2019: In Kaduna, Politicians won the election, people won the peace

The 2019 elections in Kaduna state left mixed reactions as the winners celebrate while losers are agonising. ABDULRAHEEM AODU reports.

The exercise

The gubernatorial and state house of assembly elections in Kaduna state were keenly contested by the two leading parties, but at the end, the ruling All Progressives Congress won the gubernatorial election and majority of the tickets into the Kaduna State House of Assembly.

With the general elections over in Kaduna state the electorate are celebrating the peaceful polls, while waiting with bated breath for implementation of the various campaign promises.

APC’s el-Rufai re-elected

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declared the APC gubernatorial candidate, Governor Nasir Ahmad el-Rufai, winner of the Saturday governorship election in Kaduna state with 1,045,427 (56%) votes as against 814,168 (44%) votes polled by People’s Democratic Party candidate, Isa Ashiru Kudan

According to the INEC returning officer for the governorship poll, Prof Mohammed Yahuza Bello, el-Rufai won in 14 local government areas of Makarfi, Soba, Kudan, Ikara, Kauru, Kubau, Kaduna North, Giwa, Birnin Gwari, Sabongari, Lere, Kaduna South, Zaria and Igabi local government areas.

His major opponent Isa Ashiru on the other hand won in nine local government areas; namely, Jaba, Kachia, Kaura, Kajuru, Zango Kataf, Sanga, Chikun, Kagarko and Jema’a local government areas.

APC also won 22 out of 31 state assembly seats in Kaduna state, including Kudan, Soba, Maigana, Giwa West, Giwa East, Makarfi, Kubau, Ikara, Kauru, Magajin Gari, Kagarko, Doka Gabasawa and Kawo.

The ruling party also won Makera, Tudun Wada, Ungwar Sanusi, Igabi East, Igabi West, Zaria City, Zaria, Basawa and Sabon Gari state constituencies.

The PDP however won in Kaura, Jaba, Kachia, Kajuru, Chikun, Zonkwa, Zango Kataf, Jema’a and Sanga state constituencies.

PDP kicks as APC celebrates victory 

As the votes were being collated and results announced in piecemeal by the INEC, PDP was the first to react to the election results, as party’s chairman in Kaduna state Mr Felix Hassan Hyet rejected what he described as “doctored results” being announced by the INEC. 

PDP rejects ‘doctored results’

Hyet commended the voters for “conducting themselves in civil manner. There was public vote buying in Zaria local government by government officials, snatching of ballot boxes in Chikun local government area.

“The worst case was in Birnin Gwari where there no voting actually took place; ballot boxes were snatched and returned the next day stuffed with results. Kagarko and Sanga local government areas are currently under siege by security agencies in an effort to change the results in favour of the ruling party. 

“Results were forcibly changed in Rigasa, Igabi local government area. The EOs (Electoral Officers) were summoned to government house to present the results to the governor for him to see and approve before authorising it.

“Based on all these irregularities, we would not accept any doctored results that are announced by INEC because we have the original results from our agents on ground,” the PDP chairman added.

Ashiru rejects election, heads to court to seek cancellation

Taking a cue from his party, Ashiru, the PDP gubernatorial candidate barely waited for the results to be announced before rejecting the results and stating his readiness to challenge the results at the election tribunal.

According to Ashiru, “reports obtained by our party from across the state indicate that the elections were marred by a lot of irregularities. Our party in a petition to the state Resident Electoral Commissioner of INEC, rejected the results and called for its outright cancellation.

“Reports have shown that smart card readers were not used during the elections in a lot of polling units in Giwa, Birnin Gwari, Kaduna North, Igabi, Zaria, Lere and Ikara local government areas.

“It is our firm believe that the non-usage of the card readers, which is a violation of the electoral guidelines, have rendered the results from these areas invalid and should have been cancelled.

“There was clear militarization of the electoral process in various part of the state, as military personnel were used to intimidate voters particularly in Birnin Gwari and Kauru local government areas.

“Based on these and other irregularities, I hereby stand by the position of my party to challenge the concocted results at the election tribunal to get back our stolen mandate.”

El-Rufai urges support, constitutes transition committee

Reacting to his victory, Governor Nasir el-Rufai called on all stakeholders in the state to join hands with him in building a better Kaduna state even as he went ahead to constitute a transition committee headed by the deputy governor-elect Dr. Hadiza Balarabe.

“I accept my re-election with gratitude and humility. Kaduna state has made history by electing a woman as deputy governor, the first elected in the far North of our country. The elections are over, it is time to come together and continue the work of rebuilding Kaduna state.

“Where there has been strife, let us seek calm through accord and conciliation. Where suspicion and ill-will have reigned, let us enthrone goodwill. We can do so much for the good of our state and all of its people when we come together. We are committed to uniting the state.

“There is so much to do to tackle poverty, to improve healthcare, provide decent education, to create jobs for our youths, and to secure our communities. Let us do it together.”

Residents laud peaceful polls

While there may be dispute between the APC and PDP over who won the election, the people of the state rather than the candidates are the undoubted winners of the election because it was largely peaceful.

In the run up to the elections, there were palpable fears across Nigeria, especially in Kaduna state that there may be crises at the end due to the sensitive nature of the state and the acrimonious campaigns engaged in by the political actors from all sides. 

The religious and ethnic colouration given the campaigns by the two dominant parties, close to the gubernatorial and state assembly elections, made it almost impossible for the polls to end peacefully. However, perhaps, the clerics, the religious leaders and the people’s ceaseless prayers may have achieved the peaceful elections. 

Malam Samaila Isa, a provision store owner in Doka, Kaduna North local government area says, “we thank God that the election has come and gone and everything was peaceful.

“We were afraid before the election that there may be crisis but we are happy that it ended peacefully. We hope our leaders would fulfill the promises they made during their campaign so that we can have a better Kaduna state where things would work better”. 

For Hajiya Salamatu Abdulrazak, a provision store owner at College Road, Ungwar Dosa, the best thing about the election was that it was peaceful. “The peaceful nature of the election is invaluable because if there had been crisis, who knows who will be affected among us.

“Now that the election has ended, it is time for Governor el-Rufai to finish this our road (College road to Kawo new extension) so that we can stop inhaling dust every day. An asthma patient cannot last one week here.  The governor should please help us by completing the work.”

Mr Johnson Igwueze, a trader was also happy that the election was peaceful. He, however, decried the outcome of the polls. “We thank God thank that the election went peacefully, I’m equally happy that Ashiru gave Governor el-Rufai tough contest.

“I hope the governor would in the next four years make amends in the areas where people are complaining, finish the projects that he started and give the people of the state that dividends of democracy.”

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