to endure the pain so that we can enjoy the gain, a country that has been destroyed for 16 years. I think the man is really working,” he said.

Reaction in support of Atiku Abubakar

Another member of a Nigerian group at SCC, near Kasoa in Accra, Mr Aregon Abiola, however, expressed shock at the outcome of the election, arguing that the election was rigged.

“This is no secret that the APC rigged the election. I can tell you for a fact that in Nigeria now, nobody is jubilating. How can people vote for a government they are not happy with? he asked.

Mr Abiola said the 2019 election was fraught with many irregularities before, during and after the voting was done.

“I am shocked and still in pain. I believe many Nigerians in Ghana are feeling the same way,” he added.

Other reactions

Some other Nigerian residents who spoke to the Daily Graphic said President Buhari’s win would not inure to the benefit of Nigerians.

An IT specialist who gave his name only as Ugochuwku said the election was proof that Africans had a long way to go.

“Times are hard yet we voted for the people who put us in this current state of suffering and poverty. No wonder people say we are the headquarters of poverty in Africa.

I personally think the election was rigged because everyone seems to be upset, so the question is who voted for them?” he said.

Another Nigerian who also gave his name as TJ said “we wanted an umbrella but God gave us rain again. So we will take it like that. It's only prayers that will see us through.

Another cross-country driver, Mr Charles Nelson, said “I’m not happy but that is the way God wants it.

“The man is not physically fit to control more than 200 million people. The economy is dwindling, and for the past four years that he has been President, I have never seen what he has done for the citizens.

“People are seriously complaining in Nigeria; we don’t have light, no good roads, we don’t even have National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) like Ghana, the government does not care for us, so we need someone who is very vibrant that can run the country.”