Victory in the governorship election may go either way in Adamawa State between the All progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Parry (PDP).
The outcome could hardly be predicted, as all factors place both parties and their candidates on equal rating.
The APC is the government in power, but the PDP had governed the state previousely and had retained popularity in many communities as the APC. The Buhari bandwagon in the APC and the Atiku Abubakar factor in the PDP, which influenced voting during the presidential election of February 23 would not count for much.
Governor Jibrilla Bindow of the APC has a history of performance to help his reelection bid Umaru Fintiri, a former Speaker of the House of Assembly, who became an acting governor in 2014 has earned for himself the reputation of a notable achiever in less than three months in power.
Both candidates campaigned widely Fintiri had an edge. Bindow had more money to oil his way and cover the gap.
Fintiri hit the lead and maintained it, gathering 367,471 votes.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) adjudged the election inconclusive on the premise that the difference between the 362,471 and Bindow’s 334,995; which is 32,467, is lower than the number of registered voters in 44 polling units (PUs) where voting was cancelled.
How did PDP’s Fintiri manage to achieve his lead in the election against the uncertainty that preceded the election?
When results of quite a number of LGAs had been collated at the collation centre in Yola and Sen Abdul-Aziz of the African Democratic Party (ADC) was noticeably making the third best candidate, voices at the centre began to remark that Abdul-Aziz who was in the APC before the election and whose father remained in the APC, had become a spoiler in the game at the expense of APC’s Bindow.
“Bindow must begin now to realise that he made a grave mistake in not retaining the goodwill of the Nyako’s,” a voter said.
Abdul-Aziz Nyako got 113,205 votes, a figure which someone again noted would have made all the difference for Bindow if the senator had not left for the ADC.
Bindow is being blamed for Abdul-Aziz’s ‘adventure’ by people who accuse him of distancing himself from Abdul-Aziz’s father, Murtala Nyako, and creating enmity that gave the Nyakos the justification for Abdul-Aziz to seek Bindow’s job in another party, even while Murtala Nyako remained in the APC.
Bindow’s critics say ex-governor Murtala Nyako, because of his close relationship with Bindow’s father, helped Bindow to become senator in 2007 and then helped him in 2015 to become governor, but that Bindow curiously ‘dumped’ Murtala Nyako immediately he (Bindow) became governor, refusing to have anything to do with the Nyakos thereafter.
“If Bindow had not alienated himself from Murtala Nyako the way he did with many notable people, he would not have lost this election,” a critic emphasized.
Bindow’s APC thinks differently, however. The party insists that Bindow would have won the election outrightly, without a need by INEC to declare it inconclusive if certain irregularities had not marred it.
“We want to bring it to the notice of the public that we reject these results as they have been received. We have itemised the local governments that card readers were not used, there were overvoting and intimidation of our agents,” said Comrade Mustapha Salihu, the APC National Vice Chairman (North-East).
Salihu, who called for a probe of some election officials, added: “We strongly feel this election was marred with irregularities.”
A low performer in the governorship election is the Social Democratic Party (SDP), whose candidate, Chief Emmanuel Bello, created huge visibility for himself and the SDP in the runup to the election through intensive campaign.
Bello, a former House of Representatives member, was all over the state, and did the most comprehensive campaign among the four most promising of the 29 candidates.
He was always going to come fourth, considering the longer standing pedigrees of the other three candidates: Bindow, Fintiri and Abdula-Aziz. But, he was expected to get a lot more votes than the 29,785 that he managed to gather in the end.