As Sokoto’s Photo Finish Syndrome Looms Again

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By the time the dust of the February 25, Presidential and National Assembly elections settled, contests for the federal legislative seats in Sokoto State were declared inconclusive. 

This followed the cancellation of results from 471 polling units, with 301,499 registered voters, across the state due to over-voting and disruption of the election.

Results declared by Prof Shehu Gulumbe, listed the votes scored by the two leading candidates, Governor Aminu Tambuwal of PDP and the incumbent, Senator Abdullahi Danbaba of the APC as, 87,850 and 79,991 respectively, in the Sokoto South senatorial contest.

In Sokoto North Senatorial district, the INEC Returning Officer, Prof Ibrahim Magawata, declared the election inconclusive following the cancellation of some polling units involving 121,010 registered voters.

The leading candidates in the contest were the incumbent senator and former governor Aliyu Wamakko of APC who scored 114,866 votes and the state Deputy Governor, Mannir Dan’iya of PDP who scored 103,134 votes, among others.

In Sokoto East Senatorial district, Prof Abdullahi Bagudo, gave the total number of registered voters in the district as 699,575, while the total number of accredited voters stood at 206,265.

He said the total number of votes cast stood at 203,540, total valid votes 197,838, rejected votes 5,962, and 67,602 votes identified in the polling units cancelled in the district.

The leading candidates in the district are: Shu’aibu Gwanda-Gobir of PDP who scored 99,198 votes and Lamido Abubakar of APC who scored 97,147 votes.

Similarly, the fate of all candidates in the state for the 11 House of Representatives seats still hangs in the balance for the same reasons as over voting and disruption of elections.

In unison, the duo of Hon Yusuf Suleiman, former Minister of Transport and Alhaji Maigari Dingyadi, incumbent Minister for Police Affairs, who both served as Director General for the PDP and APC campaign committees in the state respectively, called on INEC to look into the circumstances that led to the cancellation of the results for more than 400 polling units in the state.

However, the stalemated National Assembly polls was not without casualty as the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) directed the resident electoral commissioner, in charge of Sokoto State, Dr Nura Ali, to stay away from the commission.

He was subsequently replaced with the administrative secretary of the commission in the state, Hauwa Aliyu Kangiwa with immediate effect.

Dr Nura Ali replacement was contained in a letter addressed to the commission office in the state and signed by the secretary to the commission, Rose Oriaran-Anthony, dated March 6, 2023.

According to the letter with no INEC/SCE/442/V.II, “This is to inform you of the commission’s decision for you (Dr Nura Ali), Resident Electoral Commissioner, Sokoto State, to stay away from the commission’s office in Sokoto State immediately until furthermore notice.

“The administrative secretary is directed to take full charge of INEC, Sokoto State office with immediate effects “

The letter further directed her to liaise with the supervisory national commissioner, Prof Muhammad Sani Kaita, for further clarifications when necessary.

However, the outcome of the National Assembly elections and the scenario that beclouded the state could only be news to the uninitiated into the battle for the political soul of the Seat of Caliphate.

With a paltry difference of a little over three thousand votes at the presidential election, where PDP recorded 288,679 votes against APC 285,444, this weekend governorship is too close to call. The only certainty is that the battle is expected to be more fierce in the governorship.

This scenario was not unexpected going by the outcome of 2019 governorship election. Tambuwal, who was seeking a second term, narrowly won APC’s candidate Ahmad Aliyu after a keenly contested supplementary election. Tambuwal polled 512,002 votes while Aliyu polled 511,660 votes.

Observers describe Sokoto governorship election as a battle royale between former Governor Aliyu Wamakko and incumbent, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, who parted ways politically, five years ago.

Coincidentally, while the two party leaders hold sway in their respective senatorial districts, the two gubernatorial candidates are expected to pull substantial votes within the Sokoto North senatorial district. Same scenario is being envisaged from the Sokoto Eastern senatorial flank, where the two gubernatorial running mates hail from.

Suffice is to say that, the tension generated by the election has enveloped Sokoto metropolis, no thanks to verbal altercations from the leadership of both parties. At different fora, they have both accused each other of conniving with security agencies to scuttle the electoral process in the state.

The APC at a press conference addressed by its chairman, Honourable Sadiq Acida, accused the PDP in the state of conniving with security agencies during the Presidential and National Assembly elections to deploy armed men to the polling units as well as young men with dangerous weapons to attack voters and voting agents.

He urged the security agencies to investigate incidents of deliberate destruction of ballot boxes, find out who destroyed the boxes, who their sponsors are and ensure that the perpetrators are brought to book.

On its part, the PDP, during a stakeholder meeting in the state called on its members across the state to ensure their votes are protected against rigging and manipulation henceforth.

The meeting with Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, in attendance, thoroughly reviewed all infractions noticed during the presidential election and vowed to never again allow the use of foul means to usurp power as it was done in the past.

The party leaders berated the action of security agencies especially the Police, which they claimed allowed themselves to be used by the campaign director general of the APC in the state, who is also the minister of Police Affairs, Muhammad Maigari Dingyadi.

Bracing up to the challenges, Sokoto state Commissioner of Police, Useni Mohammed Gumel warned that, any person or group of persons seen wielding weapons of any sort will be regarded as an enemy of the state and the nation and would be subdued at all cost by the security.


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