By Rafiu Ajakaye
Nigeria’s All Progressive Congress (APC) has made big gains in the country’s recently keenly-fought governorship polls, with 16 out of the 24 states so far declared going to its candidates.
In the southwestern Ogun State, incumbent Governor Ibikunle Amosun of the APC got 306,988 against 201,440 for Adegboyega Nasir Isiaka of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), according to official results by the Independent National Electoral Commission.
In Oyo State, also in the southwest, APC’s incumbent Abiola Ajimobi was declared the winner with 327,310 votes against 254,520 for his closest rival Rasheed Ladoja of the Accord Party.
Ajimobi has become the first ever democratically elected governor to win two terms since Oyo’s creation in 1976.
APC’s Aminu Tambuwal, who is the current Speaker of Nigeria’s House of Representatives, has won northwestern Sokoto State with 647,609 votes against 269,074 for PDP’s Senator Abdallah Wali.
The state was governed by Aliyu Magatakarda Aliyu, who defected from PDP to the APC last year.
The APC’s Governor Ibrahim Geidam of Yobe State has also been reelected, polling 346,016 votes against 182,495 for the PDP candidate.
Akinwunmi Ambode of the APC has also been declared winner in Lagos State, racking up 811,994 to beat PDP’s Jimi Agbaje who got 659,788.
Lagos has always been held by the APC since 1999.
APC’s incumbent governor in north-central Kwara State has been reelected, polling 295,832 votes against 115,220 votes for PDP’s Simeon Ajibola.
In northwestern Kano, APC’s Abdullahi Umaru Ganduje won the state with 1,040,612 votes as against 317,383 for the PDP’s candidate.
Kano is currently being held by Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, who defected from PDP to the APC last year.
Nigerians went to the polls Saturday to elect governors to 29 out of the country’s 36 federal states.
The APC, of president-elect Muhammadu Buhari, seemed to be making inroads in states earlier held by the PDP, which had governed Nigeria since 1990.
APC candidate Mohammed Abubakar won the northeastern Bauchi State, currently being governed by the PDP, with 654,934 votes against only 282,650 for PDP’s Auwal Jatau.
Aminu Bello Masari, the APC’s candidate, was also declared the winner of the election in northwest Katsina, currently being held by the PDP, with 943,085 votes.
APC has also won in the high-stake Kaduna State with its candidate Nasir El-Rufai polling 1,117,635 votes against 485,833 for incumbent governor Ramalan Yero of the PDP.
In official results declared on Monday morning, APC’s Abubakar Bello has been elected governor of north-central Niger State. He polled 593,702 to trounce his PDP rival Umaru Nasko who got 239,772 votes. It is the first time the APC is winning the state which had been PDP’s haven since 1999.
In Nasarawa, also in the north-center, APC’s incumbent Governor Umaru Tanko Almakura has been reelected, polling 308,536 to beat All Progressive Grand Alliance’s Labaran Maku who got 186,151 votes.
Breaking PDP’s hold on the state, APC’s Simon Lalong has also emerged the winner of the governorship election in the north-central Plateau State.
Lalong polled 537,050 to beat PDP’s Senator Gyang Pwajok who got 501,938.
Plateau is currently held by governor Jonah Jang, a very senior member of the PDP.
In north-central Benue State, APC’s Samuel Ortom has emerged victor after polling 422,932 to beat PDP’s Terhemen Tarzoor who got 313,878. Again, APC’s win in Benue breaks a 16-year-old PDP hegemony.
APC has also won with a landslide victory in northwestern Jigawa State with its candidate Mohammed Badaru polling 648,045 votes to beat PDP’s Aminu Ringim who scored 479,447.
It is also the first time the APC is winning in Jigawa which has been governed by PDP since 1999. Incumbent Governor Sule Lamido who is wrapping up his second term was the northwest coordinator for PDP’s defeated presidential election campaign.
The APC has also won in Kebbi, another traditional PDP stronghold since 1999. APC governorship candidate Senator Atiku Bagudu Wob with 477,376 votes beat PDP’s retired General Sarkin Yaki Bello. Kebbi is currently being governed by Usman Sa’idu Dakingari, a PDP chieftain.
The electoral body meanwhile has declared election inconclusive in southeastern Imo State because votes expected from areas where election was cancelled are more than the difference between the two leading candidates. APC’s incumbent Governor Rochas Okorocha is favored to win.
Forecasts predict a win for APC in at least 18 of the 29 states where governorship election was held – thanks in part to what is called the Buhari effect.
Buhari, the APC’s presidential candidate, won the March 28 race after defeating incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan of the PDP.
The PDP, meanwhile, has been declared victorious in eight states so far.
PDP’s Emmanuel Udom won the southern Akwa Ibom State with 996,091 votes against 89,865 for his APC rival Umana Okon Umana.
The state is currently ruled by Godswill Akpabio, also of the PDP.
Incumbent northeastern Gombe State Governor Ibrahim Dankwambo of the PDP won with 285,369 votes against 205,132 for APC’s Inuwa Yahaya.
The PDP also retained the southeastern Ebonyi State with its candidate Dave Umahi polling 289,867 votes to beat his closest rival Edward Nkegwu of the Labour Party who got 124,817 votes.
Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of the PDP won in southeastern Enugu State, polling 482,277 votes to beat APC’s Okey Ezea who only got 43,839 votes.
Darius Ishaku has, meanwhile, retained Taraba State for the PDP with 310,805 votes against 261,326 for the APC’s Jummai Alhassan, a woman.
The PDP has also won in Rivers State, with its candidate Nyesom Wike having polled 1,029,102 votes to trounce his APC counterpart Dakuku Peterside who got 124,896 votes in an election described by local and foreign observers as being marred by violence and irregularities, claims denied by the PDP.
PDP’s Ifeanyi Okowa has won Delta State governorship election, polling 724,680 votes to defeat his closest rival from Labour Party’s Great Ogboru who got 130,028. APC’s O’tega Emerhor came a distance third with 67,825 votes.
In southern Cross Rivers State, PDP’s Ben Ayade had emerged as governor-elect after he polled 342,016 to defeat APC’s Odey Ochicha who got 53,983.
Results are still awaited from Borno in the northeast, Zamfara in the northwest, Abia in the southeast and Adamawa in the northeast.