By Moses Obajemu & Hope Ikwe, Jos
- Lagos, Rivers, Kano, Delta, Abia, Kaduna punching below their weights
As the results of last Saturday’s gubernatorial election held in 29 states of the federation began to trickle in, the imperative for the elected and re-elected governors of Lagos, Rivers, Kano, Delta and Abia states to prioritise the economic self sufficiency of their states as well as work to enhance the economic well-being of their people began to resonate yesterday.
Lagos State, with an economy larger than those of some five West African countries put together, needs to rise to the occasion by applying the state resources in a transparent and development oriented manner. For its mega city status, yet with a chaotic transport system, Babajide Sanwoolu, the newly elected governor of the state, must seek to develop a more efficient transport system for the over 17 million residents of the state.
Roads, education, medicare and other social services must also be given adequate attention by the new government. Projects such as the expansive road and rail works started by former governor Babatunde Fashola to open up the Badagry axis must be prioritized and completed. Not a few believe for the size of its economy, its population and the revenues it generates, Lagos has been underperforming. Although often wrongly measured against other states in the country, its governments have taken a lot for granted and its opaque contracting system and public information hoarding has meant that its citizens are getting shortchanged in so many ways.
Rivers, which houses many oil businesses and allied industries must create a conducive atmosphere for business to thrive. If peace reigns, investors will be willing to invest in the state. Governor Nyesome Wike has done a lot in the area of infrastructure. He must work on improving on security in the state.
For the reelected Governor Ikpeazu of Abia, focus has to be on providing SME-friendly policies to enable the numerous entrepreneurs in the Aba axis to flourish. Small and low interest loans to these crop of entrepreneurs will help improve their business and increase the state’s taxable income.
Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta who is presiding over another oil-rich state must address the problem of unrest in the riverine areas of the state and continue with his job creation scheme. With the talent in the state and the propensity of the people to manage their businesses, he must come up with policies that will empower them economically.
Dapo Abiodun the APC candidate who won in Ogun State, must take advantage of the economic assets of the state and its proximity to Lagos to make Ogun business-friendly. As a businessman, his experience in the private sector will come in handy such that Ogun will continue to survive without total reliance on federal allocation.
Meanwhile, some official results of last Saturday’s gubernatorial elections in the 29 states of the federation have been announced by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). In one of the early results announced by INEC on Sunday, Abudlrahman Abdulrazak, the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate in Kwara state was declared winner and elected by INEC. He polled 331, 146 to defeat Razak Atunwa of the PDP who polled 114,754 votes.
In Lagos State, out of the results of 15 local government areas so far announced by INEC, APC’s candidate for the gubernatorial election, Babajide Sanwoolu, was in the lead ahead of Jimi Agbaje of the PDP.
According to INEC, Sanwoolu defeated his closest rival and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, Agbaje, in the Epe, Ikorodu, Ibeju-Lekki, Ikeja, Lagos Island and Lagos Mainland Local Government Areas (LGAs). Other local governments where the APC led are Agege, Apapa, Amuwo-Odofin, Oshodi-Isolo, Mushin, Kosofe, Somolu, Eti-Osa and Surulere.
In Kaduna State, Governor Nasir El Rufai won in two out of the four local government results declared by yesterday afternoon.
His opponent, PDP’s Isa Ashiru also won in two. El Rufai won Kudan and Maikarfi councils, while Ashiru won in Kaura and Jaba.
Katsina State Governor, Aminu Masari, of the All Progressive Congress had won in all three local government election results announced yesterday afternoon by the Independent National Electoral Commission.
In the results announced on Sunday by the State Returning Officer, Abdullahi Zuru, the APC scored 22,482 votes in Dutsi Local Government Area, while the Peoples Democratic Party came second with 10,564. The PDP’s candidate is Yakubu Lado-Danmarke. In Matazu LG, Masari got 28,253 votes while Lado-Danmarke scored 10,327. The APC also won in Sandamu LG with 32,193 votes and the PDP, 11,912.
The gubernatorial and state houses of assembly elections left in their trails fatalities, high voter apathy, violence and system hitches which commentators and election observers have described as worrisome and a throw back to the dark days of democratic suppression.
Unlike the February 23, presidential and national assembly elections which witnessed massive turnout of voters, the gubernatorial and state assembly elections were marred by national voter apathy and low turnout.
The situation was so bad that some private individuals had to go round their neighbourhoods to call people out to vote.
The Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room attributed the low turnout to what it described as the excessive and heavy deployment of military and security personnel for the elections, which created fear in citizens. The group also talked about concerns over the neutrality of the security personnel.
Addressing a press conference in Abuja yesterday, Convener of the Civil Society Situation Room, Clement Nwankwo, said there was evidence of low voter turnout in many parts of country.
Nwankwo stated, “At the time of writing this statement, there is evidence of low voter turnout. The low turnout of voters can only be attributed to two factors – voter apathy arising from the effect of the disappointment of citizens over poor conduct of the February 23 Presidential and National Assembly elections and the excessive and heavy deployment of military and security personnel for the elections, that has now created fear in the citizenry, including concerns over the neutrality of these security personnel and, indeed, the integrity of the electoral process.”
In Jos, Plateau State, there was a general voter apathy. Despite the timely arrival of INEC officials, electoral materials and early start of the exercise there was a general low turn out as voters voted almost immediately they arrived unlike the presidential election where people had to go to their polling unit before dawn and completed voting late in the evening.
Aminu Mohammed Assistant Presiding Officer III at 023c polling unit at Old Government House Rayfield similarly stated that “ we started at 8:00 am, there was no shortage of materials but the turn out is some how poor”.
Chinto Ishiaku a voter at the polling unit in Old Government House Rayfield also said that “ the turn out is low because people feel disconnected from the system that their vote will not count . But we are encouraging people to come out and vote”.
The Independent National Electoral Commission INEC has officially released results from seven local government areas out of the 17 local government areas of the state.
In Jos East, APC polled 18,602 votes, PDP 7, 994 , ANN 39 and ADP 39. In Kanke, APC got 23, 360 votes, PDP 22,831, ADP 313, ANN 23 and SDP 23 votes.
PDP clinched 40, 519=286 votes in Langtang North where Jeremiah Useni, candidate of PDP hails from, APC 18,979, ANN 21, ADP 286 and SDP 104.
In Barkin Ladi , PDP polled 44, 233, APC17,039, ANN 77, SDP 19, and ADP 57. Results from one polling unit was however cancelled in Barkin Ladi.
In Bokkos APC got 26,219 votes, PDP 25,363 and ADP got 164 votes. Results from five Polling Units were canceled in Bokkos local government area.
In Bassa Local government area, APC got 29,401, PDP 32,825, ADC 34 and ADP 34 In Mikang, APC polled 15,150 votes, PDP 11,703, ADC 24 and ADP 22 votes.