2023 Governorship Elections: Intrigues, Drama and Upsets as INEC Announces Results of 26 States
- The 2023 governorship elections conducted on Saturday, March 18, unearthed some intrigues and political upsets in the country
- So far, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has declared results from 26 out of the 28 states where the elections were held
- One of the significant upsets is the shocking defeat of the governor of Zamfara state, Bello Matawalle
Six days after the governorship elections were held across the country, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declared results from 26 states.
Recall that 28 of the 36 states were in the contest for the governorship of their various states. But despite the general condemnation that greeted the outcome in some states, especially regarding irregularities, suppression of voters, intimidation, and violence, Legit.ng has identified intrigues, drama, and surprises that characterised the polls on results already declared.
Sack of incumbents, anointed candidates
The governorship election witnessed a major shock of the sack of those anointed by incumbent governors of states and that of a governor who sought to be returned elected.
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Nigerian politics is characteristically determined by the incumbent's power, and it's generally believed that defeating an incumbent is almost impossible or rare.
The reason, according to analysts, is that the incumbent has all the state power to do and undo and can even buy off the electoral umpires and security operatives.
But the 2023 election witnessed a significant shift as some sitting governors who had their anointed candidates were defeated through the strength of the opposition in some key states.
There is even the case of Zamfara state, where the opposition sacked the incumbent governor.
2023 governorship election in Zamfara state
One of the biggest upsets of the general elections was the victory of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship candidate, Dauda Lawal, who unseated Zamfara State Governor Bello Matawalle.
Lawal polled 377,726 votes to defeat Matawalle of the All Progressives Congress (APC), who polled 311,976.
INEC consequently declared the PDP candidate as the Governor-elect of the state. He was announced as the winner in Gusau, the state capital, in the early hours of Tuesday, March 21.
2023 governorship election in Plateau state
Being the director general of the APC presidential campaign council and the sitting governor of Plateau state, it appeared impossible to defeat Governor Simon Lalong's anointed candidate, Nentawe Yilwatda.
But in a twist, Caleb Mutfwang of the PDP won the governorship election. The result announced by INEC indicates that the PDP candidate polled 525,299 votes to defeat his closest rival, Yilwatda, who polled 481,370 votes.
A political analyst from Jos, Andrew Abshi, told Legit.ng that the PDP's victory in the state resulted from the people's wish to change the course of their history.
"What you saw in Jos was a true reflection of the people's wish. I hope our governor-elect will come up with a clear policy direction that will affect our people positively."
2023 governorship election in Benue state
Even though Governor Ortom lost his senatorial bid to his former aide, Titus Zam, some analysts had earlier tipped his anointed candidate, Titus Uba, to win the governorship election in Benue state.
Their judgment was based on the fact that Ortom, as the sitting governor, would have his way, despite what appeared to be the "Alia tsunami."
The twist, however, is that Uba lost to catholic priest Hyacinth Alia as the latter garnered 473,933 votes to defeat Uba, who polled 223,913 votes, to be declared the winner on Monday, March 20.
Recall that before the election, the "Yes Father" slogan had penetrated Benue, as the Reverend Father was seen as a new Messiah sent to redeem the Benue people.
Benue people are predominantly Christians, as the state is dominated by Catholics and the Nongu u Kristu u i Ser u sha Tar (NKST), also known as Universal Reformed Christian Church
2023 governorship election in Sokoto state
As the DG of the PDP presidential campaign council and a close ally to the party's presidential candidate in the just concluded poll, many thought it would be a landslide victory for the anointed candidate of the Sokoto State Governor, Aminu Tambuwal.
But Nigerians were shocked when INEC declared Ahmed Aliyu, the APC candidate, the winner of the governorship election in the state.
Armaya’u Hamisu, the INEC returning officer for the Sokoto governorship election, announced the result on Sunday evening, March 19.
He said Aliyu secured 453,661 votes to defeat his closest rival, Saidu Umar of the PDP, who got 404,632 votes.
2023 governorship election in Kano state
Even though the battle on who controls the soul of Kano state continues between the Kano State Governor, Abdullahi Ganduje and his main rival, Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso of the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP), political watchers were earlier of the opinion that as an APC governor who also has relative control of the power at the centre, Ganduje would succeed in installing a successor, but the tides turned.
INEC has since declared Kwankwaso's preferred candidate of the NNPP, Abba Kabir Yusuf, as the Kano guber election winner.
Yusuf was declared the winner with 1,019,602 votes against his closest rival, APC’s candidate, Nasir Gawuna, who polled 890,705 votes.
The INEC returning officer, Prof Ahmad Doko Ibrahim, announced Yusuf as the winner in Kano on Monday.
The development marks the return of Kwankwaso to the state with his Kwankwasiya ideology.
It, however, remains to be seen if the battle for the control of Kano state is over.
There are other states in the country where the forces of the opposition completely demolished the power of a sitting Governor.
In Adamawa, a female candidate of the APC had made a strong statement, even though her chances of winning the supplementary election can't be guaranteed now.
Earlier, the Adamawa APC candidate, Senator Aishatu Dahiru, also known as Binani, scored 390, 275 votes, while the incumbent, Governor Ahmadu Fintiri of the PDP, polled 421,524.
As the results failed to meet up to the requirement of the electoral law on declaring the winner, the INEC state collation officer, Prof Muhammadu Mele of the University of Maiduguri, declared the election inconclusive.
If Binani emerges the winner after the supplementary poll, it will be the first time since democracy that a female governor will emerge. She would have also made history by sacking an incumbent governor.
Check the results of the 26 states declared by INEC so far here.
Kano governorship candidate concedes defeat, congratulates NNPP's Abba
In another report, the Kano state governorship candidate of the Peoples Redemption Party (PRP), Salihu Yakasai, congratulated the elected governor of the state, Abba Yusuf, on his emergence in the Saturday poll.
This was contained in a statement signed by Yakasai's spokesperson, Suhaib Auwal Gwagwarwa, and made available to reporters in Kano.