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Inside swing states, others, six days to polls

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•How Katsina, Adamawa see sons
•The Aisha factor in PDP candidate’s state
•The Yar’Adua factor in APC candidate’s state

Whereas 73 candidates are supposed to participate in the presidential election scheduled to hold across the country on Saturday, only two stand out. They are President Muhammadu Buhari who is seeking re-election on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, a former Vice President, vying under the aegis of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). In the National Assembly segment of the polls, 1,848 candidates (1,615 males and 233 females) are jostling for 109 senatorial seats while 4, 635 (4,066 males and 569 females) are competing for the 360 seats in the House of Representatives. Meanwhile, all eyes will be on Buhari and Atiku because they are the candidates with the most viable platforms vying for the highest office in the country. Six days to the elections, campaigns are winding down. But how do the two viable candidates stand in the 36 states across Nigeria? What are their chances in each state? What are their strengths and weaknesses? In which states are the polls too close to call? Find out in this report:

Nigeria Map

Katsina: Yar’Adua factor in Buhari’s state

By Bashir Bello, Katsina

In Katsina, the fact that Buhari is an illustrious son of the state will play a major role in determining how the people will vote because they won’t want to leave the corridor of power.

But one thing that might affect the chances of Buhari is the mutual distrust that exists among the indigenes.

The people of Katsina (Katsina Central) see the President as hailing from Daura (Katsina North) and not Katsina metropolis. Again, Katsina Central people say Buhari has failed to site a project in their area whereas he proposed a university in Daura and other projects like the Sabke Dam in Daura Zone.

Another case against Buhari is his appointments which many people believe favour mostly people from his Daura Zone – a former Director General of the DSS, Lawal Daura, Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, and the Managing Director of the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria, FMBN, Ahmed Dangiwa.

That the state currently belongs to the APC is another factor that would determine the votes as party members would mobilize and ensure they deliver the state to the party.

Another factor that might rub negatively on the President chances is the issue of insecurity as about eight local government areas of the state are under siege.

This Governor Aminu Masari confirmed when he said Katsina was under armed banditry. Victims affected by this ugly might be forced to see Atiku as the alternative choice in the presidential poll.

Again, Atiku is the political son of the late Shehu Musa Yar’Adua, a strong and powerful force to reckon with in Katsina.

Loyalists of the late Yar’Adua might vote for Atiku out of sympathy.

For the governorship race, Masari stands tall to be returned for second term because of the power of incumbency.

Also counting in his favour is his Restoration Agenda programme (people oriented projects). Quite a number of people have benefitted from employment (S-Power) and empowerment of youths and women.

Masari has also gone the extra mile to woo some bigwigs of the opposition PDP to help his party at the polls. By this, the bigwigs may be working against their party at the Saturday polls.

But one thing that would negatively on the governor at the elections is the wrangling within the APC in Katsina as some members forced out of the contest might want to pay him back in his own coin.

The chances of the PDP governorship candidate, Yakubu Lado Danmarke, are slim though the party has resorted to ward-to-ward campaigns to woo the electorate to its side.

The two governorship candidates are from Katsina South where votes usually determine who carries the day because of their bloc votes but, this time, will be forced to split their votes.

Lado is said to be a grassroots politician who moved through the ranks in politics, from ward councillor to a two-term local government Chairman, member of the House of Representatives before becoming a senator under the PDP platform.

He was the Chairman of the Board of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC.

However, Lado might contend with some aggrieved politicians in the PDP who were forced out of the governorship contest and defected to APC and might want to pay him (Lado) back in his own coin.

  •  Verdict: APC


Kano: PDP makes inroads

By Abdulmumin Murtala, Kano

With INEC declaring 5.4 million registered voters in Kano, the state, definitely, stands out as a battle ground for vote-seeking APC and PDP.

But Governor Abdullahi Ganduje, seeking re-election on the platform of the APC, appears to have the edge in the polls by the virtue of incumbency factor.

The advantage from the goodwill Buhari enjoys in Kano is equally not in doubt even if the goodwill has diminished in recent times.

If the recent presidential rally by the APC in the state capital were to be compared with the 2015 edition, it would be seen to have depreciated in size.

In the 2015 rally, the entire city was shut down by a sea of people.

It took the President, then-candidate of the APC, three hours to move from the Emir’s palace in the city to the Government House outside the city walls, a distance of about three kilometres.

But this time around, there was no such crowd.

2019: Obasanjo investigated me more than any other politician- Atiku

And unlike the 2015 rally, when businesses and other activities were closed down, this coming of the President witnessed a lot of people going about their activities.

The APC recently received some defectors from the PDP that include former Governor Ibrahim Shekaru who some believed moved to the APC to save his head from being tried by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, for alleged corruption.

Ganduje has done a lot of infrastructural projects that have uplifted the face of Kano where he constructed flyovers, renovated roads and built drainages and also expanded the rural electrification. But due to the political conscience of the Kano people, they might not be considered as reasons why the governor should be re-elected.

On the side of the PDP, the party under the leadership of Shekarau was comatose. It immediately came to life when Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso, the leader of the Kwankwasiyya Movement, decamped to the party from the ruling APC.

Kwankwaso, a former governor, is not only reviving the party into a very strong opposition in Kano but also exhibiting his political strength and knowhow. His anointed governorship candidate is Abba Kabir Yusuf, said to be his in-law.

From obscurity, Yusuf has become a very strong contender for the governorship of Kano as he is now widely accepted by the electorate, thanks to the help from the Kwankwasiyya movement. If there is any threat to the ruling APC governor in Kano, it is from the PDP candidate.

The PDP presidential candidate, Atiku, is expected to campaign in Kano this week.

  •  Verdict: Swing


Adamawa: Aisha Buhari, others set to tame Atiku


The presidential election in Adamawa is dicey and interesting for many reasons.

The reasons are not far-fetched as Buhari and Atiku are major stakeholders as far as politics in the state is concerned.

Atiku is an indigene of Adamawa while Buhari’s wife is from the state.

Aside this, the sitting governor belongs to the APC and was Atiku’s political son before the duo parted ways after the former Vice President dumped the APC for the opposition PDP during his quest to clinch the PDP presidential ticket.

Now that the two presidential candidates are set to lock horns in Saturday’s presidential poll, the tide may be against the PDP candidate in Adamawa.

Although Atiku’s surging popularity makes him the man to beat in the presidential contest, his lacklustre attitude towards building infrastructure in Adamawa and, by extension, his Jada local government makes him extremely unpopular.

Atiku’s failure to ensure the reconstruction of all the roads leading to Adamawa during his tenure as Vice President, between 1999 and 2007, has also earned him rebuke from the people of the state as his major concern was to build a solid business empire then.

For instance, all the federal roads to Adamawa from Gombe axis to Jalingo, Madagali, Mubi and Gwoza were in serious state of disrepair when the PDP candidate held sway as Vice President.

But while the deficit of social infrastructure remains a recurring decimal, Atiku, within the same period, succeeded in building a large business conglomerate in Adamawa and invested heavily in education through the establishment of the American University of Nigeria.

He also invested heavily in water and beverage business aside other investments, thus making the people to believe that his sojourn in politics was for personal aggrandizement.

On the other hand, Buhari, who was the brain behind the reconstruction of the federal road leading to Atiku’s home town when he held sway as the Chairman of Petroleum Trust Fund, PTF, has also awarded the contract for the repair of the road more than 20 years after he awarded the first contract and after the road has assumed notoriety in dilapidation.

Similarly, the President has awarded virtually all federal road contracts leading to Adamawa which Atiku failed to do in his eight years as Vice President.

We’re fighting corruption but it hasn’t been easy – BUHARI

The renewed road construction work leading to Atiku’s hometown, Jada, has earned Buhari popularity with many residents showing their open support for the President.

But, the major support is from one of the most vibrant political forces in the area in the person of Alhaji Mansur Toungo, who has single-handedly ensured the emergence of virtually all political office holders in three local governments of Jada, Ganye and Toungo which was the epicentre of Atiku’s stronghold.

The support of Toungo for Buhari has been a major drawback to the ambition of Atiku as no less than 40,000 members of PDP recently defected to the APC promising to ensure the defeat of Atiku.

With all these in Buhari’s kitty, coupled with the support of Governor Muhammed Jibrilla and his cabinet members as well as the feminine support of the President’s wife, Buhari is a candidate to beat in Saturday’s election in Adamawa.

But if you underrate Atiku’s political acumen, he is ever prepared to give the shocker of your life. The PDP flag bearer is a dogged politician who can make things happen politically where there is nothing.

He has the supporters to do the magic at the home front aside his political and material wealth.

Atiku has the political charisma that can beat any sitting President in a free, fair and credible and crisis-free election.

The ruling APC should therefore be very careful of ‘Articulated PDP Presidential Candidate’ as he set for a shocker.

  •  Verdict: Swing


Ekiti: Tradition favours ruling party

By Rotimi Ojomoyela, Ado-Ekiti 

As the electorate file out across the 177 wards in Ekiti for the 2019 general elections, many in the state are not expecting any upset or groundbreaking surprises, as it has become a tradition in the state that the ruling party always grabs the nine National Assembly seats, comprising three seats for the Senate and six House of Representatives slots.

Also, the presidential election is likely to be won by APC’s Buhari while all the 26 state House of Assembly seats are likely to go to the ruling party. Analysts are not expecting any upset in the electoral tradition.

INEC is expected to conduct election in 2,195 polling units in the 177 wards located in the state’s 16 local government areas.

As at the July 14, 2018 governorship election, Ekiti had about 913, 334 registered voters, out of which 630,000 had collected their Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) and only 405, 861 actually turned out to cast their votes.

Though, 35 political parties fielded candidates in the governorship election, the number of parties in the general elections is expected to reduce considerably due to realignment.

The two major parties in Ekiti are the PDP and APC; once either of the parties controls the government of the state, it also controls the rest of the political apparatchik, from the state House of Assembly to the National Assembly.

The only exception was in the 2007 general elections where the two major parties had equal numbers in the state House of Assembly.

Signs that the situation would go the way of the 2007 elections are not there.

Aside the few notable contestants from the PDP, such as the current Deputy Minority Whip in the Senate, Abiodun Olujimi, who is seeking re-election from Ekiti South, and Obafemi Adewale, who is contesting against Bamidele Opeyemi of the APC in the Central, others vying for National Assembly seats seem to have practically gone to sleep.

The crisis of leadership in Ekiti PDP appears to have rendered the party rudderless and groping in the dark. The party is sharply divided into former Governor Ayo Fayose and Olujimi’s factions and the former governor has been going around campaigning against Olujimi.

This singular action has done irreparable damage to Olujimi’s effort, as most of the party supporters in the South appear confused and may have to give their votes to the party’s opponents, Dayo Adeyeye, of the APC.

Aside from the PDP duo mentioned above, who are contesting every space with their opponents from the APC, all other contestants from the party (APC) seem to be merely engaging in shadow boxing. Their campaigns are muted and practically non-existent.

Other political parties also seem to have abandoned the political space for the two major parties, as none of them seems to be engaging with the voters in any form.

Candidates of the APC are everywhere, engaging in different political manoeuvres to woo voters. Aside from the usual public campaigns, they have devised a technique of door-to-door campaign strategy.

Also prominent in their efforts is the massive deployment of the social media to woo voters.

Governor Kayode Fayemi has also helped his party’s (APC) candidates through proactive leadership, effective governance and populist programmes in Ekiti.

He presently enjoys massive goodwill and it is believed he would deploy this to the advantage of his party in the presidential and other elections.

Fayemi has maintained a cohesive and united party in the state while endearing himself to the people through prompt payment of salaries and partial clearing of arrears, including pensions, removal of the payment of levies and taxes by students of public and private schools.

Reinstatement of sacked and demoted civil servants by previous administrations, re-organisation of state institutions, distribution of laptops and teaching aids to publics schools, payments of arrears of allowances to traditional rulers among others by the governor will also work in APC’s favour.

Fayemi has also impressed it on the people of Ekiti that more assistance would flow to the state from the Federal Government if Buhari returned for second term and the state stands to gain more by being in the same boat with the party that controls the centre.

All these are expected to count in favour of the APC in the Saturday presidential and National Assembly elections in Ekiti.

  •  Verdict: APC


Ondo: Situation uncertain

By Dayo Johnson, Akure

SURPRISES are expected during the general elections across the 18 council areas of Ondo State.

Aside the two major political parties, APC and PDP, the Zenith Labour Party is expected to win some seats in the National Assembly segment of the polls, banking on the popularity of former Governor Olusegun Mimiko who is equally contesting for the Senate in Ondo Central.

The infighting within the ruling APC, according to analysts, may affect it across the state coupled with the surreptitious support of the leadership of the party in the state for National Assembly hopeful who defected to Action Alliance (AA) after they were shut out by the NWC of the party.

Continues tomorrow…

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