Two former members of the House of Representatives considered to be political titans in the 9th National Assembly will go to the polls today in a very decisive re-run election.
The election of Hon. Alhassan Ado Doguwa, a former Majority Leader in the 9th Assembly, was nullified by an Appeal Court in Kaduna on the grounds that it was marred by irregularities. The court then ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission to conduct a fresh election for Tudun Wada/Doguwa federal constituency.
Hon. Abdulmumini Jibrin Kofa, a former chairman, House Committee on Appropriation, also had his election nullified by the Appeal Court on the basis that results on Form EC8 were mutilated, hence considered void, and the court ordered a fresh election in Kiru/Bebeji federal constituency within 90 days from the date of judgment.
Hon. Ado Doguwa has some chances of winning the election considering the fact that he contested several times in the past. This is his seventh time of contesting for a legislative seat, though he won five times to represent his constituency. The sixth was the controversial one nullified by the Appeal court.
Other things that could pave way for Doguwa include the strength of his party in the state and the good relationship he maintains with the party leadership at local, state and federal levels. He enjoys tremendous support from the state governor, Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, and the state party chairman, Abdullahi Abbas.
Another advantage he has is the internal crisis in the opposition PDP, the latest manifestation of which was the switch over of the former chairman of the party, Alhaji Rabiu Sulaiman Bichi, to the ruling APC.
His main opponent, Air Commodore Salisu Shehu (rtd) of the PDP, is also a well-known person in his constituency. He believes he won the election with a high margin, only that two candidates who participated in the election had their results omitted.
Speaking with Daily Trust, Shehu said, “I won 105 of the 149 polling units in the constituency. We have requested the certified true copies of the result from INEC but they failed to give it to us, and in court, you know, withholding evidence that you feel could be detrimental to you is like an admission of guilt.”
This implies that the voters are with him, and his victory at the Appeal Court means he could win again. However, he expressed fears that if INEC and security agencies fail to keep their promises at the stakeholders’ meeting, anything could happen.
“They made promises and we believe what they said, but if they decide to compromise, then there is nothing we can do as we don’t have the security agencies on our side and we don’t have the INEC on our side. Otherwise, by the grace of God, victory is on our side,” he said.
He alleged that the ruling party was planning to rig the election as the majority leader’s seat has been reserved for him and Doguwa himself was going around telling people that the House would not resume until after his election.
He then urged voters in the constituency not to be deterred by the intimidation he alleged his opponent was organizing by mobilizing thugs to disrupt the election. His major challenge could be the internal crisis in his party, unless he is able to mobilize constituents to disregard it and work in unison.
Abdulmumini Kofa was a popular candidate in the constituency who contested elections and won in the past, and has the potential to win again. He was instrumental to the emergence of Femi Gbajabiamila as speaker of the 9th Assembly.
However, his sour relationship with the party leadership at all levels could work against him in the re-run.
Another major challenge on his path is that he is up against a strong candidate who is believed to be enjoying the covert support of the APC due to the dented relationship he (Kofa) has with his party.
Recall that Kofa is under suspension by the Bebeji Local Government chapter of the APC for allegedly engaging in anti-party activities.
The PDP candidate in the Kiru/Bebeji constituency election, Aliyu Datti Yako, is also a strong politician in the constituency who enjoys tremendous support of his people. The support he enjoys from the ruling APC could be an advantage.
He could also be adversely affected by his party’s crisis and if the APC and the government of Kano decide to forgive Kofa and render their support, and this could be another major set back for Yako.
The APC says it is well prepared to reclaim the lost position with regard to Doguwa. The party’s state deputy chairman, Hon. Shehu Maigari, compared the scenario in Doguwa/Tudunwada to a difference between the known and unknown. He is however not sure if the party would support Kofa.
“You know, he is under suspension and no matter how we try to convince the people to do the right thing, some may not likely do it, because the suspension has not been lifted officially, but the party is trying to sort out things and we will announce an update,” he said.
The PDP says it is confident of winning all the re-run elections, and is only waiting for the time.
The state secretary of the party, Alhaji Shehu Wada Sagagi, said the party was not known for causing violence, and this time around the situation would not be different.
“PDP, Kwankwasiyya means nothing but peace. The only appeal we have is that the security agencies should, for the sake of Allah, discharge their duties without fear or favour to any party. If that is assured then I can assure you that we will win all the elections.
“If anyone comes to the polling units with any weapon he should be arrested and they should do as the commissioner instructed, that voters should be screened several metres away from the polling units. If that is done, victory is ours,” he said.
The Resident Electoral Commissioner in Kano State, Professor Risqua Shehu, said during a stakeholders’ meeting organized by the Kano State Commissioner of Police, Habu A. Sani on Wednesday at the Bompai Police Headquarters that the commission was prepared to conduct a free and fair re-run.
He said apart from INEC’s commitment, sensitive materials for the election have arrived in Rogo, Bebeji, Kumbotso, Kiru, Minjibir, Tudun Wada, Madobi, Bunkure and Doguwa LGAs.
The police commissioner said, “Anybody found posing threat to peaceful conduct during the elections will be decisively dealt with in accordance with the provisions of the law.”
All party leaders and aspirants involved signed a peace accord in the presence of the the Director, Department of State Services Kano, Alhaji Alhassan N. Muhammad, Brigadier General B. A. Alabi of the 3 Brigade Nigerian Army Kano, Ibrahim Shazali of the EFCC, Air Commodore M. A. Sulaiman of the Nigerian Air Force, Commandants of the NSCDC, NDLEA, FRSC, Nigeria Correctional Service, Immigration Service and the INEC National Commissioner Supervising Kano, Katsina and Jigawa states, Engr Abubakar A. Nahuche.