2023 General Elections Heroes of Democracy: Buhari and COAS Make List
The Year 2023 General Elections have come and gone. The electioneering started with internal elections within the parties through which the respective political parties elected their representatives who would contest against other political parties during the general elections. The process further climaxed to rigorous campaigns by the leading contestants in the presidential and other contests. From the inception of the internal democratic processes to the end of the general elections, it has been full of intrigues, dramas, display of emotions, exchange of ethical and non ethical communications as well as violence.
Most of the controversies that trailed the conduct of internal party elections were also conspicuously displayed during the general elections. There were governmental policies to ensure free and fear elections, there were cross carpeting, exchange of money as well as gifts, vote buying using different strategies and tactics as the case maybe and there were violence, ethnic intervention so also was spiritual interventions. Spiritual intervention in politics you would say? Yes! There were political mobilization around religious and ethnic lines.
In all these dramas, some individuals and organisations based on Secured Naija Judgement, stood out by not contributing to heating the polity, or by giving balanced analysis of political issues or by ensuring a free and fair elections by their acts. Some of these individuals and organisations shall be brought to the public viewing prism. These would be measured under security, media, political intervention, integrity, respect for Rules of law, Respect for Fundamental Human Rights and Voters Zeal to exercise their civic responsibility.
Our first Hero of Democracy in ensuring a successful elections in year 2023 is President Mohammadu Buhari. It could be recalled that the President assented to the new electoral bill on midday on Friday 25 February 22. This was his first step to a robust and free and fair elections. Furthermore, In a conversation at United States Institute of Peace, he was pressed on whether the INEC election authority is prepared to manage a credible election. The president assured, “I would say they are, because I made sure they were given all the resources they asked for,” He further stated, “I don’t want any excuse that they were denied funds by the government. … INEC has not complained, and certainly they could not complain, that they were denied resources to make sure that their infrastructure is firmly in place.” That their infrastructure is firmly in place? Then Nigerians should put it across to the electoral umpire while their infrastructure broke down, not the President. Buhari did what he should.
Not only that, Baba played neutral throughout the electioneering, though he campaigned for his party flag bearer as expected in a party politics, he showed that he was the president of all and not of the APC. Buhari said he would give a level playing ground for all to prove their worth, he did it. He said the electorates should vote for whom they wanted. what a great man full of integrity. President Buhari also assented to the sudden change of Nigeria’s legal tender to curtail insecurity during the elections and curbed vote buying. Great intention!!! though, it backfired due to wrong implementation, nevertheless, Buhari is not Central Bank nor Ministry of Finance, he did what he should again and indeed helped against vote buying and insecurity.
There were criticism that the President should have intervened when the electoral umpire refused to listen to the calls of some aggrieved political parties when the election result collation was ongoing. This would have been termed influencing the umpire who was expected to be independent. The president displayed courage and stick to his words , not to influence the process, by not intervening at that point because the decision of INEC is final unless the Court says otherwise, not if Buhari says otherwise. On this note, we congratulate President Buhari for this uncommon integrity to give our Nation a standard electoral process. Congratulations sir. You are our No 1 Hero of Democracy.
Lt Gen F Yahaya (COAS) and Nigerian Army
The Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lieutenant General Faruk Yahaya is our renowned No 2 hero of Democracy. Yahaya was born on 5 January 1966 in Sifawa, Bodinga Local Government Area of Sokoto state. A member of the 37 Regular Course of the prestigious Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA), started his cadet training on 27 September 1985 and was commissioned into the Nigerian Army Infantry Corps on 22 September 1990. He is a great general as described by his subordinates, he is firm, but fair, caring and jovial.
In the build up to the 2023 general elections, the COAS has so many times tasked and warned his troops against unprofessional conducts and political involvement during the electioneering and elections period. He mobilised the Chief of Operations Nigerian Army to go round the whole country to educate the troops on professionalism during this delicate period. The Army also published a code of conduct for troops during the election which the Army codenamed as Ops Safe conduct. The COAS was neutral, he was apolitical and refused all forms of inducement which translated into the professional conducts of troops during the elections. There were commendations from many quarters including international and local observers, the media, celebrities and common men, thanking the Army for ensuring safety of voters and remaining apolitical. It should be mentioned that while some security agencies compromised, Army stood their ground. For instance, an officer was induced with 100 million naira to rig election for a party, he refused. While there are few bad eggs, majority of soldiers lived above board. The commendation would not be complete without mentioning the gallantry, maturity, professionalism and neutrality of Nigerian Army troops in Lagos state. Kudos to Them.
Worth of mentioning are some ugly incidents that occurred across the nation which could have attracted “ Fellow Nigerians” some years ago. Some of these include the artificial scarcity of fuel, cash crunch, ethnic profiling, massive election malpractices, these incidents were enough reasons for the military to effect a change of government by force, but they focused on their statutory mandate, reiterating their loyalty to the democratically elected government.
They have, at every forum, demonstrated their loyalty to civil authorities. That is why this commendations and recognition for being loyal, apolitical, for resisting the urge to, once again, get themselves tainted in politics. It is therefore a pride to place our gallant COAS and members of the Army at the same pedestal of civilisation as their colleagues in advanced democracies all over the world. It is not a gain saying that the military is the remaining institution in Nigeria that promotes national unity. It is the hope for a workable united Nigeria. We say congratulations to our indefatigable COAS and his men.
“The pastor and the mother in me will not permit me to do anything that will adversely affect the future of our children,”
Prof Nnenna Nnannaya-Oti
Prof Nnenna Oti is the Vice Chancellor of the Federal University of Technology, Owerri and the Returning officer of Abia State in the just concluded elections. Born on 15 November 1958, a professor and the first female substantive Vice-Chancellor of FUTO. Oti resumed office as the 8th Vice-Chancellor of the institution on 19 June 2021. Oti was the returning officer in the Abia state governorship election and was hailed for the key role she played in ensuring that the election outcome was not compromised, despite attempts and pressure from political actors of the ruling PDP in the state to bribe her, the mother of 3, who sworn to protect the future of her children and the Nigerian youths stood her ground. While being pressured, Prof Nnenna Nnannaya-Oti said she will do the right of the people and protect democratic values. “I shall stand squarely and unapologetically on these principles. The people’s votes and mandate shall stand, she affirmed.
Secured Naija say a big congratulations to Prof Mrs Oti because of her doggedness, integrity and uncommon courage. We dare say, If all staff of INEC displayed integrity and courage like Oti, the just-concluded 2023 general election would have been more credible.
While narrating her ordeal, Oti told the members of staff and students of FUTO who gave her a hero’s welcome after the elections that: “I have never in my life participated in any election. But duty came calling. I made enquiries from Abuja and I said ‘if I perish, I perish’. “They came with their threats; they came with their money; they came with their intimidation. I am unshakable.” “I didn’t start today. I stand here before God and Jesus Christ. I have never defrauded anyone. Under me, votes must count; under me, the people’s mandate must be upheld…,” she explained. Secured Naija unequivocally proposed and recommend her as the next INEC National Chairman for a free and fair 2027 elections. We also request the federal government to honour her with a national award. Congratulations to her.
Voters Zeal and Resilience
Mrs Jennifer Efidi
Mrs Jenifa Efidi became our hero of democracy and a symbol of bravery, tenacity and resilience after returning to cast her vote in the just concluded presidential and National Assembly elections. Jenifa had a bottle attack by political thugs at a polling unit in Surulere Lagos State, she however, resisted being intimidated or prevented from exercising her right to vote despite several bruises and shock as a result of the attack as she later in the day, went back to the polling booth to cast her ballot. With this, she won the respect and support of many Nigerians, including APC National Chairman, The Presidential Candidate of the LP, Peter Obi and many other. We at Secured Naija celebrate her courage, resilience and sense of patriotism. She is one of our heroes of democracy and we request the federal government to honour her with a national award.