Yabo/Shagari re-run poll: A litmus test for APC

By Na’Allah Aminu

Democracy has been largely defined as the government of the people, by the people, and for the people. It is a government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised by them directly or indirectly through a system of representation usually involving periodically held free elections.

Going by the above, the important point of these definitions is that democracy is a system of government that is accepted globally as the form of government where the electorate holds sway. They only lend their mandate to their elected representatives.

It’s therefore, incumbent to state that Nigeria has been on a democratic path for about 25 uninterrupted years since 1999. Though a budding democracy, Nigeria has indeed tramped on the trajectory of democracy, with incalculable successful civilian-to-civilian transitions.

In this direction, the 2023 general elections and the winners emerged and inaugurated, though not without some unpleasant developments in some parts of the country, Yabo/ Shagari Federal Constituency, Sokoto State, including.

It could be recalled that the 2023 Presidential and National Assembly elections were conducted on February 25, 2023, across Nigeria including Sokoto State. The same was also conducted in the Yabo/Shegari Federal Constituency.

The election in the Federal Constituency on that significant day was keenly contested by eight political parties. It was however more like between the APC and PDP.

It could also be recalled that Abubakar Umaru of the APC scored 22, 472 votes while Umar Yusuf Yabo of the PDP got 24,792 votes. It was indeed a close race.

During the polls, results from 26 polling units were canceled due to over-voting and the destruction of election materials, with 15,421 registered voters and 14,711 PVCs collected.

Despite the above, it was then alarming that Umar Yusuf Yabo was declared the winner and was also issued with a Certificate of Return by the nation’s electoral umpire, the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC. This was as contained in the letter of the Constituency’s Returning Officer, Prof. Abubakar S. Junaidu, who was forcefully made to announce the result under duress, dated 28th of the same month, as received and acknowledged by INEC.

It is still pertinent to recall that the candidate of the APC had decried the offensive development, necessitating his application for a review of the declaration of the PDP candidate and the subsequent issuance of the Certificate of Return to him by INEC. His letter to that effect dated 2nd March 2023, was also duly received and acknowledged by the INEC.

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Given the above, the status of the election was declared as “Supplementary” in the list of the House of Representatives members-elect, 2023 as released in the portal of INEC.

Preparations for the then April 15, 2023 re-run polls were fully ready by the political parties, and they were rudely shocked to hear that the sensitive materials for the re-run polls were not going to be supplied. INEC made this disturbing announcement during its meeting with the political parties held on 13th April 2023.

But the ill-mannered shock was when Umar Yusuf Yabo, the candidate of the PDP was issued with a Certificate of Return by INEC to the effect that he was returned elected. This was on the 15th of April 2023, which is contrary to the provision of the nation’s electoral laws. According to INEC, it was indeed a result of a phantom election that was never held.

This unfortunate and illegal action by INEC drew the annoyance of many lovers and defenders of democracy. This was because of the insult to democracy, the Electoral Act, and the country’s constitution.

The humorous action by INEC was also followed by a downpour of reactions including the Yabo/Shagari APC Youths Forum (YSAPCYF). It authored an open letter to the national chairman of INEC demanding an urgent review of the case.

This, according to the forum was to redress the inappropriate action and in order not to disenfranchise the bona fide citizens and law-abiding constituents in the two LGAs.

The forum was also of the opinion that the people of Yabo and Shagari LGAs that make up the Federal Constituency should not be denied or robbed of the scarce opportunity to elect a credible candidate like APC’s Abubakar Umaru (aka Danbukari) who has provided quality representation in his first 4-year tenure.

It is an incontestable fact that the forthcoming re-run poll in the Yabo/Shagari Federal Constituency that has been scheduled for February 3, 2024, will be a walkover for the PDP as the APC candidate, Alhaji Abubakar Umaru will win it with an overwhelming victory.

More the election is going to be a LITMUS TEST between the ruling APC and opposition party PDP in the state in just less than a year of the new administration of Dr Ahmed Aliyu in Sokoto State.

This is the apparent sequel to many tangible and intangible factors that will work in favour of the APC and its highly qualified candidate, Alhaji Abubakar Umaru, aka Danbukari. He is the one that cap fits as he had diligently put it before and he deserves to wear it again.

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Some of the reasons why APC and Danbukari will emerge victorious in the forthcoming polls are not far-fetched.

1 People of Sokoto State have so far witnessed the existence of committed and dedicated leadership within just less than one year of Ahmed ALIYU administration interns’ provision of infrastructural facilities all over the state. The electorate is now satisfied and convinced that the election of Ahmed ALIYU is a blessing to the entire people of Sokoto State; no regret.

2 The people of the Yabo/Shagari Federal constituency were satisfied with the way their people-oriented Representative delivered uncountable dividends of democracy to them during his first 4 years between 2019 and 2023. This was glaring as it is not a hidden fact.

3 Consequently, the Yabo/Shagari constituents are confident that Danbukari will replicate what he did in his first term in the second term, in Sha Allahu. It is just a matter of formality and constitutionality that he will not be sworn in immediately. But, by the special grace of God, this shall come to pass.

Another powerfully persuasive factor as to why APC has almost won the re-run polls even before casting the ballots is the factor of the APC political leader, Sarkin Yamman Sokoto, Senator, Aliyu Magatakarda Wamakko and the fact that all these 26 affected polling units fall in the APC dominated communities. One cannot sincerely exhaust these factors in a very concise write-up like this one.

However, Sen. Wamakko is a father and figure not only for APC but for the political development not only in Sokoto State but in Nigeria as a whole. This is also not an undeniable fact.

Senator Wamakko

It was he (Wamakko) who in his two terms as the Governor of the state between 2007 to 2015 massively transformed Sokoto State into a ‘modern city”. Sokoto then became the hub in all aspects of human endeavors ranging from politics, education, religion, and other socioeconomic activities including the neighboring Niger Republic.

Wamakko as the able Governor of Sokoto State provided infrastructure, human capital development unparalleled social welfare packages, and empowerment for all the classes of the people of the state. The people of the state have never had it so good like during his glorious days as the Governor of the state.

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This brings us to the factor of the weak leadership of Sen. Aminu Tambuwal when he took over from the big shoe of Sen. Wamakko, his predecessor.

There was, therefore, a glaring calm in the basic needs of the people and their welfare between 2005 and 2023. It was during this period that the people of the state were politically orphaned by a delusive government, characterized by poor performance and non-commitment to its responsibilities.

The forthcoming re-run poll is certainly a contest between a father of the state and an accomplished leader. and *an absentee PDP-leader who has abandoned his folks from 28th May, 2023 to date, Tambuwal, in this analogy, is a no-match to Wamakko. It’s just like comparing David with Goliath.

This brings us again to another formidable factor of the incumbent Governor of the state, Dr Ahmed Aliyu Sokoto, FCNA. There is no surprise that he has taken the path of his father, Sen. Wamakko. He (Ahmed) was the number one citizen of the state who successfully and commendably delivered one hundred completed projects in just one hundred days in office. This was no mean feat.

The people of the state are the witnesses in this wise decision of theirs, from May 29th, 2023 to date. the landscape of Sokoto, the state capital, and the entire state has been drastically transformed, yet again.

The beauty of the above is that the contest is between past PDP-led Tambuwal administrations that had faltered and woefully failed and the present Wamakko-tutored and performing administration led by Dr Ahmed Aliyu Sokoto, FCNA. The ruling APC will insha Allahu pass this litmus test.

Wamakko has never abandoned his people as he visits the state weekly, if not for some foreign trips and other pressing national assignments, especially oversight functions. On the other hand, Tambuwal has eloped and eluded the people of the state. Governor Ahmed Aliyu is delivering good governance and he is always with his people.

Conclusively, the forthcoming re-run poll will be conducted successfully and in favor of the APC, its candidate, Sen. Wamakko and Gov. Ahmed Aliyu, in Sha Allahu, and the people of the state will be happier for it.

Na’Allah Aminu a concern citizen, writes from Sokoto

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