28 States elected their governors last weekend in polls conducted by INEC.
From all indications, it was not the best elections ever held in Nigeria and in terms of speed of announcement of results, not the speediest. Some results did come from INEC after about 24 hours but several days after, we are still expecting others.
Of the 36 states, governorship polls were held in 28, namely Abia, Adamawa, Akwa Ibom, Bauchi, Benue, Borno, Cross River, Delta, Ebonyi, Enugu, Gombe, Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Kwara, Lagos, Nasarawa, Niger, Ogun, Oyo, Plateau, Rivers, Sokoto, Taraba, Yobe, and Zamfara. Governors were not elected in the 8 states of Anambra, Ekiti, Osun, Ondo, Edo, Imo, Bayelsa and Kogi.
As for state legislatures, all 36 states had elections into are the 993 State Houses of Assembly seats.
Perhaps the first Governorship result to emerge at 5:40 pm on Sunday was PDP’s Umo Eno in Akwa Ibom State whom INEC declared as the winner of the governorship poll there.
In Taraba, INEC declared Kefas Agbu of PDP winner of the State governorship election, scoring 257,926 votes to defeat the candidate of NNPP, Muhammad Yahaya, who polled 202,277. Siminialayi Fubara of the PDP was declared winner in Rivers State when he polled 302,614 votes to defeat his closet rival Tonye Cole of APC who scored 95,274 votes. INEC also declared APC’s Uba Sani winner in Kaduna.
Governor Babagana Zulum of APC was reelected governor of Borno State, having polled 545,542. INEC also declared a Catholic Priest, Rev. Fr. Hyacinth Alia Benue governor-elect. He got 473,933 votes ahead of his closest rival and PDP candidate, Titus Uba, who scored 223,913. Also, Dr. Dikko Umaru Radda is governor-elect of Zamfara State as announced on Monday.
APC retained Cross River State, with Bassey Otu emerging winner by scoring 258,619 votes, beating Sandy Onor who had 179,636 votes, while Umar Bago of the APC is winner of Niger State polling 469,896 votes, to beat his close contender of the (PDP) Liman Isah Kantigi who scored 387,476 votes.
PDP won Delta State with Sheriff Oborevwori defeating his closest rival, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege of APC by 360,234 to 240,229. Also, Caleb Mutfwang of PDP won in Plateau State while Ebonyi House Speaker, Francis Nwifuru of APC became governor-elect in the state.
Bala Mohammed of PDP was re-elected Bauchi Governor for another four-year term, the same as Governor Abdullahi Sule who was announced as the winner of the Nasarawa State governorship election, having polled 347,209 to beat his closest contender, David Ombugadu of PDP who got 283,016 votes.
Yusuf Kabir of the NNPP in Kano State is the some governor-elect of his party. He was declared winner by scoring 1,019,602 votes to defeat his closest contender, Nasir Gawuna of the APC who polled 890,705 votes. At 1:15 am on Monday morning, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu was re-elected in Lagos State. He polled 762,134 votes, defeating Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour of Labour Party who scored 312,329 votes. Governor Dapo Abiodun of APC retained his seat as Ogun State Governor.
The APC governorship candidate in Katsina State, Dr. Dikko Radda, was declared winner, scoring 859,892 votes to defeat his closest opponent, Senator Yakubu Danmarke, of PDP who polled 486,620 votes. Also, Mai Mala Buni of APC was re-elected Yobe State governor, and in the same vein, APC’s Inuwa Yahaya re-elected Gombe Governor.
Another APC win was in Jigawa where Umar Namadi scored 618, 449 votes to beat the PDP’s Sule Lamido who had 368,726 ballots. APC’s AbdulRazaq was also re-elected Kwara State Governor, as he polled 273,424 to defeat his closest opponent, Abdullah Yahman of the PDP who scored 155,490.
As one can see, there were upsets in the governorship elections. For instance, PDP governorship candidate Dauda Lawal unseated Zamfara State Governor Bello Matawalle. INEC declared Lawal the governor-elect with a total of 377,726 votes, with Matawalle of APC polling 311,976.
There were some inconclusive results as determined by INEC, who declared Kebbi and Adamawa governorship elections as inconclusive. The candidate of APC in Adamawa, Senator Aishatu Dahiru, popularly called Binani is said to have scored 390, 275 while the incumbent, Governor Ahmadu Fintiri, of PDP candidate, was given 421,524 but INEC has said the election is inconclusive.
In major upsets in legislative elections held same day, Labour Party’s Kevin Chukwu won the Enugu East senate seat, defeating incumbent Senator Chimaroke Nnamani of the PDP.
The Speaker of the Zamfara State House of Assembly, Nasiru Muazu Magarya of the APC, lost his Zurmi West constituency re-election bid to Bilyaminu Ismail of the PDP while the Deputy Speaker of the same House, Musa Bawa Yankuzo, and the Deputy Leader of the House, Nasiru Lawal Bungudu, lost their seats to Bello Maza-Waje and Bashiru Dan-Meri of PDP respectively.
In Yobe State, 35-year-old Lawan Musa of the PDP unseated the Speaker of the Yobe State House of Assembly, Ahmed Mirwa, of APC while another youth, 26-year-old Rukayat Shittu won a seat in Kwara State Assembly.
The Speaker of the Plateau State House of Assembly, Yakubu Sanda of the APC lost his bid to return as he was defeated by Mrs. Happiness Matthew Akawu of the PDP in the Pengana State Constituency seat.
In Imo State, the APC won 26 seats out of the 27 seats in the State House of Assembly, and some of the other political parties are already crying wolf, as even the remaining seat in Ahiazu Mbaise state constituency was declared inconclusive by INEC.
For the newly elected governors, there is no doubt that there is a lot of work to do, especially to gain the confidence of the people and repair all the damage inflicted in the polity following very acrimonious campaigns and political brigandage exhibited in many parts of the country, especially in Lagos, Rivers, Edo and Delta States where thuggery was taken to a new level.
The questions of who owns what land and who can vote came to the fore with very aggressive and negative narratives that were so divisive and retrogressive. Tribes that could hitherto not do without each other and had been engaged in inter-marriages suddenly became aware that they were enemies by virtues of their places of origin.
The election has come and gone. Now we are looking at each other as if what happened did not happen and what was said or written was strange.
For instance, there have been so many mixed marriages between the Igbos and Yorubas, Urhobos and Itsekiri, Benin and Esan, Hausa and Fulani, Ibibio and Efik, Ijaw and Ikwere, but with all that has happened in the last two months, you would think they always hated each other which is not true.
For some of us, it has taken this election for us to know the intelligence of some people we have been relating with, even in our small circles like offices and clubs. The tribal sentiments and then the calls for violence against other tribes were unprecedented. The whole thing was so ridiculous and made some of us short of words. I have an old friend who had a shouting match with her husband who was vehemently pursuing the ethnic agenda. Mind you, these people are not illiterates – some of them have schooled abroad and benefited from freedoms as practiced in those climes.
Well, apart from the task of ensuring economic and infrastructural development, security and revenue generation, the new and old governors, in conjunction with the federal government, will need to seek for ways to ensure peaceful coexistence, de-emphasize ethnic profiling and working towards making their states places where every Nigerian and even foreigners can live amicably in peace and harmony.
We cannot afford the experience of Rwanda in Nigeria, now or in the future.