The results will not be official before 10 am Sunday, March 24th, 2019 but incumbent governor, Samuel Ortom of Benue State has won in the re-run and, by implication, the overall election in the state. Not only that, the snippets from Makurdi, the Benue State capital, hints that Hon Emmanuel Jime of the APC has called to congratulate Dr. Ortom whose victory must have been the most fought for in the aftermath of a head – on collision with the ruling party, the president and his former godfather, Senator George Akume. He also carried a performance baggage as well as being indebted to civil servants for a year.
All he went to war with is the narrative of ‘the defender of the Benue Valley’ which must have carried him far in the context of a spate of killings broadly understood as an Islamisation and expansionist campaign, an interpretation that sells sweetly in the context of history of power and inter-group relations in Northern Nigeria. The question now is which direction Ortom heads in the aftermath of victory? With Emmanuel Jime, his challenger having quickly congratulated him and, therefore, not hanging on him a court case, is he planning on building on his sobriquet in the direction of a new Joseph Tarka or moving farther and farther into theological sophism?
The re-run in Benue State was mired by violence. Professor (Mrs) Comfort Dooshima Tuluen, the Collation Officer for Gboko Local Government Council in the Governorship Election as well as another Collation Officer are both in hospital after being shot at by armed men at Tarka in Tarka Local Government Council. The unnamed Collation Officer is from the University of Agriculture, Makurdi. The Independent National Electoral Commission, (INEC) has appointed Dr. Joseph Mom from the University of Agriculture, Makurdi to take the place of Prof Tuluen in the meantime. That is what Dr. Nentawe Yilwatda, Resident Electoral Commissioner for Benue State said in a press statement.
Thugs invading polling units, snatching ballot boxes or disrupting voting were common in places such as Azendeshi Ward in Ukum LGC or Yanwe Ward in Kwande LGA or Mballagh Ward, near the Army Barrack in North Bank, Makurdi or IJHBAN Ward in Ado LGC where some five persons armed with pistols were grabbed and detained by the police and the army, amongst others.
From Sokoto, the results from Kware and Tureta Local Government Areas showed the incumbent, Aminu Tambuwal leading very comfortably. In Tureta, for example, the PDP of which he is the flag bearer got 238 votes as against the 56 of the APC. This was as at 11. 00 pm Saturday. The re-run in Bauchi appears to be following that way too. It is only Kano where the PDP has rejected the re-run after observing that imported thugs stole the show. Some section of the civil society is making the same demand and a return to the status quo, another way of saying the PDP candidate be declared winner.
It seems all quiet from Plateau State as at the time of reporting where General Jeremiah Oseni of the PDP is fighting to dislodge the incumbent, Simon Lalong. Similarly, there is also nothing categorical from Adamawa State, another big battleground, being the home state of presidential challenger, Atiku Abubakar of the PDP.