It’s absurd for Peter Obi to compare Nigeria’s election with that of South Africa – Northern group

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The Northern Awareness Network (NAN) has criticized Peter Obi, the Labour Party’s defeated presidential candidate in the 2023 elections, for comparing the electoral processes of Nigeria and South Africa.

NAN’s chairman, Salihu Suleiman, labeled Obi’s comparison as absurd and comical, emphasizing the vast differences in political histories and contexts between the two nations.

Suleiman highlighted South Africa’s long-standing democracy, shaped by decades of political reform, in contrast to Nigeria’s relatively recent transition to democracy in 1999 after years of military rule.

He argued that Obi’s attempt to draw parallels between the electoral experiences of the two countries demonstrates a lack of understanding of their respective political landscapes.

According to NAN, during the apartheid era, elections were manipulated to disenfranchise the majority of the population, adding that post-apartheid, South Africa has still encountered issues such as voter fraud, ballot tampering, voter intimidation, and questionable campaign financing.

NAN underscored that Nigeria’s electoral system is still in its infancy and should not be unfairly compared to South Africa’s more mature democracy. Despite challenges faced by Nigeria’s Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), NAN commended the commission for its efforts in ensuring credible, free, and fair elections over the past 27 years.

Suleiman acknowledged INEC’s proactive measures, including reforms and the adoption of new technologies to enhance transparency and accountability.

He also highlighted INEC’s initiatives in voter education and public awareness campaigns, which have increased civic participation and informed voters about their rights and responsibilities.

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In response to Obi’s comparisons, NAN pointed out electoral irregularities in South Africa’s history and recent elections, stressing that neither country is free from electoral challenges.

Suleiman called on Nigerian politicians, including Obi, to focus on addressing Nigeria’s unique electoral challenges rather than making impractical comparisons with countries with more entrenched democratic traditions.

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