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Guber rerun: APC, PDP in fresh battle for Kano, Sokoto, Plateau, Benue

Guber rerun: APC, PDP in fresh battle for Kano, Sokoto, Plateau, Benue

As things stand now, the rerun poll in a couple of states today is a straight fight between the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)

The re-run poll

A major fallout of  Saturday’s 9th March governorship elections was the inconclusiveness of the exercise in about five states.

This, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) did in compliance with Sections 26 and 53 of the Electoral Act as amended and paragraph 41 ( e) and 43 ( b ) of the INEC Regulations and Guidelines . It says no winner shall be declared if the margin of victory between two parties with the highest numbers of votes is less than the number of cancelled votes.

To this end, the electorate in Sokoto, Kano, Benue and Plateau will return to poll today to elect the governors of their choice  in the rerun exercise. Adamawa was included by INEC but a high court ruling earlier in the week ruled the state out.

However, APC North-east national vice chairman who incidentally hails from the state, Mustapha Salihu, insists Bindow would win today’s rerun.

Salihu in a phone chat with our reporter says, “Well the PDP candidate is leading because a lot of places where they got large votes, election did not take place properly. Card reader were not used, there was high level of violence, voter intimidation and harassment, and the use of security against us. So it was a grand conspiracy from few elite who felt the incumbent governor is not sharing money, state resources to them and they want to thwart the mandate of the masses.

“Inconclusive election is an opportunity for the masses, as a second ballot it will be properly and professionally policed and supervised. I want to believe they will not have the opportunity to rig or to intimidate voters again. This will give the governor the opportunity of polling highest number of votes and he will be returned elected God willing.”

Sokoto too close to call

The rerun in Sokoto state is between the incumbent governor and PDP candidate, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal and the APC standard bearer, Alhaji Ahmad Aliyu.

Notably, as announced by INEC, PDP’s Tambuwal is in a slim lead with 489,558 votes, while the APC polled 486,090 votes.  3,416 votes separate the two gladiators.

Justifiably, there is going to be a rerun today because the rejected votes stand at 30,082 which is significantly more than the leading margin. As such, the election will take place in 22 local government areas across 136 polling units.

Analysts believe most of the factors that played out in the March 9 poll  will likely repeat themselves  in today’s rerun. According to them, the only difference will be the heavy concentration of all resources on these 136 polling units. They believe there will be voter inducement, voter intimidation and heavy security presence at all the units. Consequently, all these factors can sway the victory to any side, especially with just over 3,000 difference between the two leading political parties.

On the other hand, the politics of Kano is different from what is obtainable in other parts of the country. That is why many say Kano politics is for Kano and cannot be tried elsewhere. Contrary to what people say, Kano people have never hidden their disdain for corruption or corrupt leader.

Farouk Lawan, a two-term member House of Representatives 1999 – 2007, had his  political career abruptly ended because of corruption allegation against him. Former vice president, Atiku Abubakar was obviously rejected in the 23rd February presidential election also because of corruption allegation against him. In fact, President Muhammadu Buhari’s votes were also reduced in the February 23rd presidential election as a result of boycott, because of his romance with an alleged corrupt politician.

In recent time, even though the Kano state governorship election was declared inconclusive by INEC, the incumbent, Abdullahi Ganduje is gasping for political survival simply because of corrupt allegation levied against him by an online media, Daily Nigerian. At different forums, the state government has dismissed the allegation as a ruse.

Surprisingly, the opposition PDP  almost caused a major political upset in Kano during the 9th March election, a state considered as the stronghold of the ruling APC. PDP’s Abba Yusuf polled 1 ,014 ,474 to Governor  Ganduje’s APC with 987 ,819 in a keenly contested election.

The margin between the two leading candidates is 26,660 and the total number of the cancelled votes now  up for grabs  is about 141,000.

Some political watchers are quick to conclude that APC stands to win the supplementary if it can poll over 70% of the 141,000 votes required, while PDP stands to win with 50% of total number of the required votes.

Although he is believed innocent until proven otherwise, the  dollar bribery allegation might be a factor in deciding who carries the day between the two political heavyweights. .

Give us free , fair poll -Yusuf

Speaking on the level of preparedness of PDP candidate, Yusuf’s  spokesman, Sunusi Bature tells  Blueprint Weekend they are confident of winning in a free, fair and credible election.

He says: “We are very sure of victory in a free and fair election. We are ready to protect the polling units to ensure that every votes count. I am sure you are aware that we are leading with over 22,000 votes. In the history of election rerun of SWAT, analysis confirmed that you cannot have more than 50% turn out. So when you calculate that in relation to the number of PVC collected, we will be battling around 60,000 to 70,000. So with our leading margin, we are very confident of winning. We don’t have any fear.

“The security agencies will conduct themselves in a professional manner and any misgiving will be reported to the appropriate quarters of our security apparatus.”

Victory ascertained -Ganduje

On the other hand, the governor was reported to have said considering the leading margin of PDP’s candidate he is sure of wining.

Ganduje, who says  PDP and its candidate would be shocked, further assures: “By the grace of Allah, The Almighty, APC will emerge victorious after the rerun election. We are grateful to all. May we have peaceful conduct of this election.”

Can Ortom sustain the lead?

In the state of the food basket of the nation, Benue state, the incumbent governor, Samuel Ortom of the PDP, polled 410,576, while his closest rival, Emmanuel Jime of APC scored 329,022.

Orton is leading with a whooping margin of 81,554, but with cancelled votes of 121,019 still up for grabs as announced by the INEC Returning Officer who is also the Vice Chancellor of University of Jos, Professor Sebastian Maimako, then anything can happen.

Maimako said votes were cancelled and voting could not hold in some places due to violence in polling units across the state with a total of 121, 019 registered voters, a figure  higher than the 81, 554 by which PDP was leading, hence, the need for supplementary elections to determine a winner of the exercise.

Observers have however concluded that Jime will have to work harder to change the tide.  From the margin, the PDP would now be expected to produce at least 30,000 votes to win, while the APC will work harder for a minimum of 105,000 votes to coast to victory. However, the question remains with federal might and other influential factors, can Orton sustain the lead?

A political analyst who is also a resident of Benue state, James Ewaoche, says Orton will likely come out victorious in today’s rerun.

“Considering what our people have been through in the last three years, they believe APC, as a ruling party at federal level has not been fair in handling the Fulani herders’ crisis. And for Ortom to have left the party on this account, majority of them will go extra mile to ensure he wins. So, no matter the level of intimidation, harassment and influence from security agencies, the people, at least 30,000 people will resist them to give Ortom victory.”

Useni/Lalong tight contest on the Plateau

 Surprisingly, the incumbent governor of Plateau state, Simon Bako Lalong and a retired Army General, Jeremiah Useni are in a tight contest. Results from the 17 LGAs in the state showed Lalong polled 583,255 votes and Useni, his closest rival polled 538,326.

Significantly, the margin between the two leading parties is 44,929, and therefore less than the number of registered voters in areas where elections were cancelled which stood at 49,377. While  Useni of PDP needs not less than 47,000 votes to be declared winner, Lalong and his party need just about 5,000 votes to sail through. It  will be adventurous to Useni (PDP) to win in Plateau today.

Victory is ours – Secondus

National chairman of  PDP, Prince Uche Secondus, is optimistic that with free, fair and credible elections in all the 5 states, victory is assured for the party.

“We appeal to our people in these states to come out in their number. We won in Kano, Bauchi, Sokoto, Benue and Adamawa, they said it’s inconclusive. But on the rerun, victory is ours. Victory is starring at us.

 “We want to call on INEC that elections in these states, at least for the first time, they should be kind enough for election to be free and fair  so that they will begin to regain some credibility.

“For our security agencies, we also urge them to keep to the rule of engagement. We want  to appeal to the Nigerian Army, that it is one institution that is respected by all irrespective of political lineage. So they should maintain that credibility, not to be called out again in a purely civilian matter. We had it on 23rd of February and we had it on 9th of March. Let them stay away from the rerun.”

It’s not over until it’s all over – Nabena

Sounding optimistic however, Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the APC, Yekini Nebena says , even though the  PDP is leading in most of the states, the election is not over until it’s all over, adding that his party is confident of winning.

“The All Progressives Congress is fully prepared for the rerun, and we are not going to take anything for granted. The elections in all the 5 states will favour our party.

“You know it is not over until it’s all over. We are not complaining even in areas that are our stronghold, but the PDP are busy complain. With inconclusive elections in our stronghold, we are not complaining and we are certainly confident of victory.”

In a matter of 24 hours, the coast will be very clear as the people will surely known who leads them in the next four years. However, with the two political parties confident of victory, it is hoped a level playing ground will be provided for all the contenders so that at the end, the true choices of the people will emerge.

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