Nigeria 2019 Governorship Election: Appraising The Verdict By Omoshola Deji

Election in Nigeria is a battle of fists rather than a game of wits. The nation has gotten almost nothing right since independence and still cannot conduct free, fair and credible elections. The insatiable thirst for power has made the leadership recruitment process a battle; turning properties to ashes and beings to corpse. Shame on the leaders and politicians. Shame on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the security agencies. Shame on Nigeria.

The 2019 general election is the worst in Nigeria’s history. It is the most protracted and onerous, despite being the most expensive. The polls scheduled to wind-up in three weeks has dragged on for six and still counting. Do the arithmetic. The presidential election initially slated for February 16 was postponed to 23 for ‘logistics reasons’ and the governorship election conducted on March 9 is yet to be concluded. The must-win approach of politicians and the incompetence of the security agencies and INEC rendered the governorship election inconclusive in Kano, Benue, Plateau, Bauchi, Sokoto, Adamawa and Rivers State. The electoral process in Kano, Benue, Plateau and Sokoto has been completed while that of Bauchi, Adamawa and Rivers are still on hold.

Nigeria is the den of negative politicking. The misconducts that rendered the governorship elections inconclusive also made the supplementary elections held on 23 March unfree and unfair and un-credible, especially in Kano State. Desperate candidates unleashed thugs to kill and destroy, while the police looked on. The prevailing either-me-or-nobody politics is endangering our hard-earned democracy and may return Nigeria into the hands of the men in uniform.

The 2019 general election has been an intriguing one. Politicians who were before now seen as undefeatable were defeated. The mighty fell and new ones emerged. Godfathers such as Bukola Saraki (Kwara State) Godswill Akpabio (Akwa-Ibom State), Aliyu Wammako (Sokoto State) and George Akume (Benue State) has been decimated. The death guzzling one’s mate is relaying a message that one’s turn is near. Bola Tinubu should start preparing. 2023 may be his turn.

Over 90 political parties participated in the governorship elections, but Nigerians mainly voted the ruling All Progressives Congress and the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). In a piece titled “Nigeria 2019 Governorship Election: Foretelling the Outcome”, the writer, hereafter titled Pundit, foretold who’ll triumph in the 29 (out of 36) states where elections were conducted. Governorship election in the remaining 7 states are off-cycle.

Independently foretelling the outcome of governorship elections in a vast and plural nation like Nigerian is a difficult, almost impossible task. It entails a rigorous research into the election winning determinants in each state. Such research is usually sponsored and carried out by a team of leading Political Scientists. Unaided, the Pundit singly foretold the outcomes and did not perform poorly. He made accurate predictions, achieved his target of scoring high, but some predictions failed. The next sections of this piece is an analysis of the election controversies, the landmarks, and what the future holds. The Pundit’s prediction accuracy and shortcomings in the six geopolitical regions is also appraised.

North West

The region comprises of seven states, including Kano, Katsina, Kaduna, Kebbi, Sokoto, Jigawa, and Zamfara State. Elections were conducted in all.

Kano State: Governor Abdullahi Ganduje of the APC’s win was foretold and it came to pass, even though the Pundit never thought the election would be a keenly contested one. Ganduje garnered 1,033,695 votes to defeat PDP’s Abba Yusuf, who garnered 1,024,713 votes. Ganduje allegedly won via electoral fraud. The supplementary election was a farce and brazen murder of democracy. It was characterized by voter harassment, vote buying, underage voting and violence. Political thugs’ unleashed mayhem without being resisted by the police. The evidence of electoral infractions is so mammoth that it’ll be difficult for Ganduje to complete his tenure, if the result is challenged at the tribunal.

Observers of the ruling APC’s antecedent and political behavior knows the party would never allow PDP take control of Kano. The state has the highest number of registered voters and needs to be kept in the bag for 2023. APC also went all out to retain Kano in order to bury arguments that the presidential election was rigged in the state for President Muhammadu Buhari.

Katsina State: Aminu Masari of the APC’s win was foretold and it came to pass. He scored 1,178,868 votes to defeat PDP’s Yakubu Lado who scored 488,705 votes.

Kaduna State: Nasir El-Rufai of the APC’s win was foretold and it came to pass. He garnered 1,044,710 votes to defeat PDP’s Isah Asiru who garnered 814,168 votes. Balancing religion equation is an unconstitutional rule politicians obey, except El-Rufai. He took the risk of running with a fellow Muslim and won. That it works for him doesn’t mean it’ll work for others. Nigeria’s prevailing ethno-religious sensitivity will deny others who copy him a win.

Kebbi State: Abubakar Bagudu of the APC’s win was foretold and it came to pass. He defeated PDP’s Isa Galaudu with 571,092 votes.

Sokoto State: the pundit wrongly predicted a win for APC’s Ahmad Aliyu. He was ticked to win by a small margin, but that happened the other way round. Aminu Tambuwal of the PDP defeated him with 341 votes.

Jigawa State: Mohammad Badaru of the APC’s win was foretold and it came to pass. He garnered 810,933 votes to defeat PDP’s Aminu Ibrahim who polled 288,356 votes.

Zamfara State: the Pundit wrongly predicted a narrow win for PDP’s Bello Mutawalle. His selection of Mutawalle was based on the lingering intra-party crisis in Zamfara APC before the election. Mukhtar Shehu of the APC defeated PDP’s Mutawalle with 345,089 votes.

Overall, the Pundit made 4 right and 2 wrong predictions in the North West.

South South

The six states in the region are Edo, Bayelsa, Delta, Rivers, Cross River and Akwa Ibom State. Edo and Bayelsa State governorship election are off-cycle.

Delta State: Ifeanyi Okowa of the PDP’s win was foretold and it came to pass. He defeated APC’s Great Ogboru with 710,236 votes.

Rivers State: PDP’s Nyesom Wike was ticked to win, but the electoral process was suspended due to military interference and human rights abuses. The court restrained APC from appearing on the ballot. Wike’s main opponent, Biokpomabo Awara of the AAC rose to prominence after securing the backing of the APC bigwigs. The Pundit maintains that Wike will defeat Awara.

Cross River State: Ben Ayade’s win was foretold and it came to pass. The PDP candidate defeated APC’s John Owan-Enoh with 250,323 votes.

Akwa Ibom State: PDP’s Udom Emmanuel’s win was foretold and it came to pass. He scored 520,163 votes to defeat APC’s Nsima Nkere who scored 172,244 votes. APC overrated ex-Governor Godswill Akpabio’s political capacity when he joined the party. His senatorial reelection loss and inability to deliver Akwa Ibom for the party has sent him into political oblivion, but he is yet to realize that. The party will relegate him after those elected are sworn-in on May 29.

Overall, out of the four states were election held, the Pundit made 3 right predictions, while the result of Rivers State is being awaited. 

North East

The region comprises of six states including Adamawa, Yobe, Borno, Bauchi, Taraba and Gombe State. Elections were conducted in all.

Adamawa State: Ahmadu Fintiri of the PDP’s win was foretold, although the election remains inconclusive. The electoral process was suspended based on court order. The already declared results indicates that PDP’s Ahmadu Fintiri has 367,611 votes, while Governor Jibrilla Bindo of the APC has 334,995 votes. With a winning margin of 32,616 votes and the low number of voters in areas where the supplementary election will hold, PDP’s Fintiri will most likely defeat APC’s Bindo as initially predicted.

Yobe State: Mai Mala Buni of the APC was predicted to win by a landslide and it came to pass. He polled 444,013 votes to defeat PDP’s Umar Damagun who polled 95,803 votes.

Borno State: Babagana Zullum of APC’s wide margin win was foretold and it came to pass. He polled a staggering 1,175,445 votes to defeat PDP’s Mohammed Imam who garnered a paltry 66,117 votes. The large number of votes recorded in Borno state is surprising. The state has been ravaged by Boko Haram insurgents and many of the voting population are displaced. How elections across the state were so organized that many people voted, but residents of a peaceful state like Kano were attacked and prevented from voting during the supplementary poll is bewildering. APC’s interest is the switch that determines the operational effectiveness of the security agencies. They protect the votes in APC strongholds and let thugs destroy the ballot in PDP’s own.

Bauchi State: election is inconclusive. The court restrained INEC from proceeding with the collation of results, but the order has been vacated. Governor Mohammed Abubakar of the APC’s win was foretold, but that may not happen. PDP’s Bala Mohammed is leading in the main and supplementary election results. PDP has a total of 469,512 votes, while APC has 465,456 votes. Bauchi is amiss for the Pundit as victory is most certain for PDP’s Mohammed.

Taraba State: Darius Ishaku’s (PDP) win was foretold and it came to pass. He garnered 520,433 votes to defeat APC’s Sani Danladi who scored 362,735 votes.

Gombe State: Inuwa Yahaya’s (APC) win was foretold and it came to pass. He defeated PDP’s Usman Nafada with 141,311 votes.

Overall, out of the six states were election held, the Pundit made 4 right predictions, while the results of Adamawa and Bauchi State is being awaited.

South East

The five states in the region are Anambra, Abia, Enugu, Ebonyi and Imo state. Anambra’s governorship election is off-cycle.

Abia State: Okezie Ikpeazu’s win was foretold and it came to pass. The PDP candidate defeated APC’s Uche Ogah with 161,553 votes.

Enugu State: Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi’s win was foretold and it came to pass. The PDP candidate garnered 449,935 votes to defeat APC’s Ayogu Eze, who garnered 10,423 votes.

Ebonyi State: David Umahi win was foretold and it came to pass. He defeated APC’s Sonni Ogbuoji with 257,146 votes.

Imo State: is a big plus for the Pundit. Many doubted him, but PDP’s Emeka Ihedioha won as foretold. He scored 273,404 votes to defeat Uche Nwosu of AA who scored 190,364 votes. Ifeanyi Ararume of APGA came third, while APC’s Hope Uzodinma came fourth. The former scored 114,676 votes, while the latter scored 96,458 votes.

Overall, PDP’s win was foretold in all the four states where elections held and it came to pass.

North Central

The region, also called the Middle Belt, comprises of six states, including Kogi, Benue, Kwara, Niger, Nassarawa and Plateau State. The governorship election in Kogi State is off-cycle.

Benue State: Samuel Ortom of the PDP’s win was foretold and it came to pass. He defeated APC’s Emmanuel Jime with 89,318 votes.

Kwara State: AbdulRahman Abdulrasaq of the APC’s win was foretold and it came to pass. He defeated PDP’s Rasak Atunwa with 216,236 votes.

Niger State: Abubakar Bello of the APC’s win was foretold and it came to pass. He garnered 526,351 votes to defeat PDP’s Umar Nasko who garnered 298,056 votes.

Nassarawa State: Abdullahi Sule of the APC’s win was foretold and it came to pass. He defeated PDP’s David Ombugadu with 142,970 votes.

Plateau State: the Pundit wrongly predicted a win for PDP’s Jeremiah Useni, but APC’s Simon Lalung defeated him with a meagre 2,672 votes.

Overall, out of the five states were election held, the Pundit made 4 right predictions and 1 wrong.

South West

The governorship election was conducted in only three (Oyo, Ogun, Lagos) out of the six states in the region. Ondo, Osun and Ekiti State governorship elections are off-cycle.

Oyo State: the Pundit wrongly predicted a narrow win for APC’s Bayo Adelabu. Seyi Makinde of the PDP however defeated him with 157,639 votes.

Ogun State: the pundit predicted a win for APM’s Adekunle Akinlade, but he lost. APC’s Dapo Abiodun defeated him with 19,517 votes. The pundit’s prediction was wrong in Oyo and Ogun state because of the intense last minute political horse-trading and alignments that occurred before the election. This made the pundit declare during prediction that “a lot of last minute endorsement and permutation is going on in the state and it’s quite different to state where the pendulum would swing”.

Lagos State: Babajide Sanwoolu of the APC’s win was foretold and it came to pass. He garnered 739,445 votes to defeat PDP’s Jimi Agbaje who garnered 206,141 votes. 

Overall, the Pundit made 1 right and 2 wrong predictions in the South West region.

Accuracy Rate

Out of the 29 states where governorship elections were conducted, a winner is yet to be declared in Rivers, Bauchi and Adamawa State. Out of the 26 states where winners have been declared, the pundit made:

4 right and 2 wrong predictions in the North West;

3 right (out of 4) predictions in the South South, (Rivers is pending);

4 right (out of 6) predictions in the North East (Bauchi and Adamawa are pending);

4 right predictions in the South East, no wrong;

4 right and 1 wrong prediction in the North Central;

I right and 2 wrong predictions in the South West. 

In total, the pundit made 20 right predictions and got it wrong in 6. 

In the election outcome prediction piece, the Pundit stated that he hopes to get it right in over 20 states and he succeeded as his prediction is about to come to pass in two out of the three pending states. Even though it’s difficult and looks impossible, the Pundit aims to foretell the right outcome in all the states in 2023.

For the Records

Across the country, Babagana Zullum, the APC candidate in Borno State won the 2019 governorship election with the highest margin of 1,109,230 votes. PDP’s Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State won with the lowest margin of 341 votes. Mohammed Imam, the PDP governorship candidate in Borno State scored the lowest votes: 66,117. Aminu Masari, the APC governorship candidate in Katsina State (President Buahri’s home state) scored an overall highest vote of 1,178,868. APC did not win any state in the South East but PDP won in all the six regions of the country. Power changed hands in four states: Oyo and Imo that are currently being ruled by the APC were won by the PDP, while Gombe and Kwara State being ruled by the PDP were won by the APC.

End Note

The 2019 general election brought joy to the winners and pain to those who lose, especially those who spent their life savings or borrowed money to campaign. It is difficult for credible candidates to win election in our violence prone and money based political system. The monetization of politics is denying the best an opportunity to lead the rest. If this is not contained, Nigeria will in a few years be governed by fraudsters and drug barons. They’re the only ones who can afford to fund our expensive campaigns and politicking. None or only one in a billion men of honest earnings can. In no distant time, the intellectuals would be relegated or at best be political godsons to those who have acquired enormous wealth through dishonest means. Vice President Yemi Osibajo is a case in point.

Declaring elections inconclusive is a recipe for electoral fraud as the supplementary polls are often marred with voter harassment and violence. Politics should be made less rewarding to discourage politicians from making elections a do or die affair. President Buhari needs to liaise with the national assembly to re-pass the amended electoral law and assent it. As long as electoral offenders remain unpunished, people will not desist from perpetrating crime and fraud during elections. A strict penalty such as jail terms with no option of fine should be enacted.

Leadership is service. Politicians offering money for votes are thieves seeking the power to steal, not serve. Politics is the most profitable investment in Nigeria and politicians don’t play to lose. We must stop rewarding failure and incompetence with our votes, if we wish to live the Nigeria of our dreams. 2019 is gone and we have no choice than to endure the pains — or enjoy the gains — of our political choice till 2023. May God help us!

*Omoshola Deji is a political and public affairs analyst. He wrote in via [email protected]


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