By Suzan Edeh
It was not business as usual for the People Democratic Party, PDP, following the intrigues and events that heralded last Saturday’s Presidential and National Assembly elections in Bauchi. The election came with its many surprises, particularly for many PDP heavyweights in the state who never envisaged that the tables could turn the other way.
One of the intriguing aspects of the election was the result of the National Assembly election announced by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). After the coalition of results by the commission, the incumbent governor of the state, Isa Yuguda failed to make it to the Senate as he was defeated by a former Customs officer and a young politician in the All Progressives Congress(APC), Ali Wakili, for the Bauchi South Senatorial seat.
Wakili scored 341, 708 votes to defeat Governor Yuguda who got 115, 575 votes. Yuguda lost to Wakili in all the seven local councils of Bauchi South Senatorial zone.
Wakili, a former chieftain of the PDP defected to the APC to realize his political dream of representing his constituency in the Senate after several attempts of contesting the seat on PDP’s platform.
Political analysts in the state have opined that last Saturday’s election exposed the underbelly of the PDP leading to the downfall of many PDP heavy weights in the state. They also said it was like a day of reckoning for the party, which had held sway against the perceived will of the people of the state.
The failure of Governor Yuguda to win the Bauchi South Senatorial seat did not really come as a surprise to many because there were pointers suggesting that the time had come for the governor to pay for his alleged ‘sins.’
Many factors led to the governor’s loss to Wakili.
Yuguda’s support for Jonathan
Few days to the election, Yuguda had promised President Goodluck Jonathan that he would not only give 25 percent to the president but also deliver Bauchi to the PDP. On several occasions, he appealed to the people of the state to vote massively for President Jonathan even when it was glaring that the people were committed to Muhammadu Buhari, the presidential candidate of the APC.
The governor was quoted to have said, “ If you don’t vote for me and Dr Jonathan, “Allah ya Isa, Ban Yafe ba” meaning ‘I will not forgive you.’
Politicians and residents believed that one of the reasons Yuguda failed to get the Senate seat is the boastful manner he campaigned for President Jonathan which angered most voters that had sympathy for him.
This imposition of Jonathan at the PDP presidential primaries further infuriated the people of the state who felt that they should be at liberty to vote for the candidate of their choice. Hence, they proved to the governor that he could not manipulate them against their will when they voted massively for APC as instructed by General Buhari. The PDP presidential candidate did not only lose in Bauchi even Yuguda could not secure a senatorial seat.
People’s strong desire for change
Yuguda’s achievements in office were also part of the factors. The people have been yearning for a change of government because of alleged injustice perpetrated by the PDP-led government. Factors ranging from poverty, unemployment, insecurity, several deductions from civil servants salaries, deteriorating state of companies in the state and decline of state revenue among others necessitated the desire for a new government by the people.
When the people finally got the opportunity to effect that change at the polls, they did not hesitate. Many saw the defeat of Yuguda as history repeating itself because in 2007, then Governor Adamu Mu’azu, now National Chairman of the PDP, lost to Senator Bala Mohammed in what was considered an upset, thereby truncating Mu’azu’s ambition to become a senator after eight years as a governor.
Yuguda and Abuja politicians’ feud
Another factor that worked against PDP and Yuguda was the feud between Abuja and Bauchi politicians.
Popularity of Buhari
At a time many expected leaders like Mu‘azu, the national chairman of the PDP; FCT Minister, Senator Bala Mohammed to work together for the success of the party in the zone, there were divisions and disagreements among them. It was sad because both of them came from the Bauchi South Senatorial district, a district where Yuguda contested and lost.
It was alleged that a prominent politician in the state diverted the campaign funds of the PDP.
General Buhari’s popularity
One of the major factors is the popularity of Buhari. In the two rallies and campaigns held in Bauchi, General Buhari asked people of the state to vote PDP out of power at all levels.
Said Buhari: “During the presidential election, I want you to vote for only APC all the way. Do not leave anything for them, not even the position of a councillor should be given them.’’
However, supporters of Governor Yuguda attributed his failure to the Boko Haram attack in some polling units in Alkaleri and Kirfi and also the attack of the insurgents near Bauchi town, a reason they asked the INEC to cancel the election and conduct a fresh one in the three local councils.
It’s the will of God –Yuguda
In his reaction, Governor Yuguda described his defeat in the National Assembly election as the will of God, saying his loss has availed other young politicians the opportunity to serve the people of the state because in every contest there must be a winner and a loser.
Yuguda who stated this while addressing newsmen at the Government House in Bauchi, also congratulated Wakili.
He said: “I have served the people of Bauchi State as governor for eight years and during my tenure I did my best to protect lives and properties, which was the oath I took when I assumed office as Governor. If I have fallen short of my responsibilities in anyway, I plead with the people of the state to forgive my shortcomings.”
Culled from VANGUARD