Setback for APC in FCT Council Election

The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, shared the stakes equally in the Federal Capital Territory, FCT area council election held Saturday, February 12, 2022.

In the results released by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, on Sunday, PDP snatched three area councils: Abuja Municipality Area Council, AMAC, the most densely populated; Bwari, and Kuje. The APC on the other hand, won Gwagwalada, Kwali, and Abaji.

In AMAC, Christopher Zakka of the PDP notched 19,302 votes to defeat Murtala Karshi of APC who scored 13,249 votes, a huge difference of 6, 053 votes. The Presidential Villa and all the government structures are all located in AMAC, which has 12 wards. The PDP won in 10 wards, while the APC won in only two – Wuse and Karshi.

In Kuje Area Council, Suleman Sabo of PDP defeated Sarki Hamidu of APC, the closest rival, to win the chairmanship. He polled 13,301 votes to Hamidu’s 7,694 votes, a considerable margin of 5,607 votes. The PDP defeated APC in all the 10 wards of the Council.

In Bwari Area Council, PDP’s candidate, John Gabaya, polled 13,045 votes, while APC’s Audi Shekwolo garnered 7,697 votes, to come a distant second.

In Gwagwalada Area Council, Jubrin Abubakar of APC, polled 11,125 votes to beat Mohammed Kassim of PDP who polled 9,597 votes.

In Kwali Area Council, the APC candidate, Danladi Chiya, polled 7,646 votes to defeat PDP’s Haruna Pai who polled 7,345 votes, a difference of 301 votes only.

“We cannot declare a candidate winner in Abaji because the winning party does not have a candidate here; the case is still in court,” declared Gabriel Mordi, INEC returning officer for the local government. The APC’s unknown candidate polled 7,280 votes to beat PDP’s Hahaha Garba who polled 4,063 votes.

Muhammad Loko, was declared the winner of the April 23, 2021, APC chairmanship primary in Abaji but his name was said to have been substituted by the party with that of Umar Abdullahi. The INEC initially recognised Abudullahi but Loko went to court. On November 16, an FCT High Court in Gudu district sacked Abdullahi and held that Loko was the valid candidate of APC. Abudullahi went on appeal, and the Court of Appeal affirmed the lower court judgment that Loko is the Abaji APC chairmanship candidate for the February 12 poll. Still unsatisfied, Abdullahi appealed to the Supreme Court, which will deliver the final ruling.

It is also likely that PDP may go to court to seek that its candidate be declared the winner as legally, APC had no candidate in Abaji Area Council.

There was remarkable voter apathy as the turnout was less than five percent of registered voters across the six local government councils and 68 wards. A total of 473 candidates were sponsored by 14 political parties in the elections.

The result shows that the ruling party has lost grounds in the Federal Capital City. Its support base in the territory has shrunk to the hinterlands. This should bother the party ahead of the 2023 general elections. It suggests that residents of the municipality are dissatisfied with the performance of the ruling party.

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