Yobe state since 1999 to 2015 has been ruled by the opposition political party, hence parting ways with the then ruling party, despite several strategies adopted to force the state to fall in line has proved abortive.
The 2015 general elections saw the state for the first time being ruled by the political party at the centre, the APC, an opposition party formed from the merger of three political parties, namely: ANPP, CPC and ACN.
The All Progressives Congress (APC) in Yobe is enjoying the already established support, loyalty and structure by the defunct ANPP as this was evident in the 2015 general elections as the party won the presidential and the governorship elections in addition to winning 5 out 6 Federal House Representatives seats, 2 out of 3 Senatorial seats and 23 out of the 24 state assembly seats, while the opposition PDP won 1 Senatorial seat, 1 House of Representative seat as well as 1 State assembly seat, though the member later defected to the ruling party.
With this, it is audible to the deaf and visible to the blind that, the ruling APC may likely maintain its dominance as regards the upcoming Presidential/National Assembly elections as well as other elections scheduled to hold on February 16th, and March 2nd.
Repeatedly, APC chieftains in the state had boasted in several campaign rallies that, ‘Yobe state is a no go area for PDP”. They (chieftains) in most cases buttressed their claims with the unprecedented turnout of the party’s supporters, stalwarts, chieftains, and admirers who on the 21st of January, 2019 received president Muhammadu Buhari in Damaturu and pledged their total support for his reelection bid and their unflinching support to the candidacy of all APC candidates in the state.
Yobe state in 2015 had given President Buhari 98% of its total votes despite his inability to visit the state for a presidential rally, this means that PDP got only 2% of the votes cast for the presidential election.
The current campaign trail of the APC which is visiting local government areas of the state is a clear indication that the party has maintained its relevance considering the mammoth crowd it is pulling when compared to the PDP campaign rallies in the state and the assurances that the potential voters are given to the campaigners is that, this time around, Buhari will get 100% of their votes and that their voting patterns would be from top to bottom as President Buhari instructed them.
The several claims made by the APC chieftains to deliver the state to Muhammadu Buhari in 2019 and to win all elections in landslide victory just like in the previous polls, may not be realistic as it seems, as the PDP in the state are also re-strategising to deliver the state to its candidate, Atiku Abubakar.
The massive turnout of electorate at the PDP presidential rally in the state on the 6th of February, 2019 indicated that the Presidential candidate on the platform of PDP may get a considerable number of voters from the 1.3 million voters who may participate in the election. Though the crowd that the rally pulled statistically was one third (1/3) of that APC presidential campaign, it is considered by many as impressive considering that the state is one of the strongholds of APC in the northeast region.
Buhari or Atiku?
This was the question that was put before some potential voters in an opinion poll conducted randomly in the state. The result showed that majority of the respondents were confident that Buhari will certainly emerge victorious in the presidential election due to his ‘integrity, honesty, incorruptibility and selfless service’ to the country.
Mustapha Mohammed, a cobbler was among respondents who have given the presidential election to Buhari, when he said ” from what I can tell , Muhammadu Buhari has won the election, because, he is a man full of integrity more than Atiku.
“I am confident that after his reelection as president for the second term, Buhari will stabilize the country for the better”.
Adamu Garba, another respondent was also emphatic that Buhari will win Yobe state with 90% of the total votes.
“I am going to vote for Buhari come Saturday 16th February, because of the improvement in all sectors of the nation’s economy. In fact, Buhari’s 3 years in office is better that PDP’s 16 years,” he fanatically said.
The response is the same with Ahmad Mohammad Atiku where he gave Buhari 99% chances of winning in the state, while that of Atiku is1% according to him.
Ridwanu Ibrahim was also quick to say that Buhari without an iota of doubt will not only win in Yobe state but all states of the federation.
However, Ibrahim Suleiman Adamu, a laundry operator holds a different view as regards who will win the presidential race come Saturday where he said Buhari has failed to fulfil the promises he had made to Nigerians in 2015.
“Buhari, during his election campaigns in 2015 decried that, we are being cheated for buying a litre of petrol N87, instead of him to slash the price downwards when he became the president, he increased the price to N145/N143 as a result of subsidy removal”. Adamu said.
To Adamu, Buhari does not deserve his vote for the second term as things during the last three and half years were no longer what they were, saying he reserved his vote for Atiku while hoping that his favourite presidential candidate will get 80% of votes from Yobe state.
Looking at the outcome of the opinion poll, indices and indicators have shown that President Muhammadu Buhari will win Yobe state in a landslide.
Most of these respondents interviewed felt that President Buhari’s proven integrity is incomparable with the other presidential candidates, Atiku Abubakar inclusive. And that, Buhari’s achievements especially in the areas of security, fighting corruption, provision of critical infrastructure and social amenities and youth empowerment among others across length and breadth of the country are worthy of commendations.
Yobe state is the second worst hit by the activities of Boko Haram insurgents. For now, 14 out of the 17 LGAs area relatively peaceful. Gaidam, Gubja and Gulani LGAs are the flashpoints in the state. This is due to pockets of attacks in especially Gaidam and Gujba in recent times.
INEC had recently said it is considering the possibilities of relocating some polling units in Gaidam and Gujba to a more safer ground due to the prevailing security challenges in those areas, saying that the decision will only be taken with the consent of all critical stakeholders. This decision has not yet been taken, three days to the elections.
There is no doubt that, the 2019 general elections in Yobe state will be conducted under heavy security to forestall any possible security breach prior, during and after the elections.