Of Sokoto’s Bye-election And Matters Arising

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In this piece, ANKELI EMMANUEL writes on the intrigues before and after a recent Sokoto State House of Assembly bye-election.

The Sokoto State House of Assembly bye-election that was conducted to fill the vacant Tureta Constituency slot, have come and gone with the declaration of the candidate of the All Progressive Congress (APC), Ahaji Abdullahi Randa, as the winner.

Agreed and as predicted, political observers expected nothing short of victory for the APC, which is in total control of the state affairs for now.

Considering APC’s total control of the political structures in the state, one expected therefore that winning local government or any bye-election conducted internally, would be a done deal.

Nevertheless, what transpired in the just concluded Tureta House of Assembly bye-election seems to have opened up more narratives of the political dimension and electorate position on preferred candidates.

What baffles most pundits within and outside the state was the way and manner the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, Jazuli Limam abruptly withdrew himself from the race, despite his popularity and acceptability in Tureta constituency.

It will be recalled that, in the recent past local government election, Jazuli Liman was the song on the lips of every eligible voter. And seeing how he was liked by the electorate in Tureta LG, the incumbent chairman, Alhaji Abubakar Tureta, was said to have allegedly hurriedly resigned from his position as Deputy Speaker (State House of Assembly) to challenge Jazuli as the only match for his political momentum.

This therefore created the vacuum in the House of Assembly, which in turn precipitated the conduct of the bye-election.

For rational observers, the motive behind the PDP candidate’s defection few days to the bye-election, could either be that he was probably being threatened. Or, that he succumbed to pressures from within and outside the state or better still compromised with an anticipated juicy expectation.

Expressing his dismay on the development, a chieftain of the PDP in Sokoto said, “Well, as far as we are concerned, Jazuli knows better why he defected. However, we are very optimistic that, the reason for his defection could better be understood from a political microscopic analysis rather than the mere jamboree he demonstrated during the APC campaign flag off in Tsamiya village of Tureta local government when he said his defection was done in good fate.

“Much as we know, there is more to Jazuli’s defection when he has foresaw victory coming his way than any other person could explain”.

Political observers in the state, especially the  PDP apologist attributed Jazuli’s sudden defection to a number of factors.

Prominent amongst these factors included but not limited to the seemingly unresolved battle of supremacy in the state PDP and the inability of the relevant stakeholders to unanimously marshal out the needed support for their candidate who was until his defection, an inch away from victory.

Others also attributed the defection to expected financial gain. Those with such conclusions could not be ridiculed hence the quest to serve in any political position, especially in the Nigerian scenario is tied to financial gains above service to humanity.

In an effort to unmask the hidden truth behind the PDP’s candidate defection, LEADERSHIP Sunday undertook a fact finding mission to some villages in Tureta LG and was amazed at the responses by electorate.

A good number of the electorate who spoke but declined to have their names mentioned for fears of the unknown said they were not only shocked at the development but still find it too much of a fiction to be true.

According to them, Jazuli was not just a prominently acceptable grassroots politician but also one individual with a difference in the LG.

For others, the PDP candidate’s defection came too early than they expected.

“We knew from the onset that Jazuli might eventually defect to the ruling party (APC) after winning election because he would have simply become the only opposition voice in the State Assembly.

“What we expected however was that, Jazuli should have stayed put in the PDP and win the election before taken such step”.

Reflecting on how the whole drama played out on the day Jazuli announced his defection during the APC campaign flag off, LEADERSHIP observed that the degree of disappointment boldly written on the faces of electorate from Tureta LG.

The electorates therefore assured LEADERSHIP Sunday of registering their anger and disappointment by refusing to turn out on the bye-election day.

In keeping to their words, out of the 33,832 registered voters in Tureta Constituency, only 9798 voters came out and were accredited; while 9781 votes cast on that D-day.

While announcing the bye-election’s result, the Returning Officer, Dr Abdulateef Femi, Tureta  Constituency had 33,832 registered voters.

“A total of 9798 voters were accredited, while 9781 votes were cast”.

And, in the outcome of the election, Dr Abdulateef said, the candidate of APC, Ahaji Abdullahi Randa, emerged victorious after garnering 9223 votes to defeat his closest opponent, Kamilu Umar of the PDM who got 114 votes.

In his analysis, Dr Abdulateef said,  “There were 9544 total valid votes, 237 rejected votes and 772 cancelled votes”.

Earlier, chairman of Tureta local government area, Alhaji Abubakar Tureta had expressed optimism that his party, (APC) would emerge victorious because the candidate of the PDP had resolved to withdraw from the race and support their candidate.

Abubakar Tureta commended Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC)  for conducting what he described as peaceful and hitch-free election.

The INEC National Commissioner in charge of the North-West, Hajiya Amina Zakari who was represented by Alhaji Yunusa Jikan Kura said the election commenced at exactly 8am and 15 political parties were to contest the election.

He said PDP had not fielded candidate in the election for reasons best known to them.

Reacting to the conduct of the bye-election, the Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) in charge of Metro Area Command, Mr. Ibitoye Olajide said they stationed two Police Officers in each polling units to ensure a hitch-free election. Olajide  added however that, voters were both orderly and peaceful during the election.


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