Felix Nicholas. That’s the name. You may not know him, probably have never heard of him, probably have never met him, but he is the man who came third — only behind President Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Saturday's presidential election.
His party is the Peoples Coalition Party (PCP). Ever heard that before? Not likely.
But, hard as it may be to believe, that’s the name of the party on which platform Nicholas rode to become second runner-up in the election.
Nicholas is little-known. No, that’s an understatement. Until the result of the election was announced, Nicholas was largely unknown. No one yet has claimed to have seen a single hard-copy poster of his anywhere in the country. Even the ones available online were few and far between, only gaining mild traction following his surprise showing at the polls.
At the election, Nicholas polled 110,196 votes to leave a host of more favoured challengers in the dust. Omoyele Sowore of the African Action Congress (AAC) placed 10th with 33,953 votes, Kingsley Moghalu of the Young Progressives Party (YP) finished in 14th place with 21,866 votes, while Fela Durotoye of the Alliance for New Nigeria (ANN) finished a distant 17th with 16,779 votes. Is Nicholas more popular than Dr. Obadiah Malafia of the African Democratic Congress (AD), who placed fourth with 97,874 votes, or John Gbor, presidential candidate of the long-existing All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), who could only end up in fifth place with 66,851 votes?
Nicholas and his party took the majority of their 110,196 votes off the PDP; and with the benefit of hindsight, it looks like it was a deliberately orchestrated plan. PCP is similar to PDP not only in name but also in logo. PCP’s logo is in colours green, white and red in that order from left to right — just like the PDP’s. it is unlikely that this is mere coincidence, rather it appears a painstaking act of design to secure the votes of unsuspecting electorate.
In addition, PCP is alphabetically the party before PDP on the ballot paper. In a country where literates are reputed for sometimes 'blowing grammar' on social media while staying away from polling booths, the illiterate voting population is indeed high. This explains why 1, 289,607 votes of the 28,614,190 cast at the election were rejected. The huge figure of rejected votes raises the possibility that lots of voters seeking out the PDP ended up voting for the PCP, either because of the name or the logo.
Therefore, Nicholas’s votes are clearly suspect; and were this election a track and field event of the Olympics, he would be stripped of his bronze medal.