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Former US Ambassador to Nigeria scores 2019 election low
Says both APC and PDP are undemocratic
FORMER Ambassador of the United States of America to Nigeria, John Campbell, has scored the recently concluded presidential election very low, saying it was marred by a record low voter turnout and irregularities.
Campbell, who served as Ambassador to Nigeria between May 2004 and July 2007, made this known in an article he authored titled “Nigeria’s Election Disappoints” and published on the website of the Council of Foreign Relations, a United States nonprofit think tank specializing in U.S. foreign policy and international affairs.
The ex-diplomat described President Muhammadu Buhari and his major opponent, former Vice President Abubakar Atiku as “part of the political class that has dominated Nigeria since independence in 1960” and whose contest meant “there would be no generational leadership change in a country where the average age is eighteen and half of registered voters are under thirty-five”.
“Buhari and Abubakar are the standard-bearers for two political parties descended from the military regime of General Ibrahim Babangida: the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), respectively,” Campbell wrote.
“Both parties are undemocratic in spirit and function primarily to contest elections rather than to promote legislation or policy.
“During their campaigns, the candidates and their parties offered little that was new to address security breakdowns caused by Boko Haram in the country’s northeast; conflict over land use, ethnicity, and religion in the Middle Belt; and the division of oil revenue in the Delta.
“Moreover, they were mute on climate change, urbanization, and a population boom that is expected to push Nigeria past 450 million people by the middle of the century.”
On the other hand, younger and aspiring politicians who also ran for the post of president, including Oby Ezekwesili, Donald Duke, and Kingsley Moghalu, “were frozen out by a geriatric and unresponsive system whose patronage politics requires candidates to have vast sums of money and the ability to distribute them”.
“These candidates failed to connect with voters, winning only a tiny percentage of the vote,” Campbell wrote.
While admitting that there were “credible allegations of rigging” on which Atiku had premised his decision to challenge the election result in court, Campbell expressed doubts that the election would be upturned.
“Buhari’s margin of victory—some four million votes—is so large that it is unlikely courts will overturn the result,” he wrote.
“The poor quality of this election cycle and the low and declining number of voters do not inspire confidence, and some Nigerians have begun to question whether democracy is right for their country.”
Read John Campbell’s full article here.