The provincial and state elections took place in Nigeria on 11/3/2023, after completing the presidential elections. The results were announced on 1/3/2023, with the victory of the candidate of the ruling party, the All Progressives Congress Party, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, as those elections took place on 25/2/2023. His rival in the People’s Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar, who came in second place, objected to the results, as well as his rival of the Workers’ Party, Peter Obi, who came in third place. America expressed its concern and declared its support for those who objected to the results and did not offer congratulations to the winner, while Britain declared its joy at the results and congratulated the elected president. What are the changes that occurred in the political scene in Nigeria? How does the election matter to America and Britain? What do their positions on the elections mean?
In order to clarify the answer to the above questions, we review the following:
1- Nigeria is a Muslim country. Islam entered the Kano region in northern Nigeria as early as the middle of the 7th century CE, and spread to the land of Hausa and the land of the Fulani in northern and central Nigeria through trade. Islam actually spread in the middle of the 10th century CE at the hands of Andalusian jurists. Then, later, an Islamic emirate was established in those areas, it was called the Ottoman Caliphate or the Sokoto Caliphate, after Osman Dan Fodio, whose state lasted for nearly a hundred years until the British destroyed it in the year 1904 CE. The Maliki school of thought is well known in Shariah courts in Nigeria, and most Muslims are Sunnis, 12 states apply some rules of Islamic law.
2- The population of Nigeria is now about 220 million, as the United Nations estimates in 2021, there were about 219 million, and the majority of the population is Muslim, ranging between 65% and 75%, according to various statistics. As for the area of Nigeria, it is close to one million square kilometers. Between the years 1900-1904, Britain was able to extend its control over all the regions that became known as Nigeria, after eliminating the Islamic rule there. Then Britain gave it its formal independence on 1/10/1960, and handed over power to the Christian Igbo minority, and then annexed it to the Commonwealth in 1963. Nigeria consists of different races, the largest of which are three large ethnic groups, namely: the Hausa and Fulani in the north and center and the overwhelming majority of them are Muslims, and the Yoruba in the center and southwest and the majority are Christians but have a large Muslim minority, and the Igbo in the southeast from a Christian Catholic minority.
3- In the elections that took place in the year 1999, Obasanjo won it undisputedly and continued in power for two electoral periods from 29/5/1999 to 29/5/2007. Throughout his rule, Obasanjo showed clear bias towards America and blatant hostility against Muslims. In the 2015 elections Muhammad Bukhari won, who was loyal to the British, and Bola Ahmed Tinubu was one of his biggest supporters, and they were able to establish the British agents in the political circle. Ahmed Tinubu became known as the political sponsor and kingmaker, and then ran himself (in the elections) using the slogan “It’s my turn actually”, where he ran in 2023 elections and won.
On 1/3/2023, the Independent Electoral Commission in Nigeria announced the victory of the candidate of the ruling party, the Progressive Congress Party, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, in the presidential elections that took place on 25/2/2023, among 18 candidates, and he received 8.8 million votes, with a percentage of 37% of the 87 million voters have obtained election cards, while his two rivals, Atiku Abubakar, the candidate of the People’s Democratic Party, received about 6.9 million votes, or 29%, and Peter Obi, the candidate of the Labor Party, received about 6.1 million votes, or 25%. Atiku Abubakarand Peter Obi rejected the results, intending to challenge them and consider that they were rigged, which led to “a ballot that was neither free nor fair nor transparent.” Atiku Abubakarled a march of his followers on 6/3/2023, they gathered outside the offices of the Independent National Elections Commission. An official in the People’s Democratic Party submitted a petition to an official in the Elections Commission related to the matter. However, the election results did not change.
4- That is why Britain praised the electoral process in Nigeria, as stated by its Foreign Minister James Cleverly in a statement published on the official website of the British government on 1/3/2023, in which he congratulated the elected president, Bola Ahmed Tinubu. The statement read: (“The United Kingdom commends Nigerian voters for their participation in the Presidential and National Assembly elections and for their patience and resilience in exercising their democratic rights. We congratulate the President Elect, Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu. We note the position of the opposition parties on the outcome of the elections and the concerns expressed by the observer missions and civil society regarding the organization of the process including delays and technical challenges. We encourage the authorities to examine all concerns carefully, take action to resolve outstanding issues and focus on delivering the will of the Nigerian people.”)
This is a supportive position for the president elected by Britain, it does not accuse his campaign of forgery or manipulation, but rather asks his authorities to study all concerns, considering the authorities to be impartial in the study. In addition, support appeared from the European Union in the face of America. The representative of the European Union’s foreign policy, Josep Borrell, said, “The presidential and parliamentary elections that Nigeria witnessed a few days ago are a major opportunity to consolidate democracy in the country in West Africa. Despite the difficult context and operational failures, the Nigerian people have shown their commitment to democracy.” (KUNA 28/2/2023). Hence, Britain’s support for the newly elected president in Nigeria appears, as does Europe’s support for him in the face of American influence in Africa.
5- The American position was negative towards the election of Bola Ahmed Tinubu. State Department spokesman Ned Price said in a statement: “Nigerians are clearly within their rights to have such concerns and should have high expectations for their electoral processes. There are well-established mechanisms in place for the adjudication of electoral disputes, and we encourage any candidate or any party seeking to challenge the outcome to pursue redress through those mechanisms. We join other international observers in urging INEC to improve in the areas that need the most attention… We understand that many Nigerians and some of the parties have expressed frustration about the manner in which the process was conducted and the shortcomings of technical elements that were used for the first time in a presidential election cycle in Nigeria. We note with concern reports that numerous members of the media were attacked during the course of the election”. (Nigerian Leadership site 2/3/2023). America here supports the positions of the opposition parties in their objections to the electoral process and encourages them to object . It did not offer congratulations to the winning president, and declares that it is concerned about reports of media being attacked during the elections. This confirms that the new president is not what it desires and is not affiliated with it.
6- The Candidate Atiku Abubakar, who represents the opposition party, was the vice president under Olusegun Obasanjo during the period 1999-2007. It is known that Obasanjo was a follower of America. It appeared that America supported Atiku Abubakarto come to power. And because he is of Muslim origin, it made him compete with Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who is also of Muslim origin and has weight, support, and financial capabilities. He is on the other side with Muhammad Bukhari, one of the British agents. The popularity of the People’s Democratic Party declined due to the rampant corruption during his reign while he ruled the country between 1999 and 2015, especially during the reign of Goodluck Jonathan, and the latter’s pouring oil on the fire, with his arbitrary practices, discrimination against Muslims, and persecution under the pretext of ‘fighting terrorism’. Even his master, America, criticized this rampant corruption in the party and in ruling during his reign, but not to reform it, rather to tighten its grip on him, as the ruling junta got involved in corruption. Thus, America had a hold on them, so if they violate it, it exposes them. It wanted to go along with public opinion to appear as if it is against corruption, and it is the one that is silent on them and does not work to reform them, and it is the spoiler and supporter of the spoilers in the land.
7- That is why it took measures in case the People’s Democratic Party candidate, Atiku Abubakar, did not succeed, to have another man. It worked to polish him, Peter Obi, as if he was clean! He resigned from the People’s Democratic Party last year, in May 2022, and joined the Workers’ Party. It appears that it calculated that the votes of the Muslims who make up the majority in Nigeria would be distributed between Atiku Abubakar, the candidate of the People’s Democratic Party, and Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress Party, which is pro-British. As well as Rabi’u Musa Kwankwaso, who is of Muslim origin and the candidate of the New Nigeria People’s Party, who began to gain fame and came fourth in the last elections with 6%. That is why America supported Peter Obi, who is a Christian, and the American media began to polish him, it is rumored that he is the preferred candidate for Nigerian youth, who make up 60% of the population and yearn for change and the rule of the younger generation.
The American media company Bloomberg reported that it had conducted a public opinion poll in Nigeria. The survey of about 2,384 Nigerians through a smart phone application showed that Peter Obi might win the presidential election, so did the American ANAP Foundation and predicted Peter Obi’s victory. The National Democratic Institute and the International Republican Institute also expected the same. Note that the People’s Democratic Party was the one that dominated the scene in Nigeria until 2015 and was the only party that had the power to win the presidential elections. The political center tended to favour America. However, the political scene has changed when Muhammad Bukhari, the British agent, was able to win despite America’s attempts to obstruct his victory.
8- The oil wealth in Nigeria has made major countries, especially Britain and America, in a heated struggle over it. Nigeria occupies the twelfth rank among the oil-producing countries in the world, the eighth oil-exporting country, and the tenth country in terms of oil reserves. The oil reserves in Nigeria were estimated by the US Energy Information Agency to be between 16 to 22 billion barrels, but other estimates say that it reaches 35.3 billion barrels. This oil is the cause of salivation among the competitors for Nigerian oil, as it is of the light or sweet variety, meaning that it is pure from sulfur to a large extent, and its refining is low in cost. Nigeria has 159 oil fields and 1481 oil wells, according to the Nigerian Ministry of Oil. The British oil companies were in control of the Nigerian oil, but the entry of America into the oil pipeline, especially after 1999, i.e., during the Obasanjo era, limited the monopoly of the British companies.
9- Nigeria faces serious problems such as insecurity, a faltering economy, huge debts, extreme poverty and corruption of politicians.
Its economic conditions are deteriorating, as the inflation rate reached 21.5% at the end of 2022, the unemployment rate is 33% for all adults and 42.5% for youth. About 40% of the country’s 220 million people (approximately) live below the poverty line, according to estimates by the World Bank in March 2022. The value of the Nigerian currency has declined. Corruption has grown significantly, prompting the state to change three denominations of the country’s currency at the beginning of last month, February 2023. Noting that it is one of the largest economies in Africa. The problem of oil theft is growing in the south of the country, which is a chronic problem, which has led to a decline in the country’s oil exports, in addition to a shortage of motor fuel. It suffers from debts amounting to about 103 billion dollars, according to the June 2022 census, and servicing those debts, i.e., usury and insurance on them, amounts to about 12 billion dollars annually. Although it is one of the major oil exporters, this did not help it because of these serious and intractable problems. All of this is due to the corruption of the government and the rulers and their subordination to the old and new colonial countries. The solution is to remove this corruption, that is, to change the system of government formulated by colonial Britain when it gave Nigeria formal independence, but it remained a colony in other forms, especially the ruling and the economy. It established for it a constitution imported from Western constitutions, and appointed rulers who follow it, with no difference whether they are of Muslim or Christian origin. Until America came in the mid-seventies of the last century and infiltrated the army and began to compete with and conflict with Britain over the country.
10- In addition to all this, the colonial countries, especially America and Britain, directly interfered in the country’s affairs. The statements of the American official, the spokesperson for the US State Department, the statement of the British Foreign Minister, and then the statements of the European Union’s foreign affairs official are considered direct interference in the country’s affairs. In origin, the rulers and politicians in Nigeria should denounce and reject them and ask those countries to stop interfering in their country, warn them against that and sever ties with them. Then to think about how to save the country seriously and sincerely, and look for radical solutions, not patchwork or anesthetics. If such a thing happens, they will conclude that Islam is the solution, and only Islam will save Nigeria and its people in all its sects, which equates between everyone by implementing the system embodied in the Khilafah Rashidah (rightly guided Caliphate) on the method of the Prophethood, and does not favour anyone among the subjects in achieving their interests and securing what they need in their livelihood, in their residence and their travel. Whether they are Muslims or Christians. It is the one that advances the country and liberates it from colonialism and brings about an industrial revolution in it that makes the country advanced and superior. They build their industry and extract their oil, It is distributed to them without discrimination, so that everyone becomes self-sufficient, and their lives, their honour, and their money are secured. Therefore eleminating unemployment, poverty, fear, and hunger.
[إِنَّ فِي ذَلِكَ لَذِكْرَى لِأُولِي الْأَلْبَابِ]
“Indeed in that is a reminder for those of understanding” [Az-Zumar: 21]
21 Sha’ban 1444 AH – 13/3/2023