Nigeria's President-elect Muhammadu Buhari completes accreditation for the Governorship and House of Assembly election next to his wife Aisha Buhari in Daura, Katsina State, on April 11, 2015 (AFP Photo/Sunday Aghaeze)
Lagos (AFP) – The party of Nigeria's president-elect Muhammadu Buhari has won governorship elections in a majority of Nigeria's 36 states, building its strength nationwide after a historic presidential win, official results on Monday showed.
The All Progressives Congress (APC) claimed at least 21 governor's seats following Saturday's closely-fought regional polls but could add to that tally with results from a handful of states still pending.
President Goodluck Jonathan's People's Democratic Party had controlled the federal and most state governments since the end of military rule in 1999 but suffered major losses during Nigeria's gripping 2015 election cycle.
Jonathan's loss to Buhari in the presidential vote two weeks ago was the first ever democratic change of power at the federal level since Nigeria gained independence from Britain in 1960.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) described the regional vote as "relatively peaceful" while lamenting the 66 separate incidents of violence surrounding the polls.
Governors are influential figures in Nigeria, with near-total control of their states and collective power at a national level to bolster or check the presidency.
The 72-year-old Buhari will be sworn in on May 29 and his administration will likely be helped by having a majority of loyalist governors, including in the economic capital Lagos, where the APC was re-elected after a tough PDP challenge.
Huge defeat in north
The PDP was almost wiped out in Nigeria's mainly Muslim north, Buhari's home region.
The governor of northeast Gombe state, Ibrahim Dankwambo, was the only PDP candidate elected in the region which has been hit hard by Boko Haram's Islamist uprising.
Jonathan, a southern Christian, faced significant pressure to stand aside before the presidential vote and throw his support behind a PDP northern governor, but he insisted on running again, a decision that many experts believe helped fuel the APC's rise.
The PDP lost governorship elections in at least seven northern states it had previously controlled.
In a somewhat unexpected development, Jonathan's party also suffered a string of losses in the religiously divided Middle Belt region, including in states like conflict-scarred Plateau where Jonathan had bested Buhari in the general election.
The APC victories at the weekend further highlighted widespread frustration after 16 years of PDP-dominated government, plagued by unrest and waves of corruption scandals, with much of the nation's vast oil wealth lost through graft.
The regional vote also underscored the stunning rise of the APC, which was founded just two years ago in a coalition that grouped Buhari's northern base with opposition parties that had support in the south.
Taraba state has not yet returned results but remains in the spotlight because it could return a female governor for the first time in Nigeria's history in the shape of Aisha Jummai Al-Hassan.
Flashpoint oil hub
So far, the only state the PDP wrestled away from APC control was the southern, oil-producing hub of Rivers, where tension has been high throughout the election season.
Outgoing Rivers governor Rotimi Amaechi was elected on the PDP ticket in 2011 but defected to the APC in 2013.
The move in a state which borders Jonathan's home of Bayelsa proved costly.
Jonathan won the presidential vote in Rivers with more than 95 percent support, while Amaechi's hand-picked successor for the governor's office, Dakuku Peterside, was trounced by the PDP's Nyesom Wike, who won with 87 percent support.
There were widespread claims from the APC of PDP irregularities in voting in the state at the presidential election, leading to demonstrations and calls for a re-run.
INEC said that Rivers saw the worst unrest during the regional polls, with 16 separate incidents of violence recorded.
The state's information commissioner Ibim Semenitari said of the gubernatorial result: "What happened on Saturday was a rape of democracy. There was no election in Rivers.
"The PDP in connivance with INEC (the electoral commission) and the security agencies merely wrote figures which they have churned out to the public," she told AFP.
She added: "We are going to challenge the results."
Local PDP spokesman Emmanuel Okha, however, said: "The people have spoken. We urge the APC to accept the results in good faith."
While there is no hard-and-fast rule in politics, former Molepolole North Member of Parliament, Mohamed Khan says populism acts in the body politic have forced him to quit active partisan politics. He brands this ancient ascription of politics as fake and says it lowers the moral compass of the society.
Khan who finally tasted political victory in the 2014 elections after numerous failed attempts, has decided to leave the ‘dirty game’, and on his way out he characteristically lashed at the current political leaders; including his own party president, Advocate Duma Boko. “I arrived at this decision because I have noticed that there are no genuine politics and politicians. The current leaders, Boko and President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi are fake politicians who are just practicing populist politics to feed their egos,” he said.
Former Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) parliamentary hopeful, Lawrence Ookeditse has rejected the idea of taking up a crucial role in the Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) Central Committee following his arrival in the party this week. According to sources close to development, BPF power brokers are coaxing Ookeditse to take up the secretary general position, left vacant by death of Roseline Panzirah-Matshome in November 2020.
Ookeditse’s arrival at BPF is projected to cause conflicts, as some believe they are being overlooked, in favour of a new arrival. The former ruling party strategist has however ruled out the possibility of serving in the party central committee as secretary general, and committed that he will turn down the overture if availed to him by party leadership.
Ookeditse, nevertheless, has indicated that if offered another opportunity to serve in a different capacity, he will gladly accept. “I still need to learn the party, how it functions and all its structures; I must be guided, but given any responsibility I will serve the party as long as it is not the SG position.”
“I joined the BPF with a clear conscious, to further advance my voice and the interests of the constituents of Nata/Gweta which I believe the BDP is no longer capable to execute.” Ookeditse speaks of abject poverty in his constituency and prevalent unemployment among the youth, issues he hopes his new home will prioritise.
He dismissed further allegations that he resigned from the BDP because he was not rewarded for his efforts towards the 2019 general elections. After losing in the BDP primaries in 2018, Ookeditse said, he was offered a job in government but declined to take the post due to his political ambitions. Ookeditse stated that he rejected the offer because, working for government clashed with his political journey.
He insists there are many activists who are more deserving than him; he could have chosen to take up the opportunity that was before him but his conscious for the entire populace’s wellbeing held him back. Ookeditse said there many people in the party who also contributed towards party success, asserting that he only left the BDP because he was concerned about the greater good of the majority not individualism purposes.
According to observers, Ookeditse has been enticed by the prospects of contesting Nata/Gweta constituency in the 2024 general election, following the party’s impressive performance in the last general elections. Nata/Gweta which is a traditional BDP stronghold saw its numbers shrinking to a margin of 1568. BDP represented by Polson Majaga garnered 4754, while BPF which had fielded Joe Linga received 3186 with UDC coming a distant with 1442 votes.
There are reports that Linga will pave way for Ookeditse to contest the constituency in 2024 and the latter is upbeat about the prospects of being elected to parliament. Despite Ookeditse dismissing reports that he is eying the secretary general position, insiders argue that the position will be availed to him nevertheless.
Alternative favourite for the position is Vuyo Notha who is the party Deputy Secretary General. Notha has since assumed duties of the secretariat office on the interim basis. BPF politburo is expected to meet on 25th of January 2020, where the vacancy will be filled.
Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) big wigs have decided to cancel a retreat with the party legislators this weekend owing to increasing numbers of Covid-19 cases. The meeting was billed for this weekend at a place that was to be confirmed, however a communique from the party this past Tuesday reversed the highly anticipated meeting.
“We received a communication this week that the meeting will not go as planned because of rapid spread of Covid-19,” one member of the party Central Committee confirmed to this publication. The gathering was to follow the first of its kind held late last year at party Treasurer Satar Dada’s place.