How Buhari’s re-election will affect governorship elections

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There were several upsets during the Feb. 23 presidential and National Assembly elections that altered calculations in many states ahead of the gubernatorial and state assembly elections scheduled to hold in 29 states on March 9. Here’s a look at some of them, and how they happened.

Nigerians have spoken during the presidential election in such a way that the outcome had sent shivers down the spines of many gubernatorial candidates and state assembly candidates that after all, the success of President Muhammadu Buhari on the platform of All Progressives Congress (APC) in a state does not mean that the gubernatorial candidate of the same APC or any other person would have an easy ride. It is the same scenario for candidates vying for offices on the platform of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in states where ex-VP Atiku Abubakar won.

The voting pattern showed that President Buhari who scored 15,191,847 votes won in 19 states including Ekiti, Osun, Kwara, Nasarawa, Kogi, Gombe, Yobe, Niger, Jigawa, Kaduna, Bauchi, Lagos, Ogun, Kano, Katsina, Borno, Sokoto, Kebbi, and Zamfara. Three of the state that went the way of Buhari (Kwara, Gombe and Sokoto) are under the control of PDP.
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Buhari also lost in 6 APC states including Ondo, Oyo, Adamawa, Edo Imo, Plateau as well as the FCT.

On the other hand, Atiku, who scored 11,262,978 votes won in the FCT and17 states including Ondo, Abia, Enugu, Ebonyi, Anambra, Oyo, Adamawa, Edo, Benue, Imo, Plateau, Taraba, Cross River, Akwa Ibom, Delta, Bayelsa and Rivers.

Findings by Daily Trust Saturday revealed the electorate in some of the states that Buhari won used certain discretions during voting, meaning they might change their direction during the governorship. It was the same in the case of Atiku. A pointer to this is that during the last elections, sitting governors from both APC and PDP lost attempts to secure Senate seats, a situation that was very unlikely in the past.

A such, there is the likelihood that enthroning successors – or first-term governors seeking a second term that have issues – would face stiff opposition in some places, unlike in the past when they simply win because Buhari has won, or lost, in their state.

Kaduna

If experience is anything to go by, then the results of the just-concluded presidential elections would influence the forthcoming governorship elections in Kaduna State. But observers say while the average voter in Kaduna prefers President Buhari, there are some of his supporters who have issues with the state government.

In 2015, candidate Buhari of the APC defeated then President Goodluck Jonathan who was the candidate of the PDP with 1, 127,760 to 484,085 votes. The APC won in 14 of the 23 local government areas of the state, leaving the then ruling party with only nine local government areas. This had a positive impact on the governorship candidate of the APC, Malam Nasir El-Rufai in the subsequent elections as he polled 1,117,635 votes to defeat Mukhtar Ramalan Yero who scored 485,833 votes.

In the just-concluded presidential elections, President Buhari of the APC polled 993,445 votes ahead of Atiku Abubakar of the PDP who garnered 649, 612.

While the APC has won the presidential elections in the state, the significant increase in the number of votes polled by the PDP and the effect it could have in the governorship elections is not lost on observers. With the APC retaining 14 local governments, there are no clear signs that the gap would be widened in the governorship elections as El-Rufai did in 2015.

Rather, the increase of over 200,000 in the number of votes polled by the PDP in the last election over that of 2015 has served to give the party hope that it can do better, and pressure has mounted on the governorship candidate, who lost his local government to the APC in the presidential elections to ensure he delivers.

But the APC, having won the presidential as well as the National Assembly seats, has seen that all it must do is to consolidate on its grip. Local issues such as policies and actions taken by the current government in the state will come into play in determining the choice of voters.

In 2015, El-Rufai got about 100,000 votes less than what President Buhari got in the presidential elections in Kaduna to become the governor. The APC in Kaduna has realised it cannot afford that difference in the governorship elections, hence it has doubled efforts to retain the gap.

Kano

On the surface, not much change is expected during the forthcoming gubernatorial and state assembly elections scheduled for March 9, if voters maintain the tempo of electing the ruling APC from top to bottom. Kano has been the political stronghold of any political party brought by President Muhammadu Buhari.

During the presidential election in 2015, Buhari, who was the APC’s presidential candidate scored 1.4m votes in Kano, the highest by a single state to a politician in the country. The party also won the governorship, swept all the 24 House of Reps seats, and three senatorial in the state.

Although there are many contenders for the governorship poll, some people believe Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje of APC would have his incumbency and Buhari factor to bank on to victory. However, some analysts say beyond performance, he would have to contend with a certain baggage to win back the confidence of people.

The governor was accused of receiving bribes from contractors, an allegation he vehemently denied even as no-one has yet proven that the viral videos detailing the graft deal were genuine. Even President Buhari said he was waiting to get a true report on the saga, giving Ganduje a respite of sorts.

Sources say in the event nothing is made public on the issue before March 9, the tendency is that the governor might have an upper hand. Ganduje is also banking on the popularity of former Governor Ibrahim Shekarau and Senator Basheer Lado, among others. Although the PDP in Kano is battling with internal crisis, the influence of ex-governor Rabiu Kwankwaso, through his Kwankwasiyya movement, cannot be wished away. He had gone around all the 44 local government areas with his favourite candidate and son-in-law, Abba Yusuf, asking the electorate to vote for PDP.

According to feelers, reclaiming Kano by proxy is Kwankwaso’s biggest wish, and losing it would be devastating.

The Peoples Redemption Party (PRP), on the other hand, needs to do a lot of homework to garner support from the electorate for its candidate, Malam Sagir Takai. Though a popular politician, analysts say he lacks the structural support and requisite financial resources to pull his ambition to fruition.

Kwara

In Kwara State, according to residents, the governorship polls may go the same way as that of presidential election, which favoured APC. The ‘O To Ge’ (‘Enough is Enough’) movement, targeted at the Saraki dynasty, which was borne out of call for social justice was basically meant to manifest during the governorship election in Kwara, but had since showed its efficacy when President Buhari and all National Assembly candidates cleared the votes in the state.

Analysts believe the fact that President Buhari won the state has the state’s ruling PDP petrified, with Senate President Bukola Saraki in the lead.

A Kwara-based Islamic scholar, and a lecturer at the University of Ilorin, Dr. Abubakar Aliagan, had during a recent lecture stated that APC’s victory in the state signifies people’s rejection of bad governance, retrogressive leadership and maladministration. He said his agitation was not targeted against any individual,6 but genuine call for social justice and development in Kwara State. This might likely be true because while some thought it was about burying the Saraki dynasty, the fact that the Senate President’s younger sister, Sen. Gbemi Saraki is among those spearheading the revolution means the real fight was targeted at a member of the ‘dynasty’ and not on every member of it.

Meanwhile, the state’s PDP Publicity Secretary, Mr. Tunde Ashaolu, believes the outcome of the presidential election will not have any effect on the gubernatorial election because both candidates of the PDP and APC are popular, and the people of the state know what they want.

Lagos

The Lagos State chapter of the APC and its main challenger, the PDP have expressed confidence in their chances at a landslide victory. The state’s APC Publicity Secretary, Joe Igbokwe, said the APC is well-prepared for the task ahead, and is better-assured of victory.

According to Igbokwe, unlike in the presidential elections whereby many Igbo residents chose to vent against President Buhari, the situation during the gubernatorial election would be different because they will vote Sanwo-Olu. “Also, there are those who were apathetic to presidential election but will want to come out during the state election because they feel that it’s closer to them. So, be on the lookout for our landslide victory on March 9,” he said.

But when asked about the cases of attacks on residents in Lagos on the allegation of not voting President Buhari in the presidential election and whether that will not attract protest, Igbokwe said they did not approve it.

Similarly, the state PDP said its confidence has been buoyed by the outcome of the presidential and National Assembly elections notwithstanding the fact that the ruling APC defeated its presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar with reasonable margin. The party has alleged widespread allegations of rigging, intimidation of voters, among others.

“There have been too many malpractices,” said the state PDP Party Chairman, Dr. Adegbola Dominic.

Also, the governorship candidate of the party, Mr. Jimi Agbaje warned that the strong-arm tactics used against the PDP would no longer be acceptable.

Benue

Governor Samuel Ortom of the PDP and APC’s Barr. Emmanuel Jime would have to learn from the just-concluded phase of the 2019 general elections to make any headway on March 9.

For Michael Oko, this means that instead of relying on the strength of their parties, the candidates would have to depend on their personal credibility to convincingly attract votes from the electorate in the state.

According to him, the results of the presidential polls in the state showed that the people are better-enlightened and informed about their choices, as it appeared that they voted for individual candidates, not parties.

Plateau

In 2015, Governor Simon Bako Lalong of the APC who scored 564, 913 defeated his rival of the then ruling PDP, Gyang Pwajok who scored 520,627. Though the PDP won the presidential election, the bandwagon effect that came with the emergence of Muhammadu Buhari as president, afforded Lalong to get 60,000 extra votes ahead of what Pwajok got.

To some observers, the 2015 bandwagon effect would likely play out on March 9 when the electorate throng to polling booths for the gubernatorial and state assembly polls. Those with this prediction believe that besides the Buhari factor, Gov. Lalong is seen as a peacemaker who tried to give the minority groups in the state a sense of belonging. Therefore, the relative peace enjoyed during his first tenure would also give him additional advantage.

But there are other people who believe the fact that President Buhari did not do well in Plateau State this time around as anticipated would have a negative effect on the chances of Lalong.

The governor must also prove to the electorate that gave him bulk votes in 2015, why they should give him another chance, considering his woeful performance in their communities in terms of provision of basic amenities.

Shabul Mazadu, a public commentator in Jos, said the fact that President Buhari has won a second term would most likely give the APC an edge in Plateau. “There is likelihood that PDP supporters who were hoping for a win at the federal level would be disappointed and this may affect voter turnout,” he said.

But some say it is also likely that due to the complexities of Plateau State, the results from the various local government areas as reflected in the presidential polls may not reflect the outcome of the governorship elections. Mazadu agrees with this assertion stating that, “Don’t be surprised that local governments like Bassa that did not come through for the president may vote otherwise,” he said. “Then there is the fear of disrupting the zoning agreement because the central zone knows it is next after the incumbent governor; so, it may amaze people when the voting pattern changes from what was obtained at the presidential election,” he added.

Adamawa

The loss of Adamawa State by President Buhari in the Saturday election is dividing the already fragmented APC. The ruling APC also lost two of the three senatorial seats to the PDP in Adamawa North and Adamawa South senatorial districts. As governorship election approaches, pundits wonder how Buhari’s re-election as president could affect the governorship race in Adamawa.

A member of an APC youths group, the Black Cap Revolution, Mustapha Ribadu, said the failure of Gov. Jibrilla Bindow to secure majority votes in the state during the presidential election may affect his chances at the polls. He noted that the development had angered some supporters of Buhari who may likely not vote for the APC governorship candidates in reaction to his alleged anti-party posturing.

“The clinching of two senate seats in Adamawa boosted the hopes of the PDP while the failure by the governor to deliver his home constituency with impressive margin is also giving the PDP hope,” he stated.

However, a former councillor, Sahabi Bello Digil, said with the victory of Buhari, the governor is likely to have a smooth ride, saying there were ongoing efforts to reconcile the APC chieftains in the state.

The major governorship contenders in Adamawa include Governor Jibrilla of the APC, the PDP’s Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri, the ADC’s Abdulaziz Nyako, and the SDP’s Emmanuel Bello.

Oyo

Atiku defeated President Buhari of the APC in 18 LGAs, while Buhari won in 15 in last Saturday’s presidential polls, having scored a total of 366,690 while Buhari had 365,229 votes. However, analysts opine that the victory of the PDP presidential candidate in the state will not guarantee victory for its gubernatorial candidate in governorship election coming up on Saturday.

Out of the 14 House of Reps members in the state, the ruling APC had nine while PDP had three members. In the Senate, the ruling APC had two members, while PDP had one.

Atiku’s victory in Oyo came from four major opposition parties including the PDP, ZLP, ADC and ADP.

With the alliance of a former governor of the state, Chief Adebayo Alao-Akala with the ruling APC, the political calculation may favour the ruling party, even as the oppositions are ganging up to dislodge the structure.

Many politicians argued that the low turnout of electorate during the presidential election made the contest restricted to the PDP and APC candidates, believing that their supporters will come out en masse to vote on Saturday. But a veteran journalist and public affairs analyst, Ademola Adejuyigbe, said Oyo is very sophisticated politically. He noted that the people of the state voted for the incumbent governor in 2011 even though former President Goodluck Jonathan was president. “If people decided to reject any candidate, they won’t vote for such person. The bandwagon effect of any presidential candidate is dwindling because electorate are wiser now,” he said. “But if Adelabu wants to win, he must meet with the major stakeholders and gatekeepers. For instance, he has to meet with the Olubadan and assure him that he won’t continue with the issue of obaship. He must assure workers of his commitments to pay salaries at the right time. Pensioners must see him as a responsible leader and he must reconcile with the workers of tertiary institutions in the state which are the reasons Ajimobi failed,” he said.

Gov. Ajimobi who vied for senate on the platform of APC, was defeated, heightening fears that it will be difficult for him to enthrone a successor.

Bauchi

Like soldiers strategizing to win a war, governorship and state assembly candidates in Bauchi State have gone back to the trenches immediately after the presidential and National Assembly elections. This may not be unconnected with the outcome of the elections where the ruling APC and the opposition PDP in the state gained and lost.

Although there are over 20 governorship candidates in Bauchi, some of them look ready to challenge Governor Mohammed Abubakar of the APC, who is seeking a second term. The PDP has a former FCT minister, Senator Bala Abdulkadir Mohammed as its candidate; PRP has Prof. Mohammed Ali Pate; NNPP has Amb. Ahmed Adamu while GPN has Muhammad Jumba as its candidate.

During the last Saturday’s election, the APC won all the National Assembly seats in the state with the exception two House of Reps seats, including that of Bauchi and Katagum federal constituencies, won by the PRP.

The PDP had recorded more casualties in National Assembly elections because only the Speaker of the House of Reps, Yakubu Dogara, survived the Tsunami. The following have all lost their seats: Senators Suleiman Nazif (Bauchi North), Isah Hamma Misau (Bauchi Central). Others were some members of the House of Reps including Ahmed Yarima (Misau/Dambam) and Salisu Zakari Ningi (Ningi/Warji).

A factor that will shape the elections in Bauchi is the alleged planned alliance by the major opposition political parties to topple the incumbent governor. However, while the opposition led by the PDP and some aggrieved elements within the APC are planning to form the alliance, 30 other opposition political parties have endorsed Governor Abubakar for second term bid.

Analysts opine that adopting one of them as a candidate ‎is unlikely as the frontline parties believed that their candidates have qualities to win the elections against the incumbent.

Sokoto

Results of the presidential and National Assembly elections which favoured the APC from top to bottom in Sokoto State shocked PDP members beyond description. The APC had swept all the senatorial seats and won almost 90 per cent of the House of Reps seats.

The likes of Sen. Ibrahim Danbaba Dambuwa and two House of Reps members from Sokoto-South Senatorial districts where Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal comes from could not survive the APC tornado.

The sons of late President Shehu Shagari, Barrister Aminu Shagari, and that of the late Sultan of Sokoto, Abdussamad Dasuki, were all swept away from the political scene. Pundits believe the outcome of the election would significantly influence the forthcoming governorship and State House of Assembly elections in the state.

If history of elections in Sokoto is anything to go by, Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, who is seeking a second term, would have to do extra work to survive the turbulent waters that have flooded the PDP he sought to re-establish in Sokoto following his defection ahead of the elections. It would be recalled that in 2007, the PDP won all the three senatorial seats and substantial number of House Reps seats during the general elections in the state when Aliyu Magatakarda Wamakko was the flagbearer. It was a kind of protest vote against the then outgoing governor, Attahiru Bafarawa.

A public affairs commentator, Malam Abubakar Umar, averred that there was high probability the outcome of last Saturday’s polls will influence the forthcoming governorship election because of the traditional bandwagon effect. “But, perhaps, an additional dimension will be former Governor Wamakko’s retention of his Sokoto-Central Senatorial seat for the APC in spite of the previously assumed potentially high impact process of unseating him by the PDP using incumbency factor,” he said.

Umar noted that the result had exposed the weakness of the campaign strategies of the ruling PDP in the state.

However, other political pundits believe Tambuwal could survive the election as many voters who voted for APC during the last election did so because of Buhari and may vote against the party in governorship election.

Ogun

Here, the results of last Saturday’s Presidential and parliamentary elections have thrown up heavy scheming and political re-alignment ahead of the governorship and state House of Assembly elections. In the just-concluded polls, the ruling APC won the presidential election by polling 281, 762 votes against the PDP’s 194,655 votes. The party equally cleared at the three senatorial seats, and won seven out of the nine House of Representatives seats, while the PDP, Allied Peoples Movement (APM) and African Democratic Congress (ADC) each clinched a seat.

According to analysts, the outcome of the presidential poll revealed the strengths and lapses of each party and may largely determine where the pendulum will swing in respect of the governorship. Hence, the parties are back to the drawing board and mapping out greater strategies to win the gubernatorial race.

For instance, Governor Ibikunle Amosun who won Ogun Central seat on platform of APC, had dropped the toga of his party, and openly leading the rally of his anointed candidate and flagbearer of APM, Adekunle Akinlade. Amosun’s joining of Akinlade’s campaign is not unexpected having vowed to work against Dapo Abiodun, who is the APC candidate.

But Publicity Secretary of State APC Caretaker Committee, Tunde Oladunjoye, told Daily Trust Saturday that Amosun could not stop APC’s victory at the gubernatorial election. “Those people who voted massively for APC in the presidential election and have candidates as Senators and Reps, would equally want to have APC at the state level to create a synergy at the centre,” he said.

Interestingly, the ADC governorship candidate, Gboyega Nasiru Isiaka’s Campaign Organisation has described the outcome as an “elaborate charade.” The election results, it said, were “bought and not won.”

Contributing Editors: Hamza Idris (Abuja) Andrew Agbese (Kaduna), Yusha’u A. Ibrahim (Kano), Lami Sadiq (Jos), Hope Abah Emmanuel (Makurdi), Kabiru R. Anwar (Yola), Balarabe Alkassim (Bauchi), Abubakar Auwal (Sokoto), Nurudeen Oyewole & From Abdullateef Aliyu (Lagos), Jeremiah Oke (Ibadan) & Peter Moses (Abeokuta) | Published Date Mar 2, 2019 5:25

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