The All Progressives Congress (APC) Saturday took an early lead in the senatorial by-elections for Katsina North (Daura) and Bauchi South Senatorial districts.
Early results showed the ruling party winning with wide margins ahead of its main rival Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), especially in polling units across the 12-Local Government Katsina North Senatorial District headquartered in Daura.
The by-elections were scheduled following the death of the late Senator Alhaji Mustapha Bukar representing Katsina North and the late Senator Ali Wakili representing Bauchi South. The assembly polls are closely watched across the country, coming at a time senators from Nigeria’s two main political parties, the APC and PDP, are fighting for majority in the senate.
The ruling APC penultimate week, lost 15 Senators who defected to the PDP, raising the number of the opposition party lawmakers in the Red Chamber to 49. The APC has 54.
Last week, the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, also dumped the APC to the PDP, sparking a bitter quarrel over which party should lead the upper legislative house.
The APC senators have vowed that Saraki must vacate the seat, having joined a minority party, while their PDP counter-parts insisted that he must stay, although there was indication that Saraki’s boast over the Senate leadership may be coming to its resting place as PDP senators he banked upon gave their nod for his removal in a tweet by Bayelsa State’s Senator Ben Muray-Bruce.
APC victory at the Saturday by-elections will increase the number of the APC senators to 56, giving them a clear majority which is still short of the constitutionally sanctioned two-third majority to approve constitutional amendment or impeach senate leaders.
According to Daily Trust observation, although results were not officially declared as at the time of filing this report, the APC’s candidate won most of the wards across the Katsina North Senatorial District.
Two brothers of the same father but different mothers, Alhaji Ahmad Babba-Kaita (APC) and Alhaji Kabir Babba-Kaita (PDP), were the frontline contenders in the by-elections. While the APC fed Ahmad Baba-Kaita, the younger brother and currently House of Representatives member, the PDP went ahead and fed his elder brother who is a retired customs officer for the by-election.
In Kankia Local Government, the hometown of the APC and PDP’s candidates, APC’s younger Baba-Kaita defeated his PDP’s elder brother in most of the polling units. At Galadima (A 009), the APC got 176 votes, while the PDP got 36 votes; at Galadima (A 008) the APC got 162 and the PDP got 43 votes only. At Matallawa polling unit, the APC scored 121, while PDP scored 21 votes.
In Zango Local Government, the ruling APC won Kawurin-Kudi and Baragumi polling wards with 243 and 126 votes, respectively, against the 21 and 24 votes scored by the PDP.
Also in Ingawa Local Government, the APC defeated the PDP at Yandoma (A) with 178, as against 40 votes of the PDP, while in Yandoma (B) the APC got 105 and the PDP scored only 17 votes.
In Kusada Local Government, the APC got 258 votes at Kofar Fada polling unit, while the PDP won 38 votes.
In Daura Local Government, the hometown of President Muhammadu Buhari, the APC’s candidate, Alhaji Ahmad Babba-Kaita got 56 votes, against his senior brother of the PDP, Alhaji Kabir Babba Kaita, who scored only seven votes at Sarkin Yara ward (B) located inside the Emir’s Palace.
Speaking when he paid homage to the Emir of Daura, Alhaji Faruk Umar Faruk, the National Commissioner of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Barrister Festus Keyamo, expressed satisfaction with peaceful conduct of the election.
Keyamo, who supervised the election, commended the people of Katsina State for exhibiting high level of maturity during the poll, noting that the peaceful conduct of the election had proven that subsequent elections could also be peaceful.
“I am confident that the 2019 general elections will also be peaceful. If Nigerians can conduct themselves the way electorate conducted themselves today in Katsina, certainly, there is hope that Nigeria can conduct a peaceful and free election in the future.”
However, the state Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Salisu Yusuf Majigiri has accused the APC of buying votes during the election, saying “our agents have reported to us some cases of vote buying by the ruling party.”
Our correspondent, who visited some local governments during poll, observed low turnout during the poll even as election materials arrived polling units in time.
A female voter at Sarkin Yara ward (B) attributed the poor turnout of voters to lack of awareness, noting that “Many women were not aware of the poll. The political parties did not campaign for the election. You can see for yourself, very few women came here for the poll. Had it been the candidates involved in the poll have campaigned rigorously, it will definitely witness a large turnout.”
Results coming in from various polling units across the seven local government areas of Bauchi South Senatorial district by-election, as at the time of going to press, indicated that the ruling APC was having a comfortable lead against other parties.
The party was reportedly leading in Bauchi, Toro, Alkaleri and Kirfi local government areas.
The APC candidate, Lawan Yahaya Gumau won his Dispensary polling unit in Gumau with 107 votes.
Governor Mohammed Abdullahi Abubakar also won his Kofar Galadima polling unit in Bauchi as APC got 235, PDP got 26 while Isah Yuguda of GPN got 107.
The All Progressives Congress (APC), Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Social Democratic Party (SDP), Action Peoples Party (APP), Kowa Party, New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP) Green Party of Nigeria (GPN), People for Democratic Change (PDC) and the African Democratic Congress (ADC) fielded candidates for the Bauchi South Senatorial by-election.
The poll was conducted in Bauchi, Toro, Dass, Tafawa-Balewa, Bogoro, Alkaleri and Kirfi local government areas. (Daily Trust)