From 2015 till date, sitting presidents have been losing the polling units located inside the vicinity of the Aso Rock Presidential Villa, Abuja, to candidates of opposition political parties.
Although the results of the elections in these polling units do not translate to overall victory for the winners, the news has always been received with mixed feelings by supporters of the leading presidential candidates, who do not even cast their votes in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja.
Supporters of the winners, in most cases, have always seen the outcomes as good signs ahead of the announcement of the final results of presidential elections.
The situation was not different in the February 25, 2023 presidential election. The results of 10 polling units collated showed Mr Peter Obi, the presidential candidate of Labour Party (LP), emerging winner in the designated centres inside and around the Presidential Villa.
Obi polled 809 votes to defeat Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), who was the candidate of the incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari, who cast his vote same day with aides and family members in Daura, Katsina State.
Tinubu got 318 votes to come second, while Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) garnered 258 votes to emerge second runner-up in the polling units inside the Presidential Villa.
In all the polling units, including 121, Kofo Abayomi Street, beside Officers’ Mess and 131, opposite Pilot Gate, State House, Obi defeated his opponents.
The story was not different in the 2019 presidential election as Atiku, the presidential candidate of the PDP, secured more votes than President Buhari, who was the flag bearer of the APC at the election, inside the Presidential Villa.
While the PDP candidate garnered 525 votes, Buhari trailed with 465 at unit polling 022.
However, Buhari polled more votes than his rival at unit 021, getting 548 as against Atiku’s 505.
In all, the PDP presidential candidate secured 1,030 votes against the president’s 1,013, with a difference of 17 votes
In 2015, the PDP presidential candidate, former President Goodluck Jonathan, who was in office at the time, lost one of the two polling units inside the Presidential Villa to his APC challenger, Muhammadu Buhari.
In unit 022, Buhari garnered 348 votes against Jonathan’s 302.
Jonathan polled 293 votes while Buhari got 265 at the second polling unit inside the Villa, 021.
In the final result announced at the two polling units, Jonathan lost to Buhari, who ran for the fourth time at the time, as he polled a total of 595 votes to Buhari’s 613. The announcement of the final result sparked a wide jubilation from APC supporters.
Jonathan had won the election at the two polling units in 2011. He defeated Buhari, who was then the presidential candidate of the defunct Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), with more than half of the votes cast.
In one of the polling stations, which is less than 100 meters from the Pilot Gate, Jonathan polled 630 votes against Buhari’s 318 votes.
Why presidents fail to win in Villa
Daily Trust on Sunday reports that voters in the State House are usually believed to be aides, Presidential villa staff and loyalists.
One of the villa staff members who preferred anonymity said majority of the people who registered to vote in that vicinity were truly staff while some of the voters were equally residents who occupy residential buildings in the area.
It was gathered that the outcomes of presidential elections in the villa were usually determined by the perceived low or poor performance of the government at the centre.
One of the staff said, “They voted against the APC in 2023 because people were suffering. Majority of voters around the State House were from members of staff who felt the APC government performed below expectation, especially in the midst of cash crunch and scarcity of petrol.”
Another staff recalled that Jonathan lost at the Villa in 2015 because people were unhappy with the security situation in the country at the time.
“People believed he should not be allowed to continue in office,” the source said.
Daily Trust on Sunday gathered from another source that results also indicated that some of the people in the area were not happy with the government in power.