President Muhammadu Buhari deserves more credit than he is getting for not interfering with the processes during the just concluded 2023 general elections.
The Buhari Media Organisation, BMO, says the President lived up to his billing by providing a level playing ground for all parties, and not joining the fray in any manner or form.
In a statement signed by its Chairman, Niyi Akinsiju, and Secretary, Cassidy Madueke, the group said that this was truly remarkable, especially as the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, lost some of its major strongholds to opposition parties.
“What President Muhammadu Buhari did by not deploying what is known locally as federal might is something that many Nigerians are not used to.
“Even before now, off-season elections on the President’s watch have been known to have been conducted under a good atmosphere, so we were not surprised to see that he did not do what some of his predecessors were known to have done.
“Here is a man whose party has no recent history of losing an election in his home state of Katsina, but we all witnessed how APC and its candidate lost in that state.
“Same scenario played out in Lagos State, which is also a major stronghold of the ruling party and the home state of Bola Tinubu, APC’s presidential candidate. Tinubu, now President-elect, lost the state to an opposition party.
“These two examples show that Buhari stood above the political fray and refused to do what an average Nigerian political leader would do.
“We see this as an affirmation of what U.S President Joe Biden saw when he described the Nigerian President as a model of democracy in Africa,” the group said.
The BMO said that there were indeed signs that democracy is maturing in the country despite scattered incidents of violence.
“We at BMO are pleasantly surprised that quite a number of governors and former governors lost their respective bids for the senate, a situation that could never have been envisaged in the past, let alone happen.
“There was also at least one incident where a speaker of a State house of assembly who had spent 20 years in the legislative chamber was defeated by a 25-year old politician.
“Also a number of young Nigerians who dares to take advantage of the not-too-young-to-run Act succeeded in getting seats in states Houses of Assembly and indeed the National Assembly.
“For us, these are clear indicators that under President Buhari’s watch, democracy in Nigeria is not only maturing but taking firm roots.
“And just like the President said recently, voters across the country were able to make their own decision, on who won and who lost.
“We however acknowledge pockets of voter suppression, intimidation and violence in some states but those acts are not widespread enough to water down the success of the polls”.
BMO reaffirmed that the President would be better appreciated after he has left office, when people think back on the 2023 elections.