HEADLINE | Posted: Saturday, March 9, 2019
n politics, anything can happen. Or who would have imagined that the Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, regarded as political warlord and kingmaker in his state, Kwara would lose an election to return to the senate?
Or Oyo State governor, Abiola Ajimobi who could not move his people to vote for him to go to the senate. Such were the surprises that trailed the last Presidential and National Assembly elections.
Today’s Governorship and State House of Assembly elections nation wide are also expected to be full of surprises. There are some governors who are seeking a re-election for second term but appear to have been abandoned in the desert as the powers and principalities that brought them to power have deserted them. Can they therefore survive the battle on their own or become casualties?
We went round the states to x-ray the chances of some contenders for the governorship race and the factors that may work against their ambitions.
Ola Ajayi, Ibadan, Anayo Okoli , Umuahia, Chidi Nkwopara, Owerri, Femi Bolaji , Jalingo, Wole Mosadomi, Minna, Umar Yusuf, Yola, Peter Duru, Makurdi, David Odama, Lafia, Abdulmumin Murtala, Kano, Ben Agande, Bashir Bello, Aliyu Dangida, Daud Olatunji, DEMOLA AKINYEMI, Olasunkanmi Akoni,
OYO: Former governor Alao-Akala as game changer
As the gubernatorial and House of Assembly elections hold across Oyo State today, the political headquarters of the South West, it has shown from the Presidential and National Assembly elections that the 2019 general elections would spring some surprises.
Before the elections, virtually everyone had concluded that the ruling All Progressives Congress would have a landslide victory over its main opposition. Though, the broom party still made some clear statements through its performance at the polls that it still held sway in the state. While the PDP won the Presidential election by a slight margin, the APC won two senatorial districts and nine out of fourteen House of Representatives seats.
The results woke the APC from its slumber and its erroneous conclusion that it would control the state for long. The PDP, on the other hand, knowing it won by a slight margin, is blocking all loopholes to ensure it regains its lost glory in the state.
The PDP had been relishing on its narrow win believing it would still achieve the feat at today’s governorship poll when the bombshell of the defection of a former governor of the state, Otunba Adebayo Alao-Akala was announced. The defection dealt a very big blow to PDP as the former governor was the one that sealed their victory after bringing about 25,000 votes from Ogbomoso North and Ogbomoso South.
His defection which came just three months after he called the APC all sorts of names and left the party, could change the political calculation. APC, also reacted by ensuring that his son, Olamiju Alao-Akala was removed as the local government chairman of Ogbomoso North.
It was just a call from the National Leader of APC, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu that added another twist to the game. To counter the new twist, PDP has wooed parties like Social Democratic Party, African Democratic Congress, Zenith Labour Party and some members of Alliance for Democracy.
APC, apart having former governor Alao-Akala in its kitty still won the heart of a very influential Yoruba group, Yoruba Patriots Movement led by Chief Dosu Oladipo which promised to mobilise 250,000 voters for Chief Adebayo Adelabu.
Unless something is done to change the tide, the pendulum of victory which still dangles between the two parties may tilt towards the APC. However, if eligible voters in Ogbomoso North and South refuse to do the bidding of Alao-Akala, then it is just a matter of time that PDP will be crowned as the winner of the election.
ABIA: Ikpeazu faces fiercest battle from the APC
UMUAHIA-In Abia State, today's governorship battle will be fought among three political parties, PDP, APGA and APC. The state is at present being run by PDP but APGA and APC have intensified efforts to wrestle power from the PDP. And from all indications the battle, no doubt, will be a tough one for PDP to survive.
Though PDP's presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar won the presidential polls in the State, Governor Okezie Ikpeazu will definitely face stiff battle from both APGA and APC because of series of criticisms against his administration by the citizens of the state, particularly on the issue of backlog of unpaid pensions and arrears for pensioners and workers of parastatals for several months.
The Government has actually done appreciably well in some areas, such as re-branding the hitherto neglected leather products from Aba, rehabilitating some roads, improving the education and health systems. The Government has tried various fora to showcase its achievements but the propaganda machine of the opposition against the Government has been very strong.
Another argument put forward by the supporters of Ikpeazu was the issue of equity. They argue that former governors Orji Uzor Kalu and Theodore Orji, from Abia North and Abia Central, respectively, had two terms of eight years each, hence the need for Abia South, where Ikpeazu hails from to also have eight years. But those who opposed this contended that if equity was to be practiced it had to be all embracing as both Governor Ikpeazu and Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe were from the same council, while the Ugwa axis of the zone have nothing. Indeed the Ugwa people are accusing their Ngwa brothers of marginalizing them. They argued that equity should permeate every aspect of political office. The issue of equity has been the sentiment the PDP and Ikpeazu’s supporters are canvassing more than his achievements, hoping to use it to get the support of the people.
But the opposition parties were not swayed by this as they argued that even during the periods of the two former governors, candidates from the other zones contested against them. And from all indications, the fiercest battle against Ikpeazu will come from the APC which surprisingly did very well in the last presidential election compared with its abysmal outing in 2015.
With the influence of Chief Ikechi Emenike, a prominent leader of the party in the State, who moved his Ohuhu people enmasse to vote for Buhari and Prince Benjamin Apugo, another strong member of the party and efforts of other strong members in the area, there is hope that the party will do well in Abia Central today.
And in Abia North zone where the former governor of the State, Chief Orji Uzor Kalu has secured a senate seat on the ticket of APC, with the combined efforts of the party's chairman, Dr. Emmanuel Ndukwe, both of them from Bende; Reps. Nkiruka Onyejiocha, who also renewed his mandate on the platform of the party, and Uche Ogah, who is still contesting the governorship ticket with Ikechi Emenike at the Supreme Court, it is hoped that the APC will do well in the zone.
However, the sore area for APC will be in the South zone where Governor Ikpeazu
hails from, but like they say, in politics anything can happen.
Another party expected to make good impact in the election is APGA which in 2015 shook the PDP to its foundation. In fact, the emergence of APGA in Abia political scene redefined election in the State with parties now going from village to village to campaign unlike before. Chief Alex Otti, who flew the party’s ticket in 2015, is contesting again under the same platform and he still commands a lot of respect in the State. In fact, it appears the PDP had more respect for him than any other candidate. It’s deserving for he is a brilliant man.
IMO: Okorocha's legacies working against his candidate
Security operatives also takecentre stage
The gubernatorial election in Imo State, is definitely not going to be a tea party, especially as no fewer than 70 political parties are fielding candidates for the electoral contest.
It must however be said that some of these supposed gubernatorial candidates are either playing the spoilers game or simply seeing the contest as a way of enriching their curriculum vitae.
However, assuming the entire 70 persons are serious, there is the issue of the principle of equity, which the people of Owerri zone have been canvassing for years.
Their argument, which they claim remains valid, is that since the current democratic engineering in 1999, Orlu senatorial zone has had a shot at the governorship seat for 16 years, Okigwe occupied it for four years, while Owerri zone is yet to occupy the seat.
There are strong feelers that this thinking has obviously won some hearts in Orlu and Okigwe senatorial zones, but that is not to say that this is going to be the major determinant of the outcome of the governorship election.
Orlu, Owerri and Okigwe zones have 12, nine and six local government areas respectively, and there are fears that if the charter of equity is jettisoned at this point, one zone may permanently occupy the Douglas House, Owerri.
Another segment of the society, particularly traders who lost their sheds and wares, during the destruction of Ekeukwu Owerri Market and the New Market, those whose ancestral homes were destroyed without compensation and those whose lands were revoked or forcibly appropriated by those in power, are most likely not going to support Governor Rochas Okorocha’s son in-law, Uche Nwosu, because they believe that with him, their suffering will continue.
Imo pensioners, who are owed several months of unpaid stipends and civil servants that are paid 30 percent less than their earned salaries, are not likely going to support anybody who has Okorocha’s imprint.
Candidates’ structure and not necessarily party manifesto, is another determinant. If the Presidential and National Assembly elections are used as parameter, the three most dominant political parties are the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, All Progressives Congress, APC, and Action Alliance, AA.
Already, the APC’s National Working Committee, NWC, has not only suspended Okorocha, but has also recommended that he should be summarily dismissed from the party! This decision may not be unconnected with his unrepentant support for his son in-law, who is a candidate of another party, and which is seen as anti-party activity.
Those who are close to the corridors of power, told Saturday Vanguard in strict confidence that the Governor appears very hardened now that his party has suspended him.
Another issue that is likely going to decide where the gubernatorial pendulum would swing, is the emergence of concerned Imo citizens in Diaspora.
One of such strong groups is Owerri Zone in United States of America for Ihedioha. This is an organization of distinguished ladies and gentlemen that are supporting Chief Emeka Ihedioha.
Explaining why they decided to float the group, Mr. Stanley Ozuzu said the crux of democracy is fairness and equity.
“It is fair and reasonable that the next governor of Imo State, should come from Owerri zone. I appeal to Orlu and Okigwe zones to support Owerri zone to produce the next governor, as we have supported them in the past”, Ozuzu said.
Answering another question, the American based attorney said that “the best candidate is Chief Emeka Ihedioha and he has been tested and eminently qualified to be the next Governor of Imo State”.
While appealing to the citizenry to “come out enmasse to vote for him”, Ozuzu also disclosed that their members will either return to cast their votes or get in touch with their relations, with a view to guiding them appropriately. Finally, the way the security agencies would be deployed and the briefs they will get, will determine their roles during the polls.
TARABA: Odds favour Gov Ishaku to retain his seat
The race to occupy the number one seat in Taraba state has heightened tensions across the state between supporters of the incumbent governor, Darius Ishaku, PDP, and APC governorship candidate, Sani Danladi.
While the odds of who eventually wins the state, favour the incumbent governor, Ishaku, little has been heard of the former minister of women affairs and social development, Aisha Alhassan popularly known as Mama Taraba, who is also vying for the number one seat under the platform of the United Democratic Party, UDP.
Danladi, a former ally of Ishaku and former member of PDP while in acting capacity as governor during the 2015 general elections is hoping to alter the agreement of two tenure rotation among the three zones of the state.
What will count for Governor Ishaku as favourite to occupy the number one seat again is the fact that he hails from the Southern zone of the state which still has four more years to rule for equity and fairness among the three zones of the state.
It was believed that the Northern and Central zones have had their terms of eight years each with Reverend Jolly Nyame and Danbaba Suntai and that the South should be allowed to do same.
His closest rivals in the race, Sani Danladi of the APC and Aisha Alhassan of the UDP both hail from the Northern Senatorial zone of Taraba state.
Moreover, the fusion of over 20 political parties infrastructure into the already established ones of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, following Ishaku’s endorsement by the Coalition of United Political Parties, CUPP, was a major boost for his reelection bid.
Ishaku who is the political godson and kinsman of a revered elder statesman and former Minister of Defence, Lt. Gen Theophilus Danjuma, will leverage on the influence of Danjuma to secure reelection.
Prompt payment of salaries, introduction of various skill acquisition programmes, elevation of educational standards in the state among others are major boosters for Ishaku to retain the number one seat in the state.
NIGER: The generals, the workforce and history back incumbent for victory
There is a Political Platform on which Niger There is a Political Platform on which Niger State had been working with for the past years. The Platform has not changed and it is not likely to change before today’s governorship election.
The Platform as far as Political analysts and other relevant stakeholders within and outside the state are concerned, has really brought stability into the Polity of the State in the past years and they prefer it should be sustained.
The most important aspect of the platform is the Zoning formula for the adoption of governorship candidate which was introduced by the People’s Democratic Party,(PDP) and has come to stay and which is directly or indirectly dictating the pace for other Political Parties in the choice of their governorship Candidates and other political offices. The aim of the zoning formula is to give room for equity and balancing of political offices among the three political zones in the State.
Between 1999-2007, the zoning system commenced with Zone A or the Nupe speaking areas when late Engineer Abdulahi Kure ruled for two terms of eight years at the end of which it automatically moved to Zone B or the Gwari speaking areas when Dr. Muazu Babangida Aliyu took over the mantle of leadership for another eight years-between 2007-2015.
Though the present administration is not led by the PDP, the Zoning arrangement however dictated where the pendulum of leadership should come from when the All Progressives Congress, (APC) was to pick its governorship candidate in 2015 and zone C which was yet to have a taste of the governorship was considered and this gave birth to the present leadership of Alhaji Abubakar Sani Bello from zone C. He is now seeking a second term in Office.
It is on record that since the zoning system was adopted, all the governors who served have had the opportunity to go for a second term in order not to alter or truncate the zoning formula.
There are 72 registered political parties in the country out of which 32 presented governorship candidates for today’s elections.
However, only the All Progressives Congress, ,(APC) and the People’s Democratic Party, (PDP) appear to be the front runners for today’s governorship election.
The election becomes more dicey for the fact that the two candidates are from the same zone, (C) and are children of retired Generals which has consequently made the political permutation more difficult.
The incumbent Governor-Alhaji Abubakar Sani Bello is the son of Brigadier General Sani Bello,(rtd) who was former Military Governor of Kano State and is highly influential in the state. Not only that, he is married to the first daughter of former Head of State, General Abdulsalami Abubakar.
His major challenger, Alhaji Umar Nasko is the son of former Minister of Federal Capital Territory under General Babangida’s regime as Military President. Because of the zoning formula adopted by the PDP, Alhaji Umar Nasko has declared his intention to run for only one term if voted into power in order not to truncate the already established zoning of the state.
The APC is already using this as a propaganda against the PDP for planning to truncate the zoning arrangement as a way of denying zone A of producing the next governor in 2023 in case Nasko of PDP is voted in and doesn’t keep his word to gop for only one term.
Influence of the generals
All the influential Military Generals in the state are major Stakeholders in this election as they also have the power to influence the electorate
General Ibrahim Babangida who is “father” to all though had left the country few days before the Presidential and National Assembly Elections and he is not due back in the country until after the general elections but he still has his foot soldiers around working for him although nobody would easily know who his preferred candidate is.
General Sani Bello will undoubtedly back his son who is seeking a second term in office while former Head of State, General Abdulsalami Abubakar is also solidly behind his son in-law.
Few days ago, the organised Labour in the state led by Chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress, (NLC), Comrade Idris Ndako formally endorsed the incumbent, Alhaji Abubakar Sani Bello for a second term because of his “pro Labour Policies, Programmes and cordial Industrial relationship of the administration since 2015.
The NLC Chairman said the endorsement was also in conformity with the directive from the National leadership of the Congress to align with any governor who is Labour friendly. State Chairman of the Nigeria Union of Teachers,(NUT), Comrade Ibrahim Umar also threw his weight behind the second bid of the governor commending him on his prompt payment of Salaries, Pensions and other entitlements of Teachers in the State. Since the advent of the present administration in the state, salaries and other entitlements of workers are paid as at when due.
President Buhari’s factor
Before the last Presidential and National Assembly Elections, it was clear that President Buhari would have a landslide victory in the state and it came to pass. Niger State had never been in the opposition Politically and with the outcome of the Presidential elections recently and for the love the electorate still have for the President, this is likely to play out this Saturday.
Though there are allegations of non performance being levelled against the Sani Bello administration and many voters are said to be waiting for a pay back today, however, it is on record that no incumbent governor had lost in his second term bid. And with the influence of the Generals and endorsement by workforce and other segments of the society and the already established zoning formula history may tend to repeat itself and smile in favour of Alhaji Abubakar Sani Bello after a very fierce battle from Umar Nasko who is also generally loved by the people even if it is going to be with a slim margin.
ADAMAWA: Gov Jibrilla walks a tight rope as he embarks on fight of his life
Today’s governorship election is going to be a battle of former political friends turned foes. The incumbent, Governor Mohammed Jibrilla Bindow of the APC will be slugging it our with the former acting governor Hon. Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri, of the PDP; Sen. Abdulaziz Nyako, of ADC and Hon. Emmanuel Bello of the SDP which promises to be an interesting political battle.
It could be seen as a battle between a beneficiary and his benefactors and by extension a battle between a political godson (Governor Jibrilla) and his two former political godfathers ( Nyako and Atiku)
Most analysts believe that it will be a tough political battle especially for the incumbent Governor Jibrilla who is seeking a second term against stiff opposition within and outside his party who are all anxiously waiting to teach him a bitter political lesson of his life .Unlike in 2015 when Governor Jibrilla was a beautiful political bride of all who matter in Adamawa politics and the road was smooth and clear for him to pick APC gubernatorial ticket and emerge governor, the situation is no longer the same.
In 2015, the Governor Bindow, without any political structures of his own, rode on Nyako’s .political pedigree. But, today, he has fallen apart with both Atiku Abubakar and former Governor Murtala Nyako
Many of those who worked to bring Bindow to power in 2015 did not only feel betrayed and fell out with him but also abandoned him and now see him as an enemy that must be dealt with politically.
The just concluded Presidential and National Assembly election where APC lost in the northern senatorial district and Southern zone of the state with wide margin has further compounded the governor’s woes.
His party APC did not only lose two senatorial seats of Adamawa North and Adamawa south with 14 out of the 21 local governments in the state, but also lost four House of Representative seats of Numan/Demsa/lamurde,Guyuk/shel leng,Michika/madagali and fufore/song which they initially controlled.
The loss of the state to PDP in the Presidential and National Assembly election has further pitched Gov.Bindow against some prominent stakeholders of the party in the state such as Mallam.Nuhu Ribadu, Gen. Buba Marwa, and Dr.Mahmud Halilu, among other close allies of President Muhammadu Buhari , who hitherto had been at logger heads with the governor over political differences.
Despite all these odds, the governor and his supporters believe that his performance in the last four years especially in the area of construction of roads within the length and breadth of the state will see him through and return him to his seat today.
They believe that the gang up against him will fail and will not stop him from getting re- elected because he has lived up to expectations of the ordinary people of the state who constitute the bulk of the voting population.
Hon. Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri:
Fintiri, the gubernatorial candidate of PDP was the immediate past Speaker of the state House of Assembly and the two term acting governor of the state, who impeached Murtala Nyako in 2014. Fintiri is known in Adamawa politics for his people-oriented policies and commitment towards the plight of the civil servants. His penchant for running a welfarist government with human face vis a vis remarkable infrastructural development within the shortest time he served as acting governor of the state stamped him out in the politics of the state.
His emergence as PDP candidate did not come to most political observers as a surprise because even prior to PDP gubernatorial primaries in the state most people strongly believed that except for divine intervention nothing on earth could stop him from picking PDP gubernatorial ticket in view of his popularity and acceptability among PDP family and by extension the people of Adamawa state.
Fintiri is a grassroots politician, entrepreneur and a graduate of history from the University of Maiduguri who came into the political limelight of Adamawa state in 2007 election when he contested and won the House of Assembly seat of Madagali constituency under the platform of the opposition ACN and was subsequently elected as deputy minority chief whip.
He subsequently defected to PDP in line with the interest of his constituency and was re-elected to the Assembly for a second term in 2011 under PDP and became the majority leader and subsequently emerged as the Speaker of Adamawa State House of Assembly following the impeachment of the then speaker Hon. Sadiq Ibrahim Dasin
His tenure as speaker was eventful and the Assembly under him was known for its steadfastness, vibrancy,quality legislation, robust debates and diligence in the performance of its duties and oversight functions as well as in checkmating the excesses of the executive.
Within the shortest time he served as acting governor and despite inadequate funds he was able to put smiles on the faces of the people of Adamawa especially in the areas of basic infrastructural drive, roads constructions, street lights, settlement of two months salary arrears of civil servants in the state among many other development projects which impacted positively on the lives of the people of the state and performed credibly well which further boosted his image and increased his political popularity in the state.
Despite all these achievements his efforts to become substantive governor of the state which analysts believed he would have won in the supposed bye election did not see the light of the day as a result of a court judgement which ordered the swearing in of Nyako’s deputy, .Bala Ngillari as the substantive governor of the state to complete Nyako’s tenure and this sealed his gubernatorial ambition.
His strength lies in his grassroots connections, popularity and acceptability among the people of Adamawa, the overwhelming support he enjoyed from the civil servants in the state in addition to,his records and superlative performance as acting governor which may lead him to victory.
But, his obstacle lies in the ongoing case EFCC filed against him as well as his alleged hate speech against the Fulani when he was acting governor which has become a campaign issue against him despite his several denials. In addition, those who are sympathetic to Nyako will likely work against him as they are yet to forgive him for his role that led to Nyako’s impeachment.
Sen. Abdulaziz Murtala Nyako:
Sen.Abdul ‘aziz Nyako the gubernatorial candidate of African Democratic Congress (ADC) is the eldest son of ex- Gov.Murtala Nyako and the current Senator representing Adamawa Central senatorial district elected under the platform of APC in 2015 but subsequently defected to ADC with his supporters due to irreconcilable differences with Bindow.
He was a fine and vibrant Naval officer who has carved a niche for himself in his military career and rose through the ranks to become a commander in the Nigerian navy but voluntarily retired in 2007 following his father’s emergence as Adamawa state governor.
Commander Abdulaziz Nyako (rtd) played a key role in the formulation and execution of Nyako administration’s policies and programmes which impacted positively on the lives of the people of the state especially in the areas of skills acquisition and youth empowerment programmes which increased his popularity and made him a force to reckon with in Adamawa politics .
He played a prominent role that led to the successes of APC in the state and was believed to be instrumental to his father’s decision to defect from PDP to APC when he fell apart with Goodluck Jonathan government and was subsequently elected as a Senator representing Adamawa Central under APC in 2015.
He has not been very comfortable with the Governor Bindow’s government for a long time before his defection to ADC where he emerged as ADC gubernatorial candidate.
His gubernatorial ambition is seen in most quarters as a subtle revolution by the youth to take their destiny in their hands in line with the popular demand for generational change in Nigerian politics.
Most people rated him low in the National Assembly for allegedly not providing dividends of democracy to the people of his senatorial district, arguing that he was more concerned with fighting the governor rather than touching the lives of his people.
His strength lies in the fact that he will certainly reap from the goodwill and popularity of his father ex- Gov. Murtala Nyako who really touched the lives of so many people and families during his time and they will certainly reciprocate the gesture by voting for his son.
The division within Adamawa APC is an added advantage to his gubernatorial ambition as most of those who are against the governor’s re- election within the party are Nyako supporters and followers and will rather go with him. His promises to continue with most of the empowerment policies and programmes of his father as well as his youthful age and ability will also enhance his chances of becoming the next governor of Adamawa state.
But his obstacle lies in the fact that, he is a direct opposite of his father who was known for his humility, compassion, love for humanity and common man as well as a large heart of assisting the downtrodden.
Hon.Emmanuel Bello, the gubernatorial candidate of the Social Democratic Party ( SDP ) is a dogged fighter and determined young man with great foresight and patriotic zeal whose passion for the development of the state and his people dragged him into politics
He is a successful business man who damned the consequences of political uncertainty to contest for the House of Representative seat of Gombi/Hong federal constituency in the build up to 2007 election under the platform of PDP and was shortchanged at the primaries.
As a dogged fighter who believed in fighting for his right and what he believed will be in the collective interest of his people he refused to be intimated but instead took the party to court over the alleged injustice done to him. The case dragged for almost a year at the end of which the court declared him as the authentic PDP candidate in the federal constituency and the duly elected member representing Gombi/hong federal constituency .
During his time in the National Assembly he ensured effective representation and initiated projects that have direct bearing on the lives of the people of his constituency which endeared him to the people and increased his popularity.
After the expiration of his tenure he continued with his business and have been participating in politics and later defected from PDP to APC and contributed greatly to the success of the party and indicated his interest to contest for the gubernatorial seat of the state under APC.
He later defected from APC to SDP to realise his ambition to be a candidate.
His strength lies in his door to door campaign strategy and his records in the National Assembly in addition to his financial capability. He also enjoys the support of the Christian community in the state who see him as their own, being the only Christian contestant among the serious contenders in the state which will brighten his chances in the election.
His obstacle however lies in the fact that, apart from contesting under a weak political platform his support base is only limited to one senatorial district and among the Christians without much effort to sell himself to other parts of the state.
BENUE: Gov Ortom harvests the goodwill of Benue residents
Today’s governorship election in Benue state will be historic for the people who will through their votes either reward Governor Samuel Ortom of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, with a second term in office for a job well-done and for yielding to the demands of the majority of the people to enact the Open Grazing Prohibition Law to end ceaseless herdsmen killings in the state or show him the way out making him the first governor to serve a single term in the state.
Though, it is expected that just like others before him, Governor Ortom might not earn a second term on a platter of gold, given the resolve of the opposition All Progressives Congress, APC, and its governorship candidate, Emmanuel Jime, to give him a run for his money, the governor still enjoys a strong support base.
The Governor might not have satisfied or met the expectations of all Benue indigenes but his tough stance against the killings in the state, has endeared him to so many including his critics. This has added to his cult like followership and support base across the state.
Moreover the last Presidential and National Assembly elections clearly exposed the political inclination of vast majority of the people.
In that poll, PDP recorded a clean sweep of the three available senatorial seats, six out of the 11 House of Representatives seats, APC got one, APGA also got one while three were declared inconclusive.
What Ortom has going for him is the fact that the three new Senators-elect from the state including the likes of former Governor Gabriel Suswam, former Interior Minister Abba Moro who recorded a stunning victory after wining in all the nine local government areas of Benue south district, Mr. Orker Jev, who defeated Senator Akume and the six House of Representatives members who are powerful political forces in their respective constituencies are expected to deliver bulk votes for the Governor.
Moreover, with the likes of former Senate Presidents David Mark, and Dr. Iyorchia Ayu as well as former Speaker Pro Tempore, Terngu Tsegba and a host of the political heavy weights in the state still in the PDP and rooting for him, Ortom is going into the race enjoying significant advantage over his APC rival.
However, that cannot for any reason wish away the possibilities of the underdog putting up a good fight in the contest since Jime is also an influential politician who once served as Speaker of the state Assembly between 1992 and 1993.
He is certainly not a politician whose quest could be dismissed with a wave of the hand because he is also in the race to win.
Perhaps the greatest undoing of the APC and its governorship candidate could be the routing defeat former governor George Akume suffered in his third re-election bid to the senate after losing to Orker Jev of the PDP.
Akume who is the leader, a notable figure and strong voice for the party in the state, bore the brunt of the people following his alleged repeated public outburst that it was Benue people who were killing each other and not armed herdsmen.
Despite that humiliating set back, the APC still has in its fold the likes of retired Maj. Gen. Lawrence Onoja, former Speakers, Mr. Stephen Tsav and Prince Terhemen Tarzoor who are all conscientiously supporting the aspiration of the APC governorship candidate.
PDP is also accusing APC federal government of using military men to muscle their way in many areas of the country. They have raised the alarm for such possibility, alleging that many of their members were already being detained by security forces for unjustifiable reasons.
However, with the resounding victory recorded by the PDP at the February 23 election and given the political influence individuals who ran and won on the platform of the party wield in their respective constituencies, how the APC hopes to stop Ortom and the PDP from coasting to victory in the next election is still a matter of conjecture.
No major opposition for APC candidate
Ethnicity, religion, and political alignment will play major roles in determining the winner of today’s governorship poll in Nasarawa State. This is because since the inception of the present democratic dispensation in 1999, political direction in Nasarawa state has always been influenced by these factors.
Before the inauguration of the incumbent governor, Umaru Tanko Al-Makura, the major ethnic groups in the state, the Eggons, the Alagos have always dictated the the pace. However, the inability of either ethnic group to unite and speak with one voice has denied them the opportunity of producing the governorship in the state.
In the 2019 general elections, Labaran Maku of APGA is an Eggon and a Christian, while David Ombugadu is from the same ethnic group, and also a Christian and both of them are contesting the governorship. And this lack of unity has been responsible for why one ethnic group has been ruling the state since the inception of democracy in 1999.
Abdullahi Adamu, a Muslim governed the state for eight years. Late Akwe Doma, also a Muslim ruled the state and handed over to the incumbent, Umaru Tanko Al-Makura who is completing his eight years. The question then is, where are the major ethnic groups who could have been deciding the political affairs of the state?
Eng. Abdullahi Sule is a candidate of the ruling APC who by no means will have the backing of the national body of the party, the support of the state government and the support of the former governor, Abdullahi Adamu and many other members of the party who will do everything humanly possible to remain in control of the state..
Taking all these factors into account and judging from the perceived over whelming performance of the APC government under the leadership of Umaru Tanko Al-Makura in the state, the coast seems to be clear and bright for the APC without much struggle to clinch the governorship position today.
KANO: Court order against PDP boosts Ganduje's chances
People’s general expectations as regards politics in Kano have always been shattered by the reality and outcome of the final contests.
Although the ruling All Progressive Congress, APC won the Presidential and National Assembly elections with overwhelming margin in Kano, its performance when compared to past performances in the state was not encouraging.
The total number of those who participated in the voting process during the election was not up to the votes cast for President Muhammadu Buhari in 2015. His popularity has definitely dropped by a double digit percentage.
The Kano people who didn’t vote for Buhari could not accept Atiku Abubakar, the People’s Democratic Party, PDP presidential candidate, as a substitute and they simply abstained.
As the gubernatorial election takes place today the entire political scene in Kano was hoping for a new turn as the contest was widely believed to be between the incumbent governor Dr Abdullahi Ganduje under the ruling APC and the PDP candidate Abba Kabir Yusuf.
The next contestant widely seen to possibly play a major role in the contest due to his popularity is Sagir Takai of the People’s Redemption Party, PRP with some even claiming that he will be the second runners up in the governorship contest in the state.
Few days to the polls however, a Federal High Court ordered that the PDP should conduct another primary election for the governorship candidate within two weeks thereby nullifying the candidacy of Abba Kabir Yusuf.
In a swift reaction, the PDP appealed the judgement and declared that Abba Yusuf remained the party’s candidate as confirmed by an earlier state High Court judgement and the Independent National Electoral Commission INEC. The court order has however affected the support he was enjoying to an extent that some of the electorate are considering either not participating in the elections or voting for the PRP candidate.
The ruling party on its part is celebrating the court judgment because the news of the court judgement was publicized by the party. This is because Abba was perceived as the only possible threat to the success of the APC’s second term in the state.
Abba Kabir is an anointed candidate of Senator Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, a former Kano state governor and leader of the popular political movement Kwankwasiyya in Kano.
The perception that the Kwankwasiyya movement has perished as justified by the outcome of the just concluded presidential election might not necessarily be correct. What was more reliable was that Sen Kwankwaso did not sell the candidature of the PDP candidate, Atiku Abubakar. All he did for him was to attend the presidential rally and that was all. But in the case of his anointed candidate Abba, Sen Kwankwaso took him round the 43 Local Government Areas asking the people to vote for him as the state governor. He has generally been accepted as the candidate and has become a household name in the state.
It was believed that Sen Kwankwaso was seen not to have been interested in Atiku’s candidacy as expected because of his own plans of contesting for presidency in 2023 and with Atiku as president seeking a second term, it would be more difficult for him. But with Buhari completing his second term in office the challenges for him would be less. More so, placing Abba as governor in the state will surely breed a mammoth of votes for him from Kano, the state with virtually the highest number of bulk voters.
In the mean time in Kano, the Kwankwasiyya under the PDP is facing a lot of last minute challenges that include defection of some of its members to the ruling APC.
The state executive members of the PDP under Senator Jubrin Doguwa and thousands of their supporters decamped to the APC, accusing PDP of insincerity. In his position as the factional leader of the PDP, he and members of his faction felt isolated and they moved to the ruling APC to support Governor Ganduje.
The two issues of court judgment and the late decamping of the PDP members have doused the foreseen tension surrounding the chances of Governor Ganduje.
However, the PDP also got a little boost when the governorship candidate of ADP, Muhammad Sani Abacha, the son of the former military ruler paid Sen Kwankwaso a goodwill visit.
Initially, the Kwankwasiyya joined the PDP and took over the party forcing major stakeholders of the party to move out including the PRP governorship candidate Takai.
Prior to the current situation there were those who believed that Takai would come second after the PDP candidate in the contest but recent developments have changed that perception.
The APC enjoys what is called the ‘Sak’ symptom whereby supporters of President Buhari only vote for candidates contesting under the platform of APC irrespective of who they are. Disabusing the minds of most of the electorate against this mindset is indeed a tedious job.
This is a major boost for the incumbent governor. It will empower him politically and increase his chances of winning a second term in the coming election.
KADUNA: Where religion is the issue
Although the Independent National Electoral Commission cleared 36 candidates for the election, this Saturday's governorship election in Kaduna state is a straight fight between Nasir El Ruafi of the All Progressive Congress and Isa Ashiru of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
While supporters of the incumbent, Governor Nasir El Rufai are optimistic that he will secure another mandate of four years to lead the state, PDP supporters believe that with the many mistakes and controversies that have trailed the four years of the El Rufai government, the fight will be a walk over against the governor.
Indeed, the last four years of Nasir El Rufai have been as eventful as they have been controversial. He brought about radical reforms into governance. He increased the school enrollment of pupils, refurbished and upgraded many primary health care centres in the state, generated employment both through the public and private sectors and has consistently scored very high in various reforms. For those who believe that governance should be about meeting the expectations of the people through the provision of necessary infrastructure and laying a foundation for institutional reforms, El Rufai will naturally score high in their assessment. There are those the reforms consumed, among them many teachers, who would never smile at him and may use the votes to express their bitterness.
On the other hand, Isa Ashiru who is seeking to take over from El Rufai is coming from the legislature. He is seen as a bridge builder, an astute politician who is at home with the grass roots. Many believe that with his wonderful performance during the 2014 governorship primaries between him and Nasir El Rufai, and the growing disenchantment against the governor, Ashiru will naturally tap into the goodwill that he had cultivated over time in the state.
But in politics, goodwill is not all that is required to win at the polls. Since winning the PDP primaries and emerging as its candidate for the governorship election, Isa Ashiru and indeed the PDP have all relaxed and have not exhibited the required drive that is expected from a party in opposition seeking to displace an incumbent. The campaign has been disorganized, devoid of issues, the principal actors in the party in the state have been sidelined and there is no deliberate coordination to aggressively market the candidature of the PDP to the people. The campaigns lacked zest and depth that would ginger the people of the state to massively move against the incumbent. It would be a miracle for the PDP to displaced the incumbent, if the lackluster campaign and the uncoordinated nature of key characters in the party are the only criteria to be used in assessing whether a candidate is serious for the election or not.
Despite the modest achievements of the El Rufai government, the controversies that have trailed his last four years have been gargantuan. He brazenly upstaged the delicate religious balance in the state by picking a Muslim as his running mate in a state where most issues are viewed through the prism of religion. Rather than conscientiously explaining his decision, Mallam El Rufai haughtily rationalized that even if he had picked the pope as his running mate, the southern Kaduna senatorial district, majority of who have not hidden their disagreement with the way the state if being run and are predominantly Christian, would not have voted for him.
While pursuing his reforms, Nasir El Rufai stepped on so many toes. He sacked over 20,000 incompetent primary school teachers, dismissed several traditional rulers, and watched as the insecurity situation in the state, especially in Birnin Gwari and some parts of southern Kaduna spiraled out of hand. He demolished structures that encroached into schools in the state; famously took on the members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria and made life hell for them and sidelined all the political and religious big wigs in the state that were used to being fed from the public wealth.
But all these notwithstanding, it appears that Nasir El Rufai is set to coast to victory in Saturday's election. While he sacked over 20,000 primary school teachers, he employed twenty five thousand more. What he lost in the sack of the incompetent teachers, he gained in the employment of the new set. He has cultivated a fanatical support base that believes in his leadership and is willing to remain with him, waltz and all.
But what perhaps was a deciding factor that may work for El Rufai is the weaponisation of religion by some of his supporters. In the few days leading to the election, some of the supporters of the governor have presented the election as a contest between Christians and Muslims. The APC is presented as an Islamic party while the PDP is seen as a party that enjoys the support of Christians. With religious leaders preaching in mosques that the election was a census on Christians and Muslims in the state, even those who ordinarily would not have voted for the El Rufai see it as a religious obligation to vote for their religion. At the end of the day, even if Nasir El Rufai emerges victorious, it may neither be a sign of his acceptability nor a rejection of the PDP.
KATSINA: Buhari's influence, GOC's hand in Masari's race
In Katsina State, the Incumbent, Governor AIn Katsina State, the Incumbent, Governor Aminu Bello Masari under the platform of the All Progressive Congress, APC looks set to be returned for second term. Apart from the power of incumbency and state resources at his disposal, governor Masari enjoys an institutional advantage. He got the backings of the Interim Chairmen of the 34 local government areas (he appointed them) as well as the civil servants in the state.
Some bigwigs of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP who majorly are forces to reckon with when it comes to victory of the party (PDP) have also decamped to APC and joined forces with the governor. By this, it simply means they would be working against the party, PDP in the forthcoming elections.
But beyond this, President Muhammadu Buhari's factor as the son of the soil speaks volumes. If he is seen as a cult figure in other parts of the northern states, Buhari in Katsina is almost a god even those who may not like the person of the governor may vote for him because of the Buhari persona.
Coupled with this is the statewide influence of Katsina based Businessman and Masari's supporter, Dahiru Barau Mangal. Known locally as the General Officer Commanding, GOC, Mangal exerts formidable political influence in the state.
He has political sons from all parts of the state who are also influencers in their areas. Among them are Musa Adamu (Funtua Zone), former Speaker of Katsina State, Umar Ya’u Gwajogwajo (Maiadua – Daura zone) and his Deputy Speaker, Bilya Rimi among others. These political off springs of the GOC will throw in their all to ensure that the governor is reelected in order to maintain their own political relevance.
About 12 gubernatorial candidates have also step down and thrown their weight behind Masari’s candidature in the state ahead of the Saturday’s polls.
But even if governor Masari looks set to clinch the office, it is not going to be a walk over for him. Several factors may combine to work against his easy ride. For instance, despite Masari's emergence as the candidate of the APC in this Saturday's election, the internal crisis within the APC in the state persists. some aggrieved politicians who were somehow forced out of contest, like Abubakar Samaila Isa Funtua, Masari’s major challenger for the party’s governorship ticket at the primaries and others might want to pay him back by working against his reelection..
Another factor that may rob off on Masari negatively is the issue of insecurity in the state. With his own personal admission that about eight local government areas are front line areas in the issues of kidnapping, cattle rustling and armed banditry, victims affected by this ugly menace might be forced to make alternative choice in the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP governorship candidate, Sen. Yakubu Lado Danmarke who promised to restore security in the areas within first 100 days in office.
Beyond these, governor Masari has to contend with the political influence of the former Governor, Ibrahim Shehu Shema, as well as that of Yakubu Lado Danmarke, the PDP Governorship candidate in the state.
Ibrahim Shehu Shema, the immediate past Governor in the state left an indelible mark in terms of infrastructural development while he served for two terms as the governor of the state. Though his administration is under probe by the current administration and he is being prosecuted by the EFCC, based on the petition by the Masari government, he is not a push over and will deploy all resources at his disposal to ensure that governor Masari is made to kiss the dust.
Another hurdle to cross for Masari is Sen. Yakubu Lado Danmarke, the PDP governorship candidate. Sen. Lado is the leading opposition, Peoples Democratic Party, PDP candidate in the race to unseat Governor Masari. He is said to be a grassroots politician who rose through the political ladder from ward councilor to becoming a two terms local government Chairman; member of the House of Representatives and later Senator under the PDP platform. He would use these to mobilize support and votes in the elections and for many of his supporters, this is a payback time for them as he impacted most positively on the people during his various tenures.
JIGAWA: Ego in PDP, SDP working for Badaru Abubakar
Prior to the 23rd February presidential and parliamentary Polls, two of the leading opposition parties in the state, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP and the Social Democratic Party, SDP were upbeat in their expectations that they would make remarkable impact.
But in a move that has dampened the moral of members of these parties, the ruling APC swept all the 3 senatorial seats and 11 seats for the House of Representatives. Although members of the opposition cried foul, accusing the ruling party of vote buying and using security personnel to intimidate them, the result of the election is a major setback as the parties go into today's election.
While the two political parties made efforts to narrow down their differences and present a joint challenge to Governor Muhammed Badaru Abubakar of APC, a combination of inordinate ambition and ego has made this attempt to fail.
For Badaru Abubakar, the certainty of his victory is not so much as a result of his sterling performance but also by his unfailing support for President Muhammadu Buhari who he worked hard to deliver Jigawa state.
Having worked hard to ensure that not only that President Muhammadu Buhari won his election but also for all the other candidates of the party at the parliamentary level won, Badaru was able to create a quid pro quo situation where the senators and members of the House of Representatives elect feel they owe him a duty to ensure his reelection.
Apart from these crops of politicians, other prominent politicians in the state like Hon. Farouk Adamu, a right hand man of president Muhammadu Buhari will throw in his all to ensure that he delivers his constituency and the state at large for governor Badaru. Similarly, the Director General of the Badaru campaign council, Ahmed Mahmud Gumel will certainly play critical role towards ensuring Badaru emerged victorious in the 2019 gubernatorial election in Jigawa state by ensuring that the Gumel emirate delivers for the incumbent governor.
While politicians may be working hard to ensure that the governor is reelected, businessmen who have been direct beneficiaries of the Badaru largesse will not be left out. Isah Gerawa, one of the indigenous and local contractors who is seen as one of the supporters of this government will spare no expenses in ensuring victory for the governor.
But it is not going to be an easy affair for the governor despite the heavy weight support. If the two gubernatorial candidates of PDP and SDP, Mal. Aminu Ringim and Bashir Adamu Jumbo respectively who have been causing governor Badaru sleepless nights are able to overcome their differences join hand together, they may be able to cause some upset.
Similarly, the defeated Senators of Northeast and North central, Ubali Shitu (PDP) who was defeated by the sitting in deputy governor, Ibrahim Hassan Hadejia and son of ex-governor Lamido, Mustapha Sule Lamido will no doubt play their last political chances of opposing governor Badaru in the governorship elections using available resources at their disposal.
OGUN: Where candidates have equal chances of winning
In today’s governorship election, pendulum seems to be swinging among four governorship candidates in Ogun state. The four candidates ; Gboyega Isiaka of the African Democratic Congress ; Dapo Abiodun of All Progressives Congress ; Buruji Kashamu of the People’s Democratic Party and Abdul-Kabir Akinlade of Allied People’s Movement are believed to be in serious contention for governorship seat.
At the last Presidential and National Assembly election, APC got three Senatorial seats and six House of Representatives seats while the three others got one seat each of the House of Representatives.
Despite the relatively poor showing in the last election, many people believe ,the governorship election is a different ball game. From the fresh survey carried out, the pendulum is swinging among the four governorship candidates and they all seem to have same chances.
Gboyega Isiaka is arguably ,the most popular candidate in the race in the state,and may still spring surprise in the election. Isiaka is a ‘starboy’ of former President Olusegun Obasanjo who is reported to be working for his emergence as the next governor. Many people believed that due to the poor showing of the party in the Presidential and National Assembly elections, the ADC may not get the winning votes from the people .But a critical observation has shown that Isiaka who hails from Imeko-Afon in the state may get the largest votes despite his relatively financial weakness.
He is from Ogun senatorial district ,which had not produced a governor for the state since its creation in 1976. Since he does not have a godfather like the other three candidates to fund his campaign ,it is believed that he may find it difficult to get the votes of the people . But, the findings have shown that Isiaka remains the most acceptable candidate in the state.
Dapo Abiodun who is the APC governorship candidate hails from Remo in Ogun East Senatorial District. He is believed to be a candidate of the Vice-President ,Prof. Yemi Osinbajo . He is also believed to be a godson of former governor of Lagos State ,Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and former governor of the state ,Segun Osoba. However despite his party’s sterling performance at the last poll, it is still believed that Abiodun may have it rough to emerge as the next governor .
Abiodun’s greatest stumbling block has been the outgoing governor of the state,Senator Ibikunle Amosun. It may be a surprise if Abiodun emerges the governor despite the open hostility demonstrated by Amosun towards him.
It will also be a surprise if Abiodun wins in Ogun Central and West due to the stiff resistance he was receiving from the people. While Amosun holds the ace in Ogun Central, two other candidates seem to have locked down the west to realise their dream.
However, some supporters of Abiodun and his running mate ,Noimot Salako-Oyede who hails from the west and the presence of Osoba may spring a surprise for Abiodun.
Kashamu is the PDP governorship candidate in the state who is largely believed to be playing a spoiler game for the APC. He was said to be bargaining with the ruling party over his proposed extradition . However, findings have shown that Kashamu means business as he has been engaging in subtle but , steady and serious underground campaign. Some supporters of Kashamu were seen at various homes and communities in the state wooing the people for their boss. In fact , no fewer than eight political parties have endorsed Kashamu after abandoning their governorship candidates.
To many people in the state, Kashamu is not a serious candidate but a critical look at his activities shows otherwise
Akinlade is the governorship candidate of thAkinlade is the governorship candidate of the Allied People’s Movement who hails from Ogun west like Isiaka .
He is a godson of the incumbent governor ,Ibikunle Amosun .APM is a relatively new party in the state which became known shortly after the APC primaries which did not favour the preferred candidate of Amosun. But apart from the fact that the party is new, the candidate hails from a Senatorial district which has two prominent candidates vying for the seat. It will be a surprise if Akinlade wins. The last election was a blow to Akinlade’s ambition, but, there may be a surprise at the poll as Akinlade seems to have left no stone unturned to succeed Amosun. The support from Amosun is tremendous. He could be the surprise of today’s election in Ogun.