By Anayo Ezugwu
The year 2019 ended on a winning note for the All Progressives Congress, APC, after winning the governorship elections in Kogi and Bayelsa States. David Lyon, governor-elect and candidate of the APC in Bayelsa State recorded an unprecedented victory to dislodge the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in the November 16 governorship election.
Likewise, Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State, who contested for re-election under his party, APC defeated Musa Wada, candidate of the PDP in the election. The victories in Bayelsa and Kogi States sum up the good outing recorded by the APC in the 2019 general elections, where the party retained its candidate at the centre.
Similarly, on the winning side was Senator Smart Adeyemi, representing Kogi West senatorial district. On November 30, Adeyemi emerged as the winner of the re-run election for the Kogi West senatorial district. He polled 88,373 votes to defeat Senator Dino Melaye of the PDP, who recorded 62,133 votes in the controversial re-run election that was marred by violence.
But the biggest winner of the Nigerian political electioneering in 2019 was President Muhammadu Buhari. The president retained his seat against all odds, calculations and permutations. Buhari was declared the winner of the presidential elections after the results showed that he got 56 percent of the votes.
With the ballots from all the 36 states counted, Buhari garnered 15.2 million votes compared with 11.3 million for Atiku Abubakar of the PDP. “Muhammadu Buhari of the APC, having satisfied the requirement of the law and scored the highest number of votes is hereby declared the winner,” Mahmood Yakubu, chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, told election officials and reporters.
Also on the winning side was Governor Emeka Ihedioha of Imo State. He was declared winner of the governorship election in Imo State after polling 273,404 ahead of his closest rival Uche Nwosu, candidate of the Action Alliance, who polled a total of 190,364. Another surprise winner of the 2019 general elections was Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State and Governor Ahmadu Fintiri of Adamawa State. The two governors are from the PDP.
For Makinde, he was declared winner of the Oyo State governorship election after winning 28 out of the 33 local governments in the state, leaving the APC with only five. He received 515,621 votes to defeat his closest rival from the APC, Bayo Adelabu, who polled 357,982 votes. The margin of defeat is 157,639 votes.
In Adamawa, Fintiri was declared winner after the supplementary election in 44 units across 14 local government areas of the state. He polled 376,552 votes to beat his closest rival, Muhammadu Bindow of the APC, who scored 336,386 votes.
Apart from the winners in the year under review, the country also witnessed losers in the political front. Most shocking had been the collapse of some powerful godfathers, who used money and influence to win support for themselves and to sponsor their preferred candidates in elections.
The defeat of Bukola Saraki, former Senate President, was one of the biggest upset of 2019. The 56-year-old senator was also the campaign manager for the PDP presidential candidate. There was no love lost between Saraki and the president, who initiated a corruption inquiry against him. The Supreme Court cleared him of the charges in 2018 before he defected to the main opposition party.
Saraki sought re-election for Kwara Central, but the APC’s Ibrahim Oloriegbe clinched the seat, effectively ending the dominance of the “Saraki dynasty” over Kwara politics for the last 50 years. It was believed that many people in the state were fed up with alleged lack of development in the north-western state, leading to the formation of the “O To Ge” movement, meaning “Enough is Enough”, which campaigned against him and the other candidates he sponsored and supported, who were all heavily defeated.
Another expected defeat was Senator Godswill Akpabio. He was a political godfather in Akwa Ibom State, where he served twice as governor, but he lost his senate seat to Senator Chris Ekpenyong of the PDP. The campaign was bitter, violent and full of accusations and counter-accusations of fraud and manipulation. The trouble stemmed from his fallout politically with Governor Emmanuel Udom, who he hand-picked as governor of the state.
This forced Akpabio to defect to the APC, but it was a tactic that had seen him fall flat on his face – and the PDP retained all the seats contested in the state. But he has been compensated with a ministerial appointment by President Buhari.
Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso, acclaimed political godfather of Kano State, was another loser of 2019. The two-time governor did not seek re-election, but all the candidates he backed as a political godfather lost the elections.
He had been a dominant figure in Nigeria’s most-populous state for the last two decades and his Kwankwasiyya political fan club has a large following not only in Kano, but in other parts of northern Nigeria. The 62-year-old had defected to the PDP after falling out with his former ally and successor Governor Umar Ganduje.
Another political godfather, who lost his bid to install his preferred candidates was Senator Rochas Okorocha, former Governor of Imo State. Though he won his election to the Senate, but he failed to install Uche Nwosu, his son in-law as governor of the state.
Nwosu, candidate of the Action Alliance, came second in the governorship election with 190,364 votes. He lost to Governor Emeka Ihedioha of the PDP, who polled 273,404 votes.
On the international scene, Boris Johnson, British Prime Minister, secured an emphatic victory in the UK elections. His party, Conservative Party, won the majority of seats in the Parliament and the mandate to fulfill its campaign pledge of “Getting Brexit Done.”
The Conservatives won 364 seats out of available 650 seats. This figure is well over the number needed to guarantee the party to form the government. The results showed the opposition Labour Party of Jeremy Corbyn capturing just 203 seats, compared to 262 in 2017. Corbyn said that he would not lead the party in the next election given the very disappointing results.
On the sport scene, on December 7, Anthony Joshua, British-Nigerian born heavyweight boxer became a two-time world heavyweight champion with unanimous points’ victory over Andy Ruiz Jr in a tense rematch in Saudi Arabia. Six months on from the night, Ruiz stunned boxing, Joshua risked seeing his career left in tatters with a second defeat, but served up 36 minutes of movement and well-timed punching to reclaim the IBF, WBA and WBO titles back to Britain.
Lionel Messi, Argentine and FC Barcelona superstar, won a record sixth Ballon d’Or award. He was crowned the world’s best player for the first time since 2015 and on a record sixth occasion overall after seeing off strong competition from the likes of Liverpool’s Virgil Van Dijk.
On June 1, Liverpool FC defeated Tottenham Hotspur to win the Champions League trophy for the sixth time, as coach Juergen Klopp finally got his hands on Europe’s biggest prize.
Nigerian male and female football teams failed to qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. Both the Super Falcons and the U23 National Team will not take part in the Olympics.
– Dec. 30, 2019 @ 9:55 GMT |