The fate of candidates who stood for elections in the just-concluded general elections has been decided by the outcome of the results of the polls. While some politicians who overrated themselves are still battling to fathom why their expectations were not met, ADEWALE AJAYI examines reasons their hopes were dashed
The outcome of the 2019 general elections, no doubt, has proved many analysts wrong, just as some permutations could not add up. Not only were political godfathers, who were bent on building political empires had their hopes dashed, some also had their dreams and aspirations dashed. In the build up to the general elections, expectations were high, just as some expressed fear and resentment. From the onset, most Nigerians zeroed their minds on the fact that the poll would be a contest between the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Ever before the PDP had its presidential primaries, there was apprehension about who among the numerous aspirants had the clout to challenge President Muhammadu Buhari, who was expected to be fielded by the APC.
Among the aspirants were seasoned and experienced politicians like former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki; Governors Aminu Tambuwal (Sokoto) and Ibrahim Dankwambo (Gombe), former Senate President, Senator David Mark; former Governors Attahiru Bafarawa (Sokoto), Jonah Jang (Plateau), Sule Lamido (Jigawa), Musa Kwakwanso (Kano), Ahmed Makarfi (Kaduna), former Minister of Special Duties and Intergovernmental Affairs, Taminu Suraki and Datti Baba Ahmed.
The contenders were mainly from the North because the party had agreed to zone its presidential ticket to the region and without any iota of doubt, none of the presidential aspirants was a push over. The concern then was who among them would be able to match Buhari in all ramifications.
When Atiku emerged as the PDP presidential candidate of the party, the camp of APC became jittery because of the belief that he has what it takes to give Buhari a good fight, having been vice president of the country for eight years and has in the last 29 years bided to rule the country.
The ruling party’s knowledge of Atiku’s worth prompted some of yts chieftains to embark on a campaign of calumny against his personality. The comment his former boss ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo made about him in his books titled “My Watch” became the subject of discourse. Obasanjo in his books had made derogatory remarks about Atiku and vowed not to forgive him. Also, the perception that Atiku was banned from entering the United States was feasted on by members of the ruling party. But determined to prove the allegations wrong and disabuse the mind of his antagonist, Atiku reconciled with Obasanjo. This led to the endorsement of his candidature by Obasanjo, and it boosted his chances of winning the election as those endorsed by the former president in the past always emerged as presidents.
Many also thought that the open letters written by Obasanjo to President Buhari condemning his economic policies and style of administration increased Atiku chances of winning the presidential election. The outcome of the presidential election, however, rubbished all permutations made and proved many analysts wrong. According to results of the February 23 presidential announced by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) from the 36 states and Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, Buhari polled 15,191,847 votes to defeat Atiku, who polled 11,262,978.
The PDP presidential candidate lost the election with a margin of 3,928,869 votes. But, Atiku rejected the outcome of the poll, describing it as fraud. He said the election was fraught with massive rigging, manipulation and intimidation of voters, and that he has decided to seek redress in court. Besides Atiku’s loss, the outcome of the general elections also diminished the status of some political godfathers as lost their clout in their respective states. One of them, a former Senate Minority Leader and immediate past governor of Akwa Ibom State, Senator Godswill Akpabio, had boasted when he joined APC that he would deliver his state to President Buhari.
His boast might have been informed by the fact that since he solely installed the incumbent governor of the state, Mr. Udom Emmanuel, the entire political machinery of state is in his hands and that he can decide which direction the people will follow However, he was not oblivious of the fact that his decision to join the ruling party was against the interest of most people in the state. He first felt the heat in the presidential and National Assembly elections, where his party lost the presidential poll in the state and also performed woefully in the National Assembly election. Akpabio also lost in his bid to return to the Senate as the PDP candidate, Chris Ekpenyong (a former deputy governor of the state), defeated him. Akpabio’s bid to dethrone Governor Emmanuel also failed as the latter trounced the APC candidate, Nsima Ekere, in last Saturday’s governorship poll.
Emmanuel won the governorship poll with a wide margin in 30 out of the 31 local government areas in the state. He polled 519,712 votes to defeat Ekere, who garnered 171,978 votes. The outcome of the poll has humiliated Akpabio and demystified his political influence in the state, and as such his political career has taken a nosedive, which will also affect his evaluation in any political gathering. Giving reasons, why he found it easy to defeat Akpabio, Ekpenyong said Akpabio never improve the lot of the people of the state, when he was governor despite the huge resources available to the state then. Akpabio is not the only political godfather dethroned. Senator Saraki also had the political dynasty bequeathed to him by his father, Dr. Olusola Saraki, dismantled by the people of Kwara State, who felt tired and weary of being under the servitude of the Sarakis for more than four decades.
The people of the state started their revolution with the “O to ge “(Enough is enough) movement. They seem to have been already bored with the way the Sarakis lord it over them, but did not find a personality who could champion their cause, they quickly embraced the revolutionary move and did not allow the ample opportunity to elude them. The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, who is the APC leader in the state, ensured that the movement was given all the support it required. The effort eventually paid off as APC won all the National Assembly seats in the state and even defeated the Senate president thereby stopping him from returning to the Red Chamber represent Kwara Central Senatorial District. Saraki lost to Dr. Ibrahim Oloriegbe of APC, who polled 123,808 votes against the Senate president’s 68,994 votes in the four local government areas that make up Kwara Central Senatorial District. The APC governorship candidate in the state Mr. Abdulrazaq Abdulrahman, also defeated the PDP candidate, Hon. Abdulrazaq Atunwa. The APC candidate polled 331,546 votes to beat his PDP counterpart, who polled 114,754 votes. Results from all 16 local government areas that make up the state indicate that Abdulrahman led Atunwa with a vote margin of 216,792.
The APC also trounced the PDP in all 16 local government areas. This development has brought Saraki down from the peak position he was in Kwara politics. In Imo and Ogun states, the situation was the same. The outgoing governors of both states – Rochas Okorocha and Ibikunle Amosun – insisted on installing their successors. But, when their anointed candidates could not get the ticket of their party – APC – they encouraged them to join other political parties to actualise their ambitions, while they remained in APC and worked against the party’s interest.
The governors’ decisions eventually earn them suspension from the APC national leadership. While Amosun encouraged his anointed candidate, Hon. Adekunle Akinlade to contest Ogun State governorship election on the platform of Allied People’s Movement (APM), Okorocha supported his son-in-law, Uche Nwosu to contest the Imo State gubernatorial poll on the platform of Action Alliance (AA). The two eventually lost in their bid to install their preferred successors. Akinlade lost to Dapo Abiodun of the APC, while Nwosu lost to Emeka Ihedioha of the PDP. Another outgoing governor, Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State also had his ego bruised by the people of Oyo State. The governor Ajimobi had his bid to represent Oyo South Senatorial District in the Senate as well as his succession plot dashed. Among allegations against him that made the people to seek their pound of flesh from him, was unbridled and caustic tongue. Some people also believe that his disruption of lineage to the ascension to Olubadan stool by polarising the substantive chiefs to the throne against the Olubadan through their elevation to the status of Oba, also counted against him and his party during the elections as APC performed woefully in Ibadan axis of the state. Also the governor inability to resolve the crisis that engulfed Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH), Ogbomoso, jointly owned by Osun and Oyo states and the inability of his administration to pay pensioners were part of the sins committed by the APC government, which made the people of Oyo to shun the governorship candidate of the APC, Bola Adelabu for Seyi Makinde of the PDP.