The result of the Saturday’s presidential and National Assembly elections is coming with surprises from all over. The opposition which gloated and roared in the past months is in shock. Their large ego is cut to size and, for them, the reality is now different from the illusion they lived in months and weeks to the election. The will of the people has manifested to clear the fog that for a long time blurred the clear scenario that the opposition couldn’t see.
Adamawa state was a particularly interesting state for this election season. It was one state that all pundits, the media and politicians were particularly interested about. It is the home state of the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). It is also a state President Muhammadu Buhari could claim, his wife, Aisha Buhari being from there. Beyond that personal ties, President Buhari, has a strong official ties with Adamawa state. The secretary to the government of the federation, Boss Mustapha, is from the state, aside a horde of other government appointees.
The president has also etched the memory of his administration across the width and breadth of the state. A number of federal government projects are either completed or ongoing, including interstate roads that have been abandoned for a long time.
And even before his ascension to power, President Buhari has amassed loyal support base in Adamawa State who have always made him proud. This electrifying support at the grassroots is what keeps the Buhari phenomenon alive through the years.
However, PDP and its candidate, Atiku Abubakar, were no small challenge to whatever pedigree President Buhari has in Adamawa. Atiku was vice president for 8 years and his party, the PDP, has ruled Adamawa for most of the last 20 years, making it a strong grassroots platform. It was therefore a tough scenario at the polls.
On top of these, as a son of the soil, Atiku had set his eyes into winning the state with landslide, to make a political statement. He showed strong determination to achieve that by ensuring both regular visits and huge logistical support prior and during the elections.
But as the results from polling units began trickling in on Saturday, the fog began to clear. It emerged that Adamawa people are ready to go the next level and back president Muhammadu Buhari in spite of their son on the ballot. First, the result for Atiku’s polling unit in Ajiya ward was announced, Buhari won it with 186 votes against Atiku’s 167.
The final result showed a rather dismal performance for PDP, considering the expectations, and the gloating. Though PDP managed a victory with a 30,000 votes margin in the state’s final tally, its candidate lost from the polling unit to the ward, local government and even the senatorial zone, Adamawa Central. The result from Yola North, which is where Atiku resides and votes, showed a difference of over 16,000 votes, with Buhari polling 34,534 ahead of Atiku’s 20,414. It was a rejection from home.
On a comparative scale, Atiku performed rather dismally from the results in Buhari’s home-state of Katsina, where there is a clear margin of almost a million vote. Atiku garnered less than 20 percent of the total votes with his 308,056 votes, a far cry from Buhari’s 1,232,133 votes.
The performance of Buhari in Adamawa, against all odds, is thanks to a number of factors, chief among which is the people who opted to go with credibility ahead of blood ties. It is also a demonstration of the asidious work of a number of close associates and admirers from across the state, including the SGF, Boss Mustapha, director field operations in the APC campaign directorate, Nuhu Ribadu, among others, who not only delivered their immediate domains, but worked hard to turn in the state for the president.
The SGF is grassroots politician with political records dating back to 1988. He rose to political reckoning from his Karewa ward in Jimeta, Yola, from where he was elected into the Constituent Assembly which produced the 1989 constitution. He came back to rise, from the same Karewa ward, to head the (then) Gongola state chapter of the Social Democratic Party (SDP). By 1991, he emerged as the party’s candidate for the newly created Adamawa state.
It was therefore no surprise that a politician with such pedigree would deliver his polling unit, his ward, and his local government with a significant margin, for the president. At Boss Mustapha’s polling unit 009 Government House Gate, Buhari scored 216 votes to edge Atiku 196. At the ward and local governments level it was equally a clean sweep, with Yola North giving Buhari 43,865 ahead of Atiku’s 27,789.
The results from different parts of the state represented shades of opinions and choices with the president getting big in some areas and less in others. It was therefore commendable that APC gave Atiku a good run for his money in his own state. Overall, the result from Adamawa showed that the people appreciate President Buhari’s good standing, they also appreciate his work in infrastructure and honour to their sons for various appointments.
Seen from the perspective of the freely and peacefully conducted elections in Adamawa, like in most parts of the country, the re-election of President Muhamamdu Buhari is a renewal of a covenant. Nigerians have renewed their faith in a man they trust, one that is upright, honest and sincere as a leader.
The renewed mandate is also indicative of our maturing democratic culture with power now in the hands of the people, not moneybags or godfathers. The Adamawa result particularly points to the impressive reality that people are ready to go for quality over affinity. It is a victory for democracy.
Mustapha writes from Barracks Road, Jimeta.
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