Yesterday, Katsina State was draped in jubilation and merriment as the Indigenes took to the streets to celebrate the triumph of President Muhammadu Buhari in the presidential elections.
It was a scene reminiscent of cultural and religious festivities as the people killed cows and shared food in a carnival atmosphere as they greeted the reelection of the president with loud fanfare.
One of the cows
One of the cows
Buhari, who hails from Katsina had been declared the winner of the presidential elections by the Independent National Electoral Commission who credited him with 15,191,847 to place him ahead of his closest rival, Atiku Abubakar who had 11,262,978 votes in the presidential poll.
On the heels of the announcement which was broadcast on national television in the early hours of Wednesday by INEC chairman Mahmoud Yakubu, the entire state swiftly transformed into the site of an impromptu holiday.
In Funtua Local Government area of the state, LagosTimes observed that residents had taken over the major roads and streets and filled the air with sloganeering chants in Hausa and Fulfulde. Joyful chants of “Sai Baba” could be heard throughout the day at multiple celebratory rallies.
Buhari of the All Progressives Congress is considered by many to be a thoroughbred son of the soil and holds a cult-like following in Katsina where he is the toast of both upper and lower classes. His popularity was borne out during the presidential elections as he scored a whooping 1,232,133 votes from the state alone, compared with Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party who scored a paltry 308,056 votes.
Residents who had a chat with LagosTimes times spoke of their appreciation and relief that one of their own had triumphed at the conclusion of what was a thrilling and keenly-contested campaign. Others expressed hopeful sentiments of a productive second term for Buhari who is just the second head of state to win reelection since the return of civilian rule in 1999.
Said one: “We are celebrating his victory because we know that these next four years will be prosperous years. Although people are saying that he didn’t do anything throughout his last tenure, we know that he really tried his best. We are praying to Almighty Allah to give him the strength and good health to fulfil all the good plans he has for Nigeria”.
The party atmosphere observed this time was in huge contrast to events in 2007 and 2011 when Buhari was defeated at the polls by Umaru Yar’Adua and Goodluck Jonathan respectively.
In those instances, there were reports of targeted violence even as the state was shrouded in a funereal atmosphere. Scores of people were reported killed and dozens of churches burnt as ethnic extremists unleashed mayhem in anger at the loss of their preferred candidate. Fearing a repeat this year, scores of non-indigenes had fled back to their home states in fear of possible reprisals, a source disclosed to LagosTimes.
Meanwhile, the celebrations in Funtua and other areas were matched, if not surpassed in Daura, Buhari’s hometown where he maintains a cattle ranch and often goes for short retreats to rest from the rigours of his presidential mandate.