11 December 2006

Nigeria: Shagari Wins in Sokoto

Sokoto — Former minister of water resources Alhaji Mukhtari Shehu Shagari has won the Sokoto PDP primary election with a landslide victory.

In what appeared as the most hotly contested primary election in the political history of the state, Alhaji Muhktari Shagari polled 2,701 votes to beat the two seemingly strong contenders Alhaji Garba Ilah Gada who scored 447 votes and former deputy governor Ahmed Mohammed Gusau who scored 431 votes.

Declaring the result before anxious party supporters amidst tight security yesterday, the chairman of the electoral panel Alhaji Ibrahim Abba Gubio announced that there was a total vote cast of 3,691 out of which 112 votes were invalid.

Alhaji Gubio said as Mukhtari Shagari scored more than 50 percent of the total vote cast there was no need for a run off election.

He said they had done their best to avoid the primaries but unfortunately they couldn't because none of the three aspirants was willing to step down for the other. He however described the exercise as a victory for democracy, PDP and the state, adding that there was no victor nor vanquish and the contenders will come together and work together for the success of the party during the forth-coming election.

The electoral panel chairman urged them to bury their differences and give maximum support to the winner and the state party executives throughout the campaigns so that PDP forms the government in Sokoto state come 2007.

He expressed appreciation for the cooperation of security agents, the party executives and members of the press who stayed around throughout the exercise which lasted for 18 hours.

After announcing the result, both Garba Ilah Gada and Ahmed Gusau congratulated the winner and assured him that they will give him all the support he requires to win election come 2007.

Answering questions from newsmen Alhaji Mukhtari Shehu Shagari described the primary election as an in-house democratic exercise between brothers which he eventually emerged winner.

He said: "We are one family and we belong to the same party but in democracy every body has the right to exercise his own right".

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