Peter Obi, the Labour Party’s (LP) candidate for president, has characterized Nigeria’s just ended presidential election as the worst ever held in the nation.
This was said by Mr. Obi in an interview that aired on Thursday’s Channels TV Sunrise Daily morning show.
He bemoaned that the process fell well short of expectations despite repeated assurances by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to ensure that the polls were effective and credible with the aid of BVAS technology and the enormous cash spent for the exercise.
“We have seen probably what I consider the worst election in our recent history because of the Electoral law (Act) of 2022 which gave so much hope and the huge expenditure we put into technology. Do you know what it means to spend over $1bn? So, there was so much that was promised and then we went back to what it used to be. For me, that is very devastating,” Mr Obi said.
The former governor of Anambra State bemoaned that several rating agencies had reduced the country’s rating as a result of INEC’s poor performance in the election and its inability to pledge to publish election results in real-time on its platform.
“Look at how they downgraded us globally all over the newspaper. Starting from the Financial Times to the Economists to Chatham House to institutions that don’t make comments to start making comments bringing us so low in the committee of nations. Even one of the rating agencies downgrades our ratings.”
“A nation as large as Nigeria, the continent’s colossus and purportedly a cause for celebration on a worldwide scale, is unable to hold a straightforward election 63 years after gaining independence. For me, the fight is still ongoing, and we need to turn things around, Mr. Obi remarked.
The LP candidate responded when questioned about the main reasons why this election was the worst in Nigerian history: “The issue of the so-called BVAS, which I have amended to “Basic Value Acceptable,”… You therefore made a commitment to hold an election using a specific procedure, but that procedure was a total failure.
When asked if he was affected personally during the interview on Thursday, Mr. Obi responded, “I am not personally hurt, I am not personally upset, but I am for my nation and the future it portends for the young ones and the future generations because we must construct a better environment for them. Our society’s future is at stake.
“My generation would say we have lost it. We must build a better place for them. And building a better place is why I am saddened. I can assure anybody that if today I were to be in service, Nigeria would not spend nearly what it spent and we would have a first-class election that would be celebrated globally.”
Everyone “placed so much stress on the law and the technology,” he said again, describing the exercise’s inadequacies as “when you promise so much and don’t even meet the minimum.”
Every time an election is announced globally, according to Mr. Obi, it improves the society’s ratings, but the way the most recent presidential election was conducted has further depressed the spirits of young people who had high hopes for the outcome.
Mr. Obi claimed that he and his party had contacted INEC with a request to view the election-related papers and that he is confident that the commission is complying.