24 days to election: Some trouble states for PDP, APC

Barely 24 days from today, will Nigerians decide who their president for the next four years will be. Though, the ruling party, All Progressives Congress (APC) and the leading opposition party, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), would have an easy ride in some states, but it may not that easy for either of them in some states. ABDULRAHMAN ZAKARIYAU in this analysis takes a look at some likely troubled states for the two parties.

Ogun State is free for all

Ordinarily Ogun state would have been an easy ride for the All Progressives Congress (APC) considering the power of incumbency. However, the current crises in the two camps; APC and PDP, it remains a trouble spot for the two parties.

APC, the ruling party in Ogun State is currently tackling intra-party crisis, as a result of the Governor Ibikunle Amosun’s desperate decision to oppose the ambition of Dapo Abiodun, who incidentally was elected as the party’s gubernatorial candidate. This led Amosun to support his preferred candidate’s, Adekunle Akinlade, migration from the APC to the Allied Peoples Movement (APM). This has left the party more divided than there could have been as they go into the election month.

Similarly, the PDP is seriously factionalized in the state with Senator Buruji Kashamu and Hon. Ladi Adebutu, both in a show of force.  Even though the party had insisted that Hon. Adebutu remained its candidate, Senator Buruji is equally going around campaigning as the standard flag bearer of the PDP. However, a Federal High Court in Abuja had laid the candidate tussle to rest, as the court affirmed Senator Buruji Kashamu as the PDP candidate. That judgment is yet to be vacated by a court of higher competence.

Interestingly, they are many interests that will make the Ogun gubernatorial election difficult for all parties. Among those considered as very influential politicians are the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo. He is based in Lagos, but hails from Ikenne-Remo in the eastern senatorial district of the state, same as the former governor of the state, Otunba Gbenga Daniel, former President Olusegun Obasanjo, and the incumbent governor, Ibikunle Amosun.

Going by the disposition of former President Obasanjo, it is certain that the APC would have a handful of problems. The election will be competitive for all parties, but more difficult for PDP, APM, and APC, as they have over 1,800,000 to lobby for.

Oyo state and its Amala politics

It is important to note that, the politics of Oyo state had in most cases been different from politics of every other state in the South West and indeed Nigeria. It could be recalled that the former kingmaker, Chief Lamidi Adedibu, had made analysts to refer to the state style of politics in a peculiar name- amala politics. This was largely because those he fed most times determined who wins. However, many things have changed since is demise, in fact a party and its candidate, the APC was elected for second term which has never happened in the history of Oyo state.

Though there is no obvious crisis rocking many of the parties, except in the All Progressives parties where some members as still aggrieved and have threatened to work against the party in the forthcoming gubernatorial election.

Interestingly, most of the candidates are rooted in grassroots politics and are big contenders in their own right. The candidate of the PDP, Seyi Makinde, is a household name in Oyo politics, the Action Democratic Party (ADP) candidate, Otunba Christopher Alao Akala, is a former governor of the state, the Zenith Labour Party (ZLP) candidate, former Secretary to the State Government, Alhaji Sharafadeen Abiodun Alli, is also a grassroots mobiliser, who proudly enjoys the support of the former governor, Rashid Adewolu Ladoja. Also, the APC candidate, Adebayo Adelabu, wholeheartedly enjoys the support of the incumbent governor, Senator Isiaka Ajumobi. Aside from this, one of the sons of the late Adegoke Adelabu Penkelemesi, is a popular Ibadan politician.

Cumulatively, all these personalities that are directly and indirectly involved in the Oyo state gubernatorial election make it difficult for any to lay claim to the about 3 million votes that are available for grab. Oyo gubernatorial election will certainly stir up surprises.

IMO another battle field

Imo State remained the only South East state that is being governed by the ruling party, the All Progressives Congress (APC). The case of the state is peculiar like that of Oyo. The governor of Imo State, Rocha’s Okorocha, anointed candidate who incidentally happened to be the governor’s son in-law also lost out in the controversial primary election. This has to a large extent left the party more divided. In fact, so many persons left the party and the governor also threatened to remain in the party and work against his party’s candidate.

As it stands now, the recognized APC candidate is Senator Hope Uzordimma, who of course, enjoys the support of the APC national leadership and that of the President, Muhammadu Buhari. On the side of the PDP, its candidate is former Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Emeka Ihedioha, who is also affected by the outcome of the party’s primary.

The in-law of the incumbent governor, Uche Nwosu, who later joined the Action Alliance is also been down played because of his family ties with the incumbent governor, who wants to allegedly turned the state into family business. There is also the Senator Ifeanyi Ararume (APGA) factor. He commands reasonably grassroots followership and should be a threat to the major contenders.

By March 2nd, over  2 million registered voters, all things been equal, will determine who and which party would lead the state for another four years in what perhaps will be the most competitive election in the history of the state.

Kwara state: Show of force for APC, PDP

Kwara state north central Nigeria, has exactly 1,406,457 registered voters to determine the faith of two leading political parties: the APC and PDP. For over 20 years, the Saraki’s had held firmly to the reins of power in the harmony state for about 20 years. Certainly, the election would be between the APC and PDP.

In the APC, the candidate, Abdulrahman Abdulrazak, enjoys the support of the party leadership, the federal government through the Minister of Culture and Information, Alhaji Lai Muhammed, but the party at the state is facing some internal crisis which they are trying to curtail. While on the other side, Razak Atunwa, the anointed candidate of the leader of Kwara politics, Senate President, Dr Abubakar Bukola Saraki, is the party candidate. Though Atunwa and PDP are at peace, but the obvious revolt against Saraki will certainly makes the election a tough one.

The Senate President, who is facing the toughest political struggle in his political career, will certainly do everything possible to continue to dominate the state. While, the APC led federal government will also do everything within its federal might to stamp its authority to attempt to win. The APC has raised the tempo in Kwara as it has engendered the slogan away with saraki’s dynasty to become almost a sing song. The party wants to win possibly all the elective positions on demand. The intention is to pay Saraki back for his alleged betrayal. Consequently, Kwara state gubernatorial election will witness a show of force from both sides.

Kano the trouble with APC, PDP

Kano state no doubt after Lagos has the second largest number of registered voters in the country with over 5 million votes up for grab. Incidentally, unlike what used to be, there is no party that can be predicted to stand a better chance to win, but the contest is between the APC candidate, incumbent governor, Abdullahi Ganduje and the PDP candidate Alhaji Abba Kabiru Yusuf, who is a son-in-law to ex-Governor Rabiu Kwankwaso.

Who wins voters’ sympathy in Zamfara, Akwa Ibom

Though no crisis in the APC but many members are still skeptical of voting for him, like other members of the public, this is because of the case of the alleged bribery video that trended for while.

This has not just brought the candidate into bad light, but it has dragged the party’s name into the mud and affected the relationship between the first family and the governor. However, the governor and the party, will certainly do everything possible to retain his seat.

The PDP candidate, Yusuf would have been a better alternative, but his chances are slim considering his family ties with the former governor, Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, who many described as a selfish politician that wants to impose his in- law, Yusuf, on the people of the state.

Both parties seem very popular in the state, and the also enjoy the support of many youths. Kwankwaso will want to prove the point that the kwankwasiyya Movement is a tsunami with the potency to drown any that attempts to stand on its way. Equally, Ganduje will do everything possible to dim the shine in Rabiu Musa kwankawso to keep his job. In the end, the election would be for the fittest. The strongest will certainly have its way.

Is Akwa Ibom a battle ground?

On the surface it might seem so? The All Progressives Congress (APC) seems to be on the high at least on the pages of newspapers. The hitherto inconsequential party has suddenly assumed a new status following the immediate past governor Godswill Akapbio’s unexpected shift of loyalty from the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the ruling APC.

The Senate Minority Leader opted to decamp to the APC and with it the status of the APC seems to have gained some momentum. Akpabio’s exit from the PDP apart from enhancing the status of the APC engenders hope as it attracted some major defectors thereby beefing up the popularity ratio of the party.

That means some hope that the APC could swing the state; bring it into the main stream and with it captures a major South south state. That has been the dream of the party which ‘desperately’ needs to ‘capture’ one of the major oil producing states.

However, the APC may not have an easy ride. Granted, it has grown in popularity but it is far from being in a commanding position. Even on fair grounds, the ruling party at the centre may not win the state, at least not yet. The PDP remains a religion in Akwa Ibom.

“If you look at the political class, you will discover that the entire political class is lined up behind the APC because we have deepened the APC’s philosophy in the state. The people of the state have bought into the philosophy; they are ready for change being championed by President Muhammadu Buhari, and are willing to support the APC during the next general election.

“If you listen to politicians in the other party in the state saying that the PDP is like a religion in Akwa Ibom State, we laugh because they are living in the past. The beauty is that yesterday we were all in the other party.  I was deputy governor of the state in the other party.

“The immediate past governor, deputy governor, and the secretary to the state government were all in the other party and now, they are in the APC. These are people of note, who use to make the other party strong, and so, when they say PDP is like a religion in the state, we just laugh at them”, APC governorship candidate, Nsima Ekere said admitting that the PDP was a religion in Akwa Ibom. But has the status of the PDP changed?

Comments made by ordinary people of Akwa Ibom State tend to favour the sitting Governor, whom they insist will return because the defection of Godswill Akpabio to APC has unsettled the plans and successes achieved before his arrival. In fact, even some APC members have sworn that they’ll all vote Udom Emmanuel, to ‘teach APC a lesson’

Everywhere the APC had structures the uncommon transformer’s entry undid all, leaving the party with bitter tastes in its mouths. Streetwise consensus is that, if Nsima Ekere, the APC gubernatorial candidate, was staking his reputation, there would have been a real battle, instead of the depending on the braggadocio of Godswill Akpabio. Most people of AKS are done with that era.

The people of Akwa Ibom State are desirous of the tranquillity that was in the state before the coming of Godswill Akpabio, and whoever is offering that peace, they have elected to support. So, the battle to return Udom Emmanuel is actually a spiritual one, not for Udom Emmanuel himself, but, for the future of the Akwa Ibom people.

Zamfara where APC has no candidate

This APC comfort zone is not particularly rosy for the ruling party.  The INEC has declined to approve any governorship and National Assembly candidates ostensibly for failing to conduct its primaries in line with and within the time frame instituted by the electoral umpire.

Albeit attempts were made by the national leadership of the party to conclude that Zamfara State had fielded its candidates within the stipulated time, the INEC has insisted that the APC in Zamfara State had no candidates in the 2019 general election compounded the crisis.

Will the PDP take advantage? Well that would have been simple but it is not the case. The candidate of the National Rescue Movement (NRM), Senator Saidu Dansadau’s entry into the fray seems to have posed no little hindrance to the probably smooth sail of the PDP. Though the negotiation between the four of the APC’s governorship did not eventually materialized, but that there was such discussion not with the PDP but the NRM showed the depth of the distrust the key actors have for the PDP.

Nonetheless, the PDP has consistently identified with the plight of the people who have harassed, assaulted and killed in drove by armed bandits. In one of such instances, the party said: “The ugly situation in our nation today is an undisputed testimony of the failure of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration to provide adequate security for Nigerians, especially in the troubled states, despite his promises as well as the huge resources at his disposal to tackle insurgency.

“The PDP holds that the situation in Zamfara and other states in the North West, in addition to the heightened insecurity in the North East and North Central in the last three and half years, under President Buhari, shows that it is time for our dear President to review his parade and reappraise his strategy.

“Indeed, our nation cannot continue to afford the daily killing and maiming of our compatriots by marauders. This is not the way to go, and we charge President Buhari to end his buck-passing and immediately take up his responsibility as the chief security officer of our country by using the remaining days left in his tenure to address his parade.”

So though the PDP seems to have huge advantage over the APC in all but the presidential candidate, the main party will have to edge both the ruling party and the other contending parties chiefly the NRM.

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