- APC now controls 21 states, PDP 11, three elections inconclusive
- Curfew imposed in Taraba
Our Correspondents â€¨
As the collation of results was rounded off in the states in the wee hours of Monday, Returning Officers of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declared Ifeanyi Okowa (Delta, PDP), Simon Lalong (Plateau, APC), Nyesom Wike (Rivers, PDP), Ibrahim Gaidam (Yobe, APC) and Samuel Ortom (Benue, APC) winners of Saturday’s governorship poll in their states.
Others who were declared winners included Muhammadu Badaru Abubakar (Jigawa, APC), Senator Atiku Bagudu (Kebbi, APC), Abdulaziz Yari (Zamfara, APC) and Abubakar Bello (Niger, APC), thus increasing the number of states won by candidates of the All Progressives Congress (APC) at the poll to 19, while candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) managed seven wins.
By increasing its haul, APC now controls 21 states in the country, PDP, which for 16 years held on to the majority of the states, now controls 11, while the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) has a solitary state.
However, Taraba State joined Imo State when the Returning Officer for the state and Vice-Chancellor of the Modibbo Adama University of Technology, Yola, Prof. Kyari Mohammed, declared the governorship election inconclusive.
Mohammed, who had earlier in the day announced the PDP candidate, Mr. Darius Ishaku, the winner of the election, having polled 317,198 votes as opposed to his closest rival, Senator Aisha Jummai Alhassan of the APC, who polled 262,386, said there would be a re-run between the candidates to determine the winner of the election.
He blamed the decision on the number of cancelled votes exceeding the difference of the votes between the two leading candidates.
According to him, there were 127,125 cancelled votes while the difference between the PDP and APC candidates was 54,812 votes thereby making a re-run inevitable.
He further noted that the re-run, which is to take place in the areas where elections were cancelled, must be held not later than 30 days before May 29 or on or before April 28.
The cancellation of the entire results of Donga Local Government Area by the Returning Officer due to alleged irregularities in five polling units was the subject of heated argument between the PDP agent, Mr. Rebo Usman and Mohammed.
Owing to the non-conclusion of the Taraba governorship poll, violent protests broke out in parts of the state, compelling the state’s acting governor, Alhaji Sani Abubakar Danladi, to impose a dusk-to-dawn curfew on the state.
Angry youths went on the rampage, setting ablaze the residences of the Secretary to the State Government, Hon. Gebon Kataps, and former Deputy Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Hon. Abel Peter Diah in Gembu, Sardauna Local Government Area.
Jalingo, the state capital, was also tense and it took the efforts of a combined team of soldiers and riot policemen to avert a conflagration and violent clashes while rumours were rife that there was a plan to attack the INEC office in Jalingo.
But after the imposition of the curfew, Ishaku who scored more than his opponent in the election, appealed to the people of the state to remain calm and go about their normal businesses, assuring them that he would explore all administrative and legal means to claim the mandate they gave him.
In a statement signed by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs, Mr. Musa Gidado, the curfew was imposed to prevent a further breakdown of law and order in the state.
During the protest, no fewer than six people were reportedly killed in some parts of the state.
Four people were killed in Sunkani, headquarters of Ardo Kola Local Government Area and Garba Chede, and some parts of Bali Local Government Area, while it took the intervention of soldiers and other security agencies to foil a breakdown of law and order in some parts of Jalingo, particularly Sabon Gari area where some people were arrested by soldiers with dane guns, bows and arrows and other dangerous weapons.
Addressing journalists after the declaration of the election as inconclusive, Ishaku thanked the people of the state for coming out en mass to vote for him.
He however expressed amazement that the results of the entire Donga Local Government with 165 polling units were cancelled due to alleged irregularities in five polling units of the council.
According to him, “I’m personally amazed that a complaint in five voting units in Donga Local Government Area would lead to the cancellation of the whole of Donga with 165 voting units.”
However, to avoid being caught in the web of violence that greeted the announcement even before the imposition of the curfew, shop owners hurriedly closed their shops while major streets of the state capital were deserted as residents made frantic efforts to rush to their various homes.
Also in Abia State, the air of uncertainty over the outcome of the governorship election prevailed yesterday, when the Returning Officer in the state, Prof. Benjamin Chukwuma Ozumba, declared that no winner had emerged from the contest.
Announcing the outcome of the hard fought poll, Ozumba returned a verdict of no victor no vanquished.
“There is no declared winner,” he announced.
Ozumba, who is the Vice-Chancellor of University of Nigeria (UNN), explained that the margin of votes rule as contained in the electoral guidelines was applicable in the Abia governorship poll.
He said the margin of votes with which the PDP governorship candidate, Dr. Victor Okezie Ikpeazu, was leading his closest rival, Mr. Alex Otti, the candidate of APGA, was less than the total number of registered voters in areas where elections did not hold across the state.
“It is apparent that the margin of win in form EC 40G is not in excess of registered voters in the polling units in the areas where elections didn’t hold,” he stated.
According to the results announced by the state Returning Officer, the total number of votes scored by the PDP candidate was 248,459 while APGA candidate polled 165,406.
Therefore the margin of lead by the PDP was given as 83,053, whereas the total number of registered voters in the areas where elections did not hold was 179,224.
It was deemed that the number of registered voters in areas where elections did not hold was large enough to significantly affect the final outcome of the governorship poll hence no winner was declared.
It is expected that supplementary elections would be conducted in the affected areas on a date to be announced by INEC.
After the suspension of result collation late Sunday night, the process resumed yesterday morning with the declaration of results from the four remaining local governments, namely Isiala Ngwa North, Obingwa, Ikwuano and Ohafia.
In total, APGA won in nine out of the 17 local governments of the state while the ruling PDP triumphed in eight councils. However the PDP scored far more votes than APGA.
Otti led APGA to win in Umunneochi, Arochukwu, Bende, Isuikwuato, Aba South, Aba North, Umuahia South, Ikwuano and Ohafia.
The local governments where PDP and its candidate came tops included Isiala Ngwa North, Isiala Ngwa South, Osisioma, Umuahia North, Ugwunagbo, Obingwa, Ukwa East and Ukwa West.
The collation of the results had generated a lot of tension in the state, as the two leading parties traded accusations of electoral malpractices and attempts to win by unfair means.
While the collation was ongoing, youths sympathetic to APGA had a running battle with the police, as they wanted to storm the INEC state headquarters.
The irate youths, who stormed the capital in their hundreds, were protesting against the expected outcome of the poll which they perceived was going the way of PDP.
The police responded with tear gas and prevented the rampaging youths from getting close to the INEC office.
In the process, the angry youths smashed the windscreens of several cars and buses while some of them sustained injuries while running away from the charging policemen and tear gas fumes that filled the air.
In Rivers State, however, there was relative calm when Wike was declared the winner of the gubernatorial elections in the state.
Announcing the results, the Returning Officer, Prof. Faraday Orumwense, said Wike polled 1,029,102 votes to beat the candidate of APC, Dr. Dakuku Peterside, who got 124,896 votes.
The candidate of Labour Party (LP), Mr. Tonye Princewill, polled 10,142 to come third.
In surprising electoral outcome, the APC candidate in Plateau State, Simon Lalong, also triumphed over Senator Gyang Pwajok.
The APC candidate polled a total of 564,913 votes to beat Pwajok who polled 520,627.
Announcing the final result, the Returning Officer for the Plateau governorship election, Professor Emmanuel Kucha, said Lalong won 11 out of the 17 council areas of the state, including his home council, Shendam.
Lalong also defeated Pwajok in Jos North, the local government area of the PDP candidate.
In Jigawa, INEC declared Abubakar winner of Saturday’s gubernatorial election, having polled 648,045 over his rival in the PDP, Alhaji Aminu Ringim, who secured 479,447 of the votes, while in Kebbi, Senator Bagudu of APC floored General Sarkinyaki Bello of the PDP. Bagudu polled 477,376 votes, while Bello got 293,443 votes.
Declaring Bagudu winner, the state’s Returning Officer, Prof. Mohammad Lawal Ahmadu, said the APC won 19 out of the 21 local government areas in the state, while the PDP got two councils.
In Zamfara, incumbent governor, Abdulaziz Yari of the APC, was re-elected for a second term as governor. The APC also won all the 24 seats in the state assembly elections.
Announcing the results, the state’s Returning Officer, Prof. Abdullahi Zuru, declared Yari winner with a total of 716,964 votes, while the PDP candidate, former Governor Mamuda Aliyu Shinkafi, scored 201,938 votes.
Also in Niger, APC continued with its sweep of the governorship poll, when its candidate, Alhaji Abubakar Bello, garnered 593,702 votes to beat the PDP candidate, Umar Nasko, who got 239,772 votes.
However, the PDP maintained its dominance in the oil-rich Niger Delta where its candidate, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, beat tough challenges from the candidates of the LP, Great Ogboru, and APC O’tega Emerhor.
Okowa polled a total of 724,680 votes to defeat his closest rival Ogboru who scored 130,028 votes, while Emerhor came a distant third with 67,825 votes.
The results, which was announced at the INEC office in Asaba by the state’s Returning Officer, Professor Bio Nyanayo, in the early hours of the day, after the initial delays in turning in election results from the 25 local government areas, saw Okowa clinching 21 local government areas out of the 25 local government areas in the state, while Ogboru won only four council areas in the state. The APC candidate failed to win in any of the local government areas.
Following the declaration of Okowa as the governor-elect of Delta, the opposition parties conceded defeat and congratulated him.