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2019 poll: Surprises, unanswered questions and the battle to come

By Emma Amaize, Regional Editor, South-South, Dayo Johnson, Regional Editor, South-West, Wole Mosadomi, Peter Duru, Ola Ajayi, Daud Olatunji, Bashir Bello, Femi Bolaji, Dennis Agbo, Sam Oyadongha, Jimitota Onoyume, Festus Ahon, Emmanuel Una, Harris-Okon Emmanuel, Chioma Onuegbu, Perez Brisibe, Alemma-Ozioruva Aliu and Charles Agwam 

In every contest, there is always a winner and a loser. Penultimate Saturday’s governorship and House of Assembly elections across the country were not an exception.The polls left surprises and unanswered questions.

Ogun: One state, three friends, three governors

In Ogun State, the result of the governorship election in the state completed the cycle of three friends who had desired to govern the state and had their dreams fulfilled.

Election
Ballot boxes for the Presidential and National Assembly Elections arrenged Ward A’ Kofar Baru 003 Sakin Yara Polling Unit during the 2019 National Assembly and Presidential Elections in Daura, Katsina State on Saturday

It also completed a cycle of three governors who helped and worked against one another.

In a nutshell, it is a tale of three friends who were joined by politics and separated by same.

Otunba Gbenga Daniel, Senator Ibikunle Amosun and Mr Dapo Abiodun were jolly good friends who played political games since 2002 which culminated in the emergence of Daniel as governor of Ogun in 2003.

These three friends met one another in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

Before then, Abiodun had contested for the Ogun East senatorial seat and won. But he was never sworn in due to the military takeover of 1984/85.

After the return of democracy in 1999, Daniel and Abiodun slugged it out at the PDP governorship primary for the party’s ticket but the shadow election was won by Daniel. Despite his loss, Abiodun threw his support behind Daniel at the general elections.

Amosun at that period had become the Ogun Central senatorial candidate of the PDP and, together, the trio embarked on massive campaigns

The trio were usually seen together campaigning in all the nooks and crannies of the state prior to 2003 elections. Of the trio, Abiodun was the only one that failed to be a candidate of the party having lost at the primary election.

After Daniel’s emergence, issues came up over the planned succession of Amosun after four years of the first term of Daniel. This development pitted the duo against each other and became a full blown crisis.

The duo became sworn enemies and Amosun defected to the defunct All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) on which platform it contested the 2007 governorship election which Daniel won to do second term.

But Amosun will go on to win the state governorship election in 2011 after Daniel’s second term on the platform of Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN).

Meanwhile, Abiodun, who had left politics for business, came back into politics and contested for Senate in Ogun East in 2015 on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC). He, however, lost to Buruji Kashamu of the PDP.

In the 2015 polls, it was gathered that Amosun sought the help of his estranged friend, Daniel, for his second term ambition at the polls.

Before then, it was learnt that the Remo and Ijebu axis of the state, where Daniel hails from, had ganged up against him but the jinx of a sitting governor not being elected for second term in Ogun was reportedly broken by Daniel and some leaders of the region.

Fast forward to 2018!

A source from Amosun’s camp hinted that Abiodun had sought the senatorial ticket (Ogun East) from Amosun in the 2019 elections but was denied. But a national leader of the party from the state threw his support for him and encouraged him to vie for governorship.

Like Daniel did to Amosun when the latter wanted to succeed him, Amosun reportedly vowed to scuttle the ambition of Abiodun to succeed him as the governor of the state.

Abiodun won the 2019 governorship election with over 19,000 votes to defeat Amosun’s preferred candidate of the Allied Peoples Movement, Adekunle Akinlade.

The emergence of Abiodun did not happen without the support of Daniel against Amosun.

Meanwhile, Chief Olusegun Osoba has a role in all of this.

In 2003, Osoba, then a first term governor of Ogun, was seeking re-election on the platform of Alliance for Democracy (AD) while both Amosun and Daniel, who were PDP members, teamed up and ousted him.

Daniel was the PDP governorship candidate in the state and Amosun the senatorial candidate for Ogun Central where Osoba hails from.

Daniel defeated Osoba in the election.

Eight years after, Amosun warmed himself into the heart of Osoba and became the governorship candidate of the defunct ACN. Together, Osoba and Amosun defeated Daniel’s favoured candidate in the Peoples Party of Nigeria, Gboyega Isiaka.

History repeated itself in this year’s election when Daniel and Osoba teamed up against Amosun who had also sponsored a favoured candidate, Akinlade of APM.

Further findings also show that Amosun was a victim of a gang-up by some powerful people in Ogun.

Apart from Osoba, the governor was not in the good books of many APC leaders who include Vice President Yemi Osinbajo; Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, and the National Chairman of APC, Adams Oshiomhole.

He fought the battle and almost won considering the slim margin in the number of votes cast in favour of his preferred governorship candidate (Akinlade) and that of Abiodun.

Now that Akinlade has lost election, Amosun  was reported to have directed all his followers that defected to the APM to return to APC.

Oyo: A loss foretold

In Oyo State, from the results of the presidential and National Assembly elections held on February 23, defeat was already staring the APC in the face in the governorship election of penultimate Saturday. But like a brave warrior who fights to the end, they shrugged it aside and forged ahead.

The party was still bemoaning the loss of Governor Abiola Ajimobi who contested the Oyo South senatorial seat. But the narrow lead the party had over the PDP in the House of Representatives’ segment of the February 23 polls where it took nine of the 14 seats in the state gave the broom party a glitter of hope that the table could turn against the PDP.

But as the results of the governorship and the state House of Assembly polls started coming in, last week, the hope that APC was banking on evaporated. The party lost all the 11 local governments in Ibadan, the state capital, including Ibadan South-West which had the largest number of voters.

With his experience that spans over a decade, Seyi Makinde, the PDP gubernatorial candidate for Oyo State, had always made the wrong move until this year’s polls. Makinde suddenly became the beautiful bride after Ajimobi had broken the jinx to become the first governor of the state to serve two terms.

Apart from this, the ruling APC in the state suffered internal wrangling that shook the party to its foundation and forced thousands of members out.

Ondo: Violence galore

Only the House of Assembly segment of the polls held in Ondo State because the governorship election is not due in the state until 2021.

But the House of Assembly election in the state recorded eight deaths including a National Youth Service Corps member Ibrahim Okanlawon who drowned in a boat mishap.

Two persons were gunned down in Oba Akoko area of the state while attempting to overrun the INEC collation centre in the area while others were killed during a shootout between security operatives and some protesting youths who alleged fraud in the election in Odigbo constituency.

Meanwhile, calls from the opposition political parties for the cancellation of the election across the state over irregularities such have been overwhelming.

The state Chairman of the PDP, Mr Clement Faboyede, said the results of the election across Ondo did not reflect the wish of the electorate.

“What happened on Saturday was simply unacceptable across this state, uncivilized and undemocratic. Security agencies failed to be professional unlike how they conducted themselves during the presidential and National Assembly polls”, he said.

“There was sporadic shooting of guns in the state capital. No arrest was made. What happened in the last elections was vote-buying and selling.”

But the ruling APC in the state, responding through its Publicity Secretary, Alex Kalejaye, dismissed the allegation saying “we went into the election better coordinated”.

Benue: A stalemate

The March 9 governorship election in Benue State remains a matter of discussion given the declaration by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, that the election was inconclusive.

At the end of collation of results from the 23 local government areas of the state, the Collation Officer, Prof. Sabastine Maimako, declared that Governor Samuel Ortom of the PDP polled 410,576 votes ahead of his closest rival Emmanuel Jime of the All Progressives Congress, APC, who garnered 329,022 votes.

Maimako noted that a total of 2,480,101 voters were registered for the election while 816,969 voters were accredited being about 35% of the registered voters. “But the number of cancelled votes, which is 121,019, is more than the margin of the lead between the PDP and APC which is 81, 554,” hence the declaration.

The decision of INEC did not go down well with the PDP which has continued to contend that its candidate ought to have been declared the winner of the poll.

Analysts did not give APC any chance in the election in the state after it became unpopular following what many believed was the APC-led Federal Government’s indifferent attitude to herdsmen killings in Benue.

Niger: Why Sani  Bello won

In Niger State, the battle was expectedly between the APC and PDP.

The flag bearers of the two parties – Alhaji Abubakar Sani Bello of the APC and Alhaji Umar Mohammed Nasko of the PDP – are from Zone C of the state.

While Nasko is the son of a former Minister of Federal Capital Territory, (FCT), General Gado Nasko, the incumbent governor, Bello is the son of a former military governor of old Kano State.

The incumbency of Bello however came to play in Zone C with ongoing projects in the area speaking for him and the promise of more dividends of democracy.

Few days to the governorship/House of Assembly elections, the APC did not rely on incumbency factor but went the extra mile to penetrate all the nooks and crannies of Niger to sell itself to the electorate.

The governor knowing the power of civil servants didn’t toy with their salaries as they are always paid as and when due.

In fact, Bello was one of the first governors to endorse the N30,000 minimum wage at the peak of labour’s agitation

No wonder the Chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) in Niger, Comrade Idris Ndako, few days to the elections endorsed the governor for a second term.

The state Chairman of the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT), Comrade Ibrahim Umar, also threw his weight behind the second term bid of Bello.

Besides the workers endorsement, many other bodies secretly and openly supported the second term bid of the incumbent governor.

Though Nasko is loved by many people in the state because of his youthfulness (he is in early 40s), his modest achievements as Chief of Staff and Commissioner for Environment under the immediate past governor, Dr.   Muazu Babangida Aliyu, also spoke for him.

Taraba: Alhassan  twice unlucky 

The governorship election in Taraba State has been won and lost but the memories linger.

Incumbent governor and governorship candidate of the PDP, Governor Darius Ishaku, defeated a former Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, Aisha Alhassan, and a former acting governor of the state who was the candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Sani Danladi, to secure re-election.

While Ishaku won 12 of the 16 local government areas of the state, Danladi, of the APC, claimed victory in the remaining four.

Alhassan, who almost became the first female governor in Nigeria when she contested against Ishaku on the platform of the APC in 2015, polled only 16, 289 votes across the state this time as the flag bearer of the United Democratic Party, UDP.

Ishaku, after collation, polled 520,433 votes against Danladi’s 362,735, and was returned re-elected by the returning officer of INEC, Prof Shehu Iya.

The contest, this time, for the incumbent governor was less tough compared to 2015 when he saw stiff resistance from Alhassan’s popularity and acceptance across Taraba.

The euphoria and glitz Alhassan enjoyed in 2015 was, however, not sustained till the 2019 governorship contest.

This resulted in her suffering a major setback in her bid to occupy the number one seat in the state, which is not unconnected with her defection from the APC to a less popular UDP.

With Ishaku securing re-election, PDP has retained its dominance in Taraba’s polity as the party to beat since the return to democratic governance in 1999.

His predecessors, Jolly Nyame and Danbaba Suntai, who held power for eight years each, from 1999 to 2015 on the platform of PDP were from the Northern and Central zones of Taraba, while Ishaku is from the Southern Zone. This, however, resulted in the block votes Ishaku gathered from the Southern Zone.

Of the five local government areas in the Southern Senatorial Zone of Taraba, Ishaku won by a landslide in four while Danladi of the APC won one with a slim margin.

The direction of the massive votes for the candidate of the PDP in the Southern Zone was his affiliation as a son of the soil.

The endorsement of Ishaku by a former Minister of Defence, Lt Gen Theophilus Danjuma, who is his kinsman, paved way for the overwhelming victory he recorded in the zone.

His victory has completed the equation of two tenure rotation among the three zones of the state, which, in turn, has set the ball rolling for where the pendulum would swing in 2023.

Katsina: Bookmakers on point

In Katsina, the home state of President Muhammadu Buhari, after the ruling APC won the presidential and National Assembly elections by a landslide, one would expect that the sitting governor, Aminu Bello Masari, also of the APC, would also have a smooth ride and carry the day. Bookmakers were right. Buhari won the state by scoring over 1.2million votes while the candidate of the PDP, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, polled 308,056 votes. The margin of the result between the presidential and governorship elections in Katsina is not particularly large. The candidate of the APC and incumbent governor, Alhaji Aminu Masari, scored over 1.1million votes to beat the PDP candidate, Yakubu Lado, who had 488,621 votes. Analysts attributed the situation in the state to the Buhari factor, the defection of some PDP bigwigs to the APC, the incumbency factor and the performance of the Masari administration which many people adjudged as average.

Kano: The big surprise

The governorship election result in Kano produced a surprise after Buhari had won the presidential election by a landslide. The APC presidential candidate scored over 1.9million votes in the February 23 elections to beat Atiku who managed to grab 215,779 votes. After the landslide, analysts expected a bandwagon. But the result of the governorship election was entirely different, in fact an anti-climax. The PDP turned the tide against the APC. As of the time the governorship election was declared inconclusive by INEC, the PDP candidate in the election, Alhaji Abba Yusuf, had scored 1,014,474 votes as against the candidate of the ruling APC, Alhaji Abdullahi Ganduje, who scored 987,819 votes. In essence, the PDP candidate is leading by 26,655 votes. Ganduje, who is seeking re-election, will be battling to retain his seat in the supplementary election scheduled for next Saturday by first cancelling Yusuf’s 26,655 votes’ advantage before looking for winning votes from the 141,694 that are up for grabs in the supplementary polls. Analysts attributed the turn of tide against the APC in the governorship election in Kano to the efforts of a former governor of the state, Senator Ahmed Kwankwanso, who is fighting tooth and nail to ensure that Ganduje, who was his deputy and he had helped to assume office in 2015 before they became estranged, did not secure second term.

Kwara: Saraki’s fatal mistake

The outcome of the National Assembly and presidential elections in Kwara State clearly confirmed what the results of the governorship and state assembly elections would be.

Senate President Bukola Saraki, the Director General of Atiku presidential campaign organisation and national leader of the PDP, ridiculously failed to retain his seat in the National Assembly. So also were all other contestants of the party in the National Assembly elections. Atiku also lost in the state.

This electoral feat is what Saraki used perform in the last 16 years until the tide turned against him in the 2019 elections.

Sunday Vanguard gathered that the Presidency and indeed the leadership of the APC, the party Saraki had assisted in forming and lately dumped, had sworn to take over Kwara from him, having severally failed to impeach him as Senate President and also nail him at the Code of Conduct Tribunal.

Saraki irredeemably lost the political   support base which catapulted him into national politics and he lost the State of Harmony so much that he couldn’t retain his National Assembly seat.

Sunday Vanguard checks revealed that many of his political aides and those he helped into various elective posts were the architect of his political misfortunes as they literarily abandoned the people and lived large flaunting their wealth among angry supporters.

The leader, as he is fondly called, didn’t also have time as he was preoccupied with national politics and completely abandoned the system of checking and cross checking about   the true feelings of the people aside what he needed to hear that his close aides used to tell him.

Saraki personally got wind of the fact that he was gradually losing the grip on Kwara during the last local government polls in November 2017 when the opposition party then, PDP, won Ilorin west local government, his local government and four councillorship seats.

The local government elections’ results then were unprecedented in the political history of the Saraki dynasty which usually cleared all the seats without leaving any for the opposition.

That was the beginning of the end of the Saraki political dynasty.

Sunday Vanguard gathered that the outcome of the local government elections was the product of members of the Saraki’s political family particularly the youths who were consistently short-changed by their leaders.

Enugu: The anti-climax and a fatal shooting

The tempo that was set for the governorship and House of Assembly elections in Enugu State was deflated by the APC which withdrew from the contest two days to the elections.

The heightened tension went down immediately the APC governorship candidate, Senator Ayogu Eze, returned from Abuja on Thursday, March 7 to announce his withdrawal.

Eze had gone to Abuja where the Court of Appeal vacated his previous disqualification as candidate.

Despite the APC candidate’s withdrawal based on the non-inclusion of his name on INEC’s manifest, his counterpart in the PDP, Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, left nothing undone to ensure victory.

Eze’s matter was worsened when a coalition of 70 registered political parties in the state, on the eve of elections, announced their readiness to go ahead with the polls and subsequently endorsed Ugwuanyi as a consensus candidate.

Some candidates of the APC for the state House of Assembly elections also converged and opposed Eze’s “personal decision” to boycott the election.

On election day, while the exercise moved smoothly in most polling units in the state, a large number of supporters gathered in solidarity at the premises of Eze, chanting songs of election boycott.

Eyewitness narrated that over 1,000 youths filled his compound in Enugu-Ezike, chanting songs and dared INEC officials who they alleged were responsible for their woes.

While this went on, a police orderly shot dead a young APC member who was a brother to the House of Assembly candidate for Igboeze North II state constituency. The death dispersed the gathered crowd.

There were different versions of what happened in Eze’s house. One of the stories had it that struggle for election money caused the death of the young man while another version had it that some election observers came into Eze’s house in a government branded vehicle which angered the frustrated supporters that wanted to ventilate their anger on the observers but for the random shooting of the police that resulted in the death of the deceased.

On Sunday, the day after the elections, Ugwuanyi was declared winner with a total votes of 449,935 while Eze of the APC came second with 10,423 votes. The victory celebration has been on in Enugu up till time of this report.

Delta: Okowa  floors Ogboru

While APC plotted how to defeat PDP in Delta, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, former Governor James Ibori, the state’s biggest industrialist, Olorogun Kenneth Gbagi, Chief Strategist to the State Government, Chief Paulinus Akpeki, and a former Minister of Information, Prof Sam Oyovbaire, maintained that APC was not on ground in the state.

To be fair to the Federal Government, there was no report of soldiers snatching ballot boxes or helping APC to rig in the state on March 9 as was feared before the polls, but what was very apparent was that suspected political thugs from outside the vicinities paraded many polling units.

In all, the much-anticipated ‘federal might’ did not work in Delta because the PDP did its homework. The APC gubernatorial candidate for the state, Chief Great Ogboru, touted to have won all previous elections he contested in the state but lost to PDP’s ‘federal might’ at the time, could only win two out of the 25 local government areas.

He lost his Delta Central senatorial district for the first time to the PDP. While he won Ethiope East, his local   government,   and Ughelli North, Okowa crushed him in Ughelli South, Gbagi’s local government; Ethiope West, where Ibori gave Okowa an overwhelming support, Sapele, the domain of Akpeki, Okpe and Uvwie local government areas.

Urhobo APC leaders are still asking themselves what happened on March 9, for nobody expected the shocking defeat even with the party in power at the national level. In fact, a party chieftain cried out that Buhari abandoned Ogboru.

In other senatorial districts of the state, Okowa’s ride on Ogboru was devastating. He won all the local governments in Delta South and Delta North senatorial districts. Former Secretary to the State Government, Comrade Ovuozorie Macaulay and others ensured that Isoko votes did not go to Ogboru.

Senator James Manager; Deputy Governor Deacon Kingsley Otuaro; Director General of the Okowa Campaign Council, Hon Funkekeme Solomon, who had a slight brush with his former boss, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan, in the run-up to the polls, handled Ijaw axis. They all took cue from elder statesman, Chief Edwin Clark, who decreed that Ogboru should not be allowed to smell Government House, Asaba, at least not in 2019.

In Itsekiri land, Niger Delta activist, Chief Rita Lori- Ogbebor, was at the forefront of the campaign for re election of the governor. Chief Solomon Areyenka, Former Chief of Staff Government House, Asaba, mobilized Warri North for Okowa.

In fact, the local government council chairmen in Warri South, Dr Michael Tidi, Warri North, Hon Abugie Okorodudu and several prominent Itsekiri also stood firm for Okowa’s reelection

Ogboru, in the opinion of many, did not appear as one ready for the election. Analysts said unlike in the past when Ogboru contested, this time his campaign was less vigorous. Another factor that counted against Ogboru was the internal wrangling in his party. Until about a week to the election, some aggrieved members of the party were not ready to work for him. Some members of the party were not happy with the way he emerged as the governorship candidate of the party as a new entrant.

They had thought that the leadership of the party would give the opportunity to members that had been building the party in the state for several years.

Akwa Ibom: Why Emmanuel defeated Akpabio’s candidate   

Akwa Ibom State is among the South-South states, which Senator Godswill Akpabio, the alienated godfather of the incumbent governor and PDP candidate, Mr. Udom Emmanuel, buoyed by ‘federal might’, greatly threatened his second tenure.

Akpabio threw up Obong Nsima Ekere as APC governorship candidate and both believed the Federal Government guarantee victory, especially after Vice President Osinbajo stated that APC would retrieve its stolen mandate in the state.

However, when the polls were tallied, Emmanuel polled 519, 712 votes to defeat Ekere, who scored 171,978 votes. In addition, Governor Emmanuel won in 30 local government areas, while Ekere only won in Essien Udim local government area where he polled 6,938 votes, while Emmanuel polled 2,161 votes out of 9,171 votes.

The governor’s landslide win will expectedly give wide acceptance and popularity to PDP in the state.

Besides, the governor’s achievement in his first term in office, particularly in the areas of industrialization and improved security situation across the state, which account for the peaceful atmosphere currently enjoyed in the state, spoke for him at the polls.

In addition, PDP tacticians contributed to the victory of the party in virtually all the polling units and wards of the 31 local government areas.

Obviously, APC did not work hard enough to win Akwa Ibom considering that PDP has been in control of the state since 1999.

C’River: Major surprise

The March 9 polls came to a successful conclusion in Cross River State with no major upsets and challenges.

Unlike in the presidential and National Assembly elections, where materials were distributed or arrived late in most polling units, especially those in rural areas and remote places, INEC delivered materials on time in most centres and polling started early.

Though they were cases where materials for one polling unit went to another unit, officials sorted out the errors on time and voting took place simultaneously in all the units.

The Returning Officers were more composed and did not mix up figures like in the previous elections and there were few mutilations of results. Overall, the INEC seemed to have used the two-week time span to make corrections, which made the election of 9 March more satisfactory and acceptable.

The permutation that the state governor, Senator Ben Ayade PDP   was going to win happened. He floored his major challenger, Senator John Owan Enoh of APC, and other close contestants for the position like Mr Eyo Ekpo of the Social Democratic Party, SDP, and Emmanuel Undie of the Young Democratic Party, YDP.

Ayade polled 361,484, votes ahead of Owan Enoh, who got 131,161, votes, while Ekpo of SDP got 818 votes.

The major surprise was that Ayade won in all the 18 local government areas of the state, including those of his major challengers, Etung,   and in Calabar Municipality. Even   in polling booths located close to the homes of his challengers, Ayade won all. Powerbrokers like Senator Liyel Imoke, Senator Gershom Bassey, Venatius Ikem, Chief Asuquo Ekpenyong, and many others won their polling units for the governor.

However, people like Pastor Usani Usani, Senator Victor Ndomaegba, Prince Bassey Otu, whom much was expected on the APC front, could not perform the needed magic to change the tide against the APC, which started in the presidential and National Assembly elections.

The lackluster performance of the APC, hamstrung with a plethora of court cases made the party perform abysmally. Up to polling time on March 9, there was still dispute in the courts as to who was the candidate of the party.

While Usani said he was the authentic candidate, Enoh said he was the genuine candidate.

Rivers: Wike  on tenterhooks

For Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State, he and his ruling PDP, this time, got more than they bargained from APC. Wike is at the receiving end of a weighty intimidation, as ‘federal might’ shifted to the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi.

Determined to oust Wike at all costs, even APC had been disqualified from fielding any candidate in the elections, Amaechi and allies of the fractured party in Rivers, had repeatedly professed to enjoy the resolve to “do to Wike what he did to us in 2015”.

Though APC had no candidate in the March 9 polls,   Amaechi had to impose an alternative party flag-bearer to fight Wike. He settled for the least unknown of the 2019 governorship candidates, AAC’s Awara.

apparently mocking Wike that he could displace him with any person he chose.

At the time of this report, INEC had suspended both the governorship and House of Assembly polls in the state and the next direction is not clear even after a delegation from INEC headquarters that came for fact-finding hand completed its work.

Wike himself will, no doubt, confess that what he saw on March 9 was not what he expected, while Amaechi will be somewhere having a long laughter for telling Wike that he is not the owner of Rivers.

Bayelsa: The  many upsets

In Bayelsa, the fear of a former governor of the state and APC leader, Chief Timipre Sylva, is the beginning of wisdom for many PDP leaders. Sylva, who is ready to contest the next governorship election of the state, is one man that wants to oust PDP from power in Bayelsa and can do anything politically possible to achieve his aim.

He displayed his capacity in the February 23 presidential and National Assembly polls when his party made some inroads in the state.

Although the Bayelsa governorship election is coming up later in the year, the political tempo is high as both PDP and APC are in war mood. The strategic importance of the legislature, particularly in securing the majority seats, made March 9 a fierce affair in the state.

Political pundits had predicted a tougher battle between the PDP and the APC for the 24 legislative seats with the surprise that APC pulled in the National Assembly elections,   but against all expectations, what turned out was a mere academic exercise.

Out of the 21 seats so far declared by INEC, the APC won only four with the PDP clinching 17, while that of Ogbia II, Brass I and Southern Ijaw IV were declared inconclusive by INEC due to alleged irregularities.

In supposedly APC stronghold like Southern Ijaw local government area where the APC won the House of Representatives seat earlier, the APC failed to secure a single seat, ditto for Ogbia local government area where the party also made a good showing in the National Assembly election where it captured the East senatorial slot.

Perhaps what is the shocking result is the loss of the PDP to the APC in one of the state constituencies in Ekeremor local government area.

APC rejects Cross River results

 

However, to the opposition APC, it was a fitting gift for the Minister of State for Agriculture, Heineken Lokpobiri, who is from the area. The latter could not deliver during the February 23 polls when PDP trounced his party candidates for the West senatorial seat and Sagbama-Ekeremor federal constituency seats.

Many believe Sylva has reserved his game plan for the governorship election and it is then, Bayelsans will see his true color and ‘federal might’.

Edo: Conspiracy  theory and how the tide changed in favour of APC

THE results of last week’s state assembly election in Edo State, which saw the APC clinching 23 of the entire 24 seats came as a pleasant surprise to many political watchers and analysts as the party had an unimpressive outing two weeks earlier when it lost two out of the three senatorial seats and five out of the nine House of Representatives seats available in the state.

This reporter observed, however, that the March 23 rescheduled election in parts of Orhionomwon II would be a mere formality as the APC would win the seat after leading with over 6,000 votes in the area while the total number of registered voters in the area is not more than 3,000.

But for what happened in Edo North, where the APC took the seat for the Senate and three House of Representatives seats, the party would have been embarrassed in the February 23 elections having lost the entire Edo Central and parts of Edo South where it could not win the Senate and two of the four House of Representative seats in Egor/Ikpobha-Okha and Oredo federal constituencies although the party’s candidate for Egor/Ikpoba-Okha, Johnson Agbonayinma has rejected the result.

The outing of the party in the elections has been attributed to many factors including sabotage by party members who were alleged to have collected millions of naira for mobilisation and for party agents but pocketed them on the excuse that Governor Godwin Obaseki had been starving them of money for over two years and saw the release of such money as an opportunity to line their pockets not knowing when such opportunity would come again.

It was reliably gathered that some of the party agents were not also forceful in defending the votes as 48,000 votes believed to have been for the APC were voided. Some party leaders allegedly chose stooges and family members to act as agents

Observers urge INEC to declare APC candidate, Jime, winner of Benue polls

Another factor it was gathered was the influence of some religious leaders particularly pastors who were preaching anti-Buhari sentiments to their members and this had its toll in the urban local government areas of Oredo, Egor and Ikpoba-Okha local government areas.

However, the tide changed during the state House of Assembly elections when the APC, for the first time since 1999, won the entire five seats in Edo Central which has always been the stronghold of the PDP largely due to the influence of the late Chief Tony Anenih.

It was observed that many of the voters saw the assembly elections as a testimonial for the performance of Obaseki in terms of infrastructure across the three senatorial districts of the state.

Bauchi: Dogara’s LGA, 14 others to decide governor’s fate

Following the decision by INEC to hold rerun in areas where votes were cancelled across Bauchi State, as a result of violence, over-voting, or both, the electorate from affected polling units across 15 local government areas will on Saturday decide who becomes the next governor of the state.

The battle for the Bauchi Government House, after last Saturday’s election, has been narrowed down to two candidates, Bala Mohammed of the PDP, who is leading with about 4,000 votes and the incumbent governor, Muhammed Abubakar of the APC.

Tafawa Balewa (the major cause for the rerun) and Bogoro local government areas, with combined cancelled votes of 140,370, are largely leaning PDP. Incidentally, they form part of the constituency of Yakubu Dogara, Speaker of the House of Representatives who is campaigning for the governorship candidate of the PDP.

The remaining 13 local government areas, with total cancelled votes of 44,182 and where the rerun are scheduled to hold include Alkeleri, Darazo, Dass, Ganjuwa, Gamawa amongst others. These local government areas are purportedly the battle grounds where the two political parties will contend for votes in the rerun.

Since the announcement by INEC that the election was inconclusive, there have been pockets of violence across Bauchi metropolis, leading to loss of one life with several others injured.

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