Tuesday, April 28, 2015

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A Realigning Election?

A regional assessment of currently declared seats in the Nigerian National Assembly.
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Nigeria's National Assembly

While results for the National Assembly elections continue to be announced, and debated, key trends can be identified. The ANPP has clearly lost several seats: in 2007, the number of seats it held in both houses was second only to the PDP. This year, its pillars of electoral support - the north-east and Kano State - seem to have eroded away, though not completely. In contrast, the ACN has proved that its popularity, particularly in the south-west, has risen sharply since 2007, when it won only six out of 109 Senate seats and 32 out of 360 seats in the House of Representatives. The rise of opposition parties, such as the ACN and CPC, has come at the price of the PDP's total dominance.


The region has so far maintained its close links with the PDP. Its Senate votes are currently shared (unevenly) between the PDP and the ANPP, the latter gaining seats only in Yobe and Borno. While the votes for the House of Representatives echo this trend, growing support for the CPC is also evident.

  • Borno State: The 2007 elections saw Borno elect an ANPP senator in all three of its districts. This year, however, the PDP has won in two of its districts - Borno Central and Borno South - reflecting a general trend away from the ANPP, a party that has lost significant ground in these National Assembly elections. The political sympathies of Borno State are also reflected in their votes for the lower house: four members of House of Representatives were elected from the PDP, and just one from the ANPP.
  • Adamawa State: While it voted for three PDP senators, its votes for the lower house are less clear-cut. The PDP won three seats, the ACN two, and the CPC one, making this state's House of Representatives votes one of the most divided in Nigeria.
  • Yobe State: One of the few states where ANPP candidates have proved to be popular. The ANPP now holds all three districts for the Senate, gaining the seat of Adamu Garba Talba's (PDP) in Yobe South, and holding five House of Representatives seats. Yobe State, so far, represents the strongest show of support for the ANPP.


The PDP has seen its support in the north-west challenged by the CPC, a shift that was expected. The PDP still holds the majority of the regions seats in both the upper and lower houses, but it is evident that the electoral campaigns of the CPC have been at least partly successful.

  • Kaduna State: Last election, all three senatorial districts voted for PDP candidates. So far, Mohammed Kabiru Jibril (PDP) has lost his seat in Kaduna Central to Gen Mohammed Saleh, the CPC senatorial candidate. Another PDP seat is also far from stable: the ACN has firmly rejected the results of Kaduna South, which gave a resounding majority to Esther Nenadi Usman, the PDP candidate. Interestingly, the House of Representatives vote gave seven seats to the CPC, and just three to the PDP.
  • Katsina State: A major shift has taken place in this state. All three of the PDP's senatorial seats have been lost to the CPC, demonstrating the latter's rapid rise in parts of north-west Nigeria. Katsina's House of Representatives votes also points to a change in the state's political allegiances, with 12 seats going to the CPC, compared with two won by the PDP.


According to the most recent results update, the region clearly continues to be a PDP banker.

  • Imo State: Currently at the centre of debates about the election's reliability. Imo West and North both voted for PDP candidates, while Chris Anyanwu of the APGA won in Imo East. The PDP, however, has disputed the East's results, while Comus Iwu, ACN's senatorial candidate in Imo North, has urged INEC to cancel the results, citing political violence, oppression, fraud, and rigging as reasons.


Predicted support for the PDP has been aptly demonstrated, at least by the official results. The evident attraction to the ACN in Edo State, however, is a challenge to the PDP's hegemony in the region. The legitimacy of the PDP's seats will also continue to be debated: the states of Delta and Bayelsa topped the list for ballot snatching.

  • Edo State: In 2007, it elected three PDP senators. This year, Edo North and Edo South have both elected ACN senators, Domingo Alaba Obende and Ehigie Uzamere respectively. Odion Ugbesia, the incumbent PDP senator for Edo Central, managed to hold onto his seat. Going against the grain of the region's voting patterns, it is also the only state in south-south to give the majority of its lower house votes to the CPC: seven seats will now be given to the CPC, and just two will be allocated to the PDP.
  • Bayelsa State: The home state of President Jonathan (PDP), it has performed as expected: three PDP senators for three senatorial districts. However, according to INEC, Bayelsa had the second most incidences of ballot box snatching, after Delta State, in the National Assembly elections, triggering uproar from the opposition parties.


As expected, the south-west was where the PDP performed worst, losing almost all of its senatorial seats; its votes for the lower house were only marginally better. The ACN, previously strong only in Lagos State, now has almost a clean-sweep in the region, in both of the legislative houses. The region's results can be seen as a major political realignment.

  • Ondo State: All three PDP seats in the Senate were lost to Labour Party candidates, the only state that has declared any senatorial seats for Labour. Similarly, the House of Representatives will see eight seats given to Labour, and only one to the PDP.
  • Ogun State: Again, the PDP has been pushed out of both the state's upper and lower house seats. Ogun State's legislative representatives are now wholly from the ACN, as are those of Lagos State and Osun State. The clear voting preferences of Ogun State have resulted in the speaker of the House of Representatives, Dimeji Bankole of the PDP, losing his seat.
  • Oyo State: Here the results are slightly less one-sided, though the message to the PDP is still clear. The party, formerly holding all three senatorial seats, now only has one - Agbola Hosea Ayoola from Oyo North - having lost the other two seats to the ACN. The state's votes for the lower house reflect a move away from the PDP, but also point to doubts about the can; lower house seats are now split almost evenly between the PDP, ACN, and the Accord Party (the only state to have any Accord Party representatives in the legislative chambers).
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