By Stephen Ubaana
Those who think that the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, would bow to pressures to declare the governorship election in Kano state inconclusive because of the disruption of the election in Gama Ward in Nasarawa local government Are of the state would be disappointed. This is because Mahmood Yakubu, a Professor and Chairman, INEC,, was not ready to declare the election in the state inconclusive for the second time, in one month because of time constraint and in order to prepare for the inauguration of the new government on June 13, 2019, Nigeria’s approved Democracy Day.
Political watchers believe that the pressure from the Nigeria Civil Society, Situation Room may force the Commission, to discountenance the areas where there was violence during the conduct of the Supplementary elections to declare of the poll result. The two major contenders who are jostling for the governorship of the state: Abba Ysuf, a close political ally of Rabiu Kwankwaso, a former governor of the state and Senator, Federal Republic of Nigeria, and incidentally the governorship Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in the state and Abdullahi Ganduje of the All Progressive Congress, APC, are not leaving anything to chance. The duo were said to be done everything within their powers to win the election. Ganduje, the APC, Candidate, supporters , were said to have unleashed mayhen in Gama Ward, one of the affected Wards where the supplementary election was held to avoid Yusuf, the PDP Candidate from getting the upper hand because of the high voting strength of the Ward, known for their support for the PDP.
Clement Nwankwo , an activist and Spokesperson of the Civil Society Situation Room, has urged the electoral umpire to go ahead with the declarations of the kano state Supplementary governorship election result on the basis that the polls had been concluded before the party thugs unleashed the mayhem on the people, suspected to be supporters. The group reveled in their report to INEC, that massive party thugs were deployed to intimidate voters , Observers and Agents in Gama Ward. The Civil Society Situation reports that there was a high deployment of accredited party Agents to polling Units , noting that that party Agents facilitated the disruption of the voting process. They confirmed that there was high incidences of vote buying by the party thugs and agents, who are linked to the APC , in the state. Most of the party thugs were said to have been recruited from neighbouring Jigawa state, to forestall Yusuf, the PDP, Candidate from winning the election.
Many believe that the crisis in Kano state would have be a child’s play compared to what would have happened in the area Bauchi state where the Supplementary election was held as the electorate took the initiative to chase away the politicians, cited at the voting centre.
political watchers disclosed that both for the intervention of the voters, the politicians and the thugs who had accompanied them would have disrupted the electoral process in the ward. The Value News watched the politicians and the party thugs on Channels Television as they ran to save their life from the angry voters who were not ready to see the politicians linked to the APC to disrupt the election in the ward to give room to INEC to declare it as inconclusive.
Despite political maneuverings to manipulate the election in the affected local government Areas wards were the Supplementary election was held to favour the incumbent governor f the state, Ahmad Aliyu of the APC, the people appear to have thrown their weight behind Bala Mohammed, a former minister of the Federeal Capital Territory, Abuja, and the PDP Candidate. The people may have rejected Aliyu, the APC, Candidate, because there is nothing to show on ground that he has deserved to be re-elected for another four years in office. They see his first term in office in the state as a four years of waste. It was not surprising why the people used their voting power in the aturday, March 23, 2019, rerun election in the affected wards where election was disrupted on Saturday March 9, governorship and states Assembly election to vote him out.
The victory of Mohammed, in the governorship election, appears to have reduced the political relevance of Amodu Sheriff, a former National Chairman of the PDP , who decamped to APC, with thousands of his supporters in the state to whittle down the support base of PDP in the state. President Mohammadu Buhari , may have seen him as a big catch by APC , in the state, which would facite the party winning the governorship and majority in the state House of Assembly election in the state. With the governorship and the state House of Assembly results declared, which gave the pdp, the edge, Buhari,, may have realised that the PDP former National Chairman over rated himself as he could not deliver Bauchi, his home state to APC.
Aminu Tambuwal and Samuel Ortom, governors of Sokoto and Benue states respectively , on the platform of the PDP, should count themselves luck that they have the support of the people to be re-elected. INEC, had declared the election the states inconclusive using the lead margin principle, which states that that if the lead margin votes are lower that the cancelled votes, the governorship election would be declared inconclusive. The duo and the three other governors fell to the INEC trap. The other affected states are Adamawa, Kano and Plateau states. The situation at Sokoto state , may appear different as the women had protested to INEC, Resident Electoral Commissioner in the state, insisting that Tamuwal, the PDP, Candidate, must be declared the winner of the election but that was how far fathey could go.
Aware that there is nothing that could be done to force to declare Tambuwal, the incumbent governor of the state as the winner of the election, the people waited to use their PVC, in the re-run election to prove a point: that APC has no place in Sokoto state. In announcing the results after the collation of votes on Saturday, March 23, 2019, Fatima Muktar, a Professor and the Returning officer , said the PDP Candidate, polled a total of 512,002 votes, after the 25,515 votes, he got from the Supplementary elections were added to the number of votes from the first exercise held on March 9, 2019. His closest rival, Aliyu of the APC, had Scored 511,660 votes, after adding the 22,444 votes scored at the supplementary election. Aliyu, the defeated APC governorship Candidate was a former deputy governor of the state, who clinched the party governorship ticket to contest the 2019, election. The state was said to have been thrown into wild jubilation with the declaration of Tambuwal as the governor-elect of the state. Aliyu was optimistic of winning the governorship election in the state with the victory of Buhari, the APC, Presidential Candidate during the Presidential election against the much favoured Candidate, AAtiku , of the PDP. I I t was a wrong calculation as the people cherish Tambuwal because he has something on ground to show for his first term in office in the state.
his counterpart, Ortom , may be considered the luckiest of the re-elected governors. He was forced to return to PDP from APC, by the youths, because of the activities of the Herdsmen in the state, which had led to the death of many farmers and destruction of farm lands. . It may be against his wish but he has no option but to bow to the people’s pressure. As a prelude to frustrating his re-election bid, suspected party thugs were said to have snatched electoral materials and attacked PDP and other party agents accompanying the materials to Chito Adzendechi Council Ward of Ukum local government Area of the state. The Ward , according to a resident has a high voting power and a stronghold of PDP. Given the action of the hoodlums, Nentawe Yilwatde, the REC, in the state, said over 13,000 votes expected from the ward was cancelled.
In spite of the cancellation of the votes from the PDP stronghold,, Ortom, was still declared the winner of the governorship election in the state. In the March 9, 2019, election , Ortom had scored 410, 576 votes to Emmanuel Jime, the APC Candidate’s votes of 329,022. The Suuplementary election was held in 204 polling units across 22 local government Areas in the stte. Maimako Sebastian, a Professor, and the state Returning officer may have shocked the APC Camp in the state when he declared that Ortom, the PDP, Candidate, scored a total of 434,473, VOTES, after the Supplementary election to beat , Jime, his closest rival and APC Candidate who got 345,155 vote, and was thus declared the winner of the election.
the APC, may be counted lucky to have won Plateau state, a former PDP stronghold. The party may have lost the state to APC. which had won the state in 2015, because of the unpopularity of Jerry Useni, a retired Army Major General and a former ally of late maximum dictator, General Sani Abacha. Richard Kimbir, a Professor and the state Returning officer had declared Lalong, the APC, governorship Candidate, the winner of the election after scoring 595,582, to defeat 23 other Candidates, including Useni, the PDP, Standard bearer who scored 546,813 votes.
f The Professor said a total of 1,159,954 votes were recorded while 16,188 were rejected , noting that a total f 1,176,142 was the total number of votes cast. The results of the nine local government Areas : Barkin Ladi, Bassa, Bokkos, Jos North, Kanam, Lantang south, Mangu, Panshin and Shendam, showed that Lalong of the APC, scored 12,327 votes while the PDP Candidate polled 8,,487 votes. political Observers believe that there is noway Usen could have beaten the APC Candidate to it in the Supplementary election because majority of the local government Areas where the Supplementary elections were held were APC strongholds.
The two political gladiators may be Christians but the residents of these local government Areas see Lalong , the APC, Candidate, as a representative of Buhari in the state and therefore deserve their votes. It was therefore not very surprising why they gave their overwhelming support to him and turned their back Useni, popular ”Jerryboy” a nickname he got in his military days which became more pronounced during the late Abacha Administration.