Abdulmumini Jibrin (Kofa) who hitherto represented Kiru/Bebeji Federal Constituency of Kano State at the lower chamber of the National Assembly lost his return bid during the recent rerun elections conducted by the Independent National Electoral Commission.
Mr Jibrin, who was the candidate of the All Progressive Congress (APC) for the Kiru/Bebeji federal constituency of Kano State, was defeated in the rerun election.
The returning officer, Abdullahi Arabic, a professor, said the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, Ali Datti-Yako, won the election.
According to him, Mr Datti-Yako polled 48,601 against Mr Jibrin who scored 13,587 votes.
The returning officer declared that Mr Datti-Yako satisfied the requirements of the law and was elected.
Jibrin gained popularity when he accused the leadership of the House of Representatives including the then speaker, Yakubu Dogara, of increasing the size of Nigeria’s budget for pecuniary gain.
Following the allegation, he was suspended for about a year but his suspension was later voided by the court.
Jibrin was initially re-elected in last year’s national assembly’s election but was sacked by the court and a fresh election ordered.
He is one of the lawmakers that would be missed in the 9th Assembly.
This, according to pundit is in view of his closeness to the present Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila, whose campaign was spearheaded by Jibrin.
Gbajabiamila and others have reportedly been involved in reconciliation efforts to reconcile Jibrin, APC officials in Kano and the state governor who were said to be opposed to his reelection.
Despite the oppositions mounted against him ahead of the rerun election, the lawmaker carried own with his activities while assuring his supporters that all will be well and the rest is now history.
The person who defeated him in the re-run, Ali Datti Yako of the PDP had already been sworn in as the new member of the House of Representatives representing Kiru/Bebeji federal constituency which was hitherto occupied by Jibrin.
He was sworn in alongside five other persons including Alhassan Ado Doguwa, the House Majority leader representing Doguwa/Tudun Wada federal constituency, whose election took place the same day and retained his seat for the seventh consecutive time.
Although, Jibrin refused to accept any committee responsibility or principal officers’ positions which were reportedly offered to him by Gbajabiamila, he was however seen as one of the strong forces behind the running of the affairs of the 9th assembly.
He appears to have lost that privilege with his defeat at the rerun.
Many believed that his constituency may not find things easy in the scheme of things having newcomer on board.
Many have argued that, unless Jibrin gives his supports to his successor, things may not be smooth for a fresher like Yako, who incidentally belongs to the opposition.
Although, Jibrin is not the only lawmaker to lose the rerun, his loss was the most widely discussed because of the significant roles he played during the 8th National Assembly.
However, despite this, his colleagues have been keeping mute over the matter and refused to talk on the matter when approached for comment.
The former lawmaker however said that he would have won the election but for the use of what he termed “maximum force”.
In a press statement tagged “Kiru/Bebeji Kano re-run elections: So long, farewell” issued by the embattled former house member, he alleged that maximum force was used to prevent people from voting him in all the wards of the constituency, except in his home town of Kofa.
“My constituents came out en-masse to exercise their civic responsibility but were denied their franchise to vote the candidate and party of their choice through the application of maximum force in all the wards of our constituency except my home town of Kofa Bebeji that proved impenetrable. We know we won the election fairly and squarely but our mandate was stolen,” the statement read in part.
He further alleged that, “In many units, elections never took place. The ballot boxes were diverted but scores were miraculously entered. The violence, thuggery and rigging that took place have been carefully documented, at least for posterity. I have strong reservations about the outcome of the elections. However, INEC has announced my opponent as the winner of the election.”
He said the police, other security agencies and voters could bear witness to the fact that the electoral umpire announced the result not because his opponent had scored the majority of lawful votes.
“I have therefore accepted the outcome of the elections and wish to congratulate my opponent, Aliyu Datti Ahmed, who will continue from where I started about a decade ago and now come to an end. I look forward to working closely with him and giving him whatever cooperation and assistance to settle down in his new role of representing our people. I do not intend to file petition against his declaration as winner. It is time to move on,” he added.
But in his reaction to the outcome of the Kiru/Bebeji rerun, the state chairman of APC, Alhaji Abdullahi Abbas, said the party had done its best to help Kofa return, but that he lost due to the “dented relationship” he had with the voters in the constituency.
“You should know that on our part as a party and on the part of the government, we both believe in democracy. While we did our best to support him to win the election, at the end we had to allow the people to vote the person they wanted and that’s what democracy entails.
“It is true that we had some issues with him initially but they were not personal, but rather issues that had to do with his conduct among his people which led to his suspension by the local government party leadership.
“But eventually, he apologized to us and when it was time for election, and there was no way we could replace his candidature, we accepted his apology and worked with the governor to campaign for him. That was why he could even secure over 10,000 votes, otherwise the margin could have been much wider as in the case of Doguwa and other places,” the chairman has said.
Abbas added that there was intervention from the national leadership of the party, the speaker of the House of Representatives and the governor of Kano state, but because of the “too much damage” Mr Kofa had caused himself, it was too late to mend the situation.
Also explaining the situation on ground on the Election Day, one of the constituents who claimed to have engineered the down fall of Kofa during the election, Alhaji Ibrahim Tiga, said there were three major factors that played out in the defeat.
“First of all, there are some veteran politicians in our societies, who are not even seeking for any elective office, but they are the soul of politics at the grassroots level. Kofa had no regards whatsoever for such politicians in the constituency. He treated them with disrespect.
“Secondly, Kofa has severed relationship with the party leadership at the local government level; sacking most of them from their positions in an attempt to replace them with those he called his loyalists. Some of the people he sacked were influential in his election victory right from the time he was introduced into politics. These people all ganged up against him to ensure his down fall.
“Thirdly, Kofa had an issue with the state assembly candidate, Hon. Hussaini Danbirni, who was anointed by governor Ganduje. On the eve of election, the party leadership collected some campaign funds from the governor and handed it over to Kofa, but he ordered them to vote against the governor’s candidate and that was why PDP won the seat and the governor himself lost election in the area and that has set him against the governor and the party leadership at the state level”, he said.
Tiga said the state leadership of the APC had attempted to intervene but the politicians in Jibrin’s constituency pleaded for a free hand to do what they felt was right for them, and that was why they made an alliance with the PDP to ensure that Jibrin did not return.
Other factors, according to Tiga, were that there were no meaningful projects that Kofa had brought to the constituency and just as there were no much efforts in terms of human capital development for the youth.
All the foregoing were some of the factors responsible for the defeat of Jibrin at the last rerun election.