Residents of Maiduguri, the Borno capital, have dismissed as misleading, the alleged electoral irregularities in the February 23 Presidential and National Assembly election.
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, had alleged irregularities in the elections in Borno state where President Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressive Congress (APC) garnered 836, 496 votes against Atikus 71, 788 votes.
However, the residents told NAN in separate interviews in Maiduguri, that the votes secured by Buhari was as true reflection of the choice of the people.
Mr Umar Gamaye, a resident, said that the massive votes for Buhari was in appreciation of his administration’s commitment to end Boko Haram insurgency and restore peace in the northeast.
Gamaye said that the electorate also voted for the APC presidential candidate because of their firm belief that his second coming would end insurgency, address humanitarian crisis, fast track rehabilitation and resettlement of displaced communities as well as restore peace to the war tone state.
He added: “Atiku never visited Borno to sympathize with the people affected by the insurgency in the past nine years.
“On the contrary, Buhari accorded priority to the counter insurgency campaign, recorded significant successes in addressing humanitarian crisis.
“Thousands of people in insurgents’ captivity were freed and resettled in liberated communities, provided livelihoods support and enrolled into peace building programmes.
“Looking at Buhari’s achievements, how do you expect the people of Borno to vote for Atiku? People in the northeast recognize and appreciate the efforts of the APC-led Federal Government”.
Bukar Mala, an internally displaced persons, explained that he and thousands of displaced persons in various camps in Maiduguri metropolis and other communities voted for Buhari and other candidates of the APC.
“We were displaced by the Boko Haram insurgency due to serious neglect by the past PDP administration, and we had seen the effort of the APC-led government to assist us defeat the insurgents and liberate our communities from their control.
“We have confidence in Buhari administration to bring peace so that we can go back to our homes,” he added.
Another resident, Abubakar Grema, said that the PDP lost popularity due to poor handling of the insurgency and humanitarian crisis bedeviling the state.
He claimed that Atiku was only hoodwinked by self seeking elements parading as party loyalists, promoting their personal interests, to assume that he has support in the state.
Grema added that Buhari’s popularity was overwhelming in view of the great feat achieved by his administration in the improvement of security in the state, as well as his anti corruption crusade, infrastructural development and economic transformation programmes.
Grema further dismissed the allegations of electoral irregularities by the PDP as “misleading”, saying Buhari would still win massively even if the election held again.
According to him, the election was successfully conducted and adjudged by the international community as free, fair and credible.
He stressed that the people also supported President Buhari because they were convinced of the efforts being made to strengthen rule of law and build strong institutions to make Nigeria one of the developed democracies in the world.
In his reaction, Alhaji Aliyu Dalori, the Chairman of the APC in the state, said the allegations were frivolous, as there were records of very high voter turnout during the polls.
Dalori said that the vote for Buhari by the electorate was a strong endorsement of his efforts in restoring relative peace to the state.
“It is dubious for the opposition to make such frivolous allegations when they lost woefully at the polls. The election was adjudged free, fair and credible by international and local observer groups who monitored the exercise,” Dalori added.
Meanwhile, Mr Titus Abana, the Chairman, Borno chapter of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), has advised the President to consolidate on the gains recorded in the campaign against corruption; poverty eradication, agriculture, education, power sector, security, rail and road infrastructure development.
Abana also urged government at all levels to accord priority to the improvement of the welfare of retirees and ensure prompt payment of outstanding gratuities and pensions.