How presidential polls will affect gov’ship elections
There were several upsets during the Feb. 23 presidential and National Assembly elections that altered calculations in many states ahead of the gubernatorial and state assembly elections scheduled to hold in 29 states on March 9. Here’s a look at some of them, and how they happened.
Nigerians have spoken during the presidential election in such a way that the outcome had sent shivers down the spines of many gubernatorial candidates and state assembly candidates that after all, the success of President Muhammadu Buhari on the platform of All Progressives Congress (APC) in a state does not mean that the gubernatorial candidate of the same APC or any other person would have an easy ride. It is the same scenario for candidates vying for offices on the platform of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in states where ex-VP Atiku Abubakar won.
The voting pattern showed that President Buhari who scored 15,191,847 votes won in 19 states including Ekiti, Osun, Kwara, Nasarawa, Kogi, Gombe, Yobe, Niger, Jigawa, Kaduna, Bauchi, Lagos, Ogun, Kano, Katsina, Borno, Sokoto, Kebbi, and Zamfara. Three of the state that went the way of Buhari (Kwara, Gombe and Sokoto) are under the control of PDP.
Buhari also lost in 6 APC states including Ondo, Oyo, Adamawa, Edo Imo, Plateau as well as the FCT.
On the other hand, Atiku, who scored 11,262,978 votes won in the FCT and17 states including Ondo, Abia, Enugu, Ebonyi, Anambra, Oyo, Adamawa, Edo, Benue, Imo, Plateau, Taraba, Cross River, Akwa Ibom, Delta, Bayelsa and Rivers.
Findings by Daily Trust Saturday revealed the electorate in some of the states that Buhari won used certain discretions during voting, meaning they might change their direction during the governorship. It was the same in the case of Atiku. A pointer to this is that during the last elections, sitting governors from both APC and PDP lost attempts to secure Senate seats, a situation that was very unlikely in the past.
A such, there is the likelihood that enthroning successors – or first-term governors seeking a second term that have issues – would face stiff opposition in some places, unlike in the past when they simply win because Buhari has won, or lost, in their state.
Presidential polls: How cop escaped beheading by Bayelsa mob
A viral video showed a visibly-terrified police officer being dragged away by a furious mob, which later turned out to be DCP Kolawole Okunola, a Deputy Commissioner of Police on election duty. Daily Trust Saturday spoke to him on his experience on that day, and how he, in his own words, escaped death.
Deputy Commissioner of Police in-charge of Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (FSARS) in Bayelsa State, Kolawole Okunola, was abducted by armed thugs during the just-concluded presidential and National Assembly elections, in a harrowing incident that had the officer reveal that he was almost killed by the mob that violently tried to drag him away to an undisclosed location.
The officer, who was on election duties at the time he was dragged away, said he was seriously assaulted, and was at the point of being beheaded when succour came. “It was like what happens in an action film. They manhandled me, and I was attacked severally with clubs and was at the verge of being beheaded when I was rescued,” he told Daily Trust Saturday.
Sources revealed that it was the timely intervention, and efforts, of a Nigerian Army captain that saved Okunola, in the nick of time.
DCP Okunola, who had served in almost all the parts of the country, said that he was invited to the scene after armed hoodlums in large number attacked INEC officials who earlier arrived the community with electoral materials, in Bassambiri community, of Nembe Local Government Area.
Okunola said the hoodlums had reportedly hijacked – and allegedly carted away – electoral materials meant for seven wards in the area, and took them to a popular hotel in a bid to manipulate the results. It was learned that after they brought back the alleged fake results to the INEC office, another opposing group who were alerted of the development, started protesting.
Okunola said while the group was protesting, the armed thugs that earlier hijacked INEC materials arrived at the jetty accompanied by a great number of armed youths and insisted that INEC officials must authenticate the manipulated results before leaving the community. “Since I was on duty in the area, I was alerted to the scene after hearing loud noises coming from the INEC office. I later got to know that the noise was voices being raised by INEC Officials and party agents who were having had disagreement over election materials and results which was escorted by party agents from Bassambiri to INEC office. While the party agents were arguing that there were no elections in Bassambiri, and wondered why the results came from, I tried to calm them down, and ask that they write their petition to INEC, but all efforts proved abortive.”
Okunola said the number of the youths grew, and the INEC officials felt unsafe and demanded to be escorted to Yenagoa with the election materials. “Then in order to avoid imminent breakdown of law and order by the thugs around, I informed the Commissioner of Police of Balyesa and he directed that both officials of INEC and the materials should be moved to the state capital, Yenagoa, for safety. This was agreed with the military officers on duty,” he added.
It was however learned from another officer that it was in that process that party candidates led youths in a large number, and attacked Okunola, dragging and assaulting him with threats to kill him if he failed to direct the INEC officials to go back to the office and continue collation of results. “The INEC officials were forced back to continue with the collation of results under a very tense condition with sporadic shootings all over,” the officer said.
The officer also told Daily Trust Saturday that as soon as the thugs abducted Okunola, they dragged him to an unknown place where they subjected him to threats, torture, and severe beatings. In the process, his uniform, including its accoutrements, were torn to pieces. The youths were chanting war songs, and saying that the police officer must die. They later sat him down in a wooden box and brought out daggers and other dangerous weapons, in preparation of a beheading, in spite of pleas, and the intervention of an army officer.
While the army officer pleaded, it bought Okunola some time, said a source. “Luckily, while they were waiting for the final order by their leader to carry out their threat, mother luck smiled on Okunola, as a message came from one of them that INEC officials have gone back to authenticate the manipulated results. That was how they left the police officer and trooped to the venue to complete their mission,” he said.
Okunola, who reportedly regained his freedom around 11:00am that same day, was rescued by one of the police marine units that was already dispatched to comb the creeks for the missing officer, on the orders of the Inspector-General of Police. He was rescued and taken to AGIP by the Police Marine Unit, after which he headed back to his station.
It can be recalled that the Nigeria Police has, in the past few days, placed adverts in some national dailies praising Okunola as a hero, as the initial narrative was inaccurately portraying the situation.
APC suspends Okorocha, Amosun, others for ‘anti-party activities’
The National Working Committee (NWC) of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) has suspended Governor Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun State and his Imo State counterpart Rochas Okorocha, allegedly for anti-party activities.
The NWC also suspended the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Pastor Usani Uguru Usani and the Director-General of the Voice of Nigeria (VON), Mr Osita Okechukwu.
The NWC would also issue a query to the Governor of Ondo State, Rotimi Akeredolu, over what it called glaring anti-party activities which greatly affected the fortunes of the party’s candidates in the recently-conducted Presidential and National Assembly elections in the state.
A statement issued by the APC National Publicity Secretary, Malam Lanre Isa Onilu, said the decision was reached yesterday at a meeting of the party’s NWC, presided by the National Chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, at the National Secretariat, Abuja.
The NWC also took a decision to recommend the expulsion of the suspended individuals to the National Executive Committee (NEC).
The party said it had earlier written to the suspended governors on their anti-party activities, and several other steps were taken to ensure they desisted from taking actions that were inimical to the interests of the party and candidates.
Governor Okorocha, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Sam Onwuemeodo, reacting to his suspension, accused Oshiomhole of working to destroy the party.
But the Director General, Voice of Nigeria (VON), Mr Osita Okechukwu, says he cannot be blamed by the APC for the failure of the party’s “unpopular National Assembly candidates” in the South East geo-political zone.
Okechukwu, who reacted briefly yesterday to the report of his suspension by the APC NWC for anti-party activities, said he could not be blamed for the triumph of bigotry in Enugu State and South-East in general.
He said “Our Comrade Chairman should not blame me for hoisting some unpopular National Assembly candidates for the APC in our zone. I’m at a loss as to how one contributed to the failure of his darling candidate, Mrs Juliet Ibekaku Nwagu in Egede, her hometown and Udi local government, her primary local council in the five that make up the senatorial district.”
Buhari: My second term is going to be tough
President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday said that his second term of four years, which begins from May 29, this year, will be tough. He spoke when members of the Federal Executive Council (FEC), paid him a congratulatory visit at the State House, Abuja.
The meeting was attended by Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari, Head of Service of the Federation, Winifred Oyo-Ita, National Security Adviser, Babagana Monguno and over 20 ministers.
Buhari said: “My last lap of four years, I think it is going to be tough because people are forgetful. That was why wherever I went, I reminded them of the campaign promise of our party, particularly security, as I kept on saying that you have to secure the country well and institutions. If you don’t secure the country, you can’t achieve anything no matter how many programmes you put in place.
“Secondly, on the economy, unemployment is a problem of this country as a whole. More than 60 per cent of the youths, they need to be kept busy. I realised that God heard our prayers. It had been two good rainy seasons and we had the foresight to get the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and Central Bank [of Nigeria] to try and give soft loans to farmers so that everybody that is educated and looking for white collar jobs and cannot get it, can go back to the land. We are lucky the rainy season had been good,” he said.
Buhari said the tour of the 36 states and FCT during campaigns has shown that he was fit to continue to pilot the affairs of the country for another four years.
“During the campaigns, I tried to visit the 36 states and Abuja, firstly, to prove to the other side that I’m fit. I tried to cover two states per day and secondly, not to make anybody feel that any state had been left out,” he said.
Bundesliga: Augsburg shock leaders Borussia Dortmund
Bundesliga leaders Borussia Dortmund slumped to a shock 2-1 loss at Augsburg on Friday.
Augsburg forward Ji Dong-won scored twice to give champions Bayern Munich the chance to draw level at the top.
Dortmund, whose captain and top scorer Marco Reus returned after a month out through injury, are on 54 points, three ahead of Bayern.
The Bavarians travel to Borussia Moenchengladbach on today.
Dortmund had led the standings by seven points.
Their second league loss of the season came before next week’s Champions League round of 16-second leg against Tottenham Hotspur following their 3-0 defeat in London last month.
The Ruhr valley club, who beat Bayer Leverkusen last week to end a five-game winless run in all competitions, struggled to reach the Augsburg box and the hard-working hosts took control.
South Korea international Ji stunned the visitors in the 24th minute when he shook off two defenders to fire in from close range.
Dortmund, who had two chances late in the first half, were toothless for much of the second period.
They went 2-0 down when Ji beautifully chipped the ball past keeper Roman Buerki in the 68th minute.
Dortmund substitute Paco Alcacer notched his 13th league goal in the 81st to cut the deficit but despite late pressure, they could not find an equaliser.
Fifteenth-placed Augsburg held firm to move further away from the relegation zone. (Reuters/NAN)