Former United States (U.S.) Ambassador to Nigeria, John Campbell, has described Nigeria’s 2019 presidential election as bad news for democracy, adding that former Vice President Atiku Abubakar is unlikely to win his suit in court.
This is contrary to reports by some international bodies that the election was free and fair. Campbell, in his election post-mortem for the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington DC obtained by The Guardian yesterday, said the election was marred by historically low turnout and credible allegations of rigging.He noted that the electionwas a step-back from that of 2015, adding that actions should be taken to identify what had gone wrong and what could be corrected.
The former ambassador alleged that there were evidence that the security agents at some polling units prevented voters from casting the votes, particularly in opposition strongholds, and intimidated the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) ad-hoc members of staff.
He said: “Buhari and his main challenger, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, both Muslims from the Fulani ethnic group in northern part of the country, are part of the political class that have dominated Nigeria since independence in 1960. Their contest meant there would be no generational leadership change in a country where the average age is 18 and half of registered voters are under 35. Buhari, who spent much of his last term abroad for medical treatment, hardly campaigned at all.