Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, said in Abuja on Monday that the era of landslide victories in Nigerian elections is over.
Yakubu was probably making reference to previous elections where victory margins between leading and runner-up candidates were so wide they did not correspond with the figures of registered voters in a particular polling unit or state.
The INEC boss justified his statement with the outcome of several off-season elections, which he said clearly showed that the usage of the words “landslide victory” in elections was over.
Yakubu, who spoke at the 10th general assembly of the National Council of Traditional Rulers of Nigeria (NCTRN), linked his statement to the outcome off-season elections conducted in several states before the preparation for the 2019 general elections.
He particularly noted that the Osun state governorship election presented the first case scenario in Nigeria where the difference between the leading governorship candidate and the runner-up was just a little above 300 votes.
“That might have prompted the option of a re-run that eventually produced the winner of that election,” Yakubu said.
He also made references to several by-elections conducted in Plateau and other states which produced surprising outcomes that vindicated his statement.
The INEC Chairman said that the development was a clear indication that Nigerians are wiser, politically aware and enlightened in their governance processes, and are determined to deeply participate in the electoral process that would herald the emergence of new political leaders.
The electoral chairman challenged politicians to re-strategise on their campaign messages and to device best ways to reach out to Nigerians and convince them to buy into their political ambition instead of relying on rigging and other malpractices hitherto used to win elections.