A hefty war chest, “best national organization that worked for him and the ground game” are the factors which Bola Tinubu emerged victorious at the 2023 presidential election, American diplomat Johnnie Carson has asserted.
Mr. Carson co-led National Democratic Institute (NDI) and International Republican Institute (IRI), International Election Observation Mission to Nigeria during the elections.
On Thursday, Carson, an Executive Officer of the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) welcomed information minister Lai Mohammed to his office in Washington DC.
Speaking of the elections, Mr Carson said Mr Tinubu of the APC won the election and would be sworn-in on 29 May, except something happens dramatically with the court.
“Do you know why he won, he got the money, he had the best national organisation that worked for him and the ground game,” he said.
Mr. Carson emphasized that for a candidate to win an election in Nigeria, like a lot of democracy in the globe, the three things, including substantial and significant financial resources were needed.
Others, according to him, are a national working organization and a grass-root acceptance.
He said while Mr. Tinubu had all the three criteria in his kitty during the polls, the other major contenders did not have all.
Speaking specifically on the Labour Party Presidential candidate, Mr Carson said, “on the part of Mr Peter Obi, he did not have the ground game and a national organisation.
Obi is, however, very popular, particularly among the young, educated, urban and sophisticated,” he said.
Mr. Carson said that the presidential election was one of the most competitive polls in Nigeria and in Africa.
He, however, observed that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) needed to up its game.
“Nigeria deserves the very best electoral process. To me, the problem is not with Tinubu and the other candidates,” he said.
Mr. Carson hailed President Muhammadu Buhari for his commitment in delivering a free and fair election for Nigeria.
He said the president “is a man of outstanding integrity” and he demonstrated the attribute in the past elections.
On his part, the minister said considering where INEC was coming from and where it was today, there were massive improvements in the conduct of the 2023 polls.
Conceding that there was room for improvements, the minister said the introduction of a new technology Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) by INEC underpinned the credibility of the elections.
According to him, BVAS cut out fraudulent votes, ghost voters and multiple votes.
Mr. Mohammed said the election was conducted against the backdrop of fuel shortage, mounting insecurity and poorly timed cash swap policy.
The minister also had engagements with the Council on Foreign Relations, a well versed think-tank on African affairs and foreign relations chaired by a Nigerian, Dr. Ebenezer Obadare.
He was also at the Reuters News Agency; The Politico, an international political newspaper, and Zenger News, a channel that publishes its contents on Forbes.
During his respective interactions with the think-tanks and international media, the minister presented the government narratives on the just concluded polls.
The interactions also delved into economy and foreign affairs.
At Reuters, the Agency’s recent investigation of alleged secret programmes of coerced abortion of women and girls freed from insurgents’ captivity were discussed.