Delta: Okowa against divided opposition
Expectedly, Delta State governor, Sen Ifeanyi Okowa emerged as the party’s governorship candidate. His emergence was without opposition considering that as the incumbent, he has successfully led the party. The party under Okowa’s leadership has witnessed an appreciable level of stability unlike in the past when factional chairmen emerged. He is the candidate to beat in the election.
The crises rocking the state chapter of the All Progressives Congress, APC, played out at the primaries. Two candidates emerged from the two factions respectively led by Prophet Jones Erhue and Chief Cyril Ogodo.
Chief Great Ogboru, who now appears as a perennial governorship candidate emerged from the Erhue faction, which was recognised by the national leadership of APC. He is a heavyweight in Delta politics, especially in Delta Central and Delta South Senatorial districts. Despite the strong presence of the incumbent governor, an Ogboru candidacy is one that should not be dismissed. However, the controversies surrounding how he emerged ahead of other aspirants like a former Speaker of Delta State House of Assembly, Chief Victor Ochei, has raised credibility questions over his candidacy.
Prof Pat Utomi’s candidacy is a product of another exercise in the state. He belongs to the camp of Ogodo, whose leadership lost legitimacy following the recognition of the Erhue faction. Utomi had also made two attempts at getting the nomination to govern the state in the state. Despite being popular among the elite, his popularity is believed to lack electoral value. It is for this reason that most party chieftains had rooted for Ochei. However, the former Speaker stormed out of the venue of the Erhue-led faction’s primary over alleged flawed electoral processes.
Cross River: Zoning concerns
Like other incumbent PDP governors, who got re-election tickets, Ayade is a frontrunner in the race in Cross River. He seems fortunate not to be facing internal opposition that could have constituted a challenge to him.
APC: Owan-Enoh, who defeated a former Minister of Culture and Tourism, Chief Edem Duke and the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Mr. Usani Usani to emerge as APC candidate, faces a stiff opposition in his party. He is considered a lightweight in the party’s quest to unseat the incumbent. Claims that the exercise was conducted to favour him are likely to define his outing in the race.
Owan-Enoh, who defeated a former Minister of Culture and Tourism, Chief Edem Duke and the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Mr. Usani Usani to emerge as APC candidate, faces a stiff opposition in his party. He is considered a lightweight in the party’s quest to unseat the incumbent. Claims that the exercise was conducted to favour him are likely to define his outing in the race.
Rivers: Its an epic battle
Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike is undoubtedly a strong candidate in the race that promises to be an epic battle. He wields the financial capacity and strong courage that a governorship race in the state demands. The crises in the state chapter of the APC place in a vantage position in the contest.
Senator Magnus Abe emerged through a direct governorship primaries conducted across different local government areas of the state. Abe is as popular as any other famous politician in the state. But his differences with Amaechi constitute a major challenge to his prospects in the race.
A late entrant into the race, Chairman of Sahara Energy, Mr. Toye Cole enjoys the backing of the Minister of Transport, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi. This explained his emergence at a parallel exercise convened by a faction of the party loyal to Amaechi. Considered a rookie in politics, the shadow of his backers would definitely be noticeable in his outing.
Akwa Ibom: Its Ekere against Emmanuel
The emergence of the Managing Director of Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, Mr. Nsima Ekere, ahead of Dan Abia and Sen James Udoedeghe was not without controversies. With the backing of the Presidency and Sen Godswill Akpabio, Ekere is likely to make an impression in the race. However, the internal wranglings under which he emerged have pitched him against eminent party members.
As the only PDP aspirant in the state, Governor Udom Emmanuel emerged as the party’s candidate in an exercise supervised by Ekiti State governor, Mr. Ayo Fayose. He enjoys the full support of not only party chieftains in the state but elders of the state across various divides. With the power of incumbency and PDP dominance of Akwa Ibom politics, Udom is the candidate to beat in the state. However, the effect of his predecessor’s defection from the PDP is also another factor he would contend with in the race.