As he ends his two terms as president on Monday, President Muhammadu Buhari declared in Abuja on Sunday that he is leaving behind a credible, fair, and transparent electoral process.
Buhari claimed that the triumph of candidates who appeared to be at a disadvantage over their well-funded rivals who relied on godfathers is evidence of his legacy.
In a televised farewell message aired early Sunday, the outgoing President said “To ensure that our democracy remains resilient and our elected representatives remain accountable to the people, I am leaving behind an electoral process which guarantees that votes count, results are credible, elections are fair and transparent and the influence of money in politics reduced to the barest minimum. And Nigerians can elect leaders of their choice.”
According to him, “We are already seeing the outcome of this process as it provided an even playing field where persons without any political God-Father or access to money defeated other well-resourced candidates.”
Like the presidential and National Assembly elections, however, the state elections held last March were reportedly marred by irregularities especially with INEC’s failure to upload results electronically.
But on several fora, Buhari had hailed the process as largely successful.
Addressing a delegation led by the newly installed Emir of Dutse, Muhammad Sunusi, at the State House on April 6, Buhari cited 10 All Progressives Congress governors who lost their senatorial bids.
He said the loss speaks of the electoral reforms his regime initiated by signing into law the Electoral Act amendment Bill in February 2022.
“Assumption is always that you are Governor for eight years and you go to the Senate to crown the career. No one should underrate the Nigerian voter anymore. Politics will be more difficult, henceforth,” Buhari said.