Following the announcement by INEC of results of governorship and house of assembly elections held across the country, it does appear the PDP is on the threshold of a major net gain that would surpass its 2003 electoral success. In 2003 the PDP was able to haul in 28 states of the 36 states, which was a big leap from the 21 states it controlled at the inception of the present dispensation in 1999.
So far the results published show the PDP may have about, if not more than 30 out of the 36 states. One interesting development in the PDP sweep of victories is that the party has been able to penetrate states like Sokoto and Zamfara, which for eight years were under the control of Governor Attahiru Barfarawa and Sani Ahmad, two opposition politicians.
How that happened is worthy of some investigation. However, the party failed spectactularly to win Lagos, as party chieftains had before the election vowed that they would, and Abia state, which despite the incarceration of the DPA's governorship candidate, Chief Theodore Orji was able to return victorious. At the same time the PDP lost Bauchi state, it had controlled for eight years.
The success of Orji has been traced to the influence of his mentor, Governor Orji Uzor Kalu, who has been able to show that he is in control of the dynamics of Abia politics. Yet, despite the seeming tidal wave of victory of the PDP, the opposition has risen in condemnation of the election, citing rigging, thuggery and collusion of INEC with the ruling party. Across Nigeria the performance of the electoral body on the day of the election left a lot to be desired.
INEC's officials in many states of Nigeria did not arrive on time, and where they could be found election materials were unavailable. As has since been reported there were high incidences of ballot box snatching, arson and murder were rife during the election on Saturday.
For instance, in Ondo, the state deputy governor was said to have taken forceful possession of ballot boxes in the public glare. In Katsina state, an INEC supervisor was caught with six ballot boxes in the booth of his car. There were other instances of underage voters on the queue in many parts of Northern Nigeria. In 2003, child voters were a common sight.
Now few days after the election many Nigerians doubt the result of Saturday's election truly represents the real wish of the people. And there is the additional suggestion in many people's mind that what happened at the weekend was merely a repeat of 2003 general election, which saw the PDP win by such wide margin, it shocked so many people who wondered how such figures could have been returned.
The returns so far show that if the people were alarmed by what happened in 2003, the trend is not showing any sign of changing.
A closer look at the breakdown of the results would expose certain inconsistencies which has baffled the public since INEC made their announcements.
The build up to the general election in the state had produced many dramatic moments, such that it was a toss up on what would happen. The demand for power shift had been so intense, with the people of Okigwe being the most vocal in asking that the zone should produce Governor Achike Udenwa's successor.
The subsequent emergence of Senator Ifeanyi Ararume was seen as the answer, but the PDP high command was in no mood for Ararume, they opted for Chief Charles Ugwu. Ararume headed to the court and was able to get the Supreme Court to review his party's decision. By the time he was returned as his party's candidate, INEC had said it was done with the preparation for the election.
Moreover, the return of Ararume did not go down with the PDP, he was expelled from the party, but he insisted that he was going ahead with the contest. On the INEC's side there was a confusing signal over whether the PDP action nullified his candidacy or not. By weekend, Ararume was still on the INEC list as a candidate, but his photograph was not on the ballot. Sensing that this omission could become a subject of litigation, INEC it was learnt decided to cancel the governorship election.
Meanwhile, as part of the pre-election manoeuvering, the PDP it was understood had adopted the APGA candidate, Chief Martin Agbaso. And it is thought he would have won had the Saturday election stood, notwithstanding the incongruity of his winning the governorship and his party losing all the legislative seats.
Despite the cancellation of the governorship election on account of rigging and general malpractice, INEC upheld the house of assembly election which gave PDP 25 seats, with two seats cancelled. Without a PDP candidate for the fresh election, whoever wins would definitely be a minority governor, except of course the PDP reconciles with Ararume.
The emergence of AC's Mr. Babatunde Fashola as a winner of Lagos governorship has produced a sigh of relief and celebration in most parts of the state. The Lagos election from observers perspective is perhaps the cleanest election that has been organised in the state.
The pre-election posture of PDP and AC had produced so much tension it could have been responsible for the murder of two people at Isele Eko on Saturday. Before the election was eventually conducted the two sides had traded accusation of plan to rig the election.
It was commonly known that the PDP controlled federal government had made no pretence of its determination to win Lagos. So determined was the PDP to win Lagos, it had the President campaign for Mr. Musiliu Obanikoro on Thursday, two days to the general election. However, the Fashola victory had been pegged down to two things.
The better organisation of the party to retain Lagos despite the crisis that trailed his emergence, and rejection by the people of Lagos of PDP, which they see as a reflection of President Obasanjo, whose style of governance they dislike.
It is also thought that AC's success was as a result of Governor Ahmed Tinubu's clever exploitation of people's distrust for PDP by presenting AC as a progressive party they should rally behind.
Furthermore, there is the thinking that Obanikoro lost due to the damaging characterisation of him by AC as a man with doubtful background and thus incapable of governing Lagos effectively.
The announcement of Mallam Isa Yuguda as the winner of the governorship race came to many people outside the state as a surprise. The reason was because over the years the incumbent Governor Adamu Muazu had been seen as a performer, and thus could easily get his candidate to win office on the platform of the performance of the administration.
Yuguda, a former ally of Muazu had made the point that he was the man who made Muazu governor of the state. Yuguda once remarked in a chat that the PDP was dead, and that the election was going to prove that he was in control of the structures that brought Muazu to power.
Yuguda in a previous interview with this reporter said, "Muazu rode to power on the back of my popularity, and he has forgotten that today. But what is happening in Bauchi today attest to that, because there is no PDP again in Bauchi. If you go to Bauchi, you can talk to people, you can see our flag flying everywhere. There is a massive support that we have across the society." With the INEC declaration, Yuguda's victory demonstrates very clearly that he was not over estimating his support base.
The emergence of Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan as governor elect of Delta was long expected. And the reasons were very simple. The opposition political party had no strong structure they could mobilise to upstage the PDP. The party was better organised and better funded. Delta may be ethnically heterogenous and this divide tend to interfere with the politics of the state, sometimes violently.
The Uduaghan emergence on the platform of the PDP was bitterly resisted by those who thought he should not have been there, however, eventually many of those who opposed him teamed up with him, when they realised that the PDP was the only party they could belong to if they want to remain politically relevant. The DPP candidate Chief Great Ogboru may have a name recognition, but it is obvious his party has no strong structure to support his aspiration.
Chief Ogboru may have been the candidate of Ijaw leader, Chief Edwin Clark's Delta state Leaders Forum, but with the PDP able to maintain internal cohesion and effecting reconciliation defeating Uduaghan on PDP platform was a very tall order. However, despite the dominance of the party, there were reports of arson and violence in Delta leading to the killing of four people by a mob.
Opposition leaders say the killing was triggered by angry youths over the widespread rigging of the election. But PDP leaders say opposition leaders aware they were facing massive defeat instigated some youths to violence in other to tarnish the imminent victory of the party. Nevertheless, despite the grim events of the day, INEC's announcement of Udugahan's victory sparked spontaneous celebration in the state. He polled 1,0443 million votes to Ogboru's 46,869 votes.
Forty eight hours after the result of Ekiti election was announced, the poser is - how did the AC win by wide margin 14 house of assembly seats, PDP polled six, ANPP secured four, and still Mr Segun Oni was declared the winner of the governorship race? Is there any rational explanation for what happened. A party wins by wide margin the legislative seat and loses the governorship seat.
The general opinion since this result was announced was that the PDP rigged the election, and that Mr Kayode Fayemi the AC candidate has sufficient grounds to approach the election petition tribunal and ask for nullification of the results and his declaration as the rightful winner of the election. In the meantime, there is fear of a post election crisis if this abnormal situation is not managed carefully. Beyond this, there is the challenge of whether Mr Oni can survive in office with such a slim hold on the house.
Just like 2003, Kano came very close to a meltdown. From Friday's murder of an Islamic cleric, which President Obasanjo said was unrelated to politics to the eventual announcement of Governor Ibrahim Shekarau of the ANPP as winner of the contest, the atmosphere in the state was so charged with both the PDP and ANPP trading accusation over who is leading and should be declared winner of the election.
However, it is believed that with the return of Shakaru to office for a second term, tension may abate and normalcy would return. If this happens, Shakaru would have broken the jinx Kano is noted, which is that no incumbent has been re-elected to that office.
Since Governor Orji Uzor Kalu became governor there has been no shortage of drama in the state. At the twilight of his stay in office, Kalu is about to make record again by installing his former chief of staff, Chief Theodore Orji as the governor elect, from EFCC detention. Orji's victory on the platform of PPA makes him the second person to be elected from detention.
Orji's victory hotly disputed by PDP's candidate, Onyema Ugochukwu is an indication that in spite of Governor Kalu's known rascality, he has firm control of the electorate in the state. In the result announced by INEC's REC, Prince Adedeji Solomon Soyebi, Chief Orji polled 265,389 votes to win the election. His closest rival, Chief Onyema Ugochukwu of PDP came second with 136,858, while the ANPP candidate, Chief Ikechi Emenike, scored 36,374 votes. The victory of Kalu's protegee effectively makes him the strong man of Abia state.