The country’s political landscape quaked, yesterday, as results of last weekend’s Presidential and National Assembly elections filtered in.
Anxiety about the fate of some of the National Assembly leading officials came as the two leading presidential candidates, President Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress, APC, and Atiku Abubakar of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, expressed confidence in claiming victory.
While awaiting the official results from the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Atiku’s aides pointed at their cloud storage system which they said showed that the opposition candidate was headed for victory.
For instance in the 12 local governments’ results declared in the presidential election, in Ondo State, PDP won eight, while APC won in four.
Similarly, in the 10 local government areas of Kano State released, last night, by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, the APC won all 10.
Nonetheless, Ilorin, the Kwara State capital, was quiet as it emerged that Senate President, Bukola Saraki, lost his third term bid to the Senate. He lost in all four local government areas of Kwara Central senatorial district to the All Progressives Congress, APC
Besides Saraki, the PDP’s minority leader in the Senate, Senator Biodun Olujunmi, also lost her return bid to the Senate as the All Progressives Congress, APC, swept all three Senate seats in Ekiti State.
However, the agony of the PDP was yesterday being soothed with revelations of the imminent defeat of the erstwhile Senate minority leader, Senator Godswill Akpabio. Akpabio defected from the PDP to the APC last August, with the promise of thwarting a second term for his political godson, Mr. Udom Emmanuel, and helping Buhari win a second term.
The misery of the APC was compounded by the defeat of Senator Nelson Effiong, Akwa Ibom South by her PDP rival, Mrs. Akon Eyakenyi.
The PDP was also cheered by the news that Speaker Yakubu Dogara emerged victorious in his re-election bid as he defeated his APC challenger, Abdullahi Kantana by 72,334 to 51,664 votes.
The PDP also unseated the incumbent senator in Akwa Ibom South, Nelson Effiong, who was elected to the Senate in 2015 on the platform of the PDP but defected to the APC and sought re-election on the platform of the APC.
The difficulties of the APC were also compounded in Benue State which has consistently gone the way of the party winning the presidential election since 1979.
Despite delivering his Tarka local government area to Buhari, Senator George Akume was yesterday grasping for political survival in the face of a strong resurgence by the PDP in all three Benue senatorial districts.
There were indications that the PDP was set for a clean sweep of all three Senate seats in the state at press time.
However, tension continued into the night across the country as collation of the votes in the National Assembly and presidential elections continued apace across the country.
In Delta State, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, the incumbent and APC candidate for Delta Central, was last night still grasping for political survival as results showed he was running neck and neck with his PDP rival, Ms. Evelyn Oboro.
There was also an unusual calm in the Delta South senatorial district contest between the incumbent, Senator James Manager of the PDP and Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan who is the candidate of the APC.
Vanguard gathered that security has been beefed up in the Delta Central collation centre, following unconfirmed report that one of the contestants was plotting to invade the centre with thugs to disrupt the collation of the results, sensing the polls was going otherwise.
At press time, fierce looking security agents have taken over all the major junctions leading to the collation centre in Ughelli.
Also, the Federal House of Representative candidates of the PDP, Mr Leo Ogor and Mr Joel Onowakpo of the APC were running neck and neck in the results trickling in from the polling units.
Journalists were barred from the Ughelli collation centre as at press time.
Meanwhile, the Sapele chapter of the PDP, Sunday, denied any role in the attack which led to the death of two persons at Ward 9, unit 15 in Amukpe, Sapele local government area of Delta State. It also said it had nothing to do with the attack on the house of the Sapele APC House of Assembly Candidate, Mr Moses Ogodo.
Senator Smart Adeyemi’s bid to reclaim the Kogi West Senate seat from Senator Dino Melaye of the PDP was also yesterday being strongly resisted by the PDP candidate as both men were running neck and neck at press time.
In Osun State, INEC formally declared Mr. Amobi Yunusa Akintola of the APC winner of the Iwo/Ayedire Olaoluwa Federal constituency.
INEC, also declared Olufemi Fakeye, the APC candidate for Ila/Ifedayo/Boluwaduro federal constituency winner in the yesterday’s National Assembly election.
INEC Returning Officer, Prof Paul Ogunjiyagbe, returned Fakeye as winner, having scored highest votes of 20,371 to defeat his opponent, Hon Clement Akanni who polled 17,247 votes
Two of the three senators in Ondo State belonging to the APC lost their re-election bids upon defeat by their PDP rivals. The exception was Senator Ajayi Borrofice who defeated the Action Alliance candidate, Dr. Tunji Abayomi, who was reportedly backed by the APC governor of the state, Governor Rotimi Akeredolu.
Senator Tayo Alasoadura (Central) and Yele Omogunwa (South) were defeated by their PDP rivals despite being given automatic return tickets by the National Working Committee, NWC of the APC.
The five House of Representatives members who failed to return to the Green chamber include Afe Olowookere representing Akure North/ Akure South Federal constituency, Stephen Olemija, Akoko North East/ North West, Baderinwa Babatunde, Ifedore/ ldanre federal constituency.
Others included Bode Ayorinde representing Owo/ Ose federal constituency and Joseph Akinlaja representing Ondo West/ Ondo East.
Timehin Adelegbe of APC defeated Ayorinde, while the The African Democratic Congress, ADC, candidate Abiola Makinde defeated Akinlaja.
Other results showed that the incumbent PDP House of Representatives member for Ilaje/ Ese-Odo, Kolade Akinjo won re-election defeating the APC candidate Donald Ojogo.
The PDP candidate for the House of Representatives in Akure South/ Akure North Omolafe Adedayo defeated the incumbent Afe Olowookere of the ruling APC, the incumbent Mayowa Akinfolarin the APC House of Representative candidate for Ile- Oluji/ Odigbo won his re-election while the candidate of the APC in Akoko North East/ North West Bunmi Tunji Ojo won by polling 20, 988 votes to defeat the candidates of PDP- 12967 and AA-10979 votes.
APC, PDP in war of words
Meanwhile, the APC and the PDP were last night locked in a war of words as anxiety rose among the political actors over the results.
Noting returns from the polls, Atiku in a statement yesterday had called for vigilance from supporters saying that he was confident of being declared the winner.
“With strong shares of vote in the South- South, South- East as well as an increased share in the South-West and North-Central, we are very pleased with the progress the PDP has made,” Atiku’s spokesman, Phrank Shaibu had said in a statement early yesterday.
The statement said with the PDP’s high technology, cloud-based SVC system – which is capable of collating in real-time the results from the 176,000 voting points across the nation, the Presidential candidate could boldly assure his supporters that victory was at hand.
“The people of Nigeria can take solace that very soon the living nightmare of the last four years will come to an end so that together we will get Nigeria working again,” the statement read in part.
The PDP had followed up with a call on INEC to immediately declare the result, a move to was immediately denounced by the Buhari campaign.
The APC Presidential Campaign Council in a statement issued by its spokesman, Mr. Festus Keyamo in which it was claimed that the PDP was preparing to declare what he called as fake results as authentic.
The statement further called for the arrest of one of Atiku’s spokespersons, Alhaji Buba Galadima who it claimed had prepared a short video in furtherance of that move.
“In preparation for this reckless move, some PDP social media agents are already flying some kites on-line as to the number of States allegedly ‘won’ by PDP.
“In fact, Alhaji Buba Galadima, an official spokesperson for Alhaji Atiku Abubakar has made a short video announcing PDP as the ‘winner’ of the Presidential Election. As an official spokesperson, he is clearly acting on behalf of Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and on his instruction.
“We, therefore call for the immediate arrest, interrogation and prosecution of Alhaji Buba Galadima in this regard. The world is watching and waiting on Alhaji Atiku Abubakar to say something on the video by Alhaji Buba Galadima.”
Hours after Keyamo issued the call, Galadima was reported to have been arrested.
Although details of the development were still sketchy at the time of filing this report, National Publicity Secretary of the party, Kola Ologbondiyan said Galadima “was accosted on the road and arrested,” adding that he was still making efforts to obtain further development.
The APC also berated the PDP on its call for the immediate declaration of the results.
A statement by the party’s spokesman, Lanre Issa-Onilu said: “Because they want the presidency so badly that they have engaged in all manner of misconduct and spared little cost to achieve their aim, they now believe that they are entitled to claim victory notwithstanding the vote and will of the people. But this is not the way of democracy. Democracy means the people choose for themselves not that the PDP chooses for them.
“Instead of the discordant and provocative statement it released, the PDP should be appealing for peace and for INEC to diligently and thoroughly perform the vital task assigned it. Curiously, the majority of violent incidents and reports of electoral malpractice emanate from states which the PDP controls. It appears the PDP just cannot break from their old ways.”
“The PDP press statement is but a continuation of the sordid games that party has mastered. While all evidence points to the misconduct of their people, they make outlandish and false claims against the APC.”
Meanwhile, INEC chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, yesterday opened the INEC Collation Centre with a promise to ensure speedy collation of the results and declaration of the winners.
Speaking, yesterday, he said that though the commission was generally satisfied with the way Nigerians conducted themselves during the exercise, it was disheartening to note the killing of one of its ad hoc staff in Rivers by political thugs.
“While in all these attacks, electoral staff sustained injuries, we have unfortunately recorded the first fatality in Rivers state. An ad hoc staff, Mrs Ibiseki Amachree was hit by a bullet while returning from election duty in Degema. May her soul rest in peace. We condemn this attack and have lodged a comprehensive report with security agencies for expeditious investigation and prosecution of those involved”, he said.
This was as the INEC boss said the commission has also handed over one of its Electoral Officers in Imo to the Police for election duty infractions.
“All election duty personnel have sworn to an oath of neutrality. We have reports of possible dereliction of duty by some electoral officials. They refused to activate or deploy the smart card readers. The failure to fully account for materials for the elections, absconding from duty and a host of other infractions. In Imo state, one of our Electoral Officers had already been handed over to the Police. We will not tolerate violations against, or by our own officials”, he warned.
He spoke of how INEC staff and policemen were held hostage in a place in Rivers, saying he had to immediately initiate their rescue process by calling on the heads of security agencies.