Fresh facts have emerged as to why the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) defeated the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the Sabon Gari state constituency by-election held on Saturday.
With 9,113 votes, Usman Ali-Baba of the PDP was declared winner of the by-election by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), defeating his closest rival from the APC who polled 7, 404 votes.
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The result of the election which was read by the returning officer, Dr. Muhammadu Nurudeen Musa of the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria had sent a strong signal to the ruling APC in Kaduna that all was not well with the party, especially when it is gearing up for the local government elections scheduled for August 14, 2021.
Pundits have linked the defeat of the APC in one of its strongholds to the unfair treatment meted out to the former occupant of the seat, Aminu Shagali. A former Speaker of the House, Shagali’s seat was declared vacant in April for failure to attend one-third of the assembly’s meetings. Having represented the Sabon Gari constituency since 2011, Shagali had put his personal grievances aside and publicly voted the APC in the by-election. To his constituents, however, pundits say they had waited patiently to hit back at the APC during the election.
But the defeat of APC and by implication, Governor Nasir El-Rufai does not rest with the humiliation of Shagali. Many have attributed the APC’s poor outing to some of the utterances of the governor and policies of his administration that have injured most low-income earners.
“The recent sack of workers, hike in tertiary education school fees including Nuhu Bamali Polytechnic in Zaria where most of our children go to and ongoing demolition by this administration may have affected the chances of the APC in its stronghold,” said a member of the APC.
“Demolition of Sabon Gari market is a factor,” said a resident of Zaria adding that: “Many traders are now bankrupt; some cannot even put food on the table. Government has refused to support them or compensate those with genuine complaints. Unless the governor decides to change his ways, his actions spell doom for APC in 2023, because the party’s stronghold is not happy with El-Rufai.”
Others attributed the defeat of the APC to the government’s interference, alleging that the party had denied other aspirants the chance to purchase the nomination form for the by-election. Similar allegations had overshadowed the party’s primaries for the upcoming local government elections with many alleging the government’s influence in a “skewed screening process” and later “bogus” primary elections.
However, there are those who claimed that El-Rufai’s latest comment during a media chat, on the eve of the by-election may have nailed the coffin for the APC. El-Rufai had stated that his successor will demolish more structures than he did. An indication, said an observer, that the APC may continue with its “anti-people policy.”
For the PDP in Kaduna however, the triumph is an indication that the party will be a force to reckon with come August during the local government election. Expressing joy at the outcome of the by-election, a chieftain of the PDP, Lawal Adamu, popularly referred to as Mr. Lah said the victory is a clear indication that Kaduna residents are tired of the ruling APC in the state.
Similarly, Zubairu Shan’una, another PDP member said the party will win the next forthcoming local government election scheduled for August.
However, the Acting Publicity Secretary of the party, Salisu Tanko Wosono said the APC was pained by the outcome of the by-election and attributed their failure to certain factors which he cannot disclose in the media. He, however, said the APC will return to the drawing board to find out what led to their defeat to the PDP, which he described as an unpopular party.