How Buhari’s popularity won election for APC in Jigawa

ADAMU AMADU writes on the governorship and House of Assembly election held in Jigawa State, concluding that the popularity of President Muhammadu Buhari considerably won the election for the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state.


The battle for 2019 general election in Jigawa State was mainly fought between three political parties namely, the All Progressives Congress (APC), the People Democratic Party (PDP) and the Social Democratic Party (SDP). These were the were only political parties that were able to field candidates for all elective positions and they were the only ones that went round the entire 27 local government areas of the state during the campaigns for the election.

Prominent among the contestants and their backers for the governorship election in the state were the incumbent Governor Muhammadu Badaru Abubakar (who was a candidate in the election on the platform of the APC), former Governor Sule Lamido and the PDP candidate in the election, Malam Aminu Ibrahim Ringim, among some others.

Sule Lamido, as a former governor, was at the helms of affairs in the state for eight year from 2007 to 2015 on the ticket of the PDP. He has been variously described as the best governor ever to govern the state, in term of execution and delivery of developmental and infrastructural projects since the creation of the state in 1991.

The PDP-led administration in the state, under Lamido, displaced the then All Nigerian People’s Party (ANPP) in 2007, making a clean sweep of virtually all the available elective political posts in the state, including the governorship seat, the available three senatorial seats and produced 11 members in the House of Representatives; 29 out of 30 members in the state House of Assembly; 27 local government chairmen and 287 councilors across the state.

However and in spite of his towering influence in Jigawa politics and the fabled power of incumbency, Lamido was shocked to his marrows when he lost out to the superior political firepower of the APC in the 2015 elections. With a domineering influence of President Muhammadu Buhari who had just won the presidential election in 2015, APC took the wind out of the sail of Lamido as his sole candidate and the PDP governorship candidate for the election, Alhaji Aminu Ibrahim Ringim, was roundly defeated. PDP also lost all the three senatorial seats, 11 seats in the House of Representatives and 25 seats out of the 30 –member seat of the state House of Assembly to the then opposition APC.

Still not yet done with the humiliation, Lamido again in 2019 sought to test his popularity in the state as he almost single-handedly fielded candidates for all the available elective positions in the just-concluded election in the state. He even made his biological son, Alhaji Mustapha Sule to be among the senatorial candidates on the ticket of the PDP. They however lost out to the ruling APC with wide margins, if the results of the elections are anything to go by.

At the end of the governorship and House of Assembly election, held in the state on March 9, the battle for political supremacy was put to an end, even if temporarily, as the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declared the APC and its candidates the winners of the election, even as the party swept all the 30 seats in the state legislature. This 100 per cent electoral victory of the APC was a replica of what happened in the presidential and National Assembly election, held on February 23, with the ruling in the state making a clean sweep of all the available seats in the Senate and the House of Representatives.

As earlier noted by Sunday Tribune in one of its pre-election analyses on the state, some of the major factors that influenced the outcome of the governorship and House of Assembly election in the state included the popularity of President Muhammadu Buhari, incumbency factor and gale of defection as well a comparison of the performance of present and past administration in the state as well as the profiles of the various candidates for the election.

Before the election, the political atmosphere in the state was very intense after the primary elections conducted by the two major political parties, that is, APC and PDP. The outcome of the exercise gave the birth to the resurrection of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), consequent upon the gale of defection of most of the aggrieved leaders and members of the two leading political parties who were felt cheated in the exercise.

Without any iota of doubt, the popularity and acceptability of President Buhari, especially among the masses in the northern parts, Jigawa State inclusive, gained more ascendancy in the preparation for the 2019 elections. And undoubtedly, it is a common knowledge that the common man constituted the electorate in most of the northern states and this played a significant role in the shaping the outcome of the elections.

Still on Onnoghen, Saraki, Okupe

The president maintained his winning position in Jigawa as he won the 2019 presidential election in the state with more than of wining more than 75 per cent of the total votes cast, a repeat of the 2011 and 2015 feats. Announcing the result, the INEC Chief Returning Officer in the state, Professor Abdullahi Abdu Zuru, said President Buhari of APC scored 794,738 votes, while his counterpart from the PDP, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, scored 289,895 votes.

Historically, Jigawa politics has always been characterised with defection, alignments and realignment whenever election time approaches and the party that received a higher number of defectors often stands the chances of winning election in the state.

Four out of the five governorship aspirants from PDP and one other from SDP, seven commissioners who had, at various times, served under the PDP administration in the state and thousands of their supporters and loyalists had formally defected to APC, while only one senator and few aggrieved APC members dumped the party for others before the election. Available record indicated that the APC received about 70 to 80 per cent of the total number of defectors during the period, while PDP recorded about 20 per cent and SDP received less than 10 per cent.

In the 2019 general election, all the candidates for both the presidential/National Assembly and governorship/House of Assembly elections won the contest, due largely to the popularity og President Buhari. These included the incumbent Governor Abubakar and members of the state legislature, both returning and new ones. It is also on record that the APC won all the 11 seats available for the state in the House of Representatives.

Indeed, in the build up to the election, Governor Abubakar adopted the strategy of showcasing his score cards for his first four-year tenure, along with that of President Buhari-led Federal Government during his campaigns for the election.

On the other hand, the PDP candidate, Malam Ringim, relied heavily on the popularity and achievementsof former Governor Sule Lamido, while the SDP candidate, Honourable Bashir Adamu, who was four-term member representing Yankwashi/Roni/Kazaure and Gwuiwa Federal Constituency, depended on his personal profile and what he terms as failure of PDP and APC to change Jigawa misfortune as the basis for his campaign.

Despite the tension generated by the aggressive campaign embarked by the political parties and their candidates, the strategies adopted by security agencies, engagement by civil societies, media and stakeholders made the entire election process very peaceful with no reported loss of lives or any major crisis.

During the election, accreditation and voting commenced in some polling units across Jigawa State at a slated time, as voters troops to the polling units as early as 7:30, even as election materials arrived at most of polling units on time and the election was conducted peacefully with an average large voters’ turnout.

In his acceptance speech, the newly-reelected Jigawa State governor, Alhaji Abubakar, promised to consolidate on all the achievements made in his first term. He expressed gratitude to the entire people of the state for find him worthy to lead the state in the next four years, promised to justified their trust and confidence on him. He urged APC supporters to stay away from any public celebration but they should for him and others elected to be able to discharge their responsibilities effectively.

Expectedly, the PDP governorship candidate, Malam Ringim, who came second and his SDP counterpart, Bashir Jumbo of SDP, who came third are yet to congratulate the governor. Nevertheless, as the 2019 general election is over in Jigawa, the atmosphere in the state has been very calm and peaceful, even as it appeared that the political power and influence of former Governor Lamido has been whittled down considerably.

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