…Election marred by intimidation, open harassment- Saraki
…No, result indicates Ex-Gov is no more relevant in Kwara politics – Tijani, APC Reps candidate
The All Progressives Congress (APC) has consolidated its position of controlling largest members in the National Assembly by winning all the three House of Representatives seats contested in Saturday’s bye- elections conducted by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
INEC had set aside Saturday November 17, 2018 for the conduct of bye-elections to fill vacant seats in Toro Federal Constituency of Bauchi State, Ekiti/ Irepodun/ Isin/ Oke-Ero Federal Constituency of Kwara State and Kankiya/ Kusada/ Ingawa Federal Constituency of Katsina State.
INEC Returning Officer for Toro Federal Constituency (Bauchi), Prof. Ahmed Sarkin-Paggam, declared Yusuf Nuhu of the APC winner having scored 27,337 votes to defeat his only opponent, Shehu Umar, of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), who polled 18,235 votes. Only APC and PDP fielded candidates for the election.
According to the returning officer, a total of 41,532 votes were cast, out of which 40,552 were valid and 970 votes invalid.
Toro Federal Constituency seat became vacant when the member representing the constituency, Lawan Yahaya Gumau contested and won the Bauchi South Senate seat in a bye-election held on August 11 to fill the vacant position created by the death of Senator Ali Wakili who died on March 17, 2018.
In Kwara State, the APC as well won as INEC declared Mr. Raheem Olawuyi winner after defeating Saheed Alatise of the PDP in the Ekiti/Irepodun/Isin/Oke-Ero Federal Constituency.
INEC’s Chief Returning Officer for the poll, Prof. Abimbola Adesoji, said Olawuyi got 21,236 votes, followed by PDP candidate, Saheed Alatise, with 18,095 votes. The Labour Party had 150 votes, the Peoples Party of Nigeria (PPN) got 76 votes and UPN garnered 42 votes.
Professor Adesoji, from Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, said out of the 40,930 total votes cast, the total number of valid votes was 39,599 while 1,331 votes were rejected.
INEC also declared Alhaji Abubakar Kusada of the APC as winner of the bye-election into the House of Representatives in Katsina State.
The election was conducted in the Kankiya/Kusada/Ingawa Federal constituency in Katsina State.
Kusada, who was the speaker of Katsina State House of Assembly prior to the election, polled 48,518 votes to emerge winner.
He defeated Alhaji Abdussamad Yusuf of PDP who scored 20,193 votes, while Nasiru Kankiya of the Peoples Redemption Party scored 1,810 votes as second runner-up.
Reacting to PDP defeat at the polls, Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, who is now a national leader of the PDP, condemned the conduct of the election which he said was marred with “open intimidation and harassment of voters”.
In one of the many tweets on his twitter page, Saraki said the election was held under “tense and militarised conditions” while alleging security operatives of complicity.
The Senate President warned that the unfortunate situation sends wrong signals ahead of the 2019 polls, stressing that it will not augur well for the nation’s largest driving Democracy.
He said “open display of intimidation and misuse of security operatives will undermine Democracy if not checked”.
In a swift reaction, a staunch member of APC in Kwara State, Engr. Ismail Tijani, said Saturday’s bye-election was “free, fair and devoid of intimidation” as alleged by Saraki.
Tijani, who is the APC candidate for Offa, Oyun and Ifelodun Federal Constituency of Kwara State in 2019 National Assembly election, said members of the PDP are mischievous in condemning the election.
According to him, Saraki and the PDP who had thugs at their disposal were curtailed by vigilant security operatives that monitored the election, hence the castigation of security men.
He said “before now, they use to have the security in their pockets during election periods like this but this around they don’t have access to abuse of security, so the thugs they brought were rendered useless. Even some of the PDP thugs were intercepted and arrested on Saturday”.
Speaking further, Tijani said the defeat of the He PDP is a clear indication of what will happen at the polls in 2019. He predicted that PDP will suffer defeat in every polling units in Kwara State.
He said: “The reason is not far-fetched. The people of Kwara have spoken with one voice that Dr. Bukola Saraki is no more relevant in Kwara politics since the day he dumped APC for the PDP.
“This shows that Kwara people are progressively for APC and not for Saraki as a person. People used to love and reference him when he was a progressive but now that he has joined the looters, Kwara people have turned back from him.
“You can see that since he took over the control of Kwara politics from his late father, Dr. Abubakar Olusola Saraki, this is the first election that Bukola Saraki’s party will lose.
This tells you that Kwara people are solidly behind APC and not Saraki. If Saraki is the issue in Kwara politics, the PDP would not have lost the bye- election.
“He should be warned that this is just the beginning of his political oblivion because this is how PDP will fail come 2019, not only in Kwara but in the entire country and President Muhammadu Buhari will win a landslide victory again”.