2019: Why APC Buhari May Lose Presidential Election To PDP?

 

By Stephen Ubanna

More facts  have emerged why  the trio of President Muhammadu Buhari, Ahmed Bola Tinibu, former governor  of Lagos state and National  leader of the All Progressive Congress, APC,  and Adams Oshiomhole,  a former  governor of Edo state  and the party National Chairman were desperate to arm-twist voters to win the Osun state , Thursday , September 27 re-run governorship election in the state. This is because losing the state to the Opposition, Peoples Democratic Party,  PDP   would have amounted  to  a big blow to the party as  Tinubu and Rauf Aregbesola, the state governor were ready to shed their last drop of blood to retain the state for the APC  in order to have  a strong bargaining power with Buhari if  re-elected in the 2019 general elections.

The re-run governorship election which was between Senator Ademola Adeleke, of PDP and Gboyega Isiaka Oyetola, Tinubu ‘s first Cousin  and APC governorship Candidate was  tension soaked in the state. Investigation by the Magazine shows that all the APC  Chieftains including   some state governors  relocated their office to Oshogbo, the state Capital  on the orders of Buhari.  The  PDP were not left out as virtually all the Presidential Aspirants were in the state to register their  presence and mobilise support for  the party governorship Candidate, Adeleke.

When the governorship election was conducted on Saturday, September 22, 2018, the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, claimed  there was no clear-cut winner between the duo, Adeleke and Oyetola, forcing the  electoral umpire, to reschedule the  election to a new date.

Despite the incumbency factor in the state, the Opposition PDP   governorship Candidate , Adeleke , was said to have scored  254,696 votes as against  Oyetola of the APC  total votes of  254, 345 in the Saturday  governorship election. This  may have given the PDP Candidate an edge over his closest APC rival with  353 votes, a simple majority. Given the political conspiracy by the ruling APC to see that the Opposition PDP  did not win the state,  considered strategic for the party in 2019,  the Commission may have refused to announce  Adeleke as the winner.

National Chaiman ,PDP

 

Joseph Fuwape, a Professor and Vice Chancellor ,  Federal University of Akure. Ekiti state, who may have   connived with the INEC officials to rub the PDP Candidate  of victory , was said to have urged the party to seek redress in the Court if it had noticed errors in the results announced. True to the advice, Adeleke and the PDP had rejected the  result and have headed to the Court to  challenge the results.

The rerun election was said to have given Oyetola of the APC victory, as Fuwape, the INEC appointed Returning  officer, had declared him the governor-elect  after polling 255m505 votes as against the Adeleke, of the PDP’s 255,023 votes.

Prior to the rerun election which gave APC victory, Tinubu , the  party National leader had boasted that Oyetola , the APC Candidate, will win the election. Aware that  Iyiola Omisore, the Social Democratic Party , SDP, governorship Candidate in the election from the Ile- Ife axis ,where the re-run would be held in some wards,  hold the key to whoever  would emerge as the governor -elect of the state between the duo  in the re-run election,  President Muhammadu Buhari may have thrown cautions to the wind in the government ant-Corruption war  to bow  to presures from  Tinubu  and Oshiomhole, to approve the mouth watery offers which had been suggested should be given  to the Ie-Ife born strong  politician  to dump Adeleke, the PDP Candidate and support  the APC governorship Candidate. Part of the larges include  a ticket to contest the Oyo South Senatorial  Seat on the platform of APC and nomination of  two Commissioners in the Oyetola  Administration among others.  His case with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, was also said to have been dropped , just as his alleged seized International Passport  was returned to him including cash that runs into millions of naira was approved for him.

Based on the mouth watery  offers to feather his nest, followed by a  high level talks  with  the leaders of the party   at Ie- Ife, comprising of  Oshiomhole,  Kayode Fayemi , governor-elect of Ekiti state,  Lai Muhammed,  minister of Information and Culture, Ibikunle Amosun, governor of Ogun state Abiola Ajimobi. Oyo, Abdullahi Ganduje, Kano and Muhammadu Badaru, governor of  Jigawa state,   he was forced to  change his mind to throw his weight behind the APC  governorship Candidate in the state .

It would be recalled that Omisore, the SDP ,  Candidate , in the Osun  governorship had  earlier met with Bukola Saraki, the Senate President and other leaders of of  the PDP,  including Femi Fani Kayode , former minister of Aviation  and Ayo Adebanjo, an Afenifere , a Pan Yoruba Socio-Cultural Organisation in his Ife home, where he had assured them of his support for  the PDP    governorship Candidate. That was how far he could go.

He  claimed that he was forced to dump Adeleke, the PDP Candidate because the  party is not trustworthy, reliable and dependable in their dealings with people”. he cited the promise that was made to Yemi Ogunbiyi, an Advertising  mogul which was never kept by the party in 2015. He fears that the party might not be able to keep to its promises to him if he throws his political weight in the Ife axis behind the  PDP  Candidate to win the election.

Omisore may not have  been thinking of tomorrow but his immediate gains as he believes that the APC , being the ruling party at the state and the national level, would fulfill every promises made to him both in cash and kind, including nomination of two Commissioners in the Oyetola Administration in the state.

In spite of the fact that the APC may have   succeeded in robbing  the PDP of the acclaimed  victory in the Osun re-run  governorship election, many believe, both locally and  internationally,  that Nigerians  are yet to witness  mass protest of votes that would throw out the APC  government   in the February 16, 2019, Presidential election. The close votes in the Osun September 22, 2018, governorship  election speaks volume , according to Teneo Intelligence, a New York based election analysis firm which  had said that” if the Opposition PDP  presidential Aspirants could unite, it may win the February 16, 2019, Presidential election, published in Bloomberg , a German based Newspaper.

Teneo Intelligence  firm, which had been monitoring elections in Nigeria over the  years  declared that ”a close  governorship election  over the weekend  in the APC stronghold in south western Nigeria,  bodes badly  the ruling party and signals  its waning  popularity’ in the region’.  Malte  Liewerscheidt, of the Teneo Intelligence firm stressed  that the Osun state governorship election had already sent a clear cut message  to the APC leadership that  if the PDP  could be united as the votes in the state was reasonably free and fair, Buhari and his APC  are most likely to lose the 2019 general elections.

It would be recalled that Lagos, Ogun, Oyo, Osun , Ekiti and Ondo. the six south western states of Nigeria,  which are under the firm   grip of Tinubu,  was instrumental to the  Buhari of the APC victory in the 2015 Presidential election,  which  was said to have marked the first transition  of power from the then ruling PDP  to the Opposition APC.

Given  the alleged inconclusive   governorship election in Osun state, where  Omisore, a supposed political ally of  Adeleke  chickened out at the last minute to support the APC  by urging his supporters to vote massively for Oyetola  , the  governorship  Candidate,of the APC, political analysts  believe that   Uche Secondus , National Chairman of the PDP  should have learnt  his  lessons that money would play a key role in the 2019  general elections in order to put  his House in order to ensure that the  party Presidential primaries  on October 5 and 6, 2018, would be held under a peaceful atmosphere  where losers will be  happy  to support the winner a in his electioneering Campaigns.

At the last count, no fewer than  12 Presidential Candidates and money bags, from the north west , north east and  north central , geo-political Zones of the country  were said to be jostling to be elected the party Presidential Candidate,  to slug it out with Buhari, the sole Presidential Candidate of the APC  in the 2019  general elections.  They are Bukola Saraki, a former governor of Kwara state and now Senate President,   Senator David Mark, Atiku Abubakar, a former Vice President  and Datti Baba-Ahmed. Others are Seminu Turaki, a senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN, and  Sule Lamido, Rabiu Kwankwaso, all former governors of Zamfara, Jigawa and Kano states  respectively. Also on the PDP presidential ticket list were Commdore                 Jonah Jang, rtd, a former governor of Plateau state, Attahiru Bafarawa, former governor of Sokoto state, Aminu Tambual, a former Speaker and governor of Sokoto state , Hassan Dankwanbo, governor of Gombe state  and Ahmed Maikharfi,  a former governor of Kaduna state, enator and a one- time interim Chairman of the party was said to have  paid the non refundable N22 million to collect the party Presidential nomination form  which was no tea party .

Former President Goodluck Jonathan appears to be at home with the large number of Presidential Aspirants paraded by the party in the 2019 general elections.   He was said to have told those that care to listen that the ” more  Presidential Aspirants  the PDP  has, the better for the party”.  He noted that if they were only two Aspirants, for the party, the division  between  the two Camps  will be so pronounced , not from the Candidates themselves, but their supporters who will  be exchanging  all kinds of bitterness and could  go to any length to sink the party, if their Candidate fails  to winthe party primaries.

Perhaps, to ensure a united front in facing the APC 75 year-old Buhari in the 2019 general elections,  the   Bayelsa  state born  former President, Federal Republic of Nigeria,  has advocated a level playing field  for all the Aspirants during the primaries to avoid polarising  the party. He noted that ”if  the party’s Presidential Candidate emerges through a transparent process, there will not be any form of  bickering and division in the party.”

Given that the party leadership, for now desire  a united front in the 2019 general elections to face the ruling APC  retired  Army General and Presidential Candidate, Buhari, who is  seeking re-election,  the National Working Committee, NWC,  of the party  was said to have started talks with the 12 Presidential Aspirants of the party to accept  the outcome  of the primary  and work collectively  for the party’s victory in the 2019 Presidential elections.

A source informed  the Magazine  that six of the 12 Presidential  Aspirants attended a  meeting organised by the NWC, which   was held behind closed door at Hilton  Hotel Abuja.  The party Presidential Aspirants who were said to have attended the meeting were Saraki,  Jang, Bafarawa , Maikharafi, Kwankwaso and Turaki .

A source told the Magazine  that the  meeting was said to have been initiated by the party NWC,  ostensibly to prone down  down  the large number of Presidential Aspirants  to a manageable figure but  it was said to have been rejected  outright  by those present at the meeting. They may have spoken the mind of  other Presidential Aspirants who were not the meeting.  The message was clear: we want to go for the primaries to test our popularity  with the party delegates.  At present, there appear to be a crack on the party as one or two Presidential candidates were said to be  opposed to the party national Convention holding  in Port Harcourt, Rivers state, under the close watch of Nyesom Wike, the state governor, believed to be partisan. The most vocal among  the group was Atiku, the Turaki of Adamawa, who was opposed to holding the party Convention  in the Oil rich, Rivers state.

An aggrieved Wike was said to have  threatened the party leadership of the  dire consequences if the moles within the party succeed in changing  the venue of the national Convention  from Port Harcourt  to another location , outside the state.

Wike may be holding the party to the juggler as one of the major financiers .  He was sending a signal to the Secondus led  NWC, that he may be forced to withdraw the  state financial support to the party as he would not  be seen carrying  the state funds to another location to fund  the party Convention.  He was emphatic, ” Rivers people  will teach the PDP  a bitter lesson  if the venue of the  Nation Convention of the  party  was  changed  from Port Harcourt  to another location. The  governor said the era of sabotaging the state economy and taking the state for granted was over, insisting that Dankwanbo, the governor of Gombe state who called on him at Brick House, Port Harcourt to seek for his support is eminently qualified to seek the PDP Presidential ticket in the 2019 general elections.

Aware of the implication of Wike’s threat to the party  leadership over pressures from alleged moles within the  party to change the venue of the national Convention from PortHarcourt  to another  location, the NWC, appears to have   rubber stamped the party Organising Committee’s recommendation to use the Oil Rivers state Capital  for the Convention.  The party was said to have taken the decision  to use Port Harcourt for the Convention  after a closed door meeting at Abuja, Friday, September 28, 2018. The decision to stick to Port Harcourt , may have calmed frayed nerves, in Rivers  state, who were poised  for war with the party  .

Insiders told the Magazine that Wike heaved a sigh of relief when the  party decision to stick to the PortHarcourt venue for the party Convention was Communicated to him as he was encouraged to  go ahead  with the  previous arrangements made to host the delegates in the state. The Rivers state  governor may have won the day but Atiku,  may still have his reservations over the choice of Port Harcourt for the party, 2018  national   Convention  . He may have boxed himself to a corner  as he  may not have tinkered with the option of decamping to the APC in protest. He has no option but to stick to the party decision  to head to Port Harcourt between October 5 and 6, 2018, for the party primaries and also find a way to make  up with Wike, the state governor and the party leadership in the state. This is is the only way he could have  a free mind to contest the primaries without being biased  of being outsmarted if he loses .

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