By Clifford Ndujihe
WITH the declaration of Ahmadu Fintiri of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, as the winner of the Adamawa State governorship election, the opposition party has won more states than it did in 2015.
Ahead of the 2019 general elections, the PDP had 11 governors. The number will rise to at least 14 on May 29, 2019 when new governors and those re-elected are sworn-in. If the Appeal Court and Supreme Court concur with the decisions of the tribunal and lower courts on Zamfara and Osun, and the suspended Rivers governorship election goes in its favour, the PDP will have 17 governors at the end of the day. Currently, the PDP is the only party that produced governors in the six geo-political zones of the country.
Conversely, the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, which had 23 governors before the 2019 polls now has 21, which may further go down to 19 depending on what happens on the Osun and Zamfara suits.
Fintiri unseated Governor Jubrilla Bindow, who is the APC candidate in the Adamawa governorship election, which was concluded late Thursday night.
With Fintiri’s victory, Bindow is the second sitting governor that lost out in this election. The first is Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed of Kwara.
Fintiri was speaker of Adamawa State House of Assembly and later acting governor when Admiral Murtala Nyako was impeached. His victory is coming as a Yola high court dismissed a suit seeking to cancel the Adamawa state governorship election.
The suit was brought by Eric Theman, candidate of the Movement for the Restoration and Defence of Democracy, MRDD.
Theman had dragged the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to the court for omitting his party’s logo on the ballot papers.
He asked the court to order the cancellation of the election and direct that a fresh poll be held.
But at its sitting on Friday, the judge, Abdulazeez Waziri, dismissed Theman’s suit for “lack of evidence”.
He said the applicant failed to provide any evidence to back his claim that his party’s logo was omitted.
How PDP bounced back
The PDP won more states by strengthening its hold in the South-East and making in-roads in the North-East and South-West.
In the South-East, the three PDP governors – Dave Umahi (Ebonyi), Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu) and Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia) retained their seats and its Candidate, Emeka Ihedioha, snatched Imo State from the APC, which was crisis-ridden.
In the South-West, the PDP also won Oyo, the headquarters of the region, compensating for its loss of Ekiti State recently to the APC. Last week, the tribunal overturned the election of APC’s Niyi Oyetola as governor of Osun State and declared PDP’s Ademola Adeleke as winner. Oyetola and the APC have appealed the verdict. What the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court will do is to be seen.
In the North-East, the PDP also added Bauchi and Adamawa to Taraba that it has been controlling since 1999.
And in the North-Central, PDP retained Benue but lost Kwara to the APC.
The PDP, with the slimmest of margins, 342 votes, retained a foothold in the North-West via Governor Aminu Tambuwal’s victory in Sokoto State. PDP may increase its stakes in the zone depending on what the Supreme Court says on APC candidates in Zamfara State, including the Governor-elect, Muktar Idris, who the Appeal Court refused to recognize the primaries that produced them. If the apex court aligns with the appeal court, the governorship, federal and state assembly seats won by the APC will be handed over to PDP candidates, who came second in the various elections.
As it is, the PDP states now are Abia, Ebonyi, Enugu, Bayelsa, Akwa Ibom, Sokoto, Cross River, Delta, Benue, Taraba, Imo, Bauchi, Adamawa, Oyo and Rivers
On the other hand, the APC states are Lagos, Ekiti, Ogun, Ondo, Osun, Edo, Kwara, Kogi, Nasarawa, Plateau, Borno, Yobe, Gombe, Jigawa, Kano, Kaduna, Katsina, Kebbi, Zamfara, Niger.
Anambra is the only state not controlled by the APC or PDP. It belongs to the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA.