February 25 Presidential Election: A Lesson To Learn In Nasarawa

By Rayyanu Bala

There is a great lesson to be learnt from last week’s presidential election, particularly for us in Nasarawa state. Even though the election has come and gone, the bitter experience it left in its wake will, for a long time to come, linger in our psyche. Indeed, the election was full of joy and sadness; the good side of it was that APC presidential candidate Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu was able to make it, having defeated PDP presidential candidate, the Wazirin Adamawa Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, LP candidate Mr. Peter Obi, and Dr. Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso of the NNPP, among others. The bad side of it, on the other hand, was the emergence of Mr. Peter Obi of LP as a candidate who secured the highest votes in Nasarawa State despite the fact that the state is controlled by the APC.

The emergence of LP as the party with the highest votes in Nasarawa beats the imagination of many political analysts in the state. LP is a relatively unknown party to the people of the state; it has no known politician in its fold, nor does the party enjoy wide followership prior to the election but yet secured the highest votes in the state. This is a cause for serious concern for all well-meaning individuals in the state.

The question agitating the minds of many pundits therefore is: how did LP manage to secure the highest votes in Nasarawa state in the just concluded presidential election?

The preponderance of opinion is that religion played a prominent role in the emergence of Mr. Peter Obi in Nasarawa state. It is argued that the feat recorded by LP in Nasarawa state was the handiwork of some religious fundamentalists within the folds of the APC, PDP, and NNPP in the state.

Yes, anti-party activity is not a new phenomenon in partisan politics the world over. But a situation where religious sentiments form the basis for anti-party activism doesn’t speak well of our fledgling democracy.

There is one particular quote circulating in the social media of recent, credited to former presidential aide and media personality, Mr. Reno Omokri. Although I cannot vouch for its authenticity, it reads: “All actions have consequences; unfortunately, some people are very sensitive to how the behavior of others affects them but are too emotionally sensitive to understand how their own actions are perceived by others”. Certainly the religious sentiments exhibited at the presidential election were unnecessary and uncalled for. And Muslims in Nasarawa state perceive this action as direct deviations from the norms, we are known for in Nasarawa state.

This action will for sure prompt Muslims in the state to start thinking of toeing the same religious line in subsequent elections in the state. The votes given by some religious fundamentalists to LP have far-reaching implications as they would openly escalate religious politics in Nasarawa state. Their actions have demonstrated to all that some Christians in Nasarawa State have been brainwashed.

Of course, religious politics has the potential to create disunity among the people; we must not toe that line. What happened in Nasarawa state following the just concluded presidential election was capable of igniting tension among the Muslims and Christians in the state.

Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, as we are all aware, selected to go for the Muslim/ Muslim ticket only for political expediency and not as an affront to Nigerian Christians. He said it repeatedly that he has nothing against Christians and Christianity, but all the appeals yielded no headway among some of the Christian community. Some of the Christians allowed themselves to be brainwashed into believing that the presidential contest was between Muslims and Christians, while in actual fact it wasn’t like that. If it was a contest between Muslims and Christians, both Asiwaju, Atiku, and Kwankwaso could not have gone for the same slot at the same time, since both of them are Muslims.

Having said this, it is instructive to note that the last presidential election was the first leg of the process; the second leg is coming up in the next few days, precisely on March 11, 2023. It is therefore necessary for all of us to shun all divisive tendencies and come together for the common good of Nasarawa state.

It is very irritating to see a person enjoying the benefits of the APC government in the state yet going behind to undermine the party he is enjoying tremendous benefit from. This is an act of disloyalty to the government and an affront to Governor Abdullahi Sule.

As said elsewhere here, religious politics will do no good to anybody in the state. Nasarawa State is a heterogeneous and multi-religious society as such; we must tell anybody trying to sow the seeds of discord among us to go to hell. We must guard our togetherness judiciously; we must not allow anybody to come in between us by whatever means.

Engr. Abdullahi Sule’s government in Nasarawa state has done a lot in terms of providing amenities critical to the needs of the entire population of the state, and as the saying goes, “one good turn deserves another”. Engr. Abdullahi Sule truly deserves our support to enable him to complete his second term in office. We owe him this support. Come Saturday, March 11, 2023, we must come out en bloc and vote for Engr. Abdullahi Sule. Posterity will not forgive us if we fall short of this.


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