Operation Return Gov Sule


The re-election bid of Nasarawa state governor, Engr. Abdullahi Sule appears to be in the balance going by penultimate Saturday’s results. According to the presidential election result for Nasarawa state, Peter Obi scored 191,361 to beat APC’s Tinubu who had 172,922; PDP’s Atiku placed third with 147, 093.

This state had always been an APC state especially since it has some powerful politicians, among them, Senator Abdullahi Adamu (its first democratically elected governor) who is APC national chairman and Senator Tanko Almakura( immediate past governor). So, it came as a surprise to many people that APC lost to LP in the presidential election. The reason for the presidential loss is majorly religious sentiment.

Embarrassingly, APC also lost all three senatorial seats, including Almakura’s and Adamu’s zones. However, the voting pattern was different. Indeed except for the south east zone, LP did not have a good showing generally, in the national assembly election in states where it won the presidential poll. SDP clinched two of the senatorial seats in Nasarawa state and PDP one.

Internal wrangling arising from alleged imposition of candidates during the primaries that saw some erstwhile APC politicians defecting to other parties, a tinge of ethnic sentiments and sabotage were contributory factors.

The candidacy of APC’s flagbearer for the western senatorial district became a matter of litigation for months. Amidst this distraction, the SDP candidate for that zone, Ahmed Wadada, himself a grassroots mobilizer and core politician was forging ahead and strategising. It was no surprise therefore that he won hands down —96,488 votes to APC’s and PDP’s 47,717 and 46820 votes respectively.

In the northern zone, Godiya Akwashiki (SDP) a onetime deputy speaker of the House of Assembly defeated retired executive secretary of the National Judicial Commission, Danladi Envulanza (APC) who was contesting for the first time—44,471 to 32,058.

Former governor and incumbent senator, Almakura was defeated in the southern district by one-time Speaker of the State House of Assembly and current member House of Representatives, Ogoshi Onawo who had remained in the PDP all through. He scored 93,064 while the senator scored 76,813 votes. Here, it was a case of the Alagos (the largest ethnic group in that zone), siding with their son rather than the former governor. But how come they did not side with their son when Almakura contested and won in 2019? There are speculations that sabotage may also be involved here.

All of Nasarawa’s APC leaders from the national chairman down the ladder are expected to buckle up and unite for ‘operation return Sule’, lest they further damage their political standing with loss of the governorship contest.

A technocrat from the corporate world, Governor Sule has performed creditable well in management of the state’s meagre resources. His co-contesters are relatively inexperienced. So, notwithstanding his party’s rather embarrassing loss on February 25, I expect him to triumph on Saturday.


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