The 2019 presidential and national assembly election threw up some of the biggest political heavyweight losses that Nigeria has ever witnessed in an election year, write Nseobong Okon-Ekong, Vanessa Obioha and Ojo Maduekwe
The much anticipated 2019 presidential and national assembly election have come and gone. In its wake, it threw up winners and losers. In a winner take-it-all kind of contest such as this, losers were a certain, but, not the heavyweight names that made the list.
A highly unpredictable election, the results indicated the changing voting trends and politicians influential power on the masses. With surprising outcomes for the participating contestants, areas where victory used to be assured became losing grounds.
The election was mostly between the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), but, in no particular order, here are the shocking wins and losses that characterised the February 23 national elections.
End of the Saraki Dynasty
It was a surprise – and for some, shock – to find out that the incumbent senate president and heir to the Saraki political dynasty in Kwara state, Dr. Bukola Saraki, won’t be returning to the National Assembly. But for the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), it was welcome news.
Rather, for voters in Kwara Central, it wasn’t about the two presidential candidates but the senatorial candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP) Bukola Saraki, and APC’s Yahaya Oloriegbe.
Since the reign of the Senate President’s father, Dr. Olusola, the Sarakis had been the kingmakers in the state, pushing their preferred candidate to occupy the governorship and other elective positions. The crushing defeat means Kwarans are tired of the Sarakis.
While he was still a member of the APC, Saraki, who wasn’t the choice of the APC (for Senate President), had teamed with members of the opposition in the Senate and some APC Senators who elected him their president to the chagrin of the national leadership of the APC and the presidency.
This political scheming would go a long way to define the relationship between the executive and legislative arm of government and also shape many legislative activities of the 8th national assembly.
Supporters and members of the APC have for a long time argued that Dr. Saraki of the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) was wrong to be occupying a seat they considered the APC’s. With Saraki losing Saturday’s election, no group would be more happier.
Dogara: Loved by his People
The fate of Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, would have ended like that of Saraki, were it not that his people love him and wanted him to keep representing them.
Dogara used to be a member of the APC until he joined Saraki in scheming for the House Speaker position against the instruction of his then party. He would later join other national assembly members to defect to the PDP. That he got re-elected while Saraki, considered to be more strategic, lost his reelection, means that a representative needs the support of his people much more than strategy.
Akpabio’s ‘Uncommon’ Defeat (?)
With Senator Godswill Akpabio cross carpeting to the APC in August of 2018, there were hints that he would be influential in securing the state for the party, but, at the time of writing this report, Akpabio was already losing to the PDP candidate, Christian Ekpenyong.
What may become Akpabio’s uncommon defeat is instructive on the issues of political miscalculation and misadventure. While the APC miscalculated in thinking his defection would affect the fortune of the PDP in the senate and Akwa Ibom, Akpabio himself it was alleged, was hoping that when he wins his reelection, he would be made senate president.
Akpabio’s fate was hanging in the balance but all the APC candidates in the state suffered defeat. Senator Nelson Effiong of the APC lost to Akon Eyakenyi of the PDP; Senator Bassey Akpan, PDP, was re-elected for the 9th national assembly, defeating Bassey Etim, APC.
Like Amosun like Okorocha
Despite their war with the national chairman of their party, the APC, Adams Oshiomhole, both Governors Ibikunle Amosun and Rochas Okorocha of Ogun and Imo states respectively, won their senatorial elections, delivering as promised for the ruling party.
While Amosun won the Ogun Central Senatorial seat with 88,110 votes as against the PDP’s 33,276 votes, Okorocha won his bid for the Imo West Senatorial District seat with 97,762 votes to defeat the PDP’s candidate, Jones Onyereri, who scored 63,117 votes.
Ubah Beats the Uba Brothers
Another surprise victory from the elections was when chairman of Capital Oil and Gas Limited, Ifeanyi Ubah, emerged winner of the Anambra South Senatorial district election under the platform of the Young Progressive Party (YPP). He polled 87,081 votes, to beat his closest rival, Chris Uba of the PDP with 52,462 votes, and his younger brother, incumbent Senator Andy Uba with 13,245 votes.
There was a time when the Uba brothers were not just a household name in Anambra politics, but even at the federal level. Like the fall of the Saraki dynasty, one can conclude that the Uba’s too have been relegated to the ‘dustbin’ of Nigeria’s political history.
Accord Party Surprising Win
In an interesting twist, the Accord Party candidate for the Katsina North Senatorial District, Lawal Nalado, defeated the APC incumbent senator, Kaita Baba-Ahmad at his polling unit. Nalado gave a 263 votes lead against APC’s 248 votes. The PDP candidate Usman Mani was the least popular, scoring a disappointing two votes. But it a phyrrhic for Nalado, for when votes from other areas were tallied Kaita was returned as senator.
Another Victory Dance for Dino
Love or hate him; call him a motor park tout or an actor, one thing is certain, Senator Dino Melaye will still represent Kogi West Senatorial District at the 9th national assembly. The controversial senator clinched victory when he beat his strongest opponent, Smart Adeyemi of the APC by 85,395 votes against Adeyemi’s 66,901 votes. Melaye one of Saraki’s ally in the 8th senate is a cat with nine lives, having survived a recall and several stormy incidents.
Lost at Own Polling Units
The 2019 National Assembly elections also threw up some contestants who were weak at their polling units. Presidential candidate of the PDP, Atiku Abubakar, lost in his polling unit to President Muhammadu Buhari with 167 votes to 186 votes. And in Abeokuta, former president Olusegun Obasanjo, a strong critic of Buhari and last minute supporter of Mr Abubakar couldn’t help secure his polling unit for the PDP candidate. At his (Obasanjo) polling unit, the PDP got 18 votes against the APC’s Buhari 87 votes. Another celebrated politician who lost his polling unit is President Buhari’s former ally turned critic, Alhaji Buba Galadima.
Vice president Yemi Osinbajo was defeated at his polling unit in Lagos, losing to the PDP in all the positions on the ballot. The PDP scored 425 in the presidential election, while the APC scored 229. Again the PDP scored 414 and 268 votes in the Senate and House of Representatives respectively, against the APC’s 261 and 190 votes.
Kingsley Moghalu, former deputy governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria and presidential candidate of the Young Progressives Party (YPP), lost his polling units in Uruagu Ward 2 to PDP. Moghalu polled a combined votes of 226 against PDP’s 538 votes. While Donald Duke, the lovable former governor of Cross River state was defeated woefully in his polling unit scoring just six votes. Duke had recently moved to the Social Democratic Party (SDP).The PDP clinched the highest number of votes, 291, and the APC, 98 votes. Leading to the election, Duke’s candidacy had been bugged down by several controversies, including litigation.
On the list of presidential aspirants who couldn’t stand to be counted, even in their vicinity are People’s Trust’s Gbenga Olawepo-Hashim who lost at his Usuma Ward, Bwari-FCT Polling Unit. Tope Fasua of the Abundant Nigeria Renewal Party (ANRP) who also votes in Abuja failed woefully in his polling unit. The same uninspiring results were recorded for Mr. Fela Durotoye, presidential candidate of the Alliance for New Nigeria (ANN) and Dr. Asukwo Mendie Archibong, presidential candidate of Nigeria for Democracy (NFD).
Another humbling defeat at own polling unit was that of incumbent Senator representing Kaduna Central, Shehu Sani, who could only fetch 51 votes, a far cry to the APC’s candidate, Uba Sani’s 236 votes. Shehu contested on the People’s Redemption Party (PRP) platform.
Some Instructive Wins
Mr Abubakar defeated President Buhari at the Aso Rock Presidential Villa, with 1,030 as against Buhari’s 1,013 votes. Omoyele Sowore of the African Action Congress (AAC) had a defiant win at his polling unit, despite the odds stacked against him. Sowore defeated the PDP and APC by 208 votes in Ese Odo LGA in Ondo state.
Music star, Bankole Wellington, better known as Banky W, who bid for a chance to represent the people of Eti-Osa in Lagos State on the platform of the Modern Democratic Party (MDP) made a good showing in his polling unit. Banky W has, at least, shown he was able to connect with his immediate neighbours and convince them to vote for him.
Former governor of Abia state, Orji Uzor Kalu’s senatorial bid saw a green light on Saturday as he beat Senator Mao Ohabunwa of the PDP to clinch the seat for Abia North Senatorial District. Kalu who ran under APC polled 31,203 votes to Ohabunwa’s 20,801 votes.
Stella Oduah Retains Seat
The former Minister of Aviation, Senator Stella Oduah won her re-election bid for the Anambra North Senatorial District. The PDP candidate polled 113,989 votes to defeat Emmanuel Chinedu of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) who trailed behind with 59,937 votes. APC could only fetch 11,995 votes.
A Sitting Governor’s Defeat
If you’ve not seen a sitting governor lose his bid to go to the senate, which is becoming known by the masses as the retirement home of governors, then you have Governor Ibrahim Dankwambo of Gombe state as an example. He lost his bid to represent the people of Gombe North to the APC candidate, Sa’idu Alkali, scoring 88,016 to Alkali’s 152,546 votes.