Results of the Adamawa State gubernatorial election held Saturday across the 2609 polling units in the state shows the opposition Action Congress of Nigeria in an early lead.
The election, which started with accreditation of voters, did not commence in many polling units on schedule, causing the Independent National Electoral Commission to push forward the time for commencement of voting from noon to 1p.m.
Although official results are still being collated in Yola, the state capital, exit polls suggest the ACN is leading in 13 out of the 21 local government areas of the state.
These are Numan, Guyuk, Shelleng, Lamurde, Song, Mubi North, Hong, Gombi, Ganye, Toungo, Yola North and Michika, the home town of Buba Marwa, the candidate of the Congress for Progressive Change in the election.
Results from collation centres across some wards put the ACN in an appreciable lead in Yola North. In Karewa ward for instance, the ACN polled 3566, ADC 43, ANPP 27, CPC 1,315 while the ruling PDP trailed behind with 1510 votes.
However, the PDP came up strongly in its traditional strongholds of Fufore, Yola South, Maiha and even Madagali and Mayo Belwa which boasts a huge tranche of former governor Murtala Nyako’s core loyalists.
There are Indications that Mr. Nyako’s desire to reclaim his seat was severely hit by his loss of incumbency following his sudden removal from office by the Supreme Court. That hint was dropped by his wife, Zainab, who suggested postponement of the election and the eventual pronouncement by the Supreme Court terminating Nyako’s tenure, jolted him and his party the PDP.
“It discourage us initially” she said.
The shaky start to the election resulted in the extension of voting time announced by INEC.
The hitches were a result of the shortfall in the ad hoc personnel for the election, as many of those trained to conduct today’s election fled the state in the wake of the violent killings which rocked the state capital and Mubi, resulting in the death of 52 persons.
A supervisory presiding officer at Karewa polling unit, Emmanuel Kwada, disclosed that up till last night, many of the youth corps members trained to carry out today’s exercise were still being expected.
“You know these corpers they are very scared,” Mr. Kwada said. “Even when we were training them most of them were apprehensive telling us there would be problems. But we kept reassuring them there would be no problem. It was not unexpected that many of them fled upon the outbreak of violence,many of them started returning yesterday.”
Earlier, a civil society group had raised the alarm that about 1,400 corps members relied upon by INEC for prosecution of the election had fled the state.
But INEC debunked the claim. Kassim Gaidam, the Resident Electoral Commissioner in the state, said at a stakeholders meeting in the build up to the election, that there was no cause for alarm as normalcy had returned to the state.
On his part, INEC chairman, Attahiru Jega said “virtually all the NYSC members who were to serve as presiding officers, that fled have returned.” Mr. Jega explained it was the reason the commission was confident to proceed with the election.
Despite initial hiccups, the elections went on in a peaceful and orderly manner. Acting Governor Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri had warned politicians against any acts of “lawlessness” and threatened to take ” decisive action to deal with all those found doing so.”
Accordingly,there was heavy security presence. Premium Times gathered that over 15,000 security personnel were deployed for the election, with operatives drafted in from neigbouring states of Taraba, Gombe, Benue and Enugu. The restriction of movement was effectively enforced by the security agencies.
The Adamawa State chapter of the PDP said it is satisfied with the conduct of the election. Mijinyawa Kugama, the chairman, said the report he got about the conduct of the election showed it went on in an orderly and peaceful manner.