It is an interminable contention between the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) since the 2015 general elections, in which the then opposition party turned the political table against the ruling party, FELIX NWANERI and WALE ELEGBEDE report
The supremacy battle between the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has not seized after the 2015 general elections in which against expectations, the APC defeated the PDP in the presidential poll by 15.4 million to 12.8 million votes. The victory cut shot the PDP’s dream of remaining at the helm of affairs for 60 by 46 years.
It also marked the first time in Nigeria’s political history that an incumbent president will lose an election. Besides winning the presidency, the APC also won in 20 out of the 29 states, where governorship elections held.
The states were Lagos, Ogun, Oyo, Sokoto, Kebbi, Niger, Bauchi, Kaduna, Plateau, Benue, Jigawa, Zamfara, Borno, Adamawa, Katsina, Yobe, Nasarawa, Kwara, Kano and Imo. The PDP won only in nine states – Rivers, AkwaIbom, Cross River, Ebonyi, Delta, Enugu, Taraba, Gombe, and Abia. Governorship elections did not hold in Kogi, Bayelsa, Edo, Ondo, Anambra, Osun and Ekiti states.
The then ruling party lost in its traditional strongholds – Niger, Kaduna, Plateau, Benue, Adamawa and Katsina states. It also lost its control of the National Assembly to the APC. The PDP’s senatorial seats dropped from 71 in 2011 to 49 against APC’s 60, while that of House of Representatives also dropped from 203 to 140 against APC’s 212.
At the end of the 2015 elections, states controlled various parties stood as follows: APC, 22; PDP, 13 and All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), one. Since then, it has been battle for confirmation of superiority for APC and struggle to bounce back by the PDP in governorship elections so far held in six states as well as re-run and byelections across the country.
Kogi: APC confirms 2015 feat was no fluke
The first test of might between the APC and PDP after the 2015 general elections was the November 21, 2015 governorship election in Kogi State. However, the death of APC’s initial candidate in Kogi State, Abubakar Audu, at a time he was coasting to victory, almost triggered a constitutional crisis as the 1999 Constitution (as amended) did not envisage such situation.
The impasse over the incident was however resolved, when the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) directed the APC to nominate another candidate as Audu’s substitution for the supplementary poll in the 91 polling units, where elections were cancelled.
The electoral body had declared the election inconclusive midway during collation and announcement of results, following the cancellation of results in the affected polling units due to incidences of violence, ballot boxes snatching, over voting, among others. Late Audu was at the time leading his closest rival and incumbent governor, Capt. Idris Wada by 41, 000 votes, whereas the total number of registered voters in the 91 polling units was 49,953, a figure, the commission explained was higher than the margin between the top contenders.
The window to substitute Audu, rather than serve as a relief to the APC, sparked off another round of crisis as the deputy governorship candidate, Hon. James Faleke wrote to INEC that he should be declared winner on the ground that the supplementary poll was needless as the number of eligible voters in the affected areas stood at 25, 000 and so will not make any impact in the overall result. The PDP, on its part, urged the electoral body to declare its candidate – Governor Wada, winner of the election as the votes garnered by Audu were not transferable.
The party further argued that Audu’s votes died with him. When INEC insisted on going ahead with the supplementary poll, the APC was left with no other option than nominated the first runner up in its governorship primaries, Yahaya Bello as Audu’s substitution. As expected, Bello was declared winner of the poll after its conclusion on December 5.
The APC, through its candidate, Bello, garnered 6,885 votes in the supplementary poll to bring its total votes to 247,752, having polled 240,857 in the November 21 election. The PDP candidate (Wada), scored 5, 363 to take his total votes to 204, 877 votes. He had earlier garnered 199, 514 votes.
Bayelsa: PDP bounces back
It was the same day the Kogi governorship logjam was resolved that the two parties battled in Bayelsa State for the governorship. The exercise in the oil-rich state was however characterised by violence. Lives were lost and voting had to be shifted to the next day (December 6) as armed thugs disrupted the process in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of the state. But, the rescheduled poll did not hold as armed thugs prevented the commission’s officials from deploying officials and materials. INEC, against this backdrop declared the poll inconclusive as votes from the council was expected to be the decider being the largest of the eight local government areas of the state. According to INEC’s updated register for the elections, the council has 120,827 registered voters. Governor Seriake Dickson was then leading in six of the seven local government areas declared by the electoral commission.
He polled 105, 748 votes, while the candidate of the APC and a former governor of the state, Chief Timipre Sylva won in only one and had 72, 594 votes, a margin of 30,154 votes. But the impasse was resolved a week later, when both candidates returned to the poll and it was the PDP that had the day. In what could be described as the stiffest governorship contest since the creation of the state in 1996, Dickson secured a second term in office by polling a total of 134,998 votes to defeat Sylva, who garnered 86, 852.
Edo: APC confirms superiority
The September 28, 2016 governorship election in Edo State lived to it pre-poll billing as another test of might between the APC and PDP after both parties slugged it out in the Kogi and Bayelsa states governorship elections. The election’s outcome proved bookmakers, who predicted a twohorse race between the candidates of ruling APC, Mr. Godwin Obaseki and opposition PDP, Pastor Osagie Ize- Iyamu, right as most of the candidates who contested the poll just made up the number. After what many analysts de-scribed as the stiffest governorship contest in the history of the state, INEC declared the candidate of the APC, Godwin Obaseki winner. He garnered majority of the votes cast, polling a total of 319,483 votes to beat Osagie Ize-Iyamu, who polled 253,173 votes. Besides garnering majority of total votes cast, the APC candidate also won majority votes in 13 of the 18 local governments in the state, losing the remaining five to the PDP candidate. But the PDP in the state immediately rejected the results describing it as adulterated. The party’s chairman, Dan Orbi, alleged that the results were fabricated and predetermined.
Ondo: APC stuns PDP in Ondo
The Ondo State governorship was conducted on November 26, 2016, and it came as a big test on the internal democracy of the two leading parties, the APC and PDP. The PDP presented then Attorney General of the state, Mr. Eyitayo Jegede, while the APC picked the former president of the Nigeria Bar Association, Mr. Rotimi Akeredolu as its flagbearer.
The APC candidate, polled 244,842 votes to defeat 27 other candidates and won in 14 out of the 18 local government areas in the state. Akeredolu defeated candidates of PDP, who polled 150,380; Alliance for Democracy (AD), Chief Olusola Oke who scored 126,889 and Dr. Olu Agunloye of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), who had 10,149 votes. Both Jegede and Oke won two local governments each. Details of the election figure indicate that from the 1,647, 973 registered voters in the state, only 584, 997 electorate were accredited for the election, representing 36.5 per cent of voter turnout for the election.
However, the total number of votes cast in the election stood at 580,887 while the number of valid votes stood at 551, 272. The rejected vote in the election is 29,615. A percentage simplification of the performances of the four projected leading candidates show that Akeredolu of the APC had 44.4 per cent of the votes; Jegede of the PDP had 27.3 per cent; Oke of the AD had 23.0 per cent, while Agunloye had a 1.8 per cent share of the votes.
Anambra: No encroaching on APGA’s stronghold
From all assessment, the November 18, 2017, governorship election was a tough race where the major candidates and their parties fancied their chances of winning regardless of the fact that a sitting governor was also in the race. For the PDP it was a chance for them to return to the state they once held sway, the APC relied on the influence of federal might, while APGA believed that the tremendous service delivery its candidate has done in his first term was enough to secure a second term for him.
At the end of the keenly contested election, INEC declared Willie Obiano, the candidate of the APGA, winner of the election that took place in the 21 local government areas of the state. Obiano, polled 234,071 votes to beat Tony Nwoye of the APC, who came second with 98,752 votes. The PDP governorship candidate Oseloka Obaze, came third in the contest with 70,293 votes. The Anambra governorship election went down in history as being the first governorship election with the highest number of candidates, 37, in Nigeria’s electoral history.
Ekiti: APC shocks PDP again
The governorship election in Ekiti State took place on July 14, 2018 following the end of constitutionally permitted two-terms of the incumbent governor, Mr. Ayodele Fayose. Expectedly, the race pitched the two major parties in the country, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the All Progressives Congress (APC), against each other, while 33 other political parties made up the numbers of parties on the ballot for the governorship contest. After a head-to-head campaign builds up between the two parties, the candidate of the APC and former governor of the state, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, defeated his PDP counterpart, Prof. Kolapo Olusola, who is also the current deputy governor of the state.
Declaring the result of the keenly contested poll, INEC said Fayemi scored 197,459 votes to defeat Olusola, who scored 178,121 votes. Whilst Fayemi won in 12 local governments which include Ekiti West, Ekiti South West,Ekiti East, Ise Orun, Ikole, Gboyin, Ijero, Moba, Ilejemeje, Oye, Irepodun/Ifelodun and Ido Osi local governments, Olusola could only muster four local governments. While Nigerians await the 2019 general elections for the APC and PDP to test their popularity again, the power struggle between the two foremost parties has shifted to Osun State, where governorship election will take place on September 22.
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