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SURPRISES, SHOCKS FROM GUBER RACE

By NBF News
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The 2011 elections started with great surprises and have ended the same way. When on April 9, the doors of the polling stations were thrown open for casting of ballots, what followed were landmark surprises as the results rolled in.

In the first election, almost every former governor that contested the senatorial seats lost to greenhorns, a shock that made many believe that something different had started happening.

With a major opposition candidate at the presidential election winning in as many as 16 states with over 12 million votes, there were signs that things are happening the way they never did.

The surprise spree was stretched to the guber elections this week. And with the way the elections started on a shaky note that caused a stretch into this week, the surprises and what Nigerians have assessed as fair and credible polls were not essentially the major expectations.

But in so many ways, the elections threw up shocks and jolts here and everywhere never witnessed in Nigeria.

CPC loss
When the presidential election result was out, the performance of Gen. Muhammadu Buhari of the CPC sent a signal that the party had arrived for a real take on the ruling party as formidable opposition.

The party had clinched about six senatorial seats and up to 33 House of Representatives slots prior to the presidential polls. With over 12 million votes in the presidential candidate's kitty, the coast seemed clear for CPC to form so many state governments. But as an election so used to surprises, as at Thursday the party had managed in a narrow victory to clinch the governorship slot of one state - Nasarawa.

It was another upturn that showed that the voting pattern of Nigerians today would be on the personality and not the party.

If Buhari's victory were to be translated into guber victories, the party was expected to have won in those states the party excelled at the presidential polls. Surprisingly, Kano, where Buhari had the highest number of votes voted a PDP guber candidate, Katsina, his home state went for a PDP governor again while Zamfara, another stronghold state of Buhari lost to ANPP. In Sokoto where there was no guber election, but won by Buhari in the presidential race, PDP took all the state Assembly slots.

Defeating sitting governors
Before the election results of Delta State were announced, the tension was high that the governor, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan might lose to the DPP challenger, Great Ogboru. But at last Uduaghan clinched victory. But that was not the case with Christopher Adebayo Alao-Akala, the Oyo State governor who lost to the ACN candidate.

In Nasarawa, the same feat was repeated as Governor Akwe Doma lost to the CPC challenger and also in Zamfara State where Mahmuda Shinkafi lost to his son in-law who contested on the platform of the ANPP.

The case in Imo State is so uncertain that the rumour says if Rochas Okorocha of the APGA does not win, the people will reject the result. While the state was awaiting the outcome of the election in the LGAs that were omitted, the results that had been released already claimed that Okorocha was leading the governor, Ikedi Ohakim.

Before now, it never happened where a sitting governor lost a re-election bid in Nigeria. But with the outcome of the polls this time, the current of political change indicates that votes were actually cast and counted without inducement or hitches.

Other surprises
During the electioneering, a former minister, Jubril Martins-Kuye of the PDP in Ogun State and the guber candidate, Chief Tunji Olurin had beaten their chests that they would send the governor, Gbenga Daniel to jail on assumption of power.

Their confidence was that with the Nigeria's usual style - PDP's clout and Obasanjo's backing Olurin was already sure of victory like the coming of tomorrow.

When the voters did their job and elected whom they wanted, the plans perished. Such has been the development in many states. In Kwara, many dismissed the governor, Bukola Saraki as pretending to be fighting his family members - father and sister who flew the flag of the ACPN.

But from the National Assembly polls and the guber race, the opposite was the case as PDP won convincingly and Gbemi Saraki coming a distant third after ACN.

ACN hurricane
Like a wildfire in harmattan, the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) has been unstoppable in the South West. It started the foray before the elections when it won some states through the tribunals. The two remaining states that looked insurmountable were easily taken this week as it swept through Oyo and Ogun without resistance. It has stretched its strong opposition to the control of six states, all in the South West but for Edo.

Since 1999 that is the farthest any opposition party ever went against the titanic PDP. In 1999, ANPP had about four or five states, which they lost in quick succession to the inroad of the PDP.

Right now, with close to 20 senators, up to 40 House members and six state governors, ACN has translated to a great force of opposition in the nation's politics.