Why the CPC Lost in Kaduna, Bauchi States
Did the post-presidential election violence in Kaduna and Bauchi states affect the outcome of the governorship elections there? Opinions are divided
From the results of the two previous elections-the National Assembly and the presidential election in Kaduna State, it was feared that Patrick Yakowa, Kaduna State governor, would lose the governorship election to the Congress for Progress Change, CPC. The two previous elections were won by the CPC and it was clear Yakowa would not find the April 2011 governorship election easy.
But that expectation changed after the post-election violence broke out in the state on April 25, following the overall defeat of the CPC in the presidential poll. Even the CPC leaders became sceptical over the possibility of winning the Kaduna governorship race between Yakowa and Haruna Sa’eed of the CPC. The religious gulf in the state had further widened. Most Christians in the southern part of the state identified with Yakowa and his People’s Democratic Party, PDP, while their Muslim counterparts in the Kaduna North rallied behind Sa’eed and the CPC. It became an election where the primary motivation of most voters was the religious affiliation of the contestants rather than their credibility to offer good leadership.
Evidence of this was in the pattern of voting. Yakowa won majority votes in 12 local government areas in the southern part of the state except for Kudan where Suleiman Hunkuyi, a PDP chieftain, hails from. He garnered 1, 334,319 votes to defeat his closest rival Haruna Sa’eed of the CPC who polled 1,133,564 votes. Majority of his votes came from the 11 council areas in the northern parts of the state.
It was the post election violence that put the nail on the political coffin of the CPC in Kaduna State. The state became polarised along religious lines after the violence and so the CPC was unable to match the spread and influence of the PDP. Unlike the CPC, the PDP’s influence was relatively felt everywhere even in CPC’s strongholds.
Another undoing of the CPC was its inability to tidy up a deal with the faction of the PDP which felt aggrieved after the primary election that produced Yakowa. The faction led by Suleiman Hunkuyi, a frontline politician in the state, had proposed to work for the CPC. But the CPC was reluctant to forge an alliance thinking it had no problem winning the election on its own. However, what Sa’eed failed to do, Yakowa perfected. Barely 48 hours to the poll, Hunkuyi and his supporters finally declared their support for Yakowa, ahead of the governorship poll. He was able to deliver his local government which happened to be the only local government in the northern part of the state won by the PDP.
But opposition parties have rejected the election result in Kaduna State. At a joint press briefing, Balarabe Musa, the candidate of the People’s Redemption Party, PRP, Sani Sha’aban, Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, Sae’ed, CPC, and Muktar Aruwa of the All Nigeria Peoples Party, ANPP, all accused the PDP of rigging the election. According to them, the party acted in collaboration with INEC and security agencies to rig the election. “In line with the character of the PDP which is willing to perpetuate themselves in power by all means and at all cost, they found it very convenient to carry out their rigging. Reports from southern Kaduna indicate more than 90 percent voters turnout in the area, with the dead and displaced victims of the recent violence all voting, and they voted PDP,” the statement read.
But Yakowa reacted by thanking the people for voting him into office and asked all to join him in moving the state forward. He said the victory was not for celebration but for sober reflection on the post-election violence in the state.
But Ahmed Mohammed Makarfi, former governor of the state, was not so lucky. His bid to return to the Senate to represent Kaduna North senatorial district for the second time was stopped by Datti Baba Ahmed of the CPC. He accepted his defeat in good faith.
The defeat of the highly favoured Muhammadu Buhari-led CPC in Kaduna and Bauchi states, has now completed the routing of the party in their strongholds in the northwest and the northeast. Just like in Kaduna, the party was also defeated in the Bauchi State governorship election. The failure of the party was linked to the in- fighting within the CPC. Most analysts had initially predicted the defeat of Isa Yuguda of the PDP but the inability of the party to put its house in order few weeks before the election became its major undoing.
Another factor that led to the defeat of the party in the state was the killing of youth corps members in the state by rioters who were protesting the defeat of the party in the presidential poll. The party suddenly lost the sympathy of the people in the party owing to this senseless killings. And so, Yuguda was able to poll 771,503 votes to defeat Yusuf Tugar of the CPC who scored 238, 426 votes.
Tugar, who came to Newswatch last week to protest the results of the election, said he has rejected the results of the election, claiming he was rigged out. He said that his party has video evidence of rigging carried out by the PDP. He said instances of rigging were more pronounced in Giade local government, especially at Isawa ward and Gamawa local government at Udogbo central primary school. He showed Newswatch editors video recordings of the alleged rigging where a polling officer was seen thumb printing many ballot papers in favour of one of the candidates.
He said the post-election violence that followed the presidential election was a grand plan of the ruling party in the state to scare NYSC members away from taking part in the election. “The governor had trained his own ad hoc staff in Ningi and he had been funding them to keep them happy so that he would use them. So, the use of the corps members was an impediment to his plan,” Tugar alleged. He also said the curfew imposed on the state a day before the election was a ploy to completely dislocate the opposition. “With the curfew came arrests of senior figures of the opposition in places like Misau, Azare and Bauchi town,” he said. He vowed to take his protest to the election tribunal.
Simon Arabo, a member- elect of the House of Representatives, representing Kauru federal constituency in Kaduna State, counselled politicians in the north against mixing politics and religion. “Politics and religion is a very dangerous mix. It is capable of dividing the country. We were embarrassed with this kind of behaviour of people who are easily manipulated,” Arabo said. He attributed the incessant outbreak of religious violence in the north to the Almajiri system of Islamic education. He said the decision of the federal government to build model schools for their education is a positive development in dealing with the problem.