ALLEGATION OF RIGGING AGAINST ME FRIVOLOUS - SANKARA
Dr. Danladi Sankara is the new Senator-elect for Jigawa/North West. In his interaction with the media, he offered his side of the story over allegations of rigging levelled against him by former governor Alhaji Ibrahim Saminu Turaki.
Dr. Sankara, who is the immediate past National Vice chairman of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the North-West, also answered questions on his vision for his people, and other topical issues. Excerpts.
You have been declared the winner, how would you react to your victory?
Glory be to Almighty Allah for His blessings which made it possible for me to win the election. First of all, I see my victory as a victory for democracy, a victory for the wishes and aspirations of the people, as well as victory for progress.
Secondly, you could remember that the last time we had an interview, I told you that I am in the race to win, and by the special grace of God through the power of the people, that has come to be.
My first response is that personally, I see my victory as a challenge bearing in mind that I have to start all over again to provide credible and rewarding representation for the people of the 12 local government areas that constitute the Jigawa North-west Senatorial constituency, in the National Assembly. Honestly, in the past 12 years of this democracy, my constituency has nothing to show in terms of quality representation. My mission is to change the trend for the better, so that my people can get a credible voice in the National Assembly to attract meaningful development to the entire constituency.
But your main opponent, former Governor Turaki and some members of the opposing are picking holes in your election.
They are insisting that the process was rigged in your favour by the powers that be.
The allegation of rigging made by the opposition is frivolous, unfounded and it lacked basis in truth and reality. In fact, if there was any incident of rigging, it was the Saminu Turaki group who attempted to perpetrate such evil. But the people, in this case, the voters, were very vigilant and hence, they refused to allow them to manipulate the process. That is why they lost the election and are now shedding crocodile tears.
As journalists, you monitored the election. The process was so transparent that everyone freely expressed their minds in the ballot boxes. So, how come the allegation of rigging by a candidate that was more a liability to the collective will of the people.
Therefore, it is ridiculous and bereft of logical common sense for anyone that was roundly defeated at the polls to turn round to allege rigging. Which rigging?
Your opponent, at a press conference faulted the process at two local government areas where he claimed that the results came last, saying that it was the votes from the two places that were rigged. What do you say to that?
That again has proved that the opposition and their party have no case. We have 12 local government areas in Jigawa North-west. I won clearly in ten local government areas with half of the total votes cast in the remaining two local government areas. Then, how come votes of only two local governments can supersede those of 10 other local governments. In fact, there is no sense in the allegation
What was the breakdown of the result of the election in Jigawa North-west?
The Returning Officer of Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, for the senatorial district, who announced the results on Sunday, April 10, at Gumel gave the cumulative breakdown as follows; Ibrahim Saminu Turaki of ACN, scored 148,595 votes; Muhammad Nasiru Kiri of ANPP scored 20,744 votes; Muhammad D. Alkali of CPC scored 42,237 votes; Danladi Abdullahi Sankara of PDP scored 195,412 votes while Alhaji Shehu Suleiman of MPPP scored 2,658 votes.
Based on these figures, I, Dr. Sankara of PDP emerged winner of the election having satisfied the requirements of the law, and scored the highest number of votes and returned elected as Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. That is the end of the matter.
Let me clarify this point in Jigawa North-west, the total registered votes were 688,439, the valid votes were 409,647, the total votes rejected at the polls were 5 and the votes cast were 462, 763.
Are you not afraid that your victory could be challenged in court by the opposition who feel that they were actually short-changed?
My friends, the truth is that you cannot beat somebody hands down, and then turn round to stop him from crying. They are free to go to court, let us meet at the temple of justice, which is the court. Even though. it is clear that their action if ever taken to face the law, would end up as a waste of time. If you think you can deceive yourself, you cannot stampede the Honourable judges to join in the deceit by presenting a frivolous case.
There was also this grave allegation of voters collecting bribes to exercise their franchise. What is the truth of the matter?
The candidates making such allegation are the ones who probably bribed the voters. By the way, how can you bribe close to 200,000 people to secure their votes. From where do you start? On a serious note, it is an insult on the good people of Jigawa North-west for anyone to insinuate that they have to collect money to influence their votes.
Our people are very sensitive. The moment you attempt to bribe them, then, you are finished.
With the declaration of the results, what should the people of Jigawa North-west expect from you at the Senate?
Thank you very much, my people are very conversant with my track record. I pledge quality legislation that should impact positively on the lives of the people. I will work even harder to ensure that dividends of democracy become visible in every corner of the 12 local government areas. I will protect and project the best interest of Jigawa State and the Nigerian nation at all times.