Personalities That Defined Concept Of Nigeria Decides 2015

Personalities That Defined Concept Of Nigeria Decides 2015

In the contribution to Japheth Omojuwa, a renowned Nigerian columnist, mentions several well-known persons that, in his opinion, have contributed a lot to the idea of Nigeria Decides 2015, and done their best to ensure peaceful general election 2015 in Nigeria.

Nigeria’s 2015 general elections successfully ended last weekend with the polls conducted in Taraba, Imo and Abia states. At the end of it all, the PDP now controls 13 states, the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) - 1 state, and the APC has 22 states under its control.

The APC had earlier clinched the presidency and now controls both chambers of the National Assembly. So it will be providing the next Senate president and the next speaker of the House. The elections have come and gone, but it would help to highlight some of the key players that have made 2015 elections what it have eventually turned out to be for Nigerians, the PDP and the APC.

President-elect Muhammadu Buhari seems to have come out of the elections as the biggest winner. However, even if it is true, this was a battle he had started long before now. He contested in 2003, 2007 and 2011 elections. It took 4 attempts to him to win. That certainly says a lot about his persistence and belief in his ability to do a great job as president.

READ ALSO: Persistency Is The Middle Name Of Muhammadu Buhari

Having said he would no longer run for the office after losing his last election case at the Supreme Court, who or what has prompted Buhari to run this time? Nasir Ahmad El-Rufai! The governor-elect of Kaduna state was busy trying to get Muhammadu Buhari to run again while certain people were testing the ground for his own run in Kaduna. El-Rufai said he’d not run for the office as long as there were no proper electronic verification of voters and other forms of process support reducing human interaction with the final results. He certainly got that with the introduction of the card readers. If you have followed the results from the certain parts of Nigeria and compared the numbers with those they returned during the previous elections, you’d see the card readers have indeed proved effective.

Though it took a lot of prodding, El-Rufai eventually got Buhari believing 2015 would be different from 2003, 2007 and 2011.

There’d be no president-elect Buhari without the APC, and there’d be no APC without the elements that came together to form the alliance. Bola Ahmed Tinubu, former Lagos governor, played a huge role in making this happen. The alliance of the then Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), the then Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) , the All Nigeria People’s Congress (ANPP) and the Rochas Okorocha’s part of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) was crucial to the APC's evolving as a national party. By the time the new PDP led by the likes of Senator Bukola Saraki, Rabiu Kwankwaso, Rotimi Amaechi and the former vice president Atiku Abubakar joined the APC, it had been already looking like a formidable force.

Not only was the APC getting strengthened; the PDP was getting weakened in what looked like a zero-sum game. Bamanga Tukur, former PDP national chairman, has helped the party implode. By the time Adamu Muazu came to save it, an act for which he was dubbed “the game changer”, it had looked like a lost battle already. The “game changing” proved right for Muazu himself when he then became the first PDP national chairman to lose the presidential election.

The real game changer in this election was Professor Yemi Osinbajo. His introduction to the APC ticket changed everything - the PDP could no longer sell the APC as an Islamist party. In fact, it got confusing for them when Vice President Namadi Sambo did try to sell the APC as a Christian party contrary to the PDP’s long-held agenda to make the APC look Islamist. Osinbajo brought zest, verve and uniqueness to the APC campaign. He was seen campaigning in buses, on the streets and in town halls. He just raised the ante. His introduction confused the PDP as they had banked on Bola Tinubu being named Buhari’s running mate.

The story of 2015 elections will not be complete without mentioning the roles played by First Lady Patience Jonathan and Governor Ayo Fayose. Together, they cost the president millions of votes. A top PDP chieftain I met recently told me his wife advised him to listen to what the first lady was saying about fellow Nigerians in the north. It was shameful and disgusting; moreover, it came at a great cost. Telling her supporters to stone identified APC members was one thing, but referring to the northerners as a group of people who only had children to throw them away was too much.

Ayo Fayose, in his turn, looked like he was a secret APC agent inside the PDP. He ran several prominent newspaper ads clearly setting the president against the north, not to mention some undecided voters. It was dirty, crass and incredible. The PDP as a party showed it had little or even no control of its campaign over the continent.

Ifeanyi Uba’s Transformation Ambassadors of Nigeria (TAN) helped the president with a head start as they organized rallies across the country purportedly begging the president to run. According to TAN, it got more signatures from the citizens asking the president to run than the president got on Election Day. They were clearly the brain and the heart of the president’s campaign.

Though Taraba state Senator Aisha Alhassan did not win the election, she fought a great battle. She battled with the real power houses, and it took a re-run to her to be defeated. She was one of the stars of 2015 elections. Like Alhassan, President Jonathan lost the election. However, his call to Buhari to concede the election was historic as he was the first president to lose re-election. He was deservingly commended for the gesture.

The biggest star of the whole process is surely Professor Attahiru Jega, the INEC chairman. The highlight of his contribution is ironically a pedestal presented by Orubebe, arguably the main villain in Elder. Jega’s calmness in the face of provocation has won him admiration around the world. He stood up to many bullies in the run-up to the polls, but it was interesting to watch the final attempt to undermine his work.

Nigerians had done something they have never done before - voted out the incumbent president. They are the biggest winners here. The country’s leadership will never be the same. The social media population of Nigerians is bound to increase in the coming months and that’d mean only one thing. The incoming government must get things right or suffer from the same social media amplification of its failures as Jonathan’s administration did.

Millions of people have contributed to making Nigeria Decides 2015 a historic election, but the above personalities clearly have really stood out. I have probably not mentioned some names, but few people would argue against the names in here.


Japheth Omojuwa is a renowned Nigerian social media expert, columnist and contributor.

The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of


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