There’s Still Dust in The Air

Abdullahi Sule

Igbawase Ukumba reports that despite the recent declaration of the candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Abdullahi Sule, as winner of the just concluded governorship election in Nasarawa State by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), there is still dust in the air

Collation of results from the 13 Local Government Areas of Nasarawa State was completed on Monday at about 1:00am at the Lafia office of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). Consequently, the returning officer for the governorship election in the state, Professor Bala Abdullahi, announced the scores of the various political parties that contested the governorship seat.

In the course of announcing the scores by each of the contending candidates in the governorship, Prof Abdullahi declared the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Sule as winner of the governorship poll. According to the pronouncement by the returning officer, the APC candidate polled 327,229 votes to defeat his closet rivals, Hon. Emmanuel Ombugadu of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) who scored 184,281 votes and the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) candidate, Hon. Labaran Maku, who came third with 132,281 votes.

A breakdown of the result as announced by the returning officer for the governorship election in the state showed that out of the 13 Local Government Areas of the state, the APC candidate, Sule won in 11, while Maku of the APGA and Doma Aliyu of the Zenith Labour Party sheared the remaining two local councils. But, the candidate of the PDP, Ombugadu, who came second in the guber race could not win any council area.

The 11 Local Government Areas won by Sule of the APC include Awe, Keana, Obi, Lafia, Wamba, Akwanga, Kokona, Keffi, Karu, Toto and Nasarawa. Accordingly, the governorship candidate of APGA, Labaran Maku, and that of the Zenith Labour party, Aliyu Doma, won in Nasarawa Eggon and Doma Local Government Areas respectively.

The Returning Officer while declaring Sule winner of the governorship election of the state said that the total number of registered voters in the state was 1,617,786 while accredited voters stood at 686,303, and valid votes at the end of the election were 670,879. Professor Bala concluded that the total number of rejected votes were 10,521, even as he added that the total number of votes cast during the election stood at 681,400.

But the Nasarawa State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had alerted the governor-elect, Abdullahi Sule, that the party has the capability to do any magic and reverse his victory as long as the politics of the state is concerned. The state chairman of the party, Francis Orogu, stated this in Lafia, the state capital, when briefing journalists shortly after a meeting he held with stakeholders of the PDP in the state at the state party’s secretariat.

He said: “Our advice is that the governor-elect can go ahead and smile, but should not be in a hurry to laugh because what goes around, comes around. We will consult ourselves and take a position on this matter soon. We don’t have any choice than to appeal to our supporters not to be discouraged by the interference of the security agents in the electoral process. For the fact that INEC officials were mostly working for the All Progressives Congress (APC); cancelling elections where we were winning and allowing every mess to go through where APC was manipulating.”

The PDP chieftain continued that the party has gone through all the records which all complaints made by the party were not taken by the returning officers of those elections in Nasarawa State, insisting that the PDP will continue to fight within the provision of the law, adding that consultation to that effect has commenced with leaders of the party in the state to seek their opinion on how PDP can work with the various candidates to reclaim victory.

“We have copies of results that differs from what is been presented to the state Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) and the returning officers. So many of such cases exist in Nasarawa State not to talk about lots of cancelled votes that were manipulated by the returning officers. But we are not discouraged and we can not be pinned down by these conspiracies of those agencies that make up the electoral team,” Orogu maintained.

Similarly, the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) Labaran Maku, has rejected the result of the governorship election in the state over alleged fraud. Maku rejected the outcome of the governorship election in the state at Wakama village in Nasarawa Eggon Local Government Area of the state as declared by the INEC.
According to him, “the election was marred by irregularities perpetrated by the INEC in collusion with the security agencies.” Maku said that the preliminary reaction of the party was that the result was not the true reflection of the votes cast by the people of the state hence APGA rejected it in totality.

“The All Progressives Congress (APC) led government colluded with INEC and security agencies to announce a pre-allocated election results. They decided to allocate APGA in third position in order to shut us up to create an impression that the people are not with us,” Maku added.

Maku, who is a former Minister of Information, also alleged that electoral rules were totally ignored in Toto, Wamba, part of Lafia, Awe and Keffi local councils. Card readers were not used at all in these areas so as to perfect their plans. They brought results from Toto and other deserted areas affected by crisis.” He therefore said that for now, the party is still consulting with other critical stakeholders in order to decide on the next line of action.

In a violent reaction to the development, youths in the state went on rampage vandalizing property estimated at millions of Naira, while protesting against the just concluded governorship election results released by the INEC in the state. The youths who were alleged to be reacting to the outcome of the governorship poll attacked the Karu Local Government secretariat destroying doors, windows, shattered glass windows, toilet fittings, furniture, vehicle belonging to the Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corp, (NSCDC), skills acquisition centre among others.

Governor Umaru Tanko Al-Makura has promptly visited the scene to ascertain the extent of the damage done to the public property, describing the action as unfortunate. According to the governor, “those whose trade in stock is to cause trouble in the state should have a rethink as the government would not continue to fold its arms and watch government property and lives of the citizens being threatened.

However, the Nasarawa State governor-elect, Abdullahi Sule, has invited his opponents in the just concluded governorship election to join him to form a government of unity. Sule consequently extended his hands of fellowship to the opponents during a press conference in Lafia, the state capital, recently.

He said: “Let me use this opportunity to extend my hands of fellowship to my fellow contestants across party lines to join me in the task of building a united and peaceful state for the benefit of all. This victory is not only for APC, but for the entire people of Nasarawa State, irrespective of any political, religious or tribal affiliation.”

The governor-elect continued that his election had not only opened another vista for consolidation on the achievements recorded by the outgoing governor of the state, Umaru Tanko Al-Makura and his predecessors, but has become a dream come true for the people of the state whose yearnings and aspirations is to have a leader who is fully prepared to sustain the tempo of development.

“I want to assure you that the confidence reposed in me will not be misplaced, Sule assured.