3 Comments » May 6th, 2007 posted by // Categories: General Articles


Seyi Oduyela



It is interesting to read reports on how the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) rigged the 2007 elections but what really surprises me is not the rigging but the noise about the rigging. I do not understand why there is so much noise about the rigging as if it is a new thing. They rigged in 1999 and 2003; and I do not see any difference in what happened last month. The problem is not in the rigging but how and why we allowed it. Do we have choice? Could it have been prevented? Who rigged who? I do not think there is nobody who did not know that the election would not be free and fair. We all knew it, we all saw it coming.


It all started after the demise of General Sani Abacha. Abdusalami Abubakar set up the transition program to hand over power to civilians and through the PDP, made Obasanjo the President. When some people were calling for a National conference to address the national question, some who were interested in political offices were calling for support for the Abubakar’s transition program. They argued that we should let the military go first and we shall deal with the issue later. The military left on May 29 1999 and in 2007 we are yet to deal with the issue of national question.


After the February election in 1999, Chief Olu Falae went to court to challenge the PDP victory, but along the line, just as we are hearing now, some “influential” Nigerians persuaded him to drop the case and he did. Who are these influential Nigerians? Did they vote at the election? Was Falae going to represent these influential Nigerians when he gets to office or the people of Nigeria who went out on the Election Day to vote for him? His decision to yield to the persuasion of these “influential” Nigerians showed who Falae actually represented, definitely not the poor people of Nigeria who believed in him. He betrayed the trust because he is part of the same oppressive establishment.


In 2003, we saw Obasanjo and Atiku claiming victory and they both got an extension of 4 years in office. Atiku knew they rigged, he knew he rigged in his own state of Adamawa and all other parts of the country. In fact, the Federal Court of Appeal ruled that Obasanjo did not win in Ogun State, his home state though the Supreme Court ruled otherwise later on. To Atiku, 2003 election was a landslide victory for PDP but now he is crying foul of being rigged out.  It is good sometimes for us to experience life at the other side of the coin. Everything is temporary and floating. Nothing is permanent. It is more understandable if Buhari cries foul, but Atiku cry foul?


I was wondering why the so-called opposition did not boycott the April 21 election after they saw the April 14 rigging and heard both the domestic and international monitoring group reports. The National Assembly could not do anything as many of them are beneficiaries of the rigging process. When the executive branch of the government failed; people had expected the national law makers to take step but they were no where to be found.


It is very difficult for me to believe that there are pressures on Atiku not to challenge the election of Yar’Adua in court. There are two ways to this. It is either the Nigerian media is being used to massage Atiku’s depleted ego or someone is proving a political stunt on us. What does Atiku stand to gain in the cancellation of the election? Nothing but opportunity to participate in another election. The only person who has a chance of upstaging Yar’Adua is Buhari. According to the election results, Buhari came second and Atiku third. Even without Buhari, Atiku does not stand the chance of defeating Yar’Adua. This is a fact; and I do not see him defeating Buhari either.


It really shows how unserious Atiku is in leading Nigeria and Nigerians that he left for London after he was allegedly rigged out of a presidential election. If the election meant anything to him and the future of Nigeria is important to him, I think he should be in Nigeria now and not even on a vacation in neighboring Republic of Benin. Al Gore did not leave America for Canada after the 2000 election; John Kerry did not leave for London either. It is only in Nigeria we see things like that happening. Buhari stayed back at home while Atiku traveled to London to do what?


If the opposition had stayed away from the April 21 election the situation would have been different today. Their boycott would have given support to the monitoring group reports that the April 14 election was fraught with colossal irregularities. They all lack the political will to do that. Some have even been saying that Nigerians should not give Obasanjo the opportunity to stay longer than May 29; as a result, they should accept Yar’Adua. But what I think these people miss is the fact that the call for re-election does not necessarily mean an extension for Obasanjo. What it means is a vote of no confidence on Obasanjo and Atiku, these two guys should resign and the Senate President be allowed to head an interim government to conduct a free and fair election. So far, Mr. Ken Nnamani has proved to the world and Nigerians that he is no push over Senate President, though he is surrounded by people with questionable agenda at the Senate, but they way the Third Term agenda was handled showed he remains impartial. And the fact that he turned down overtures to become a Vice Presidential candidate has placed him in a more credible position to do the job. In Turkey, the opposition stayed away from the presidential election when they sensed rigging, now the country is calling for re-election because the non-participation of opposition rendered the election invalid.  


I listened to Atiku on Friday April 20 in an interview on BBC saying that he decided to participate in the election to have locus standi to challenge the election results in court. This is where the problem lies. Okay, let us assume that was his reason; what he failed to realize is that the issue is more complex and does not need legal solution but political solution. Someone who believed he would have won the election should be confident enough to test his political by calling for boycott. This would have prevented what happened on April 21. Everybody knew the election would not be free and fair, especially from what we all saw on Aril 14. But contrary to what Atiku told BBC, he came out to contest because, according to Nigerian press, Buhari broke their agreement. The opposition had planned to boycott the April 21 election but Buhari later decided to run and Atiku then decided to run.


I am also surprised that other presidential candidates are not making efforts to challenge the election result. Probably because they thought they will not benefit from the case. If the election was cancelled, what would be their benefit? This goes to show that most of these people are interested in the personal political gains and for the interest of the people of Nigeria. Every Presidential candidate has the legal right to challenge the election results. I do not think it should be left for Atiku or Buhari to do. This is the time for them to show how serious they feel about Nigeria. By keeping quiet they are doing the Nigerian people a disservice.





Ribadu is enjoying his moment but how far can he deceive Nigerians and for how long can this go?





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3 Responses to “THE 2007 ELECTION: A VICIOUS CYCLE”

  1. ananimous says:

    i can not wait to read your article on nuhu ribadu. i hope it will be as good as that of SAINT EL-RUFAI

  2. pmdaboh says:

    I hope and pray the next time the election rolls around, it will be fair, well structured, safe, and civilized. This election was what it was, so now let us make plans on how it can be implemented on a higher level next time!

  3. MoAl says:

    I agree … but the steps needed to reach a fair and effective election process are many, so now the question is, where do you start?

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