The battle for the political control of Kano State in Nigeria’s North-West geopolitical zone between the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP) has been settled with the declaration of NNPP’s Yusuf Kabir as the governor-elect.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Monday morning declared Kabir the winner of the keenly contested March 18 poll.
Kabir scored 1,019,602 votes to defeat his closest contender, Nasir Gawuna of the APC who polled 890,705 votes.
“That Yusuf Kabir of NNPP having satisfied the requirement of the law is hereby declared the winner and is returned elected,” the Returning Officer, Prof Ahmad Ibrahim declared.
The two main contestants were backed by political gladiators in the state which boasts of high numerical and voter strength. Kabir was backed by former Kano governor and NNPP presidential candidate, Rabiu Kwankwaso who has a “cult-like” following in Kano with his socio-political and religious movement known as the Kwankwasiyya.
On the other hand, Gawuna was endorsed by the incumbent governor and APC powerbroker, Abdullahi Ganduje whose two-term of eight years ends on May 29, 2023.
For years, Ganduje and Kwankwaso have remained arch-political rivals over the control of Nigeria’s unarguably most populated state with a commensurate number of voters, the highest nationwide.
In the February 25 presidential poll, Kwankwaso won in 38 of the 44 local government areas in Kano with a total of 997,279 votes while APC’s Bola Tinubu won in the remaining six local governments with 517,341 votes. He, however, came a distant fourth in the poll won by Tinubu, a former governor of Lagos State.
Interestingly, Ganduje was Kwankwaso’s deputy when the latter was governor from 2011 May to May 2015 before they fell apart after the 2015 elections which saw the emergence of Ganduje as governor. Before then, Kwankwaso was also Kano’s governor from 1999 to 2003.
Meanwhile, the Kano State Government has imposed a dawn-to-dusk curfew to avoid a breakdown of law and order, following tensions generated from the collation of results of the governorship and state Assembly elections.
Officially, eight of the 11 governors who sought reelection in the March 18 polls held across Nigeria in West Africa have been declared winners by INEC to return to office for another four-year term each.
They are Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State, Governor Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State, Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State, Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq of Kwara State, Governor Inuwa Yahaya of Gombe State, Governor Abdullahi Sule of Nasarawa State, Governor Bala Mohammed of Bauchi State and Governor Mai Mala Buni of Yobe State.
Also, five newcomers have won governorship elections in the country including Kabir. Others are Umo Eno in Akwa Ibom State, Umar Namadi in Jigawa State, Dikko Radda in Katsina State, and Ahmed Aliyu Sokoto in Sokoto State.
Of the 13 winners declared so far in the March 18 governorship poll, nine of them belong to the ruling party, the APC, three are members of the PDP and one is a member of the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP). The election in Kebbi was declared inconclusive by the electoral body.
Of the 28 states, 11 serving governors sought reelection while 17 outgoing governors are in the final weeks of their constitutional two-term limits of eight years, having been sworn in on May 29, 2015.