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How APC ‘strongmen’ threw guber poll to PDP

By Ehikioya Ezomon

Multiple award-winning New Telegraph did a beautiful analysis on Monday, April 1, 2019, on the “Resurgence of the PDP” in the 2019 general election, particularly in the governorship poll in which it snatched four states from the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) that also lost two incumbent seats.
At its December 9, 2017 convention, Uche Secondus, the new National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), had predicted only a four-year stay in power for the APC.
He said: “By my understanding, the mandate you have given to us today is clear and unambiguous. It is to return our party to power in 2019… Let me assure you great members and leaders of our party that by the grace of God, and with all hands on deck, the brief tenancy of the APC in Aso Rock Villa expires on May 29, 2019. By this, we serve them a quit notice.”
To achieve that goal, the PDP literally re-wrote the political rule book. Its chieftains, influential backers, and mandated and self-imposed spokespersons ceaselessly savaged the APC government of President Muhammadu Buhari for alleged failure to advance its agenda for security, anti-corruption and the economy.
The party churned out daily multiple statements, and addressed press conferences on “unverified” scheming by the President, APC, law enforcement agencies and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to rig the 2019 polls.
Although it came short of its target, the main opposition party deserves the plaudits, especially coming from the ashes of the 2015 election, and its crisis of leadership, to record good results.
But the touted PDP “resurgence” wasn’t by a dint of hard work, or political sagacity. The party was helped majorly by the division in the APC in most of the 36 states; and this should have been explained, at least, under a subhead in the analysis.
Notwithstanding, the APC “loss” in the 2019 election was partly due to a reversal of roles with the PDP. Prior to the 2015 election, many heavyweights of the PDP defected to the newly-formed APC.
Former Vice President and presidential candidate of the PDP in this year’s polls, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, led the pack. Others were five governors, Senator Bukola Saraki (now Senate President), and many lawmakers in the National and State Assemblies.
Their decamping added to the APC firepower against the PDP that fielded sitting President Goodluck Jonathan, to contest against retired General Buhari, who subsequently carried the day.
Coming to the 2019 election, virtually all the bigwigs, who moved en masse to the APC in 2015, returned to their roots. They were Atiku and Saraki; House Speaker, Yakubu Dogara; three Governors, and many lawmakers. In one fell swoop, 15 senators and 37 House members triggered the wave of defections on the floors of the Chambers of the National Assembly.
And unlike the “internal strife over tickets for the various elective offices (that) usually polarised the party (PDP) into factions each election year,” ahead of the 2019 polls, the division in the APC was volcanic, with its lava leaving political havoc behind.
Three factional national headquarters emerged: The authentic APC secretariat; the New PDP (n-PDP) that led the decamping into APC prior to 2015; and a so-called Reformed APC (R-APC), whose members were body and sole in the PDP, but claimed to remain in the APC, as spoilers.
This splintering, replicated in many state chapters of the APC, was complemented by several “candidates” laying claim to the party governorship tickets, culminating in the courts having to determine the “actual” candidate(s) even on the eve of the polls.
The INEC, reputed to “pick and choose” the court judgment to obey in listing candidates, was overwhelmed. In Cross River State, it threw up its hands over who, between John Owan-Enoh and Usani Nguru Usani, would stand for the APC, as they legally battled each other. But INEC finally credited Owan-Enoh on Election Day.
This was after the electoral body, assisted by the courts, had barred the Rivers State chapter of the APC from fielding candidates for all elections, save the presidential poll of February 23.
An “unknown quantity,” as the PDP described Biokpomabo Awara of the African Action Congress (AAC), barely 48 hours after securing the backing of the APC faction loyal to the Minister of Transport, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, polled 173,859 votes against Governor Nyesom Wike’s 886,264 votes. That tells a lot had a “united” APC fielded a candidate!
Hours to the general election, the APC in Zamfara State got a court reprieve to field candidates, and it won handsomely. But due to the crisis in the party’s chapter, the Appeal Court has vitiated the results, except those for the presidential exercise.
Unless the Supreme Court decides otherwise, things are looking good for the PDP! Meaning the APC, owing to its congresses and primaries, may have lost two states before the 2019 election began. So, the party went into the voting a shadow of itself, which the PDP had foretold in 2017.
Let’s take a typical example, Imo State, where the combined votes of the APC candidate, and two members that defected and featured as candidates of other platforms, were enough to vanquish the PDP candidate that emerged victorious.
As noted by the New Telegraph, outgoing Governor Rochas Okorocha “was hell bent on having his son-in-law, Uche Nwosu, as his successor, even when his party’s national leadership was not disposed to such idea.”
In the governorship election, Mr. Nwosu, who decamped to the Action Alliance (AA), scored 190,364 votes. Senator Ifeanyi Ararume, another APC chieftain, who defected to the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), polled 114,676 votes. And the APC candidate, Senator Hope Uzodinma, scored 96,458 votes.
The scores by the three candidates of AA, APGA and APC: 190,364+114,676+96,458 equal 401,398 votes, a margin of 127,994 votes over the 273,404 votes secured by former Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Emeka Ihedioha, who “cashed in on the division in the Imo APC to return Imo State to the PDP fold.”
Similar scenarios played out in Abia, Adamawa, Benue, Cross River, Delta, Ebonyi, Enugu and Taraba where more than one candidate emerged from the primaries. Some that failed to pick the tickets defected to contest under different parties, while others remained to fight their “grievances” in the courts. In the end, the “APC votes” were split, and the party left in the lurch for the PDP to “shine.”How APC ‘strongmen’ threw guber poll to PDP

Multiple award-winning New Telegraph did a beautiful analysis on Monday, April 1, 2019, on the “Resurgence of the PDP” in the 2019 general election, particularly in the governorship poll in which it snatched four states from the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) that also lost two incumbent seats.
At its December 9, 2017 convention, Uche Secondus, the new National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), had predicted only a four-year stay in power for the APC.
He said: “By my understanding, the mandate you have given to us today is clear and unambiguous. It is to return our party to power in 2019… Let me assure you great members and leaders of our party that by the grace of God, and with all hands on deck, the brief tenancy of the APC in Aso Rock Villa expires on May 29, 2019. By this, we serve them a quit notice.”
To achieve that goal, the PDP literally re-wrote the political rule book. Its chieftains, influential backers, and mandated and self-imposed spokespersons ceaselessly savaged the APC government of President Muhammadu Buhari for alleged failure to advance its agenda for security, anti-corruption and the economy.
The party churned out daily multiple statements, and addressed press conferences on “unverified” scheming by the President, APC, law enforcement agencies and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to rig the 2019 polls.
Although it came short of its target, the main opposition party deserves the plaudits, especially coming from the ashes of the 2015 election, and its crisis of leadership, to record good results.
But the touted PDP “resurgence” wasn’t by a dint of hard work, or political sagacity. The party was helped majorly by the division in the APC in most of the 36 states; and this should have been explained, at least, under a subhead in the analysis.
Notwithstanding, the APC “loss” in the 2019 election was partly due to a reversal of roles with the PDP. Prior to the 2015 election, many heavyweights of the PDP defected to the newly-formed APC.
Former Vice President and presidential candidate of the PDP in this year’s polls, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, led the pack. Others were five governors, Senator Bukola Saraki (now Senate President), and many lawmakers in the National and State Assemblies.
Their decamping added to the APC firepower against the PDP that fielded sitting President Goodluck Jonathan, to contest against retired General Buhari, who subsequently carried the day.
Coming to the 2019 election, virtually all the bigwigs, who moved en masse to the APC in 2015, returned to their roots. They were Atiku and Saraki; House Speaker, Yakubu Dogara; three Governors, and many lawmakers. In one fell swoop, 15 senators and 37 House members triggered the wave of defections on the floors of the Chambers of the National Assembly.
And unlike the “internal strife over tickets for the various elective offices (that) usually polarised the party (PDP) into factions each election year,” ahead of the 2019 polls, the division in the APC was volcanic, with its lava leaving political havoc behind.
Three factional national headquarters emerged: The authentic APC secretariat; the New PDP (n-PDP) that led the decamping into APC prior to 2015; and a so-called Reformed APC (R-APC), whose members were body and sole in the PDP, but claimed to remain in the APC, as spoilers.
This splintering, replicated in many state chapters of the APC, was complemented by several “candidates” laying claim to the party governorship tickets, culminating in the courts having to determine the “actual” candidate(s) even on the eve of the polls.
The INEC, reputed to “pick and choose” the court judgment to obey in listing candidates, was overwhelmed. In Cross River State, it threw up its hands over who, between John Owan-Enoh and Usani Nguru Usani, would stand for the APC, as they legally battled each other. But INEC finally credited Owan-Enoh on Election Day.
This was after the electoral body, assisted by the courts, had barred the Rivers State chapter of the APC from fielding candidates for all elections, save the presidential poll of February 23.
An “unknown quantity,” as the PDP described Biokpomabo Awara of the African Action Congress (AAC), barely 48 hours after securing the backing of the APC faction loyal to the Minister of Transport, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, polled 173,859 votes against Governor Nyesom Wike’s 886,264 votes. That tells a lot had a “united” APC fielded a candidate!
Hours to the general election, the APC in Zamfara State got a court reprieve to field candidates, and it won handsomely. But due to the crisis in the party’s chapter, the Appeal Court has vitiated the results, except those for the presidential exercise.
Unless the Supreme Court decides otherwise, things are looking good for the PDP! Meaning the APC, owing to its congresses and primaries, may have lost two states before the 2019 election began. So, the party went into the voting a shadow of itself, which the PDP had foretold in 2017.
Let’s take a typical example, Imo State, where the combined votes of the APC candidate, and two members that defected and featured as candidates of other platforms, were enough to vanquish the PDP candidate that emerged victorious.
As noted by the New Telegraph, outgoing Governor Rochas Okorocha “was hell bent on having his son-in-law, Uche Nwosu, as his successor, even when his party’s national leadership was not disposed to such idea.”
In the governorship election, Mr. Nwosu, who decamped to the Action Alliance (AA), scored 190,364 votes. Senator Ifeanyi Ararume, another APC chieftain, who defected to the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), polled 114,676 votes. And the APC candidate, Senator Hope Uzodinma, scored 96,458 votes.
The scores by the three candidates of AA, APGA and APC: 190,364+114,676+96,458 equal 401,398 votes, a margin of 127,994 votes over the 273,404 votes secured by former Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Emeka Ihedioha, who “cashed in on the division in the Imo APC to return Imo State to the PDP fold.”
Similar scenarios played out in Abia, Adamawa, Benue, Cross River, Delta, Ebonyi, Enugu and Taraba where more than one candidate emerged from the primaries. Some that failed to pick the tickets defected to contest under different parties, while others remained to fight their “grievances” in the courts. In the end, the “APC votes” were split, and the party left in the lurch for the PDP to “shine.”

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