By Bayo Onanuga
I have witnessed many elections since 1979 and I can say without any equivocation that the 2023 election was the best, the most free and fair, the most transparent. Those who are pillorying the election and INEC, the electoral umpire are simply saying so because the outcome of the election, especially the presidential election did not match their expectation. May God forgive them, especially the men in cassocks, who in their hallucination, had prophesied victory for their favourite candidate, claiming it was a message from God. It must be clear to Nigerians that those clerics were not in any conclave with the Almighty God. Their prediction was their personal desires, which went unfulfilled by God. God surely has other plans for our country and instead chose a man, who has the best leadership pedigree and espouses the best vision to pilot our affairs from 29 May. Man indeed proposes, God disposes. Our clergymen, not satisfied with the divine and INEC verdict have been all out disparaging the election. The latest of them was Cardinal John Onaiyekan of the Catholic Church. News reports said the Octogenarian claimed that the election was rigged. He accused some unidentified people of masterminding the rigging and claimed that God knows those riggers. To Onaiyekan, the alleged machination of ‘those riggers’ made impossible the manifestation of the ‘people’s will’ in the outcome announced by INEC. This lie, nay a malicious propaganda, has been told repeatedly by the opposition parties and their supporters since 1 March when Asiwaju Bola Tinubu was declared as President-elect. The lie has been sold abroad to people who do not have a first-hand information on how INEC conducted the poll. The lie is simply vicious. It must stop. It is a lie for which the purveyors, no matter their status, ought to earn the wrath of God on earth and in heaven. It is not true. Without holding brief for INEC, which has filed its defence at the Tribunal, which begins sitting on 8 May, I repeat again that the 2023 election was the best since the return to democracy in 1999. It was miles ahead of the heavily compromised 2007 election conducted by President Olusegun Obasanjo, wherein the beneficiary of the electoral heist, Umaru Yar’Adua apologised for the embarrassment. Yar’Adua atoned for Obasanjo’s sin by setting up the Justice Uwais Commission to sanitise our election process. Since then, our elections have gotten better, election cycle after election cycle. The introduction of BVAS made a significant difference and made the 2023 election, the most technologically driven poll ever conducted in our country. And the best. BVAS made it impossible for parties to record outlandish numbers in their strongholds. It ensured that only the accredited voters voted. INEC deserves praise not ridicule. All the critics of INEC, on account of the non-transmission of the results recorded at the 176,000 polling units are purely doing so for mischief. The criticism is most misplaced as the so-called result transmission was additional to what happened at the polling unit. It is superfluous. In the presidential and National Assembly elections, all polling units tallied votes cast and each party polling agent was given a copy of Form EC8. Collation of polling unit results was done at the ward level and from there to the council level and then the state level. Political parties usually know how they fared in the election by the time votes are tallied at ward or council level. Parties do not need to wait for INEC upload of polling unit results on its portal to know the entire result of the election. They do not also need to wait for the results announced at the Abuja Collation Centre. In 2015, President Goodluck Jonathan conceded to President Muhammad Buhari before INEC’s announcement, because he and his agents had the figures from all the states. He conceded because he knew the election was already lost to Buhari. In a development that is extremely strange to our politics, the Labour Party and the PDP initially sponsored calls for an interim government. When that did not get traction, they mounted vicious attacks on INEC for not uploading the results on time, using this lapse to vilify an election that was the best in our country. It’s like condemning your bank for not printing a receipt for a credit payment, when the money is already sitting pretty in your account and you have received the alert. The Labour Party and the PDP and their surrogates, some of them lawyers, clerics and some ethnic groups have also mounted desperate campaign for the postponement of the inauguration of the President-elect Bola Ahmed Tinubu on 29 May. Some other groups, including the leading labour and partisan unions, the NLC and TUC, in league with some equally partisan civil society organisations are blackmailing the judges that will handle the petitions against Tinubu’e election. We have never had such post-poll desperation, except this time that we have a Peter Obi on the ballot and an Atiku that is cocksure he has lost his last chance to gun for the nation’s No. 1 seat. Since 1999, every election held has always been disputed by losers. The winners are allowed to be sworn in, while litigation goes on. This was the case in all elections. This is also the trend in the states. This has been the convention. It was the convention when Labour Party Vice presidential candidate, Datti Baba-Ahmed became a senator, representing Kaduna North in 2011 under the platform of Congress for Progressive Change. His challenger went to court. Baba-Ahmed’s victory was upturned, after some months, when he had been sworn in as senator. We cannot change the convention now because some people believe that the men who came second and third in the poll, are pursuing cases in court. They should exercise patience for the judiciary to decide whether they have any strong case to invalidate Tinubu’s victory. The judiciary has always supported litigants when they have ‘substantial’ proof that they were rigged out of an election. As the tribunal begins sitting today, let Labour and its senior partner, the PDP stop further blackmail of the judiciary. Enough is Enough.
Below are some reactions to Bayo Onanuga’s tweet.
The judiciary has to get this right otherwise they will create situation where Hushpuppy will come back to become Nigerian president after 10-30 years. I am just warning you about the implications of Tinubu’s case and do not complain it happens.
Hushpuppy no be Nigerian,if he dey qualify why he no go become president.U wey they talk self,shey u hand clean Abi u can swear with ur life that u never do any kind of social and civil fraud before! Mr man all of us are thief, just that it all get level. No act like saint here
In which country has a convict bcom a president? Kaiii tribalism has really eaten u deep
How dare you insult the sensibilities of Nigerians this man? An elections with an unqualified candidate & one in which your party men stated that it was pure “magic” in Rivers, Benue, Nassarawa, Lagos and other states?! Cooked figures, Tipex, cancellations for APC everywhere. Fake results Still declared on an unconstitutional grounds on non compliance in FCT. I believe if you keep shut, your mouth won’t smell.
That’s his definition of free and fair nau; you no get?. And he has the effrontery to insult men in cassock; the same men you sought their endorsement and when they refused you guys resulted to getting fake pastors. GOD will judge You and your likes in full measure.
Do you know what your APC supporters did to GEJ in 2015 elections You’re benefiting from the system so why won’t the election be free and fair to you 2023 election was the worst election ever Inec and everyone who rigged the election must face the law, we have a constitution
Claiming that the 2023 rigged election was the best even while those within your camp have always adjudged the 1993 election as the best in the history of our nation simply shows how dishonest and shameless you’re. The APC is a bunch of hypocrites- who are willing to do anything to get to power. We all know you’re only trying to position yourself and doing everything possible to please your paymasters but Nigerians know the truth and no matter how hard you and your bunch of thieves try, you can’t rewrite the fact that what happened on the 25th of Feb. 2025 was a coup against the people of Nigeria who overwhelmingly rejected your candidate at the polls. If the Judiciary refuse to invalidate that sham of an election, then it simply means they have compromised as majority of Nigerians have envisaged and the judiciary of Nigeria will forever be seen as an assembly of thieves and co-coup plotters just as the INEC. We are also not going to forget so soon the comments made by the man who leads the judiciary at a political function in portharcourt, where he said he was happy with the G5 governors. Such statement only attest to the fact that the judiciary cannot be trusted to deliver a fair judgement in this case with the likes of Ariwoola leading the charge. We know your party is in a bad situation at the moment with the petitions put forward by the opposition parties and we equally understand your frustrations and the moral burden you’re struggling with. If a man steals something, naturally he will have to be disturbed but the criminal in him, will always make him deny he stole. So we understand and you lots will not escape this.
The man is just shameless
I’ll respond to the first paragraph only… no time to read long lies this morning. Mr Bayo, do you not have shame? I mean just because you’ve witnessed elections since 1979 doesn’t necessarily make you the standard for election observation. Talking about 1979 like the people who weren’t observing for that long couldn’t have read up how elections have gone in Nigeria with 1993 assumed to be the most free and fair election so far.
Keep saying it the way it is