The result of the Saturday’s presidential and National Assembly elections sprang surprises from across the country. Adamawa State was a particularly interesting because it was one state that the media and politicians were particularly interested in. It is the home state of the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). It is also a state President Muhammadu Buhari could claim because apart from the fact that his wife, Aisha, hails from there, he has personal ties with the people. The secretary to the government of the federation, Boss Mustapha is also from the state.
The president has also etched the memory of his administration across the width and breadth of the state. A number of federal government projects are either completed or ongoing, including interstate roads that were hitherto abandoned.
And even before his ascension to power, President Buhari had a support base in Adamawa State. That electrifying support at the grassroots has kept the Buhari phenomenon alive through the years.
However, the PDP and its candidate, Atiku Abubakar, were no small challenge to whatever pedigree President Buhari has in Adamawa. Atiku was vice president for eight years and his party, the PDP, has ruled Adamawa for most of the last 20 years, making it a strong platform. It was therefore a tough scenario at the polls.
Aside that, as a son of the soil, Atiku wanted to win the state with landslide to make a political statement. He showed strong determination to achieve that by ensuring regular visits and huge logistical support prior and during the elections.
But as the results from polling units began trickling in on Saturday, the fog began to clear. It emerged that Adamawa people were ready to go to the next level with President Muhammadu Buhari, despite the fact that their son was on the ballot. That was evident in the result for Atiku’s polling unit in Ajiya ward, where Buhari won.
Though the PDP won with a 30,000 votes margin in the state’s final tally, its candidate lost from the polling unit to the ward, local government and even the senatorial zone, Adamawa Central. The result from Yola North, which is where Atiku resides and votes, showed a difference of over 16,000 votes, with Buhari polling 34,534 ahead of Atiku’s 20,414.
On a comparative scale, Atiku performed rather dismally when compared to the results in Buhari’s home-state of Katsina, where there was a clear margin of almost a million vote. Atiku garnered less than 20 per cent of the total votes with his 308,056 votes, a far cry from Buhari’s 1,232,133 votes.
The performance of Buhari in Adamawa, against all odds, is thanks to a number of factors, chief among which is the people who opted to go with credibility ahead of blood ties. It is also a demonstration of the assiduous work of a number of close associates and admirers from across the state, including the SGF, Boss Mustapha, Director, field operations in the APC campaign directorate, Nuhu Ribadu, among others, who not only delivered their immediate domains, but worked hard to turn in the state for the president.
The SGF is a grassroots politician with political records dating back to 1988. He rose to political reckoning from his Karewa ward in Jimeta, Yola, from where he was elected into the Constituent Assembly which produced the 1989 constitution. He came back to head the (then) Gongola State chapter of the Social Democratic Party (SDP). By 1991, he emerged as the party’s candidate for the newly created Adamawa State.
It was therefore no surprise that a politician with such pedigree would deliver his polling unit, his ward, and his local government with a significant margin for the president. At Boss Mustapha’s polling unit 009 Government House Gate, Buhari scored 216 votes to edge Atiku 196. At the ward and local government levels it was equally a clean sweep, with Yola North giving Buhari 43,865 ahead of Atiku’s 27,789.
The results from different parts of the state represented shades of opinions and choices with the president getting big in some areas and less in others. It is therefore commendable that the APC gave Atiku a good run for his money in his own state. Overall, the result from Adamawa showed that the people appreciate President Buhari’s good standing and that they also appreciate his work in infrastructure and honour to their sons through various appointments.
Seen from the perspective of the freely and peacefully conducted elections in Adamawa, like in most parts of the country, the re-election of President Muhamamdu Buhari is a renewal of a covenant. Nigerians have renewed their faith in a man they trust, one that is upright, honest and sincere.
The renewed mandate is also indicative of our maturing democratic culture, with power now in the hands of the people, not moneybags or godfathers. It is a victory for democracy.
Mustapha, a political analyst, wrote this piece from Barracks Road, Jimeta.