By Teslim Olawore
Nigeria’s ruling party, All Progressive Congress (APC), on Sunday won the crucial state of Kano in key governorship elections, as the opposition denounced the result, following violence and intimidation that hit the supplementary elections.
The incumbent governor, Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, had been some 27,000 votes behind when elections at some polling stations in the northern state were cancelled two weeks ago due to violence.
But in the supplementary elections that took place on Saturday, the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate won some 36,000 more votes than his nearest rival. His overall tally jumped to 1,033,695.
Ganduje scored 8,982 more votes than Abba Kabir Yusuf, his main opposition of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). The PDP is likely to challenge the result in court, after men wielding machetes, daggers and cudgels invaded several polling stations, according to reports.
Most of the unrest was concentrated in the Gama ward, where more than 40,000 votes were up for grabs. Some voters and party agents said armed youths also scared away voters and thumb-printed ballot papers in favour of the APC.
The declaration of the result at the local office of the Independent National Electoral Commission was delayed by up to 10 hours, while there was a heavy military presence.
PDP spokesman Sanusi Bature Dawakin-Tofa called the result “a gang-up against democracy” by the APC, INEC and security agencies.
“Any desperate attempt… to declare Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje as the winner of this re-run will plunge Kano into an unprecedented political crisis,” he added.
The Situation Room, an umbrella group of more than 70 civil society groups monitoring the vote, said the results from Gama could not stand because the abuses recorded there were of “monumental proportions”.