The Nigerian Voter is a series that seeks to understand the motivations that drive the voting decisions of Nigerians — why they vote, how they choose their candidates, why some have never voted, and their wildest stories around elections.
This week’s subject of The Nigerian Voter is Kachi*, a businessman in his late 30s who told us about his wildest election story and who he wants to become Nigeria’s next president.
Have you voted before?
I voted for Goodluck Jonathan of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in 2011 and 2015.
I believed Jonathan was the man to take us forward with our economy. I also never saw Buhari as an option, especially with his military history and everything else.
How would you define your past voting experience?
I voted in Abuja both times. 2015 wasn’t so interesting, but 2011 was fun. We gathered in a primary school and there was no violence. We all stayed and counted the votes in our polling unit and Jonathan won it. I can also remember that was when the smart card reader was introduced and it was a new technology for us. That was the first time we got Permanent Voter Cards (PVC) too.
What’s your favourite thing about Nigeria’s electoral system?
I think it’s the introduction of new technologies such as the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) and others. I think if perfected, they can stop electoral fraud and ensure a better experience for voters.
What’s your least favourite?
I dislike the fact people have to travel to polling units where they registered to vote. I should be able to vote from wherever I am. If I registered in Abuja, but I’m currently in Anambra, I should still be able to vote from Anambra instead of going all the way back to Abuja. It’s a big inconvenience.
Any wild election stories?
I can’t say I had a crazy experience that happened to me personally. But I remember one incident that happened to my colleague in Edo State when we served as election observers for the governorship election in 2020. She was taken by some hoodlums who thought she was an INEC staff. It was crazy. It took like two days for the police to find her.
Election observers aren’t allowed to interfere with the process of an election by voting and I was observing with an NGO at the time.
How come you didn’t vote in 2019?
I had major bone surgery around the elections and wasn’t fit to vote.
Sorry about that. Are you voting in 2023?
Of course, my vote will be for Atiku Abubakar of the PDP. I believe he’s the most experienced candidate at this time. During his tenure as vice president in the Olusegun Obasanjo administration, he was basically responsible for Nigeria’s economic gain as the head of the National Economic Council (NEC).
That administration recorded the highest level of growth in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in Nigeria. Obasanjo attested to Atiku being solely responsible for this. He also presided over the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meetings a few times when Obasanjo was abroad, not like now when Buhari travels with his full powers without handing over responsibilities to Osinbajo.
Is that the bar?
Atiku has also presented a sound manifesto that calls for restructuring and devolution of powers in Nigeria. This is something I support because I know the job of fixing Nigeria isn’t for one man only. I know whoever is clamouring for restructuring should have the political will, and Atiku has it.
He’s been pushing for restructuring since 1999. The PDP has also been pushing for restructuring in one way or the other. The messiah system of governance won’t work. Allow other regions to develop themselves. Buhari decided to run Nigeria as a one-man show, and look where that landed him. Our local governments are doing almost nothing and our state governors are nothing but money sharers. All the tiers of government need to work hard to develop Nigeria.
Are you mobilising people to vote?
Yes, I’m using my influence on social media to get people to vote. I’ve also bought some campaign materials for my constituency and around Abuja metropolis to be shared. I’m giving my staff an election bonus to be able to travel to their various local government areas to vote.