By Abdallah el-Kurebe, Birnin Kebbi
The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC is today set to conduct the re-run governorship election in Kebbi State following the Supreme Court’s sack of former Governor Usman Dakingari.
The election that brought the former Governor to office was invalidated by the apex court upon concerns that the Appeal Court did not give its reasons for its judgment on the petition against Dakingari within the required 60 days. Dakingari was elected on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
Today’s election is generally believed to have lost its competitiveness following the withdrawal of the major competitors, the candidates of the Congress for Progressive Change, CPC Abubakar Garu Mallam and that of the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, Alhaji Kabiru Turaki. The duo surrendered their quests and decamped to the PDP.
The only serious contention is expected to come from the All Nigeria Peoples Party, ANPP the party that once ruled the state through Alhaji Adamu Aliero. Aliero, however, switched from the ANPP to the PDP and then to the CPC before recently returning to the PDP.
At the grand campaign held in Kebbi town, President Goodluck Jonathan had presented the governorship candidate of the PDP, Dakingari before the public in a gathering that was attended by party supporters. At the occasion, Dakingari expressed his readiness to continue with what he described as the struggle, “for the emancipation of people of the state and provision of basic infrastructural facilities,” even as he also emphasised that anybody who wanted to obstruct the drive would not succeed.
That rally was also the occasion when Aliero and the CPC governorship candidate, Mallam decamped from the CPC to the PDP. He defected along with all his supporters.
Real reasons Aliero defected
There were many insinuations attached to Aliero’s defection from the CPC to the PDP. One of the claims is that former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s requested Aliero to do so.
But before Aleiro and Mallam’s defection on that day, some major strategists and political gladiators in the CPC had also defected including two of the major financiers of the party in the state, the twin brothers, Hassan and Hussaini Suleiman Kangiwa.
There are strong insinuations that the defection of the twins, alongside another major backbone of the CPC in Kebbi State, Alhaji Umaru Abubakar Tafida and several others, had sufficiently weakened the CPC to the extent that it had become an inconsequential factor in today’s election.
Some allege that this is the real reason that Aleiro also decided to follow suit. “Aleiro has no other alternative than to decamp to the PDP. We boosted his popularity in the CPC,” Hassan Kangiwa told Vanguard in a telephone interview in Kebbi.
Affirmation election. It is as such not surprising that the PDP is entering today’s election full of confidence.
The PDP Chairman in Kebbi state, Alhaji Mansir Shehu told Vanguard that Dakingari was set to return to the Government House going by the events that culminated in the mass defection of the opposition to the PDP. “You see, we are only strengthened by their defection to the PDP, without which we were still determined to get back there.”
Aleiro’s affirms support for Dakingari
At a press conference in Kebbi Thursday, Aleiro affirmed his support for the PDP and Dakingari, pledging that he was going all out to canvass votes for the party and Daknigari. “This is to reiterate our support for the PDP and its governorship candidate, Alhaji Sa’idu Dakingari. Our supporters will go all out to vote for the PDP. For, sure, the party will win this rerun election.”
According to the Kebbi State Resident Electoral Commissioner, Alhaji Mikailu Abdullahi, INEC is set and ready for the rerun election as, according to him, both sensitive and non sensitive materials were already in Kebbi.
He told Vanguard that 15 candidates would contest the Kebbi governorship re-run election.
Abdullahi said that the candidates and their political parties are Kabiru Turaki, ACN; Attari Sani, AD; Hajiya Hauwau Mohammed, ADC; Alhaji Lawan Mohammed, ALP; Alhaji Sulaiman Argungu, ANPP; Umaru Birnin Kebbi, APGA and Malam Abubakar Abubakar, CPC.
Others are Alhaji Sani Abubakar, CPP; Muhammed Danbare, LP; Sahabi Atiku, NNPP; Alhaji Tukur Yaro, NSDP; Mohammed Mogaji, NTP; Saidu Nasamu Dakingari, PDP; Alhaji Abubakar Umaru, PPA and Alhaji Mohammed Nura, PPP.
According to him, INEC will deploy 8,629 officials to conduct the election. A breakdown of the personnel requirement for the re-run election shows that the commission will deploy 7,859 ad hoc staff from the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) plus undergraduates from tertiary institutions in Kebbi. This is in addition to 225 Supervisory Presiding Officers, SPOs; 247 Collation Officers, Cos; 25 Supervisors and 273 reserves.
1, 636, 308 registered voters spread across 21 local governments areas, 225 registration areas and 2,398 Polling Units (PUs) are to make the crucial choice of whether Dakingari should return to power.
Security has been reinforced as policemen have been posted to strategic places, especially in the townships. Kebbi state Police Commissioner, Adisa Baba Bolanta told Vanguard that the Police is ready and over 5000 personnel would be deployed for the rerun election.