Seven governors displaced by paperweight opposition candidates

ADELANI ADEPEGBA writes on the inability of seven state governors to withstand the onslaught of the opposition candidates in the just general elections

The March 18 governorship and state assembly elections have been won and lost but the shocking outcomes of the exercise would continue to tickle bookmakers for years to come. Some governors who contested the election loss to the opposition members, while anointed candidates of a few others were defeated.

 The All Progressives Congress lost  Lagos State, the stronghold of its presidential candidate, Bola Tinubu, to the Labour Party standard bearer, Peter Obi.

But while the Lagos State Governor and APC candidate, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, was able to rally support for his re-election which he won resoundingly, some governors lost their states as they were overwhelmed by the opposition candidates.
For Governor Bello Matawalle of Zamfara State, the declaration that he lost the March 18 election to the opposition Peoples Democratic Party candidate, Dauda Lawal must have shocked him to the marrow.

But the Independent National Electoral Commission said Lawal who amassed 377,726 votes defeated Matawalle of the APC who polled 311,976. Interestingly, Matawalle became governor under the PDP before he defected to the APC.

In Kano, Governor Umar Ganduje’s dream of handing over power to the APC governorship candidate, Yusuf Gawuna faded away like the morning dew kissed by the sun. Abba Yusuf of the New Nigeria Peoples Party was declared the winner of the polls. Not only that, but the party also secured 17 out of the 24 House of Representatives seats in addition to a high number of state assembly constituenciesThe NNPP was led by a former Kano state governor, Rabiu Kwakwanso.  The INEC returning officer, Ahmad Ibrahim, announced that Yusuf won the election with 1,019,602 votes, while Gawuna who is the current deputy governor got 890,705 votes.

Yusuf had contested against Ganduje in 2019 in what was regarded as a very controversial election, which went into supplementary polls in 28 out of the 44 local government areas in the state. At the end of the first election, Yusuf was leading Ganduje with 26,655 votes. Yusuf, who was at the time the PDP candidate polled 1,014,474 votes while Ganduje got 987,819 votes. Ganduje eventually won by scoring 45,876 votes while Yusuf amassed 10,239 in the supplementary polls.

The Kwankwasiyya movement supporters celebrated the NNPP’s victory, defying the dusk-to-dawn curfew imposed by the state government to prevent an outbreak of violence following the tension generated by the election outcome.

For the APC family on the plateau, this is not the best of times, having lost power to the opposition PDP which was displaced from the Government House by the APC in 2015 after ruling the state for 16 years.

Despite Governor Simon Lalong’s best efforts to install his anointed candidate, Dr Nentawe Yilwatda as his successor, PDP’s Caleb Mutfwang emerged as the governor-elect. He garnered 525,299 votes to defeat the rival APC candidate, who had 481,370 votes.  According to the results, the PDP won in 10 LGAs while the APC triumphed in seven.  Lalong, Director-General of the APC Presidential Campaign Council equally failed to win the Plateau South Senatorial District seat. He was trounced by PDP’s Bali Napoleon, who received 148,844 votes to the governor’s 91,674.

It was a double loss for Benue State Governor Samuel Ortom. His senatorial aspiration failed to fly; he also failed to sustain the PDP’s hold on power in the state. Before the election, pundits had bet on APC’s Rev Fr Hyacinth Alia winning the governorship polls. True to predictions, the cleric defeated the PDP candidate, Titus Uba to emerge the winner of the election. The development marked the second time a Catholic priest will emerge as the governor of Benue State since it was created in 1976.

The priest scored 473,933 votes to defeat Uba who had  223,914 votes and the Labour Party candidate, Hemma Hembe, who secured 41,841 votes. With this development, Ortom may be one step away from political oblivion

The same political storm that swept off Ortom also eclipsed Governor Aminu Tambuwal’s plan of keeping the PDP in power in Sokoto State. The PDP candidate, Saidu Ubandoma, was no match for Ahmed Sokoto, his nemesis, who won the polls


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