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Mainstream Media Coverage Of Nigeria’s 2023 Presidential Election – Bashir Yusuf Ibrahim



Bashir Yusuf Ibrahim



Bashir Yusuf Ibrahim

A casual observation of media coverage of the 2023 general election since it became clear APC was set to win the presidential election, inexorably leads one to the conclusion that the mainstream media, particularly Channels and Arise TV, is committed to doing everything possible to delegitimize the election because it could not accept the victory of APC’s Muslim/Muslim ticket. The Muslim/Muslim ticket has confounded media pundits and flies in the face of a certain ideological-cum-sectarian worldview, deeply rooted in Nigeria’s mainstream media.

The media coverage of the presidential election continues to be terribly one-sided without any semblance of balance and objectivity. If one were to judge the quality of the election by what is reported in the mainstream media only and not by what is actually happening on the ground across the nation, one would think APC is the only party guilty of electoral offences and that the 2023 general election was the worst election ever in Nigeria, worse than Prof Maurice Iwu’s election of 2007. Yet, the truth is, APC appears to be the only party in the election that failed to benefit from its incumbency both at the national and sub-national levels. Fuel scarcity, the Naira redesign policy and internal friction between the federal centre and APC-controlled states in the middle of the elections extracted a heavy electoral price on the Party both at the Federal and State levels.

I have never witnessed an election in which the ruling party was so thoroughly trounced in its stronghold and in virtually all the areas it should have won hands down. It should have been obvious to those who continue to cling to the claim of election rigging that if a party can not rig an election in its stronghold, how is it possible that it is able to rig the election in other areas? It should also have been obvious that APC benefited from the splitting of ranks and, consequently, of fragmentation of votes within the opposition and among the other contending candidates and parties – LP, NNPP, PDP and its G-5 renegade governors. All these forces were on the same side in Nigeria’s 2019 presidential election. It would have been nothing short of a miracle for any of these fragmented forces to unseat a party in power at the centre and in about two-thirds of the States of the fedeation.

Here is an illustration of how the fragmented opposition helped APC win the presidential election: Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the candidate of APC, won the election without leading in the two States with the highest number of registered voters in the federation – his home State of Lagos and Kano. However, these two States were won by two different parties in the opposition – LP and NNPP, respectively – whereas PDP won only a token percentage of the votes in both Lagos and Kano. Who then rigged PDP out of victory in Lagos and Kano? Was it Tinubu’s APC or was it LP and NNPP, respectively, that did the rigging? What would have been the outcome of the election in these two States if the PDP did not effectively break into smaller units?

Objectively speaking, both LP and NNPP are breakaway parties that essentially ended up as provincial parties, without a chance in a thousand of winning the presidential election. The freak performance of LP in Plateau was purely due to the appeal of LP among Christian voters in Northern Nigeria, who innocently bought into the divisive campaign of those who lost the running mate contest to Sen Kashim Shettima. It is not accidental that the sectarian campaign did not take root in the neighbouring state of Benue, the only other State in Nothern Nigeria with a majority Christian population, because the leading opposition figure there, Governor Ortom, was caught in the G-5 quagmire and the APC flag bearer there is a leading Christian figure. The provincial nature of the parties made it possible for LP to carry a token percentage of the votes in Kano while NNPP carried another token in Lagos.

Outside Lagos, LP is strong only in the South Eastern Nigeria, where the presidential candiate of the party comes from, while NNPP is strong only in Kano, where the presidential candiate of the party comes from. This fragmentation of voting power can not be helpful to both parties or to the opposition. In hindsight, we can now only imagine what could have happened if Peter Obi and Rabiu Kwankawso ran the contest on a joint ticket. On the other hand, Bola Tinubu came a close second in Lagos and harvested over half a million votes in Kano. The sum total of the performance of oppostion parties in the election supports the thesis of wilful fragmentation but it does not support the claim of rigging.

Then, there is the claim that INEC rigged the election for APC by its failure to upload the close to 200,000 polling unit results in real time on its IReV portal. Uploading the results of the election on the IReV portal is just one of close to 43 public activities INEC had to undertake to deliver a successful election. Admittedly, this is a critical failure on the part of INEC for which it has received disproportionate and unfair criticism. INEC made a claim that it ran into a technical glitch with this aspect of its operations. This claim is technically verifiable but little, if any attention was paid to it by the opposition and there was zero attempt to investigate it by the mainstream media. If an investigation by any media organisation took place, it has not been made public yet, to the best of my knowledge. Anyone remotely familiar with information technology must know that the larger the size of data, the slower the upload speed, simple. All the conspiracy theories have so far remained just that – conspiracy theories – unsupported by credible data.

The fact that INEC was able to successfully deliver on the IReV aspect of its operations during past, off-season elections, does not necessarily preclude the possibility of technical failure during the general elections, when all the results from all the polling units across the 36 States and FCT had to be uploaded at once, in real time. The only way to know for sure if this aspect of INEC’s operations was going to deliver as promised was during the general election, itself. Unfortunately, this did not materialise and INEC must take the responsibility and the blame for overpromising and for poor communication when it eventually ran into this technical failure. But, to date, there is no hard data to support the claim INEC rigged the presidential election in favour of the winner. The opposition must seize the opportunity to present such hard evidence at the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal, not on the streets or at INEC Headquaters, as it attempted to do, days after the results of the elections were made official.

Looking at the election numbers with an open mind, it is obvious APC won the election, fair and square, not in a landslide manner like other ruling parties do in Africa but by making a strong showing in areas with higher voter population and coming a close second in virtually every other area. Clearly, that was appears to be the strategy behind the Muslim/Muslim ticket and nothing more. Those who read other motives into it have either missed the point or are using it to push a worldview totally at odds with the intended purpose, which is to win the election, or else have used it to manipulate voters because they or their proxies have lost the contest for a slot on the APC presidential ticket

On its part, the mainstream media conveniently and deliberately refused to look at the numbers. It is just blindly committed to deligitimising the election so that APC’s Muslim/Muslim ticket continues to be untenable in Nigeria and its victory tainted by allegations of rigging. On the face of it, this blind and irrational ideological-cum-sectarian worldview, deeply rooted in Nigeria’s mainstream media, is deeply flawed. It is emotional and sentimental and is not in the best interest of Nigeria. Sectarian considerations are bad for elections anywhere and portend grave danger for the future of democracy in Nigeria.

Elections are not won by the powerful deployment of the media alone and, certainly, not won and lost on the basis of sentiment and emotion but, more fundamentally, on the basis of correct demographic combinations. A political party or candidate that misses this point and relies solely on sentiment, emotion and the power of the media alone, will continue to play second fiddle in Nigeria’s political arithmetic. If APC had been intimidated, browbitten, made to succumb to the sectarian blackmail that preceded the election and made to pick the wrong combinations, it may still not have outrightly lost the election but it would have been forced into a second ballot, with the potential of PDP, LP and, possibly, NNPP coming together. In such an event, the numbers suggest it would, in the final analysis, have lost the election. That would have defeated the purpose for which the party contested the election.

It is now for those who lost the election to learn a few lessons from it, not least of which are:

a. To dislodge a ruling party from power in a multi-party environment, the opposition needs to abandon petty internal squabbles and come together on the basis of a minimum common agenda like the Nigerian opposition did in 2013

b. Sentiment and emotion are effective tools in political mobilization but not enough to win a nation-wide election in a multi-cultural environment like Nigeria, a lesson General Buhari learnt in 2015.

c. The media is powerful but not as powerful as the voter, as we have now, hopefully, come to appreciate in the 2023 presidential election.

d. A tradition of concession of defeat may not be as rewarding as winning but it can snatch moral victory from the jaws of all-around defeat as former President Goodluck Jonathan has come to appreciate, after Godswill Orubebe almost ruined his post-election future. Today, Orubebe is in APC and Jonathan is basking in the glory of his wise and timely concession.

Thankfully, not all is lost for the parties that did not make it in the just concluded presidential election. The diversity of parties in the National Assembly is good for Nigeria’s democracy. To hold the ruling party accountable is a fundamental function of the opposition, a requirement for good governance and necessary for the proper functioning of democracy. Also, peparations to unseat the ruling party in the next election must begin from there but these tasks are only for those elements of the opposition truly committed to the nurturing and sustainance of our democracy, not for power mongers.

*Bashir Yusuf Ibrahim* was one-time National Secretary, Action Congress (AC), Chairman of Inter-party Advisory Council (IPAC) and Member, Editorial Board of Trust and Thisday Newspapers.


Meet Abdulkadir Abdulsalam: The new Accountant General of Kano state.



Abdulkadir Abdulsalam


To fullfil pledges made by His Excellency, Governor Abba Kabir Yusuf during the campaigns of making appointments of individuals of proven integrity into the political positions on merit and to indicate the preparedness of the present administration’s readiness in the restoration of prudence, accountability and people-centered governance in Kano, the Governor has approved the appointment of Abdulkadir Abdulsalam as the Accountant General of the State.

A Chartered Accountant who was trained in Nigeria and abroad, Abdulsalam is expected to contribute in the prudent management of the state’s resource and revenue generation based in the wealth of experience he acquired as has served for many years as an advisor to the Federal, States and Local governments in Nigeria on revenue accounting, using technology-based systems for collection and reconciliation with the aim of achieving efficiency in fiscal management and bridging tax revenue leakages.

The new appointee is expected to apply his expertise of more than two decades in accountancy, macro and development economics, fiscal policy, taxation, financial management and data analysis in the course of discharging his responsibilities.

IGP Usman Baba warns against subversive actions ahead of Nigeria’s presidential inauguration

The Accountant General of Kano State is a respected figure in the public finance circle for planning, designing, and implementation of bespoke projects and policies on revenue generation, macroeconomics, project management and development finance.

Abdulsalam was a notable member of consultants in major public financial management reforms at the national and sub-national levels, working for international development finance institutions including World Bank (WBG), European Union (EU) and Islamic Development Bank

He had served in various positions in Kano State Government ministries, agencies and parastatal (MDAs) and international development finance institutions as a Director of Internal Audit and Control, Director Operation (Investment & Revenue Mobilization), Director Government Business (Federal, State and Local Government), Senior Short Term Expert (Team lead), Director Tax Audit, Debt Management and Investigation, Director of Non-Tax Revenue Ministries, department and Agencies, Project Cost Analyst- (Contract/internship), Treasury Manager, Project Finance Consultant and Senior Revenue Accountant among others.

He served in various groups and committees as a Member Kano State Focal Person DFID-LINKS Implementation Project, Member Kano State High Powered Committee on IGR, Chairman Recovery on Federal Government MDA’s Tax Liabilities, Member Kano-Lagos Economic & Investment Summit, Focal member Kano State committee on Ease of Doing Business (Under the office of Vice President of Nigeria), Member Task Force on Kano State Land Used Charge, Member Kano State Public Financial Management (PFM) Reform committee, Kano State Technical Working Group on implementation of World-Bank/EU SLOGOR Project and Focal Person Kano State DFID/GEMS3 implementation Project.

Abdulsalam holds MSc. Economics (Bayero University, Kano Nigeria), MSc. Project Management (Robert Gordon University, UK), Masters Banking & Finance (Bayero University, Kano Nigeria) and BSc. (Hons) Business Administration (Bayero University, Kano Nigeria).

He holds certificates and diplomas in Public Financial Management, Public Policy Economics, Global Sustainable Development and Computing from Harvard University, United States, Oxford University, United Kingdom, Columbia University New York, United State and Informatics Academy, Singapore.

Abdulsalam, who has attended various trainings and conferences in Nigeria and abroad, is a Certified Oracle Financial Management expert, Associate Member Chartered Institute of Public Finance Accountant United Kingdom (CIPFA), Fellow Member Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria (CITN), Associate Member Association of Project Management United Kingdom (APM) and Fellow Member Institute of Chartered Accountant of Nigeria (ICAN).

Sanusi Bature Dawakin Tofa
Chief Press Secretary to the Governor of Kano state
Engineer Abba Kabir Yusuf
4th June,2023

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Haruna Wakili:A Grassroot Politician



Haruna Wakili


Sauda Suleiman

Hon Haruna Wakili who was born into a family of reputable and noble business of home of a caravan leader of late 18th and 19th Centuries at the ancient city of Kano, Madugu Tanko na Gago.

Hon Haruna is a trained business man and indeed grassroots politician that rose to prominence due to demonstration of his dedication and believe in democracy. As he says “only via democratic process that the desire progress and development in the society can be easily obtained. In a tribute to his late father, Kabiru Haruna Sanka, Hon Wakili was quoted to have said this concerning his family “whoever wants to know you; does so through the reflection of your ancestors. Thus, my father’s combination, Agalawa clan for his paternal side while Wangarawa who introduced Islam to Kano for his maternal part have vindicated the purity and humble background.

However, my beloved mother is direct descendants of Yolawa Fulani clan from Tofa local government specifically Lambu for the both parents. The blood of aristocracy and royalty fluidly flowing down to me was the reason why I am standing now, coupled with the blessings and protections of Almighty Allah” he concludes.

Hon Haruna Wakili who unofficially started participating in politics at a younger age of eleven when Gen. Sani Abacha unsuccessfully attempted to re-introduce democracy in 1996 before joining the defunct ANPP officially in 2003 when he reached the maturity age of eighteen. Hon Wakili’s patriotic love for his country and declaration of Gen Muhammadu Buhari to contest for Presidency have really encouraged him to be not only the loyalist of every party Gen. Buhari joined but helped in molding him into a complete grassroots politician per excellence.

Hon. Wakili who rose to Kano’s timeline politics when he became the youngest State Party Chairman and Director General of Campaign Council of ADC 2019 Governorship Candidate, HE Salisu Mubarak Muhammad at the age of thirty-three years old in 1st December, 2018.

He has shown an extraordinary leadership skills by establishing a solid structure across 482 wards and 44 local Government Areas of the state. He however exuberantly accepted the challenge to contest the post of member House of Representatives in 2023 general elections under the platform of ADC which has a few political base of followship in his constituency, Fagge but within span short of period of time, the name Hon Haruna Wakili has become a household affair with huge followship from the youths and women.

Under Hon Haruna’s watch, the establishment of WAKILI FOUNDATION was materialized which has successfully implemented a lot of social works to local community. Among the prominent works executed were the distributions of Sallah clothes to orphans, numbering over 800 units, sponsoring tanks of water to local community during scarcity of water at the holy month Ramadan, repairing of spoilt local boreholes, distribution of teaching tools and medicines to the sick but destitute persons in the constituency.

Finally, the likes of Hon Haruna Wakili is a future of Nigerian politics, as the intensity of enthusiasm, patriotism and courageous spirit he exhibited are proven to be worthy of emulation…

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PMB:My Recollections Of The Man And The Moments .



President Buhari during one of ceremonies for his pulling out

Isa Mansur

A. A Hero (1980s – 1990s)

I was just above two years old when Major General Muhammadu Buhari, as he then was, took over power on January 1st, 1984. By the time he was toppled in August 1985, I was just four. I, therefore, have not much recollection of what his 20 months stewardship as military head of state was like. The only vivid recollection I have about him, as at then, was the discussion I heard my mother and my grandmother doing a day after he was toppled about “juyin mulki”. I asked my mother what it was, and she replied that “an cire shugaban kasa an a canza wani”, meaning: “the president has been removed and replaced with another one”.

For the next eight years as we grew up under the military presidency of General Ibrahim Babangida, we heard nostalgic stories from our parents, teachers and elders alike about how patriotic, well-intentioned and great the short “purposeful and corrective” regime of General Buhari was. We were told how his government vigorously fought corruption, indiscipline, economic sabotage, armed robbery, drug trafficking etc in an effective and non-nonsense manner! Typical of Nigerians, the incumbent president then, General IBB, was being portrayed as a stinkingly corrupt devil who conspired with his fellow unpatriotic colleagues in the military to truncate the good government of GMB in a place coup! IBB was being accused then of “institutionalizing corruption”, “selling” the country to the IMF and the World Bank, dancing to the tunes of Western Powers etc A hero was created of Buhari in our minds then – a non-nonsense, non-compromising, incorruptible, patriotic and pro-masses general who could have rescued the country out of the woods if not for the inglorious action of IBB and co that unpatriotically and selfishly removed him from office.

As a junior secondary student in 1992, I stumbled upon my father’s 1986 edition of the Newswatch magazine that made a cover story with the title: “Where is Buhari?”, or something to that effect. The magazine gave detailed description of how GMB was toppled, including how he was arrested in the Dodan Barracks, and also the travails of his family after the coup, especially that of his now late wife, Safina Buhari. Describing how Buhari was arrested, the writer mentioned how a “stoical” Buhari was found in his living room by the heavily armed majors and how they informed him that they have effected a change of government and that they were there to arrest him. GMB, according to the report, responded to the heavily armed officers with: “Why is there so many of you? One man is enough to arrest me and, in any case, one bullet is enough to do the job.” The general requested for a permission to go and dress properly, which was granted by the young officers. He went into his bedroom and emerged later fully dressed in his military uniform. Before being taken away, according to the report, the general retorted to his captors: “I may no longer be the Head of State, but I am a superior general who still deserves to be respected!” The young officers smartly saluted the general and whisked him away! This further consolidated the hero status of the general in my mind.

The government of General Sani Abacha, in a credibility shopping effort, brought GMB from his post-detention retirement and appointed him as the head of the Petroleum Trust Fund (PTF) for the purpose of judiciously investing a portion of the proceeds generated from the sell of petroleum into the provision social services and infrastructural development. At that time when government’s primary responsibility of taking care of the citizens welfare has virtually ceased, PTF brought a serious relief to the people and was a huge success. It was visible all over the federation particularly in health, education, agriculture and transportation sectors. The hero!

In late 1998, I came across a book written by a lady, Rosaline Odeh, titled “Muhammadu Buhari: the Nigeria’s Seventh Head of State”. The book was a biography of the general and it documented his rise in the military, the various military and political appointments he held as well as how he discharged each effectively. I particularly found very fascinating the book’s description of how GMB, as the GOC of the 3rd Armored Division Jos, effectively dealt with the Chadian army’s invasion of some Nigerian islands on the Lake Chad. The book detailed how, as the commander, GMB relocated from Jos to Maiduguri and how he daily goes to the front to ensure the operation is successfully executed. The Chadian were not only sacked out of the occupied Nigerian territories, but were chased several kilometers into the Chadian territory, something that nearly caused a rift between the general and the then civilian government of Alhaji Shehu Shagari. A hero!

2. A Savior (2000 – 2015).

The return of democratic rule in 1999 and the emergence of General Olusegun Obasanjo as the democratically elected president sees the North relinquishing power to the South after twenty years (1979 – 1999). While the return of democratic rule, after years of military dictatorship, was some sort of relief to the ordinary Nigerians, here in the North relinquishing power to the South created a sense of fear, anxiety and mistrust among majority of the people. Some actions/inactions of the OBJ government such as the mass retirement of mostly northern officers in the military that served political appointments, the alleged movement of military hardwares from the North to the South, the Sharia implementation agitations and the government’s response to it, rampant ethno-religious violence in the North, alleged marginalization of the North in appointments in the military and the civil service, the OPC’s series of violence against northerners in the Southwest etc, further aggravated the feelings marginalization and/or even persecution by majority of the people in the North.

It was in the above circumstances that some politicians here in the North begun to search for a leader from the region that can be put forward to led the region in its effort to both protect its interests and by extension rescue the nation from its seeming derailing under the OBJ government. With his history of integrity and patriotism, his sterling record of performance as PTF chairman and the widespread respect and admiration he has among the masses, GMB was the best person for the role at the time. Politicians, opinion leaders, intellectuals and even some of his retired colleagues in the military began to call for the general to join politics and rescue the country! He was promoted in newspaper articles, invited to deliver public lectures by universities and the Arewa House, invited to attend the declaration of Sharia by some state governors etc. By 2002, GMB that was known for seeing nothing good about politics and multiparty democracy, was convinced to join partisan politics by registering with the then opposition All People’s Party (APP). He later admitted that the collapse of the Soviet Union in the 1990s, without a single shot fired, was the reason why he became a “converted democrat.”

In the early 2000s the wind of Sharia implementation agitations was blowing fiercely in the Muslim North. After the declaration by Zamfara State, there was a lot of pressure on all governors in the region to follow suit and implement Sharia. On the other hand, quite understandably, the Christian community in the country were also afraid of the Sharia implementation and were resisting it by all the means at their disposal. The tension in the country was so high and palpable. President OBJ summoned a meeting of the Council of State to discuss the issue, among others. After the meeting, the then Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, informed the nation that the council had agreed that Sharia declaration be suspended across the country. GMB and some of the governors that attended the meeting publicly disassociated themselves from the announcement made by Atiku by insisting that no such decision was made by the Council. This singular action further endeared GMB to the people of the north. He was the only voice among the various former presidents from the region that was being heard in solidarity with the people of the region. A savior!

By 2003 GMB was on the ballot contesting for the office of the president on the opposition ANPP, while OBJ runs for the ruling PDP. With the feeling of marginalization and/or even persecution high among the people in the North, PMB was seen as the only savior that can save the region and by extension the nation from the “corrupt and inept” PDP government under OBJ. The love, confidence and trust people had for him was unimaginably fanatical. A savior!

After contesting and loosing the 2003 elections, the love people have for Buhari only increased. He contested and lost again to Umaru Musa Yar’adua in 2007. For the people, Buhari was being rigged out by the “forces of evil” that are against the emancipation of the Nigerian masses. The elections were no doubt everything but free and fair. But whether GMB at the time has enough national acceptability to win an election was out of concern to us, his teeming supporters. However, the existential threat that Boko Haram constituted to the North in particular and the nation in general under President Goodluck Jonathan, provided the necessity for a unity of purpose between the masses that supported Buhari over years and some of the elites that were against him. While the masses sees as their one and only savior and emancipator, the political elites saw him as the only formidable politician with a support base large enough to unseat a sitting president with an opposition merger. Against the odds, the savior made it in 2015! It was a historic, remarkable and exciting moment for millions of Nigerians that were tired of the status quo and yearning for positive change!

3. A President (2015-2023).

Now christened PMB, Buhari assumed office on May 29th, 2015 amidst unreasonably high hopes from most of the people that elected him to power. As a career opposition candidate, the president has vehemently criticised all the governments before him, condemning them for corruption, insecurity, poor management of the economy, high poverty and unemployment rate, fuel and power scarcity, bad education and health policies etc During his years of campaigns, he has made a lot of promises to immediately and effectively change things for the better if elected into office. Naturally, majority Nigerians expected nothing short of miracles from him.

With high hopes, acute and dwindling resources, a nation at war in many fronts, serious health challenges, endemic public sector corruption , PMB government started on a very bad and difficult footing. These, coupled with the president’s slow approach to decision making, uncompromising attitude and poor oversight over subordinates etc all contributed to the terribly below expectation and disappointing outing of PMB as the president.

Unfortunately, from his speeches and body language, PMB seems to believe, and off course many Nigerians at the time, that having a honest president who will not steal or conspire with others to steal; a president who will give all the institutions and functionaries of government the freedom and the resources to discharge their duties, based on established laws and procedures, is enough to make the nation work again and rescue it from the precipice! As a leader, he seems to believe that in as much as he has done his best, by way of approving and providing what is needed to, for example, fight insecurity and terrorism, or fight corruption, or provide social intervention, or build roads, etc he has done his best and the people down the line of authority and responsibility should be held responsible and accountable for whatever failure that may arise. In short, in as much as he has done his own part honestly and patriotically, the people and the law should hold those who haven’t done so responsible and accountable. Many of the people he entrusted make good use of this shortcomings of the president to do what they like. Either the law or history, or both, will certainly take care of this.

4. Sweet and Bitter Farewell.

As the president retires to Daura tomorrow, as his ardent supporter for many decades, I am both happy and sad for him. I am sad that the president has performed far below even the reasonable expectations Nigerians had on him in virtually all sectors. However, I am also happy for him that he has succeeded in living above board and returning home with his personal integrity intact.

I really don’t mind the insults and curses some Nigerians are raining on the president at the moment – that is our convention. From Balewa to Buhari, no leader was spared of insults and curses while in power. We only celebrate our cursed leaders in nostalgia – after they left power.

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