In every election in Nigeria as well as worldwide, political parties and their gladiators usually boast of victory but at the end of the polls, the winners and the losers emerge.
In just concluded the 2019 general election, the surprises that came with it have continued to remain the topic of discourse among political pundits in Nigeria.
The 2019 general election did not only come with surprises but the most shocking was the collapse of some powerful ‘godfathers’ who were defeated at the poll by supposed political lightweights.
Another shocking event that happened during the 2019 election was the total defeat suffered by all the senators that defected from the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) alongside with the former Senate president, Bukola Saraki, to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
According to Legit, “analysis some of the big losers and winners during the 2019 general election:
1. Bukola Saraki , former senate president
Before his eventual defeat on February 23, the former Senate president, Bukola Saraki, was a strong man and godfather of Kwara politics.
He was the governor of the state between 2003 and 2011 before he was elected to represent Kwara Central at the Senate on the platform of the PDP.
He got his re-election into the Senate in 2015 after his defection from the PDP with other governors of the party to join hands with the then Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) and others to form APC.
Saraki irked the anger of the leadership of the party when he connived with some senators elected on the platform of PDP in 2015 and became the Senate president against the choice of the party’s candidate – Ahmad Lawan, who is the current Senate president.
His betrayal of the party at the national level sparked crisis in his state as members vowed that they would resist his dominance of Kwara politics.
Saraki’s defection alongside other former senators to PDP some months to 2019 general election nailed his political coffin in the state.
This action led to ‘Oto gee’ – Enough is enough revolution in Kwara state.
He was booed by the people of the state on several occasions, an action that signaled his total rejection by the political class in the state.
On February 23, Saraki’s political influence and dominance were suppressed as he was roundly defeated by the candidate of APC, Ibrahim Oloriegbe, in his bid for re-election into the Senate from Kwara central.
Oloriegbe polled a total of 123,808 votes to defeat Saraki who scored 68,994 votes in the four local governments of Kwara central senatorial district. In Ilorin West, Saraki’s stronghold, Oloriegbe polled 51,531 votes while the former Senate president 30,075 votes.
The election has, however, sacked Saraki from political space in Nigeria. Only time will tell if the medical doctor turned politician would bounce back in 2023.
2. Godswill Akpabio, Former Akwa-Ibom State governor
The former governor of Akwa Ibom state, Godswill Akpabio, who defected to the ruling APC some months before the election, lost his bid to go back to the Senate to the candidate of PDP, Chris Ekpenyong.
Before his defection, he was the political godfather in the oil-rich state of Akwa Ibom, where he served twice as governor.
The PDP candidate got 118,215 votes to defeat Akpabio who got 83,158 votes.
The former Senate minority leader lost his bid to further represent Akwa Ibom Northwest senatorial district in the National Assembly.
He was later made the minister of Niger Delta Affairs by President Muhammadu Buhari as a compensation for his defeat.
3. Rabiu Kwankwaso, former Kano State governor
Although the former governor of Kano and political godfather in the state, Rabiu Kwankwaso, did not seek re-election during the 2019 general election, all the candidates he supported were defeated.
He was a dominant figure in Nigeria’s most populous state for the last two decades and his Kwankwasiyya political group has a large following not only in Kano but in other parts of northern Nigeria.
It is his second blow in recent times – he tried to secure the PDP ticket last year to run for president but lost out to Atiku Abubakar.
The 62-year-old had defected to the PDP after falling out with his former ally and successor, Governor Umar Ganduje.
4. George Akume , former Benue State governor
Former Benue state governor and former lawmaker who represented Benue Northwest senatorial district, George Akume, surprisingly lost his bid to return to the Senate for the fourth time.
Akume, the candidate of APC, was defeated by Orker Jev, the PDP candidate and a former member of the House of Representatives.
Jev polled 157,726 to defeat Akume who polled 115,422 votes.
Akume fell out with the state governor, Samuel Ortom, in 2018 when some communities of the state were ravaged by suspected herdsmen.
5. Shehu Sani , former senator
The activist turned politician, Shehu Sani, defected from the ruling APC to Peoples Redemption Party (PRP) when he could not get APC ticket for the second term.
The APC candidate and ally of Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna state, Mallam Uba Sani, defeated Sani and others to win Kaduna Central election on Saturday, February 23.
While Malam Uba Sani, who was a former adviser to El-Rufai on political matters, polled 355,242 votes, his closest rival, Lawal Adamu of the PDP, scored 195,497 votes and Shehu Sani scored 70,613 votes.
6. Dino Melaye, former Senator
The former controversial senator who was recently defeated during rerun in Kogi West by the candidate of APC, Smart Adeyemi, defied odds on February 23, to come out victorious in the election.
He defected with Saraki and others to PDP in 2018 and he became the last man standing among the defectors to PDP who did not lose his senatorial election.
Melaye had polled 85,395 votes to defeat Smart Adeyemi of the APC who scored 66,901 votes.
His victory was, however, upturned by the Court of Appeal, which ordered a rerun that was held on November 16, where he was finally defeated by his main challenger, Smart Adeyemi.
7. Abiola Ajimobi, former Oyo State governor
The defeat suffered by the former governor of Oyo state and candidate of the APC in Oyo south senatorial district, Abiola Ajimobi, was another surprise that greeted the election.
The former governor, popularly called by the people of the state as ‘constituted authority’ was beaten by the candidate of PDP, Kola Balogun.
Balogun scored 105,720 votes to trump Ajimobi, who recorded 92,579 votes.
The PDP candidate won with a margin of 13,141. The African Democratic Party (ADP) candidate, Soji Akanbi, came third with 49,437 votes.
8. Yakubu Dogara, former Speaker of the House of Representatives
The former speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, emerged winner of the Tafawa Balewa/Bogoro federal constituency election in Bauchi state during the poll.
Dogara also defected to PDP some months to the election.
Before the election, it was believed that Dogara would lose his re-election bid but the outcome proved otherwise.
He scored 73,609 votes to defeat the APC candidate, Dalhatu Kantana, who scored 50,078 results.
9. Aminu Tambuwal, governor of Sokoto State
Another surprise during the election was the emergence of former speaker of House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal, as the winner of Sokoto governorship election.
He was elected the governor of the state in 2015 on the platform of APC but defected to PDP some months before 2019 general election over irreconcilable issue between him and his political godfather and former governor of the state, Aliyu Wamakko.
Wamakko had vowed that he would end Tambuwal’s political career at the poll but surprisingly, he defeated his former benefactor and got his re-election.
Tambuwal got 512,002 votes to defeat his close rival and candidate of APC, Ahmad Aliyu, who polled 511,660 votes.
He won by a small margin of 342 votes after the supplementary poll.
10. Omoyele Sowore
Before the election, the presidential candidate of the African Action Congress (AAC), Omoyele Sowore, was confident that he would win the poll if it’s free and fair.
The 48-year-old activist believed he would win the election if Nigerians were allowed the freedom to cast their votes for a candidate of their choice.
He expressed confidence that Nigerians would not return to the leaders in the PDP and APC who have failed them over the past two decades.
Despite the claim that he had the support of Nigerian youths, he was roundly defeated by President Muhammadu Buhari at the poll.