Adamawa council poll: PDP wins landslide
• Babachir Lawal Cries Foul
The Adamawa local government election has come and gone, but the political tears over the exercise have continued to flow in the state’s political arena. The chief mourner is the former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, (SGF) Mr. David Babachir Lawal, who was sacked over grass cutting scandal, involving over N400m contract he awarded to his private company.
Surprisingly, Lawal, who had vowed at a press conference in his Yola residence before the governorship election, that the All Progressives Congress (APC) would not win, as he would use all political means at his disposal to stop the APC governorship candidate, embattled former governor Mohammed Jibrilla Bindow, last week turned around to become a loyal member of the party he destroyed.
In a one-page statement, Lawal faulted the Adamawa State IndependentElectoral Commission’s (ADSIEC) conduct of the December 7 local government elections, describing the outcome as fictitious, delusional and an assault on the collective goodwill of the people of the state.He alleged in the statement that elections did not hold in several places, including Hong, his local government. He said only pretenders and the Commission’s purchased agents would believe the result being peddled around.
Lawal maintained that the Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri-led government would have still succeeded, and that the overall results would have been a win-win situation for Adamawa people, if the election was free and fair. The statement read in part: “… Lying to people, knowing they know the truth is the characteristic of a government that is afraid it is losing touch with the people that had fully supported it in the general elections. It is not about APC or Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) winning, but about stating the fact as it is…
“In the first instance, the environment was not conducive enough to hold elections, on account of the ongoing herdsmen’s activities, which had displaced thousands of people and created a refugee crisis in Kulinyi and Pella districts. But as it now appears, the state authorities were more interested about conquering the people than administering social justice, equity and fair play…”
But observers were quick to point out that Lawal contradicted himself in the issues he raised. First is the security issue. This year, he told the world at a press conference in Yola that President Muhammadu Buhari had fully restored security in Adamawa State, and that the people of the state are now sleeping with their two eyes closed. So, between February and March, when the general elections held, when and where did herdsmen carry out attacks in Hong local government?
Secondly, the former SGF’s description of the elected chairmen as illegitimate occupants of the offices to which they were duly elected is tantamount to constituting himself into a judge.An APC chieftain and former Senior Special Assistant to Bindow on emergency and disaster management, Mr. Mohammed Bappari, told The Guardian that on election day, he voted and that the poll was conducted in a peaceful atmosphere.He commended the governor for his absence from the state during the polls, saying his action proved that he wanted free and fair election without his interference.
“… The only thing I observe was low voter turnout. But on that, the political parties should blame themselves for poor mobilisation of their supporters,” he said.
Meanwhile, the APC association of defeated contestants has described the last local government election in all the 21 local government areas and 2,609 polling units across the state as a political joke that should not be taken too far.The spokesman of the body, Umar Hammajoda, who contested in Jada Local Government, hometown of PDP presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, alleged that ADSIEC only released 60 percent of the electoral materials and withheld the remaining for reasons best known to it.He said: “Our returning officers waited in vain in all the 21 local government areas from 6:00am to 6:00pm without any electoral materials with ADSIEC presiding officers, electoral and returning officers failing to show up for the poll.
“So, the purported declaration by ADSIEC and issuance of certificate of returns to the 21 PDP chairmanship candidates and councilors is gross injustice and a violation of the electoral Act.”But reacting to Hammajoda’s allegations, the House of Representatives member representing Michika/Madagali federal constituency in Adamawa, Mr. Zakaria Dauda Nyampa, described them as fabricated lies that lacked merit.He noted that APC chieftains lacked the moral ground to challenge conduct of any elections or illegality, based on the party’s records of unlawfulness.
Zakaria challenged APC chieftains criticising the poll to explain why APC government under Bindow could not conduct elections in Michika council over six months after election was conducted in the other 20 councils.He also asked APC members to direct their grievances to their party chieftains, pointing out that elections are won by those that mobilised their supporters, and not those banking on rigging and vote buying.
“How many APC chieftains were in the state,” he queried. “Former governor Bindow was not in the state. How many APC’s former senators were in the state? How many serving and former members of House of Representatives were in Adamawa for the elections? So, APC members should blame their leaders for abandoning them…”Zakaria, who attributed his party’s victory to hard work, noted that even as the ruling party, PDP chieftains did not take things for granted, in terms of mobilising their supporters for the poll.He explained that documented evidence showed that since PDP’s exit, no credible local government elections had been conducted in Adamawa State, until the party returned to power this year.
While inaugurating the elected council chairmen, Fintiri urged them not to treat their people on basis of party affiliations, but as the people of Adamawa State.He assured the people that he would never deviate from his campaign promises, and that his government would not tolerate corruption and segregation on accounts of gender or ethnicity and religion.
It is noteworthy that when The Guardian visited Lawal’s house in Kwambla at about 10:22am on the election day, he was already in Yola, the state capital, according to the information offered at his house. And this correspondent visited about six polling units in Kwambla, where voting went on smoothly and peacefully.
While reacting to allegations of the Lawal and APC chairmanship contestants that there was no elections in the state, the Director-General media and communications, Mr. Solomon Kumanga, said that the results released by the Adamawa SIEC, which APC won five wards, including the Governor’s ward and Social Democratic Party (SDP) won deputy governor’s ward in Lamurde, has discredited all the allegations.
“If the elections was rigged or not conducted as they are claiming, how come APC won five wards, SDP won one ward in Lamurde local government and African Democratic Congress (ADC) won seven wards, including the ward of secretary to the state government (SSG) in Yola-North local government.”
Kumanga, who challenged the APC chieftains criticizing the conduct of the poll to mentioned one ward PDP won when APC conducted local poll under Bindow’s administration, asked the APC leaders in the state to commend governor Fintiri for restoring the tenets of democracy in the state by conducting a free and fair in line with the requirements of good governance.