The inroad made by the Labour Party (LP) presidential candidate, Peter Obi into Nasarawa State, an APC-controlled state in the last election has thrown up a lot of questions, Daily Trust Saturday reports.
Last Saturday’s presidential and National Assembly elections witnessed a big surprise from the Labour Party (LP), which sprang a surprise by winning in Nasarawa State.
The North Central state had been a stronghold of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
The presidential candidate of the LP secured 191,361 in the contest to win in the state. His closest challenger, Bola Ahmed Tinubu of the APC, scored 172,922 votes, while Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) garnered 147, 093 votes.
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The collation officer in Nasarawa State, Professor Ishaya Tanko, the vice chancellor the University of Jos, who declared the results, also disclosed that the New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP) candidate, Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, scored 12,715 votes.
Tanko revealed that the total registered votes in the state were 2,552,716, while valid votes stood at 540,566.
According to him, the accredited voters in the state were 562,464 but the total votes cast were 556,937, while rejected votes were 16,371.
Political pundits in the state are of the opinion that the LP, which kick- started its campaign barely six months earlier across the 13 local government areas of the state, was able to garner the largest votes based on religious sentiment, as well as the emerging popularity of its presidential candidate, Peter Obi.
Obi, who prides himself as the face of a new Nigeria, promises a radical departure from the years of transactional leadership, which he said the APC and PDP had manifested in their poor management of the country.
Candidates of three key political parties are vying for the governorship seat of the state. They are David Ombugadu of the PDP, Abdullahi Yakubu Maidoya of the NNPP and Joseph Ewuga of the LP.
Daily Trust Saturday recalls that President Muhammadu Buhari had on November 5, 2023 inaugurated the APC Campaign Council for Governor Abdullahi Sule to checkmate the opposition in the state.
Political pundits believe that the main opposition party (PDP) in the state is banking on the internal wrangling in the APC to oust the incumbent governor in the upcoming election in the state.
Analysts also aver that the governor is not really in charge of the party structure as some of the aggrieved members had decamped to other political parties, with their posters littering every nook and cranny of the state.
It is also believed that the desire by the APC to defeat the opposition could face serious challenges owing to the internal upheaval that had characterised the state in the aftermath of the party’s primary elections.
Another factor that may have played a major role that led to the downfall of the APC during the just concluded presidential and National Assembly elections, according to some political observers, was the issue of tribal sentiment and ethnicity across the three senatorial districts of the state.
This situation, according to political analysts, sparked resentment among influential political heavyweights that led the party to victory in the earlier primary elections conducted in the state. Most of them either denounced their membership of the party or just remained as pseudo members to work against the party’s success in the polls.
The defection of the majority leader of the state House of Assembly, Tanko Tunga, representing Awe North constituency to the Social Democratic Party (SDP) over an alleged doctored delegate list during the APC primaries, also impacted on the party.
Similarly, other APC bigwigs like Abubakar Dahiru, representing Lafia/Obi federal constituency, Muhammed Muluku-Agah, representing Karu/Keffi/Kokona federal constituency, and many others, had moved to join the NNPP, SDP to the disadvantage of the ruling party.
It was based on this scenario that the state chapter of the APC had to suspend the state assembly primaries, citing alleged tampering with the authentic list of delegates in the state.
Analysts believe that it was based on these factors that APC bigwigs like Senator Umaru Tanko Al-Makura representing Nasarawa South lost out in the recently conducted polls, as well as his nephew, who was a two-time House of Repsentatives member, representing Lafia/Obi federal constituency, Muhammed Al-Makura.
Al-Makura, who contested for the second time, lost to the PDP senator-elect, Mohammed Ogoshi-Onawo, who secured 93,064 votes against his challenger’s 76,813 votes.
With these factors, Al-Makura’s infrastructural strides across the state as governor and later as senator, could not stop the assault, which halted his bid to return to the National Assembly.
Similarly, the senator for Nasarawa North zone, Godiya Akwashiki, who had decamped in the aftermath of the APC primaries, won his re-election on the platform of the SDP against his former party.
Akwashiki defeated a former executive secretary of the National Judicial Commission (NJC), Danladi Halilu Envuluanza of the APC, who got 32,058 votes.
Analysts said it was the above factors, coupled with the support of the youth in Nasarawa State for the presidential ambition of Peter Obi, that dealt a blow on the APC in last Saturday’s presidential election in the state.
The APC in the state also lost all the three senatorial seats to the SDP and PDP.
Instructively, the national chairman of the APC, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, lost his polling unit to Peter Obi of the Labour Party.
The outcome of the presidential and National Assembly elections is seen as a pointer to the March 11 governorship and state assembly polls in Nasarawa State.
Daily Trust Saturday gathered that opposition parties in the state have been meeting on a daily basis to strategise on how to ensure that Governor Sule does not come back to power.
But some sources close to the governor said he will most likely win considering his sterling performance. They also said the factors that worked against the APC during the presidential and national assembly elections would no longer be fashionable because APC has won the presidency and no serious state will like to be in opposition.