The president of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Yakubu Mai Kyau has said the presidential and National Assembly elections left behind many positive takeaways for the country.
Nigeria held presidential and National Assembly elections on 25 February. Bola Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress (APC) emerged victorious ahead of Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Peter Obi of the Labour Party and Rabiu Kwankwaso of the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP).
Mr Mai Kyau, who spoke on a Channels TV programme, Politics Today Thursday night, said the election was not without its shortcomings but could pass as a revolution.
He said witnessing eight different political parties winning election into the national assembly was “quite revolutionary.”
“Now, talking about positives from the last election, quite a lot of them. And irrespective of the lapses that we’ve seen in the last election, there is so much to take from the last election. There has not been such a revolutionary election as the one we had on the 25 of February… For the first time in my assessment, you can’t have any arrogance of any political party going into the determination of who becomes what in the national assembly for instance. You’ve to align with other parties. Labour Party, Peoples Democratic Party, the APC. There are about eight political parties that have won elections into the parliament.
“You see a sitting governor losing an election. My own brother, who is from my state, and my own state governor also lost the election. Many of those governors lost the election. The president-elect lost Lagos. That was almost unthinkable. The Vice Presidential candidate of the PDP lost his state to Labour Party as a sitting governor. The president (Muhammadu Buhari) who is for the ruling party also lost his own state to PDP. I mean a lot of these things that we never thought would happen,” Mr Kyau said.
The Kebbi State-born lawyer said some Nigerians didn’t consider those positives and instead became emotional over the outcome.
“I think we should not allow emotions to becloud some of the positives that we’ve got in this election. I’m one person who believes we make progress steadily. It might be slow but no matter how little, we should acknowledge and build on it. I think we’ve made a lot of progress and that should actually energize Nigerians to come out and vote on Saturday,” he said.
He said Nigerians should recognise what was achieved in the last election and come out en masse and vote for their preferred candidates in the gubernatorial and state assemblies elections.
Impunity is over
Mr Mai kyau said with the outcome of the elections, it is obvious that political impunity is over in Nigeria.
He called on the political class to recognize the status of the people of the country
“For the political class, it’s clear that the time of impunity is long gone. The time has come for the political class to begin to recognize the interest of the people because there is a lot of awareness among the people. Long gone are the days when you take advantage of the illiteracy of the Nigerian public. Nigerian public even if not educated are well informed about their rights and they go about choosing who they desire to lead them on the basis of their independent assessment of those people.
“The time has come for the political class to be people-minded in what they do because that’s the only thing that will drive us to the place we all desire to reach…,” he said.
Mr Mai Kyau also said the use of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) served as a game changer in the elections
He said during the elections, the NBA had members across the country sending reports directly to the association’s situation room in Abuja
READ ALSO: Nigeria: Press freedom, freedom of expression and the civic space, By Lanre
“Whatever we’ve done or whatever we’re still going to do would be based on the reports we receive from the field of people that have gone there and have first-hand experience of what they witnessed in the polling units in the course of either observing the election or casting their vote,” he said.
He said he believed the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has learnt some lessons from the presidential election with the way election materials are being sent to states and local government areas in time which he said was not the case during the 25 February elections.
Support PREMIUM TIMES' journalism of integrity and credibility
Good journalism costs a lot of money. Yet only good journalism can ensure the possibility of a good society, an accountable democracy, and a transparent government.
For continued free access to the best investigative journalism in the country we ask you to consider making a modest support to this noble endeavour.
By contributing to PREMIUM TIMES, you are helping to sustain a journalism of relevance and ensuring it remains free and available to all.
TEXT AD: Call Willie - +2348098788999