Sunday, April 5, 2015

Guber Election: See how the battle will go in Lagos, Rivers, etc

As 29 states in Nigeria go to the polls to elect their Chief Executive Officers on Saturday, Punch examines the chances of the leading candidates in the race to the various government houses:

After two weeks of respite from the presidential and National Assembly elections, Nigerians will again troop to their various polling units to exercise their franchise on who leads their individual states for the next four years. The shifting table of political indices and calculations can never be more turbulent as these 29 Chief Executive Officers seek election on a number of platforms.

Below is how the battle will go when the results of the ballots cast are read by the umpires...
Abia, no doubt, is a predominantly Peoples Democratic Party state. However, there is apprehension in many quarters that the outcome of the just-concluded presidential poll will have a bandwagon effect on the forthcoming governorship and House of Assembly elections in the state.
Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu is the candidate of the ruling PDP. Okezie is not a debuntant in Abia politics. In the past eight years, he has been a close ally of Governor Theodore Orji who was also instrumental to his emergence as his party’s flag bearer. He hails from Abia South favoured by the power rotation argument and also from the Ukwa-Ngwa bloc rated the most populous clan in the state.
Similarly, Orji, his political godfather is expected to stop at nothing in ensuring his victory. He cannot afford to lose the state to the opposition. Also the equity clause is in his favour as his Abia South zone has yet to produce a governor for the state.
However, the failure of the PDP at the federal level portends danger for Ikpeazu. There seems to be a grumbling against its leaders in the state for their inability to mobilise enough support for President Goodluck Jonathan at the presidential poll. Although Jonathan won in Abia with 368,303 votes as against the over one million delivered to him in 2011, residents felt the party leaders did not do enough, and Ikpeazu may pay for this. If the PDP must win at the poll, it must work harder than it did at the last elections because it is undeniable that the All Progressive Grand Alliance poses a grave threat to its continuity.
Another top candidate is Dr. Alex Otti, of APGA. A core technocrat with wealth of experience, national and international connections, Otti has a lot of fans rooting for him.
Though new in politics, his emergence as the APGA flag bearer after a brief stop-over in the PDP has earned the party the status of the main opposition in the state. More so his party won one of the National Assembly seats in the state. He is likely to get sympathy votes from some voters who are still angry with the PDP.
Nyerere Anyim is the candidate of the All Progressives Congress. He also hails from Obingwa council just like his PDP counterpart. He is among the candidates favoured by the zoning formula. His chances have been brightened by the victory of the APC at the centre. Should the Abia electorate decide to key into the mainstream party, Anyim may become the main beneficiary.
Despite the victory of his party at the centre, Anyim still has to work hard if he should actualise his ambition as APC does not seem to enjoy wide acceptance in not only the state but the entire South East zone.
In all, the state is likely to be clinched by the PDP.
Adamawa State has over the last one year featured prominently in Nigeria’s political equation. From the defection of former Governor Murtala Nyako to his impeachment from office and the musical chairs played by various “acting governors”. Indigenes and residents of the state now have a rare opportunity to choose a governor which hopefully will be allowed to serve out his term in office.
Those in the race are: Senator Jibrilla Bindow of the APC, Nuhu Ribadu of the PDP and Marcus Gundiri of the SDP.
Those familiar with the politics of the state argue that with the turn of events, the race is between the APC and the SDP. The chances of Nuhu Ribadu are said to be slim, a situation further worsened by PDP’s loss at the federal level.
The odds favour Bindow of the APC who emerged winner in the two primaries conducted to pick a candidate for the APC. His chances were further boosted by the party’s victory at the just concluded presidential elections.
The APC also picked all the three senatorial seats on offer in the state during last week’s National Assembly elections. He equally enjoys the support of former Vice President Atiku Abubakar as well as the former Governor Nyako and their loyalists.
However, Gunduri of the SDP is not a pushover. Although the party is relatively new in the state, the people rooting for him argue that he will be voted for based on his personal merit. Barring any last minute re-alignment, the APC has all the aces.
Akwa Ibom
The governorship candidate of the PDP in Akwa Ibom State, Mr. Udom Emmanuel, has been positioned by the Akwa Ibom State governor, Mr. Godswill Akpabio, to succeed him.
Emmanuel, who is new in politics, relies on Akpabio for his governorship bid. Emmanuel was drafted into politics by Akpabio’s wife as Akpabio himself announced during the inauguration of the PDP campaign committee.
The APC governorship candidate in the state is Mr. Umana Umana.
The people of Akwa Ibom including former Governor Victor Attah; former Petroleum Minister, Chief Don Etiebet, and former Vice Chairman, PDP, South-South, Chief Edet Mkpubre, though all PDP members, have adopted Umana as their governorship candidate.
The Accord Party’s governorship candidate is Bishop Sam Akpan. But his chances in the competition may not be bright enough considering the forces that back the PDP and APC candidates. This can be noticed by the number of people that have left the AP for either the PDP or the APC.
The Labour Party’s governorship candidate is Senator Helen Esuene and she entered the race late. She was a member of PDP aggrieved governorship aspirants, otherwise known as G22.
Esuene relies on the formula which zoned the governorship ticket to Akwa Ibom South Senatorial District. She is the only female governorship candidate in the state.
The battle actually is between the PDP and the APC. While the APC has won in the presidential election, the success has boosted its ego towards winning the governorship election in the state.
As it is now, nobody can be certain of which party will produce the next governor between the PDP and APC.
The APC, which is the major opposition party in Bauchi State cleared all the National Assembly seats in the last elections.
Observers are keenly watching to see if the ruling PDP will recover from its defeat and make any impression in the governorship and state Houses of Assembly election on Saturday.
The two major contestants are the PDP’s Auwal Jatau and Muhammed Abubakar of the APC.
Jatau is currently representing the Zaki Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives. Jatau, with his 16 years’ experience in politics, has held various positions in the State House of Assembly and served in many committees in the House of Representatives.
Many say Jatau will become the next governor going by the incumbency factor of Governor Issa Yuguda and the fact that he (Jatau) with his party has a deep purse.
But with the party’s dismal show at the March 28 polls, and despite PDP’s assurances, Jatau faces a huge task.
Muhammed Abubakar, the APC candidate, is seen as a successful public servant who has the ability and knowhow to bridge the infrastructure and social deficits in the state.
Also, given his age, many believe he has an edge over the PDP candidate who is far younger. However, some of the major hurdles Abubakar will face in his journey to becoming Yuguda’s successor is the acrimony that existed in the party especially among the APC leaders in the state.
For now, it is not so clear who will carry the day among the two.
In Benue State there are basically two major contenders to watch out for on April 11. The first is Dr. Loraer Ortom of the APC. He is an astute politician, businessman and administrator.
When the people of Benue State came under sustained attacks by Fulani herdsmen he suspended the pursuit of his governorship ambition for one month.
He stated that it did not make sense to continue with political activities in pursuit of the ambition when the people he wished to govern were under continuous siege with hundreds of them killed.
Ortom, as it stands today, has the greatest chances of winning the elections in the state. He joined hands with Senators George Akume and Barnabas Gemade to defeat the PDP and Governor Gabriel Suswan in the state in the last Presidential and National Assembly elections.
Terhemen Tarzoor, the PDP candidate was elected into the Benue State House of Assembly in 2007 and subsequently became the Speaker. However, the Appeal Tribunal sitting in Makurdi later nullified his mandate for ‘perceived’ irregularities observed during the conduct of his April 2011 elections.
Come Saturday, the APC is the party to beat in Benue.
The emergence of the Borno State governor in 2011 was determined by the then governor of the state, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff. Then, it was he who decided who became who in the now defunct All Nigeria Peoples Party. He enthroned his godson, Kashim Shettima, as governor.
But the father and son relationship which characterised the early reign of Shettima soon went awry and at the end of the day, Sheriff was pushed out of the newly formed APC. He jumped ship and returned to his old foe, the PDP, with many of his acolytes.
Gambo Lawan is the PDP governorship candidate. But the real fight for the governorship seat is actually between Sheriff and Shettima who stood together in 2011 but now stand apart and against each other.
Shettima, the incumbent governor, is standing on a higher ground with the APC President-elect being a strong advantage.
Can Sheriff, the acclaimed master strategist, re-enact his magic? The question will be answered on Saturday.
Cross River
In Cross River State, the three major contenders are Prof. Ben Ayade of the ruling PDP in the state, Mr. Fidelis Ugbo of the LP and Mr. Odey Ochicha of the APC.
All the three candidates have the vast experiences to govern the state, but since politics is about number, the candidate of the PDP may have an edge despite the outcome of the presidential election which favoured the APC at the federal level.
This is so because all other opposition parties do not enjoy the huge followership the ruling party has. Apart from followership, the PDP candidates for the governorship and House of Assembly positions carried out more campaigns than their opponents in the other two parties.
The rigorous campaigns might have accounted for the sweeping victory in the presidential and National Assembly election where the party got more than 95 per cent of the total votes cast for its candidate, President Jonathan, and swept all three senatorial districts and eight House of Representatives slots.
Besides, an agreement between the two opposition parties (LP and APC) to work as a team to oust PDP in their respective areas of strengths flopped at the just concluded presidential and National Assembly election.
Hence, in Cross River, the PDP has it.
Though the PDP is still the party with the largest following and spread in Delta, the prospect of an APC government at the centre is fast changing things. Some rearrangements and realignments of political forces have started taking place.
Three men stand out from the crowd of governorship candidates. They are Senator Ifeanyi Okowa of the PDP; O’Tega Emerhor of the APC and Great Ogboru of the LP.
Okowa’s advantage emanates from the presence of the PDP’s structure in all the wards and local governments in the state. This adds to the fact that his party is the ruling party at both the state and federal governments.
Though he was not the original candidate of the incumbent governor, Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan has since adopted him as his candidate.
Next to Okowa is Ogboru of the LP. Ogboru has become a veteran of the governorship election in Delta State, having first contested as the Alliance for Democracy candidate in 2003.
He ran for the office again in 2007 and 2011 respectively, coming in as first runner-up in the three instances.
Each time, Ogboru contested he got the endorsement of his native Urhobo who occupy a third of the local government areas in the state and form almost half the entire population of Delta State.
His major handicap lies in the fact that his ethnic group and senatorial zone have produced two governors of the state in the past, and this is swimming against a groundswell of sentiments that for the sake of equity Delta North should be allowed to produce the next governor.
The third candidate is Emerhor, whose candidacy has split the once united and powerful Urhobo Progress Union into two factions. One faction is backing him for governor, while the other is all out for Ogboru.
Emerhor’s stamina has been boosted by the victory of Buhari at the federal level. And the new campaign slogan of Emerhor and his party, the APC is that Delta State cannot afford to be with a party in opposition.
But like Ogboru, he hails from Delta Central.
Though Emerhor’s party’s structures are more widely distributed in the state, the party does not enjoy the kind of patronage that the PDP has.
As things are, the PDP has it.
Ebonyi is traditionally a PDP state, but the protracted crisis in the state’s chapter of the party, which culminated in Governor Martins Elechi literally losing control of the party’s machinery and facing impeachment, is sure to have an effect on the governorship election.
Backed by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Anyim Pius Anyim, and other Abuja-based top politicians, the Deputy Governor, Dave Umahi, was able to wrest control of the party structure from his principal, Elechi.
Along the line, Umahi emerged as the PDP governorship candidate, despite stiff opposition from Elechi, who wanted former health minister, Onyebuchi Chukwu, to succeed him.
The Elechi camp, including Chukwu, did not even participate in the party primaries which produced Umahi as the candidate.
At that point, the APC, with Senator Julius Ucha as the governorship candidate, was the only party capable of giving the PDP a meaningful challenge in the governorship election, but, after Elechi’s supporters moved into the LP in a bid to realise their interests in the polls, the contest now appears to be a three-horse race. Thus, the governorship election is now a contest between Umahi of the PDP, Ucha of the APC and Edward Nkwegu of the LP.
Although Elechi did not follow his supporters to the LP — he remains in the PDP — it is alleged that he is backing, and funding the party.
Despite his travails in the PDP, the governor still commands a formidable followership in the state, as suggested by the massive turnout at rallies staged to protest plans by the Ebonyi State House of Assembly to impeach him.
The impeachment process has been suspended – there are insinuations that it was shelved because the PDP was afraid Elechi’s impeachment could lead to some of its members casting protest votes in favour of the opposition parties – but there is no doubt that the wounds have not been healed.
The huge margin with which the PDP won the presidential election in the state — 323,625 votes against 19,518 scored by the APC — suggests that the ruling party will eventually carry the day.
The PDP governorship candidate in Enugu State, a member of the House of Representatives, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, can afford to go into the polls confident in his chances against Okey Ezea of the APC and other candidates.
Although the PDP in Enugu would be worrying at the possibility of the result of the presidential poll affecting the voting pattern in the governship election, the fact remains that the APC has little or no structure in the state, and, added to that disadvantage, it has not campaigned adequately.
While the PDP campaign train toured all parts of the state, addressing massive crowds at every stop, the APC’s campaigns were not so visible.
Ugwuanyi is widely popular in the state reportedly as a result of several years of sustained generosity and philanthropy on his part.
The APC candidate, Ezea, had lost to the PDP in the past. Although he has boasted that it would be easy to defeat the ruling party this time around, his campaign, party’s structure and followership in the state do not justify his optimism.
Most of the other candidates are not popular, and some parties did not field any candidate — the APGA reportedly adopted the PDP candidate.
Barring all unforeseen developments, the PDP is set to continue ruling Enugu State after the April 11 elections.
The governorship race in Gombe State is between incumbent Governor Ibrahim Dankwambo who is the candidate of the PDP and a former Commissioner of Finance in the State, Alhaji Inuwa Yahaya who is flying the flag of the APC.
Dankwambo who before his elections as governor was Nigeria’s Accountant-General is facing the biggest threat to his political life having fallen out with his erstwhile godfather and predecessor, Senator Danjuma Goje.
His opponent, the APC candidate defeated former Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Usman Nafada and one Murtala Aliyu to clinch the party’s ticket during its last primaries. With Goje’s support and the possible band wagon effect Buhari’s victory could bring, his chances of causing an upset are very high. The race is too close to call.
With the current agitation for the restoration of the Charter of Equity in Imo State, it is generally believed that the 2015 governorship election in the state will assume a different dimension.
Also, it is assumed that with the arrival of the APC on the scene, the political equation in Imo has not only changed; it now revolves around three political parties, namely the APC, PDP and APGA and their respective governorship candidates.
Governor Rochas Okorocha’s power of incumbency and the victory of his party, the APC, at the presidential polls make him the candidate to beat in Imo on Saturday.
The Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Emeka Ihedioha, is considered to be the closest rival of Okorocha in the race.
Ihedioha, who hails from Owerri Zone, stands a good chance of being favoured by the zoning formula in the state.
However, one factor that is counting against him is the growing unpopularity of the PDP in the state, due to its performance in the past and the emergence of the APC as the ruling party at the national level.
Captain Emmanuel Ihenacho, a former Minister of Interior, is the standard bearer of the APGA in Imo.
Iheanacho’s past record in public service and his generosity to indigenes of the state have made the electorate to be positively disposed to his governorship ambition. He is also from the Owerri Zone, which is expected to produce the next governor in line with the famous Charter of Equity that advocates the zoning of the position among the three senatorial zones in the state.
Here, Sule Lamido calls the shots. No doubt, Lamido who is the North-West Coordinator of the Jonathan/Sambo Campaign Organisation has turned Jigawa State into a ‘mini Abuja’ with meagre federal allocation accruing to the state. The question is, will the people of his state compensate him by voting for his anointed candidate, Aminu Ibrahim Rigim, who was his Chief of Staff against the APC’s Muhammad Badaru Abubakar and lost at centre, thus becoming an opposition state? It is not clear who will win here.
The party leadership had since set up a reconciliatory committee to reconcile all the aggrieved parties, meetings were said to have been held to chart a way forward and some officials of the party said some of the defeated aspirants had cooperated with Abubakar given the fact that they even sent their representatives to Abubakar’s campaign rallies and meetings.
With the performance of the APC in the last election, political watchers in Kaduna State are of the belief that the gate to the Sir Kashim Ibrahim Government House looks clearer to the APC governorship candidate in the state, Malam Nasir El-Rufai.
This, they ascribed to a likelihood of a bandwagon effect. The voting pattern of the presidential election which gave the APC 1,127,760 as against the PDP’s 484,085 votes may be replicated on Saturday.
Before now, the incumbent governor, Mukhtar Yero had high hopes of using his incumbency power to fulfil his re-election bid. But with the defeat at the federal level, his chances at the poll are bleak.
Though the governor might have performed in the state in the last two years after the demise of his principal, late Patrick Yakowa, the APC candidate and former FCT minister, appears to command the crowd.
Analysts have given Saturday’s poll to the APC.
The incumbent deputy governor and governorship candidate of the APC, Dr. Umar Ganduje, remains the man to beat.
Apart from the power of incumbency, Ganduje is expected to bring on board his vast experience having served as a civil servant at the state and federal levels. He was a staff of the Federal Capital Territory Administration before joining politics in 1998. He served as deputy governor to Governor Rabiu Kwankwaso from 1999-2003 when they were voted out. He returned as deputy governor when he and his boss were re-elected in 2011.
His main challenger and candidate of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, Sagir Takai is not a pushover. Having served as local government chairman and twice as commissioner, Takai goes into the contest with a rich political background. He however has an uphill task to convince Kano voters considering the massive following the APC commands in the state. All said and done, the state will go to APC.
In Katsina State where Ibrahim Shema holds sway as the Chief Executive Officer, there will be a fierce battle of supremacy as it is also the home state of the President-elect. Shema may not want to go down without a fight for his anointed candidate, Musa Nashuni, an engineer by profession. It was gathered that Nashuni has become a household name in the state. Since 1999 to date the state has been a PDP state but with the recent victory of the APC at the centre, it is difficult to say if this will continue.
Judging from the giant stride in the state in the areas of infrastructural development by the Shema’s administration, analysts are of the view that Nashuni will take the crown come April 11.
But again, analysts are of the belief that the APC may want to join the centre to be led by their son, Buhari, through the candidacy of the former Speaker of the Federal House of Representatives, Aminu Bello Masari, to avoid being an opposition party. Political watchers said the bandwagon effect may affect the state and at the end, the former speaker may carry the day. Though the battle promises to be fierce, the APC will eventually have it.
This state which is currently in the hands of the PDP is at the verge of returning to the hands of the APC. The candidate of the PDP in the governorship race, Maj. Gen. Sarkin-Yaki Bello. He is new to politics having retired from the army only a few years ago.
He has a formidable opponent in Senator Abubakar Bagudu who dumped the PDP to join the APC where he picked the ticket. His chances are brightened by the emergence of Buhari as President-elect. The state is most likely going to the APC.
Abdulfatah Ahmed, who is the APC governorship candidate, is the incumbent governor.
Ahmed during the administration of his predecessor and political godfather, Dr. Bukola Saraki, was Commissioner for Finance and later Commissioner for Economic Planning.
Third-term Senator Simeon Ajibola who is reputed not to have lost any election in the state is the PDP candidate. He is seen as a dogged fighter and a politician of no mean repute. He is also perceived as a grassroots person who knows how to win the support of the masses.
But he has a long hurdle to cross with the APC’s clout as the PDP only garnered a total of 156,853 votes for the three senatorial candidates and a total of 141,335 votes for the six candidates for the six federal constituencies in the state.
Dr. Mike Omotosho who is the LP candidate, though a new entrant in Kwara politics, appears to be making some admirable impacts in the state.
He has not only run predominantly an issue-based campaign, he has also been empowering thousands of the residents in different ways.
With the conclusion of the presidential and National Assembly elections, which were won by the APC, one does not need a clairvoyant to predict how the pendulum will swing on Saturday.
The Lagos State governorship election is expected to be a hotly contested one between the PDP and the APC though 10 out of 15 political parties jostling for the state’s Round House had stepped down for the APC. Lagos has always been a stronghold of the opposition at the national level.
With the APC set to be the national ruling party, not a few analysts are tempted to think that the state will likely fall into the hands of the major opposition party, the PDP.
Akinwunmi Ambode is the APC governorship candidate while Olujimi Agbaje is that of the PDP.
While Ambode has not contested for any public political office until now, he had been in the government of the state for 25 years till his retirement. The APC candidate has the backing of the APC National Leader and a former governor of Lagos, Bola Tinubu.
Agbaje, unlike Ambode, is not new to politics. He was the National Treasurer of the socio-political group, Afenifere. He later joined the Action Congress. In 2007, Agbaje left the AC to join the Democratic People’s Alliance in order to contest for Lagos’ governorship election. His grouse was that Tinubu allegedly single-handedly picked Babatunde Fashola, who later became governor in 2007.
Having failed in his bid to rule the state, Agbaje left the DPA (following its de-registration by the Independent National Electoral Commission) to join the PDP in 2011. In 2014, he emerged as the governorship flag bearer of the party having defeated Senator Musiliu Obanikoro, his major opponent, in the primary election.
Agbaje and his PDP seem to be relying more on the votes of Lagos non-indigenes to wrest power from the APC which has been ruling the state since the advent of the current democratic dispensation in 1999. Besides, Agbaje is considered by many Lagosians as an individual with an untainted political history. But, like Ambode he carries the baggage of being endorsed by a godfather.
On personal and professional level, Agbaje and Ambode are considered as men of integrity. Both men have been successful and accountable in the professional careers -Agbaje as a pharmacist and Ambode as a former auditor-general of the state.
Given that APC is the ruling party and Lagos being the base of the APC, Ambode is likely to run away with victory. The fact that the party also won the presidential election puts Ambode in good stead.
Nasarawa State was ruled by the PDP until 2011 when the then Action Congress of Nigeria took over. But it is also one state that has felt the pangs of insurgents thereby creating a sense of deep insecurity among the residents.
Mr. Yusuf Agabi, a former Director of Finance at the Federal Ministry of Finance, is the PDP governorship candidate in the state.
Agabi’s choice, according to political pundits, is sending cold waves into the camp of the incumbent Governor Umaru Tanko Al-Makura. Agabi is an Akyeh, a minority in the state.
Both Agabi and Al-Makura are Muslims thereby dashing the hopes of those expecting a Christian to be in the saddle.
The southern zone’s PDP big fishes expressed confidence that they would deliver the zone which is predominantly made up of peasants’ farmers who are being attacked by AK-47-wielding Fulani herdsmen in the past three years.
The chance of the former minister of information, Mr. Labaran Maku, to clinch the governorship seat of the state is very slim.
A school of thought in the state argues that the immediate past minister alleged that his former party betrayed him at the governorship primary held at the Guest House of the Federal Polytechnic, Nasarawa.
Political analysts also opined that Maku lost grip of his political importance immediately after the result of the governorship primaries.
The Saturday contest may be neck and neck.
In Niger State, it will be a straight fight between Umar Mohammad Nasko of the ruling PDP and Abubakar Sani Bello of the APC.
However, there is a third contender who is a female, Zuliyu Hassan Iman, on the platform of the SDP. She is the first female governorship candidate to be fielded by any political party in the state.
In their campaign the trio traversed the nooks and crannies of the 25 local government areas of the state to sell their parties and candidatures.
With the victory of the APC in the presidential and National Assembly polls, (the APC won the presidential polls in the state and swept all the three Senatorial seats) it will be extremely difficult for Nasko to defeat Bello.
It will be a close tie for whoever will emerge after Saturday’s election as the next governor of the state. But the APC may have an upper hand.
Senator Ibikunle Amosun is the incumbent governor and the candidate of the APC. He contested to be a governor under the defunct All Nigeria Peoples Party in 2007 but lost.
In 2011, he re-contested under the now defunct ACN and won. The ACN later joined the coalition of others, ANPP and Congress for Progressive Change to transform into the APC.
Amosun’s bid for re-election is a serious affair, as he led all the campaign tours to the 236 wards and 20 local government areas in the state.
But, residents are divided on whether or not SIA, as Amosun is fondly called by his loyalists and political admirers, deserves a re-election.
However, some residents saw the performance of the APC in the presidential and the National Assembly elections, as a boost for the governor’s re-election bid.
The party won two of the three senatorial seats, and seven out of the nine House of Representatives slots in the state.
Gboyega Isiaka is a first class graduate of the University of Ife now known as Obafemi Awolowo University. He is the PDP’s candidate and also not a rookie. He contested in the governorship race in 2011 on the platform of the Peoples Party of Nigeria. The PPN was formed due to the in-fighting in the PDP in the state then.
For the PDP candidate to make impact, the different power blocs in the party must close ranks and join hands with him.
It is also said that the Social Democratic Party and PDP are working on the ‘Amosun must go’ agenda.
Isiaka and the SDP governorship candidate, Akin Odunsi, are from Ogun West, which had never produced a governor since the creation of the state in 1976.
Odunsi, apart from being a one-term senator representing Ogun West in the National Assembly, has not contested for the governorship slot before now.
Odunsi, an integrated marketing communication guru, who had been relying more on the grass roots political clout of the leader of the party, Olusegun Osoba, before the presidential election to fulfil his governorship ambition, may have to look elsewhere for succour. This is because the party performed poorly, as none of its candidates made either the Senate or House of Representatives seats.
If the APC sustains its tempo, it may not be too difficult for Amosun to return to the Oke Ilewo Government House.
Before the presidential election, there was no doubt that the contest would be close between the APC and the other four political parties that had adopted President Jonathan as their presidential candidate. But after Jonathan’s defeat, it is left to be seen if a bandwagon effect will condemn Rashidi Ladoja of Accord Party, Adebayo Alao-Akala of LP, Teslim Folarin of the PDP and Seyi Makinde of the SDP to the loser’s corner.
A former governor in the state, Ladoja enjoys the sympathy of some people in the state, especially Ibadan, having been a victim of political manoeuvring which resulted in his impeachment as governor in 2006. He formed AP and contested the governorship election on the party’s platform but lost his bid to return as governor in 2011. He is back in the race as he, Alao-Akala and incumbent Governor Abiola Ajimobi attempt to become the state’s first two-term governor.
Apart from being an acclaimed popular candidate among his Ibadan people, Ladoja is also admired by labour, especially teachers in the state. But that popularity has been subjected to a strong test and lots of questions after his political party failed to win any of the National Assembly seats in the March 28 elections in the state.
Alao-Akala profited from Ladoja’s 2006 impeachment but quickly gained popularity among his supporters, especially the Ogbomoso and part of Oke-Ogun people, because of his philanthropic gesture. He lost his re-election bid to Ajimobi in 2011 in a keenly contested election but his popularity has not dwindled.
He left the PDP in December 2014 after it was clear that he would not be given the governorship ticket. On the day of the party’s controversial primary election, he was handed the governorship ticket of LP. Alao-Akala is the only governorship candidate that was not swept away in his stronghold by the Buhari/APC tsunami.
Teslim Folarin was a former Senate leader who, after failing to return to the upper legislative chamber in 2011, bounced back to claim the PDP governorship ticket.
Without any doubt, Governor Abiola Ajimobi remains the man to beat in the state. Having claimed victory in the presidential and National Assembly elections, APC has the upper hand going into the April 11 elections and the man to profit from this is Ajimobi.
The contest is between the ruling PDP’s Gyang Pwajok, who is currently a senator and the opposition APC’s, Simon Lalong.
In the face of glaring realities, PDP may be the party to beat. This is because the state is traditionally PDP and going by the voting pattern in the last presidential election, it may be an easy ride for the party. In the last election, PDP garnered 549,615 votes to beat APC with 429,140. Therefore a clear win for PDP may be predicted on Saturday.
Plateau people have long abhorred opposition and since the dawn of democracy in Nigeria, the people have always been on the side of the ruling party. It was only in 1979 that the Nigeria People’s Party, which was considered to be in opposition ruled the state. Hence, they may want to maintain the tradition of voting for the PDP.
But given the rancour that attended the PDP primaries in the state and the emergence of Pwajok as its flag bearer, some aggrieved members may want to extract their own pound of flesh. Already some of them are known to be working for the opposition.
Also, Senator-elect Jeremiah Useni and returning Senator Joshua Dariye, both of the PDP, have not hidden their preference for the APC. Useni, a strong apostle of zoning and power shift would very much want the seat to go to the southern zone while for Dariye it is a payback time for Lalong’s loyalty during his troubled days as governor of the state.
The APC may also be cashing in on the sentiments of the zoning proponents, which grew in large numbers in the aftermath of the presidential elections. Again the results of the last election, in which the PDP won with a slight margin did not give the party a big thing to cheer about. It is feared that the voting pattern on Saturday may sway the APC way.
In Rivers State, the governorship poll is a three-man horse race among the APC’s Dr. Dakuku Peterside, PDP’s Nyesom Wike and the LP’s Tonye Princewill.
Wike is from Ikwerre, an upland area, where the incumbent governor, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, hails from while Peterside, a member of the House of Representatives hails from Opobo, a coastal area just like Princewill. Apart from being a member of the House of Representatives, Peterside had in the past served as the Chairman of Opobo Local Government Area and Rivers State Commissioner for Works during Amaechi’s first term in office.
Wike served two terms as a local government chairman of Obio/Akpor. While in office, Wike was later appointed the Chief of Staff, Government House, Port Harcourt, a position he held until he was appointed the Minister of State for Education.
The race between Wike and Peterside remains a tough call.
Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal, the candidate of the All Progressives Congress is without a doubt the candidate to beat in next Saturday’s governorship elections.
Having represented the people of the state at the House of Representatives for three terms and rising to the enviable position of Speaker, Tambuwal’s victory can be said to be a done deal. He enjoys the support of the people of the state as well as the out-going governor who is his political benefactor.
His main challenger, Senator Abdalla Wali, of the PDP, will equally have an uphill task in his attempt to defeat the candidate of the ruling party. His problems are compounded by the fact that the acrimony generated by the PDP primaries which produced him as candidate is still a subject of litigation. Former Minister of Water Resources and Deputy Governor, Murktari Shagari and other aspirants are still embittered by the way the primaries were handled. Barring any unforeseen circumstances, the state will go to the APC.
Senator Aisha Jummai Alhassan, the APC candidate, is a lawyer by profession and a successful business woman. Though she possessed the requisite qualification with money to run her campaign, some factors seem to be working against her ambition of ruling the state come May 29.
Even with these factors, she cannot be dismissed with a wave of the hand. When she contested as a senator in 2011 against former governor of the state, Rev. Jolly Nyame, many did not take her serious but she won the election. Mid way in her term as senator, she had a disagreement with Governor Danbaba Suntai which was not settled leading to her defection to the main opposition APC.
She became the APC leader in the state and built the party structures and single-handedly financed the party in the state to where it is today. With this antecedence, she is expected to give Darius and Kente a good run on Saturday.
David Kente, the SDP candidate is a professional accountant and retired Director of Finance in the National Assembly. Kente, defected from the PDP to the SDP, citing lack of transparency and injustice.
Kente is seen by many as one who is a major threat to Darius Ishaku, the PDP governorship flag bearer.

Ishaku, an architect, according to political watchers in the state was not known before now having spent a greater part of his life in Kaduna. According to them, Darius is riding on the big shoulders of General Theophilus Danjuma and the political structures of Governor Danbaba Suntai.
Factors like religion, ethnicity and regional balance will play key roles in the voting pattern. Alhassan being a woman and a Muslim would not have it easy garnering support from the Christian dominated southern and central zones. She would certainly make an impact in the north which is her zone.
Darius and Kente who are of Chamba and Jukun extractions respectively in the southern part of the state would divide their votes, but again analysts are casting their lots in favour of the PDP candidate, Ishaku, who currently enjoys the support of the powers that be and other critical political stakeholders in the state.
The battle for the Yobe State Government House, Damaturu will be between the incumbent governor, Ibrahim Gaidam and an astute politician, Adamu Waziri, who seems to have been around for ages. Waziri first contested the governorship election on the platform of the PDP in 2003.
He got the ticket of the party in 2007 but in 2011 he lost at the primaries to now late Senator Usman Albishir. Many had thought with this loss, Waziri had bid farewell to the ambition of ruling the state but they were all wrong as he came back again to win the PDP ticket.
Waziri has a great following in the state where he has become synonymous with the PDP. His Achilles heels are that the PDP has never been popular with the residents of the state.
For the incumbent, Ibrahim Gaidam of the APC, a return ticket to the Government House is almost certain after the initial hitches of the legal position of being already sworn in twice as a governor and the extension of stay at the Government House beyond eight years if re-elected. His party enjoys tremendous support from the residents.
Gaidam is going to Saturday’s poll with a depleted team having lost some of the staunch members of the party to the opposition. This has started taking its toll on the electoral fortune of the party which won everything on offer during the last 2011 general elections but lost one of the three senatorial seats at the March 28 election.
The race for the governorship seat of this state is among two familiar political allies turned foes. The incumbent governor of the state and candidate of the APC, Abdulazeez Yari, will be squaring up with his predecessor, Alhaji Mamuda Shinkafi, whom he defeated in 2011.
Both were members of the defunct ANPP before the latter defected to the PDP shortly before the 2011 elections which he lost.
Shinkafi who is contesting to reclaim the seat he lost in 2011 will be moving against the tide in the sense that the federal might he was banking on is largely decimated owing to the defeat the PDP suffered at the federal level. The state is most likely to remain firmly in the hands of the APC.

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