- Stakeholders are optimistic that the outcome of the FCT election on Saturday shows the opposition will take over power in 2023
- Police Public Relations Officers, PPRO, Josephine Adi said the exercise was generally peaceful because police did what it was supposed to do to keep the peace
- The All Progressives Congress, APC, is yet to react despite the controversy surrounding the outcome of Abaji area council election
FCT, Abuja - On Saturday, February 12, 2022, at the pottery polling unit in Ushafa, the timely arrival of the police doused the tense atmosphere resulting from the struggle for superiority by the two major political parties - the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and the All Progressives Congress, APC.
The struggle was for the ‘soul’ of the Bwari Area Council. Already, discussions by party loyalists were already building a dangerous mood, as both parties were poised on winning the council area by all means.
According to a voter, Mr. Abiodun Stephen, any party that wins the council elections will undoubtedly have an upper hand in the nation’s capital in the 2023 elections.
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“We are here because we want our political party to win. This election is crucial because we believe that it will either send a strong signal to either the APC or the PDP. You can see that everyone is agitated. "
Legit.ng observed that despite the various comments and the accompanying tension, the elections were concluded without incidents of violence in the nation’s capital apart from the killing of one person in Orozo and a woman who was knocked down by a political party’s supporter in Karu area.
While SaharaReporters reported a ballot box snatching incident in Orozo leading to the death of one person, Legit.ng recalls another incident involving a female voter who was knocked down by a party supporter in the Karu area of the Abuja Municipal Area Council, AMAC.
The female voter, according to the report was hit by the party supporter who was riding a motorcycle with a flag of his party on it. He suddenly lost balance and ran into the voter.
It was gathered that the voters within the area handed over the rider to the security operatives for further action.
Police have been generally commended for keeping the peace throughout the exercise.
Police roles in FCT council polls
When approached for comments on what the police did differently to ensure a peaceful exercise, the FCT Police Public Relations Officer, Josephine Ade told Legit.ng that nothing else was done apart from mobilizing to polling units across the FCT. She said police adhered to professionalism throughout the exercise, hence the reason for the peaceful exercise.
But some stakeholders believe that the outcome of the council election has further predicted the likely events in the 2023 national elections. While the PDP won in Abuja Municipal Area Council, AMAC, Bwari and Kuje, APC won in Gwagwalada, Abaji and Kwali. Winners in Kwali are yet to be declared.
Recall that a former vice president and presidential aspirant, Atiku Abubakar had said that the Area Council election would be a litmus test for both the All Progressives Congress, APC, and the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
Atiku had in a statement before the election avowed that Nigerians were tired of the current leadership and should use the FCT election to send a message to the government that they were tired of suffering under the government of the APC.
Nathaniel Ikyur says Abuja election was a litmus test
Also speaking with Legit.ng after the polls, the Chief Press Secretary to the Benue State governor, Nathaniel Ikyur, said the outcome of the election was not only a victory for democracy but a message that the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, is taking back the government soon.
When asked if winning only 3 local government areas was enough to determine the future of the nation’s election, Ikyur said, “it’s not just about the local governments. PDP won in the overall number of votes cast and that’s a good sign and a perfect signal to the APC government.”
His principal, governor Samuel Ortom is the chairman of the PDP campaign council for the FCT election.
Ortom reacts to PDP victory in FCT
Similarly, Ortom in an official statement issued on Monday and obtained by Legit.ng congratulated the chairmen-elect, stating that their victory was a good sign for the party. He also said that it was a note of warning to the APC government ahead of other elections and the 2023 polls.
APC silent over FCT election, Abaji council area
Meanwhile, the All Progressives Congress, APC, is yet to react to the outcome of the election even as no candidate has been declared winner of Abaji council area where the party emerged as the winner.
Though the APC won the council area, the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, said it won’t declare the election because the winning party has a pending case in court.
INEC Returning Officer for Abaji Area Council, Gabriel Mordi, said it will be illegal to declare any of the APC aspirants as the winner of the election, hence they will wait until the supreme court rules on the matter.
It's, however, not exactly clear if the outcome of the FCT election is a microcosm of the 2023 election, as it may be difficult to predict, especially now that the 2023 election is still months away.