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.
The subject of today’s The Nigerian Voter is Abubakar, a 28-year-old project manager and a member of the New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP). He told us about his voting experiences and why he sees Kwankwaso as his favourite candidate.
How many times you have voted?
I voted for Goodluck Jonathan of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in 2015, and Atiku Abubakar, also of the PDP, in 2019.
I’ve never really liked the APC due to their corruption and bias. They’re a result of all the bad leaders Nigeria has produced over the years, and I’ll definitely not want to be part of that kind of political party.
Where did you vote and what were your experiences like?
Both times I’ve voted in Kaduna, it’s been nothing but hell. All sorts of corruption go on, from vote buying to actual physical harassment. In 2019, an APC agent tried to give me ₦20k to vote for Buhari but I didn’t accept it. I’m casting my vote in Lagos this time so I’m looking forward to a better experience.
What’s your favourite thing about Nigeria’s electoral system?
It’s the speed at which the results are processed these days. I’m not a man of patience or suspense, so I’m more for getting things done ‘sharp sharp’.
What’s your least favourite?
I dislike the manual processes we’re still using for elections in Nigeria. We should have evolved to even online voting by now. If fans can vote online for that reality TV show, Big Brother Naija, why can’t we do that in our own electoral system?
If you had your way, what would you change about the system?
I’d automate the entire process and make use of encrypted software. I’d also ensure credible and accountable Nigerians are put in charge of the ballot collation. These Nigerians will be educated and, most importantly, have an accurate moral compass.
What would you say every voter should consider before choosing a candidate?
Every voter should choose competence over cheap talk. If there’s one thing I know about politicians, it’s that they talk more than they do. I’d also choose track record because it speaks for itself. You don’t need to convince people all over the country to vote for you when they already know you, your achievements, and what you bring to the table.
Who are you voting for?
Rabiu Kwankwaso for president in 2023! I believe he has the integrity, will, and energy to take Nigeria further. APC and PDP have produced elected leaders in the past but we’re still complaining about the most basic things — electricity, insurgency, education, etc. It’s absurd that in 2022, I don’t feel safe enough to use the road to travel to my hometown in Kaduna.
And your candidate can fix these things?
I believe especially in Kwankwaso because of his track record in Kano State, with infrastructure, free feeding for primary school students, and the establishment of the Kano State University of Science and Technology. Also, his experience as a former Minister of Defence will help us with the terrorism issue. Remember, a track record always counts.
What problems would you like Kwankwaso to solve as president?
I’d love for him to tackle terrorism and figure out the economy. Kaduna has suffered insurgency issues which have changed the lives of many people I used to know. We also need to reach a stage in our economy where Nigeria can stand on its own and not borrow every time. I want Nigeria to be a better and safer place for my future children, and I believe Kwankwaso can achieve these dreams.
Are you mobilising people to vote?
During the PVC registration, I got seven of my friends to register for their PVC or apply for renewal. I had to change my voting location too, and I made sure to spread the word at my workplace as well as my mosque. This is the make-or-break election, and Nigerians must be prepared.