Thursday, 28 April 2011

ACN takes over southwest

Tuesday's elections re-drew the nation's political maps. The People's Democratic Party was roundly defeated in the southwest, losing its last two strongholds in Oyo and Ogun states. Many members of the party did not make it back to the state assemblies in the southwest also, even though they were in the majority in most of the states going into the polls. The Action Congress of Nigeria, which has increasingly positioned itself as a potent force in the southwest, pushed its leverage in the region further, claiming vital victories in Ogun and Oyo states which had remained under the PDP. The resurgence of the Congress for Progressive Change also fizzled out, with the party winning just one state from results released.

Slow and steady
In the six-state region, only Ondo State is in the hands of a party that is not ACN, and that is the Labour Party. The party consolidated its win in Lagos state, where it polled 1,509,113 votes to beat the PDP which had only 300,450 votes. In Ogun State, benefitting from a split between incumbent governor, Gbenga Daniel and former president Olusegun Obasanjo, the ACN cruised to victory. In Oyo State, the ACN won with a slim margin that was enough to defeat incumbent governor, Adebayo Alao-Akala of the PDP. Mr Akala polled 367,839 behind ACN candidate Abiola Ajimobi's 373,472. Mr Akala's defeat is one of four cases where incumbents were pushed out. Nasarawa State, for instance, which for years had been a PDP stronghold, turned out to be the only state won by the CPC. The incumbent, Aliyu Doma, got 320,938 while Umaru Al-Makura of the CPC polled a huge 324,823 to emerge the winner. Some of the most outstanding surprises were in Imo and Delta states where PDP incumbents Ihedi Ohakim and Emmanuel Uduaghan, slipped against opposition parties that were not regarded as major contenders in their states.
All not lost
Despite the beating it took in the southwest, the PDP claimed crucial wins across the nation to retain the lead in Tuesday's governorship and state assembly elections. Like the first elections - the April 9 national assembly polls - Tuesday's elections, according to official results released by the Independent National Electoral Commission, also contained a lot of surprises. In 15 out of the 25 states' results released, the ruling party took eight governorship seats, with the ACN coming a distant second with three seats. The CPC took a state, while the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) also took one state. A new party, Democratic People's Party (DPP), also got on the scoresheet with one state. The PDP won in strongholds such as Abia, Benue, Enugu, Jigawa, Kwara, Rivers, Ebonyi states and strangely, Kano State which, prior to the elections, seemed partitioned between the CPC and the ANPP which had controlled the state for the past eight years. While the ANPP lost Kano State, it maintained its base in Yobe State where the incumbent governor, Ibrahim Gaidam, won a fresh term of four years in office. In Imo, Mr Ohakim will face a runoff against Rochas Okorocha of APGA, while the DPP, which had only won an election in Sokoto in the previous dispensation, won the Delta state governorship.
The PDP, however, managed to keep its lead in Kwara and Benue states, where Abdulfatah Ahmed and incumbent, Gabriel Suswam won their elections. One of the greatest wins for the PDP overall is the Kano seat for which a former governor, Rabiu Kwankwaso, was elected again after leaving office eight years ago. He defeated the CPC. INEC, on its Twitter page last night, voided the elections in Zamfara and will now organise a rerun in the state, along with Imo State.

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