Nigerians go to the polls today to elect a president to serve for the next four years. The two major contenders are Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress, APC and Atiku Abubakar of the PDP.
It is a battle that is going to be fought in the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory, FCT with gladiators and political actors bringing every act in the arsenal to outsmart one another in arguably the most contentious election in Nigeria’s history.
We present a state by state analysis of the issues, factors and those who will do the battle for the two major candidates in the states of the federation.
ENUGU: Status quo likely to remain
By Dennis Agbo, Enugu
The South-East has, since 1999, proved to be a stronghold of the PDP. Even though APGA and APC have been able to make incursions into Anambra and Imo states, they have not much diminished PDP’s fortunes in the zone.
In Enugu State, except for 1999 when the defunct All Peoples Party, APP, won one House of Representatives seat and one state House of Assembly seat, which the Alliance for Democracy won two Senate seats, PDP has always cleared all elections in the state.
It, therefore, follows that PDP, which is the ruling party in the state, is expected to have majority of the 1.9 million registered voters in the state, both in the presidential/National Assembly elections and in the governorship/ state House of Assembly elections.
The APC has, in an attempt to rewrite political history in the state, mounted vigorous campaigns, precisely for Buhari which, no doubt, has paid off as more people have joined the party in the state compared to what obtained in the 2015 elections.
Reasons for defections into the APC are obvious. As the federal ruling party, people believe that it has appointments to share and could use its power of incumbency to make candidates win elections.
The defector got some board and presidential campaign council appointments including a former Senate President, Chief Ken Nnamani, who made the campaign council list. But even the few appointments became an albatross for the party as allocations of the party dividends divided party members in Enugu.
APC in the state is currently divided into two factions even though both groups campaigned for Buhari’s re-election bid.
In addition, there are pro-Buhari groups such as the Buhari Support Organization, BSO, and the Zikist-Buhari-Movement initiated by the Director General of Voice of Nigeria, Mr. Osita Okechukwu.
On the other hand the PDP presidential candidate, Atiku, is receiving good support in the state particularly with his choice of Peter Obi, from the South-East, as his running mate. Enugu people are also queuing into the Ohanaeze Ndigbo’s endorsement of the PDP candidate based on his restructuring pledge.
Atiku, at his campaign rally in Enugu, said that the Igbo will move from vice presidency to presidency after his tenure. His soothing words for Ndigbo are in contrast to Buhari’s, who, at his campaign rally in Enugu told Ndigbo that the reason they do not have many political appointments, particularly in the headship of the security services, was that his appointments were based on merit.
Buhari secured about 22,000 votes from Enugu in the 2015 elections but those interviewed doubted if he will secure as much in 2019.
Ebonyi: Umahi holds the ground
By Peter Okutu, Abakaliki
After initial doubts as to the inclination of Governor Dave Umahi, he has like the two other PDP governors in the Southeast come out vigorously to support the party’s presidential candidate, Atiku.
The support for the PDP presidential candidate has been described by political analysts as total and unprecedented in Ebonyi.
In 2015, Buhari lost the requisite votes he needed to win in the state while it is believed that with the former VP in the Saturday election, the sitting President might secure fewer votes this time.
It is no longer news that the PDP South-East governors are backing their party’s presidential candidate in their respective states and would do their best to ensure his emergence. This support is evident as Ebonyi Governor Dave Umahi began campaigns for Atiku’s election against insinuations in some quarters.
Similarly, candidates for the National Assembly elections are positioning themselves for votes in the state.
This they are doing by taking their campaigns to the nook and cranny of Ebonyi.
They are PDP candidates for Ebonyi North, Senator Samuel Ominyi Egwu (incumbent), Sen. Obinna Joseph Ogba, Ebonyi Central (incumbent, PDP), Sen. Julius Ucha, Ebonyi Central (incumbent, APC), Chief Michael Amah, Ebonyi South (PDP), and Prince Nweze Onu, Ebonyi South, (APC).
House of Representatives’ nominees include Hon. Lazarus Ogbee, Ikwo/Ezza South Fed. Constituency (PDP), Comrade Chinedu Ogah, Ikwo/Ezza South Federal Constituency (APC), Hon Anayo Edwin Nwonu, Ezza North/Ishielu Federal Constituency (PDP) and Hon Chukwuma Nwazunku, Ebonyi/Ohaukwu Federal Constituency (PDP).
Others include Hon Peter Ogeali, Ebonyi/Ohaukwu Federal Constituency (APC), Hon. Sylvester Ogbaga, Abakaliki/Izzi Federal Constituency (PDP), Hon. Iduma Igariwey, Afikpo North/Afikpo South Federal Constituency (PDP), Hon. Anthony Ekoh Jr, Afikpo North/Afikpo South Federal Constituency (PDP) and Chief Livinus Makwe, Ohaozara/Onicha/Ivo Federal Constituency (PDP).
The candidate of the PDP for Afikpo North and South Federal Constituency, Igariwey, had, in a suit at present before the Federal High Court sitting in Abakaliki, challenged the academic credentials of his APC counterpart, Ekoh Jnr.
The APC candidate, a pharmacist, described the suit as laughable and inglorious.
Anambra: Battle is between Obi and Obiano
By Vincent Ujumadu
THERE is confusion among the electorate in Anambra electorate over who to support between Buhari and Atiku Abubakar in the February 16 presidential election.
Although Anambra is controlled by the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, which also has a presidential candidate in the person of Major General John Gbor (ret.), the political equation in the state changed the moment the immediate past governor of the state, Mr. Obi, was nominated the vice presidential candidate of the PDP.
Obi is loved by the people of Anambra because of his performance as governor of the state for eight years and his entry as the running mate to Atiku shifted support from APGA to PDP for the presidential election.
It is therefore common to hear the people publicly say that they will vote for PDP for the presidential election and APGA for other elections.
Apparently sensing that a PDP presidency might cause a lot of problem for his administration, Governor Willie Obiano’s body language began to tilt support towards Buhari for the presidential election.
For instance, the swiftness with which the state government condemned the recent endorsement of Atiku-Obi ticket by Ohaneze Ndigbo showed how worried it was by the development.
The fear among state government functionaries is that should PDP win the presidential election, the feud between Obi and Obiano would manifest more significantly from 2019.
There is also the fear in the Obiano camp that should PDP win on February 16, there would be the likelihood of a bandwagon effect during the governorship and House of Assembly elections, with the possibility of APGA not having the majority in the House to support Obiano who still has three years to go as governor.
From the way the campaign is going, the battle in Anambra is between the PDP and APGA, with the possibility of Buhari scoring 25% in the state because of Obiano’s subtle support for the APC.
Sensing the danger ahead, the governor has been asking the people to vote for APGA in all the elections to avoid a situation whereby voting for PDP for President and voting for APGA in other elections would cause more confusion.
Anambra, it must be noted, does not join the bandwagon during elections and that is why APGA has consistently been in charge in the state even when the neighbouring states are controlled by the PDP.
Nasarawa: Straight fight between APC and PDP
By David Odama, Lafia
THE battle between the APC and the PDP in Nasarawa is driven by ethnicity.
And the fight between the two major parties is a straight one as the two presidential candidates are popular in the state.
Elections in Nasarawa are based essentially on tribal and religious sentiments and such sentiments are always difficult to change, although Governor Al-Makura appears to be breaking the jinx of ethnic politics in the state.
Before now, the general approach to politics in Nasarawa was to promote ethnic sentiments in making preference irrespective of merit.
This is because the Alago and Eggon, who are the majority tribes and predominantly populated by Christians, always influenced election results. In the 2019 presidential poll, the power of incumbency may, however, determine the outcome in Nasarawa.
PDP won at all levels from 1999 until the victory of Al-Makura in 2011 on the platform of the then-CPC which is seemingly changing the political dynamics of the state.
Benue: Herdsmen killings as an albatross 2015 winner: APC
By Peter Duru, Makurdi
Benue State has since 1979 been consistently won by the party that won the presidency.
The presidential contest in Benue is evidently between Atiku and Buhari who are ostensibly dominating the political space.
However, pundits are of the view that the factor that could determine the outcome of that election in the state would not be far-fetched given the unsavoury comments and remarks from the people over the manner the APC-led Federal Government handled the spate of killings in parts of the state by marauding militant herdsmen last year.
The unfolding political drama in Benue indicates clearly that the more APC apparatchiks are putting in their best to chisel out a victory for their presidential candidate, the more they are confronted by that iron-cast wall mounted by a wounded people.
The resolve of the people to express their displeasure with their votes over the indifference exhibited by the Federal Government at the height of the killings in the state may not be watered irrespective of the latter-day message APC stalwarts try to sell to them.
Regrettably, the pitiable position of the APC in Benue is made worse by several recent supposed repulsive comments by some stalwarts of the party which tended to blame the killings in the state on the people who were the victims rather than the invaders.
Pundits were of the view that the comment of the APC leader in the state, Senator George Akume, during the recent presidential rally, in Makurdi, where he said, “Benue people had no problems with herdsmen in my time as governor; therefore, nobody should hide under that to lament over his incompetence, senselessness and underperformance”, may have further drawn the ire of the people against the party.
The challenge for the party was reflected by the attendance at the presidential campaign rally which was not near what was seen in other states of the federation. Even the attendance at the interactive session with traditional rulers and statesmen was also not well attended.
The PDP has capitalized on the reality of the true Benue narrative to sell its candidates.
Many political leaders in the state are also said to be united around a common purpose arising from positions taken at the height of the attacks by herdsmen.
However, the APC also has some advantages going into the election, the first of which is the challenge of the state government in delivering a good performance report.
Besides, the APC has also been helped by the popularity of its governorship candidate, Emmanuel Jime, one of the most popular political actors in Benue State.
While, the PDP has the momentum, the APC through its governorship candidate is fighting back.
Kwara: The die is cast 2015 winner: APC now defected to PDP
By Demola Akinyemi
In Kwara, the battle is between Senate President, who is also the national leader of the PDP, Bukola Saraki, and members of this former political party,APC.
It is a high-stake game as the national leadership seem to have taken an unusual interest in the state apparently with a determination to cut Saraki to size.
In that respect, the role of the minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has particularly led the offensive.
Among other political gladiators.
For Saraki, it is the political battle of his life because the stakes are higher now and the narrative entirely different from the previous elections he had fought and won with the support of the powers-that-be at the centre.
Unfortunately, Saraki, knowingly or unknowingly, gave the opposition the leeway because since the PDP lost a House of Representatives bye-election in Kwara and failed to replace its candidate, Princess Olufunke Adedoyin, the PDPin the state has been put on the defensive politically.
In fact, the dust raised by the loss of that bye-election, which led to the withdrawal of the Kwara South senatorial slot from Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed has not settled till today as the former holder of the ticket, Senator Rafiu Ibrahim, who was given the ticket and has been campaigning, does not have his name on the INEC list, but that of the governor.
The PDP is surely in dilemma over this because, INEC, from SaturdayVanguard findings, claimed the letter to replace the name came late and the error won’t be corrected.
As if that was not enough, recently, the posters of Ahmed’s Senate bid resurfaced in Kwara South, a development he denied and ascribed to the strategy of the APC to cause confusion for the party and ruin its chances at the polls.
While confusion dogs the PDP in Kwara South, the chances of Saraki returning to the Senate from Kwara Central with Dr Ibrahim Oloriegbe contesting on the platform of the APC seem to be fair, a development that may have allowed the Senate President to put unusual energy into his role as the director-general of the PDP Presidential Campaign Organisation.
In Kwara North, Hon. Zakareh Mohammed, a member of the House of Representatives, who took the senatorial ticket from former Governor Shaaba Lafiagi, will have to contend with a new comer into politics, Umar Sadiq, who is banking on the APC machine to win the election.
Though the APC has another court backed executive led by Alhaji Ishola Balogun Fulani, an ally of Saraki, and has Alhaji Kayode Omotoshe as its governorship candidate, among others, the Alhaji Bashir Omolaja Bolarinwa’s executive, backed by the national leadership and the presidency, has consumed the former in terms of its flurries of political activities, and heavy logistics being deployed to win elections in the state.
The issue of who is recognized between Omotoshe and Bolarinwa seems to have been put on hold for now as INEC has put the name of Alhaji Abdulrazaq Abdulrahman, from the Bolarinwa group, as the APC governorship candidate on its list for the election.
Abdulrahman, who represents the liberation symbol of the party with his ‘O to ge’ slogan to unseat the Saraki political dynasty in the state, has truly gained fervor, though the PDP is quick to counter with ‘O tun ya’, meaning ‘let’s do it again’.
Kogi: Too close to call 2015 Winner: APC
BY BOLUWAJI OBAHOPO, LOKOJA
When the dynamics are put into play the PDP seems to have an advantage in the Confluence State.
Presidential candidate has the edge ahead of the polls.
Kogi is a PDP state. Despite losing the presidential and governorship elections in 2015, the state is yet to identify with the APC. Political heavyweights in Kogi are still lining behind the PDP.
Parading two former governors – Ibrahim Idris and Idris Wada – one former acting governor, Clarence Olafemi, among other political bigwigs, no other partymatches the PDP credentials in the state.
Another factor in PDP favour is the seemingly lacklustre performance and hard stance of the present administration in the state. With many months of unpaid salaries to civil servants and animosity between Governor Yahaya Bello and major stakeholders, the state is poised to attract attention today.
Also, the APC is divided following the battle over who inherits the late Abubukar Audu’s victory at the 2015 governorship poll. Though the lot eventually fell on Bello, he has done little to ensure proper reconciliation with the other factions; majority of whom are now in ADC.
Lastly, the Igala dominated Kogi East senatorial axis has been ruling the state since its creation in August 1999. Audu’s death caused the scale to turn and the zone feels it has been marginalized in the present administration especially in terms of appointments. The area accounts for about 50 percent of registered voters and the people have vowed to show their strength at the polls.
Buhari and his APC have a strong base in Kogi Central. However the district accounts for only 20 percent of voters in the state. The President, in previous elections always won four of the five council areas in the senatorial district and is likely to still do same in this election; coupled with the fact that the present governor of the state is from the district.
Buhari, for the first time won Kogi in 2015 because the tide of voting changed in Kogi West which controls around 30 percent of voters. The President looks likely to win the district too but, this time, with a slimmer margin. Majority of the voting youths in the district appear to admire the N-Power program and are poised to vote Buhari so that they can continue to enjoy the scheme. Also, big wigs like Smart Adeyemi, Speaker of the state Assembly, Kolawole Mathew, are now in the APC.
Imo: The flashpoint state 2015 Winner: PDP
By Chidi Nkwopara, Owerri
To say that Imo State is definitely going to be the flashpoint in this year’s general elections amounts to stating the obvious.
Although several reasons point to this fact, the major reason, however, remains Governor Rochas Okorocha’s insistence on enthroning his son in-law, Uche Nwosu, as his successor.
The resultant upheaval within the ruling APC, occasioned by this ambition, ultimately led to not only the birth of the Imerienwe Declaration, but also the emergence of parallel executives at all levels.
Very careful political watchers in Imo believe that the implosion in APC will ultimately affect the fortunes of Buhari in the February 16 elections.
Hope Uzodinma who emerged as the APC governorship flag bearer has not ceased to call on the citizenry to vote for Buhari, himself for governor and other APC candidates.
The confusion in the state chapter of the APC is expected to pose a serious challenge to the presidential campaign as Okorocha and the tendency aligned to Uzodinma otherwise known as the Allied Forces could work at cross purposes.
Imo was won by the PDP in 2015 and given the sentiments about the APC’s approach towards the Igbo, the power of incumbency the party has in the state could have helped to advance the party, but the internal discord in the party makes an APC victory in the state a remote possibility.
Abia: The battle of heavyweights 2015
By Anayo Okoli, Umuahia
IN Abia State, the presidential election is clearly a battle between the APC and PDP. Apart from the two, the other party which is being mentioned is the YPP presidential candidate, Kingsley Muoghalu, who has been to the state to campaign. But from every indication, the battle is a straight one between of the APC and Atiku of the PDP.
Both parties have been campaigning vigorously in Abia. The APC, which was more of a pariah party in the state in 2015, has made inroads into Abia. But the truth is that some Abia people, who are disenchanted, have pitched their tent with the APC or APGA. However, the truth is that they were not swayed to join APC because of Buhari but because of the people contesting for various positions apart from the presidency.
For instance, in some of the local radio programmes of the party, many of the callers would say they are in the party not for Buhari. But overall, APC is likely to perform better than its 2015 outing and may be able to garner 25% of the votes for Buhari.
The PDP is expected to win in the state with a big margin. Abia is a PDP state. The choice of Peter Obi as Atiku’s vice presidential candidate has further reinforced the interest of the people in the party.
In the three senatorial zones, the battle is between PDP, AGPA and APC. For the Abia Central, Senator Nkechi Nwaogu of the APC, who had previously spent two tenures in the red chamber, and a former President of ICAN, Chief Chidi Ajaegbu, of APGA are challenging the incumbent, the immediate past governor of the state, Chief Theodore Orji.
The battle is indeed a tight one but the odds favour Orji. Reason being that whereas Nwaogu and Agaegbu, who are equally strong, are of the Ngwa extraction and will share the Ngwa votes, Orji, who is from the Umuahia part of the district, is likely to have bloc votes from the area and also do well in the Ngwa area because of the love the people have developed for him since he handed over the governorship seat to an Ngwa man.
For Abia North, former Governor Orji Uzor Kalu of the APC and a business mogul, Bourdex Onuoha, are challenging the incumbent, Senator Mao Ohuabunwa. This battle will be tight for Ohuabunwa. Reason: Kalu and Onuoha are heavy weights in their own rights. Kalu, who forced Ohuabunwa to a re-run in the 2015 elections, has boasted that, this time around, he would take the seat. And for Onuoha, the strength of APGA in Abia North may be an advantage. It will be safe to say that the seat can go to any of them.
But in Abia South, where Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, hails from, the fight seems to be in his favour. The APC candidate, Mac Wabara, a younger brother of a former Senate President, Adolf Wabara, may not give him serious fight. However, nothing is ruled out.
PDP, APC in a feisty battle for the South-South
By Emma Amaize, South-South Editor, Sam Oyadongha (Yenagoa), Jimitota Onoyume, Asst News Editor (Warri), Festus Ahon (Asaba), Gabriel Enogholase (Benin City), Egufe Yafugborhi, Davies Iheamnachor (Port Harcourt), Emmanuel Unah, Ike Uchechukwu (Calabar), Harris-Okon Emmanuel, Chioma Onuegbu (Uyo), Emem Idio (Yenagoa) and Aliu Ozioruva-Alemma (Benin-City)
WITH the presidential election holding today, the political pulse is vivacious in the South-South states, as the political parties battle to outfox themselves in the region that is, conventionally, a stronghold of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
It is not likely that the All Progressives Congress (APC) will turn the tide for President Muhammadu Buhari in the oil-rich region, but the margin of loss could be narrowed. In Edo, the home state of Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, the National Chairman of the party, governorship election will not hold, this year, but the people seem not to have been persuaded by the ‘Change’ mantra.
In Cross Rivers, the perception that the Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Justice Walter Onnoghen, who is from the state, is being persecuted will work against Buhari but the action, if truth be told, is more on the governorship election, where politicians have embarked on forceful campaigns and supporters gone violent in the hunt for votes.
In Rivers State, the judiciary is likely to settle scores among the unbending politicians in the governorship race, while in Delta State, the temperament is breathtaking with Governor Ifeanyi Okowa doing all he can to shake-off his sturdy challenger, Chief Great Ogboru. Bayelsa State is exceptionally calm because, of course, governorship election will not hold in the state, this year, and in Akwa Ibom, where former governor, Obong Godswill Akpabio, wants to “overthrow” the incumbent, Governor Udom Emmanuel, the parties have re-appraised their game plan.
Our reporters, in this report, give an up to date insight into the situation on ground. It can only be vintage Sunday Vanguard.
RIVERS: Courts hold the long knife 2015 Winner: PDP
As at press time the fervor within the camp of the APC in Rivers State continues to surprise outsiders. Despite the judicial decision stopping the party from presenting candidates for all elective positions in the state including governorship, enthusiasm for the party by its adherents in the state has not measurably dropped.
An indication of this was the surprise turnout of party supporters who attended the presidential campaign rally earlier this week.
As at yesterday the APC was threatening that it would not allow the election to hold if it is not listed for the National Assembly elections holding today.
If the party is not listed the odds against Buhari in the main election would have been compounded as many party supporters who would have come out to vote in the Senate and House of Representatives contests will not come out with the claim that Buhari is still far from them.
It is a state that the PDP is safe to win.
DELTA: Political mood stimulating 2015 Winner: PDP
The campaign fervor in Delta State is amid the politicians, not really among the electorate, many of who are hungry and unemployed. However, the two main parties in the state, PDP and APC, have charged the atmosphere with their struggle for votes.
Undoubtedly, the political atmosphere is charged, as the incumbent governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, who has had an electrifying campaign, and other candidates of the various political parties intensify their campaigns.
Buhari’s main prop in Delta State is the aspiration of Chief Great Ogboru and the APC Delta Central Senatorial candidate, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege.
The energy from the campaigns of the two candidates is rubbing off positively on Buhari’s second term aspiration. However, but whether that would be enough to enable the president win the state is another story.
He may marginally increase his votes with the influence of Ogboru and Omo-Agege but Delta is a state that Atiku has friends and with the influence of the savvy governor of the state, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, the federal forces are bound to meet a match in the state.
The removal of the former Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris who was close to some APC leaders would be seriously felt today.
Buhari’s faux pas still rankles
Buhari held his campaign in Warri when the party’s gubernatorial candidate, Ogboru, officially launched his 2019 ambition, while the PDP presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, stormed Asaba, the state capital.
Many remember Buhari campaign in Delta more for his gaffe of referring to Ogboru as the party’s “presidential candidate”, “senatorial candidate” and “governatorial candidate”, while presenting flag to him than the reason for his visit.
More than any other thing, the increased sufferings and joblessness in the country since Buhari took over, not necessarily because of his charm and promises, may tilt support for Atiku.
- C’RIVER: Politicians embark on aggressive campaigns, fisticuffs 2015 Winner: PDP
When Buhari visited Cross River, January 30, he was received by a mammoth crowd at the Jacob Esuene Stadium, but supporters of the PDP said the crowd was rented from Akwa Ibom and Benue States.
That assertion was to buttress the claim by PDP members that the state is a PDP dominated state.
Also, support groups are sprouting daily in every part of the state to canvass votes for their governorship and presidential candidates. Atiku has so many of these support groups in the state such that counting them is a tough task.
This large network of support groups has given him an edge over Buhari and also the trial of Onnoghen, who is from the state, by the Buhari administration, has made more people inclined towards Atiku.
Fear of violence
On the whole, the aggressive campaigns by the parties and outbreak of violence have given residents the impression that there could be violence on election day.
It is arising from this suspicion that Governor Ayade, two weeks ago, gave the police orders to carryout periodic stop and checks on campaign trains to checkmate and stop further attacks and destruction of property by party supporters.
If not allayed, the fear of outbreak of violence may keep some people away from the polling units during the elections, even as many of them have flocked to INEC centres to collect their permanent voter’s cards.
AKWA IBOM: Politicians review tactics 2015 Winner: PDP
The APC had before now been emboldened by the loud claims it made in the media following the uncommon defection of Senator Godswill Akpabio to its ranks.
The people of Akwa Ibom may be grateful for a few high profile appointments given to some people from the state.
However, such enticements in a state that had been largely controlled by the PDP since 1999 would do little to change the mind of the people of the state.
Senator Akpabio’s popularity in his senatorial district would otherwise help Buhari in Ikot Ekpene, but outside there, Buhari’s prospects are expected to be miserly. This is so against the background of the superlative performance of the governor who had in the last three years changed the pace and pattern of governance.
The establishment of cottage industries and the prudence he brought to power by the Udom Emmanuel administration are positive factors that should help Atiku make a good showing in Akwa Ibom State.
BAYELSA: Atmosphere quiet
The situation has been relatively calm in Bayelsa State where the political parties will battle for their candidates to secure the highest votes and clinch the coveted positions.
Saturday Vanguard recalls that INEC registered no fewer than 1,036,442 eligible persons during voters’ registration in the state.
Interestingly, the usually tensed political atmosphere associated with build up to elections in the state has been missing ostensibly because the governorship election will not be holding until December.
41 political parties will be vying for the various positions at the state and national levels.
Leading the pack of parties that have shown seriousness and have intensified their campaigns across the predominantly riverine state to sway the votes of the electorate are the candidates of the ruling PDP, which has maintained its dominance in the state since the return to civil rule in 1999.
The APC, which is the leading opposition party, has also taken its campaigns to the nook and cranny of the state.
However, the few people with deep pockets who left the PDP and APC to pick tickets in ADC, Accord, SDP and Labour Party, among others, are not relenting as they have made inroads with their strategic door- to -door campaign to sell their manifestoes to the electorate, an indication that the outcome of the polls will, to a large extent, be determined by the qualities of the candidates and not the platform they choose to actualize their ambition.
Some of the smaller parties which exist only on paper seem to have known their fate even before the elections as they have not bothered to campaign.
There is no much political activity except for the senatorial, House of Representatives and Assembly candidates who are not too vigorous in their campaigns with only a few striving to make impact.
Blot in the landscape
The various parties and their candidates have been going about their campaigns peacefully, until the ugly incident which occurred at Tungbabiri community in Sagbama Local Government Area where one person was reportedly killed and scores injured during a rally by APC.
The incident led to protests by chieftains of the APC and a counter protest by the PDP faithful.
Another ugly trend in the build-up to the presidential election in Bayelsa is the defacing of posters and bill boards by hired party thugs.
According to the state police command, the defacing of posters and billboards are carried out at night.
However, the police command and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in the state have restated their commitment to ensuring free, fair and credible elections in the state in spite of the peculiar terrain.
INEC disclosed that uncollected permanent voter cards in Bayelsa was below 20 per cent as it had distributed more than 80 per cent of the PVCs to their owners.
EDO: Tough for Buhari notwithstanding Oshiomhole, Obaseki’s goodwill
ALTHOUGH there will be no governorship election in Edo State during the 2019 polls as it would be held in 2020, nevertheless, the presidential, National Assembly and state House of Assembly horse-tradings in the state are attention-grabbing.
In 2015, Buhari contested against former President Goodluck Jonathan, who was in power then, and lost by 54-46 per cent margin under the current National Chairman of the party, Oshiomhole, as governor.
‘Change’ mantra unsuccessful
Since that governorship election, nothing has changed in the political calculus of the state. Buhari and the APC-led Federal Government, despite its ‘Change’ mantra, has not been able to make its presence felt in the “Heartbeat” state since it rode into office in 2015.
Prior to the election of Oshiomhole in 2008, Edo was a PDP state with Chief Lucky Igbinedion taking the first shot in 1999 to 2007 before Professor Oserhieme Osunbor was elected, but later lost to Oshiomhole through a judicial pronouncement.
In the 2015 general elections, the PDP, apart from securing victory for Jonathan, also won two of the Senate seats and five of the nine House of Representatives seats in the state.
It is against this background that residents of Edo are going into the 2019 general elections.
While the PDP is beating its chest that it will improve on its 2015 record and secure over 60 percent for its presidential candidate, the APC, on the other hand, has boasted that it would carry the day based on the performance of Governor Godwin Obaseki.
Every family has a sad story to tell – Analyst
A political analyst in Benin- City, however, said, “President Muhammadu Buhari is a disappointment to Edo people. Since he rode to power on the altar of the ‘Change mantra’, no value has been added to the lives of the average Edo people. The effects of the murderous marauding herdsmen resonate throughout the state with almost every family in the state having one sad story or the other to tell about their activities. The President did nothing to check this. Even if the performance of Governor Obaseki is anything to go by, it will still be difficult.
“ Edo people are made up of intelligent voters that would not want to be deceived, a prospect that makes it a difficult challenge for the APC.
Oshiomhole, Saturday Vanguard gathered, had to rush home last Wednesday to address the challenge posed by the PDP. The efforts of the chairman would be made known in the hours ahead.
Adamawa: Aisha, Atiku factors at play 2015 Winner: APC
Adamawa despite being the political base of the PDP candidate has also been strongly associated with Buhari who handsomely won the state in 2015.
However, since then a lot of things have changed. For one, former Governor Murtala Nyako, a lifelong associate of Dr. Olusegun Obasanjo and Senator Aziz Nyako, who were significant to Buhari’s victory in 2015 have both left and are not backing him.
The inclinations of the governor of the state have been suspect in the national secretariat and that was why the national leadership sought to take the party structure from him, but Governor Bindow fought back.
Also interesting for outsiders is the fact that Aisha Buhari is from this town and had shown some inclinations towards the state with the alleged subtle push for her brother to replace Bindow.
However, with Atiku building a strong economic factor in the state, the odds for him doing well in the state have largely increased to the point that the state is likely to be divided.
The influence of Governor Ibrahim Dankwambo who is a member of the PDP presidential campaign council will rub off positively for Atiku and cub what was at one time seen as Buhari’s strong following in the state.
The state which has a strong Christian population would also view with suspect the fact that appointments from the Buhari government have not been coming to the state.
Gombe is likely to end up divided between the PDP and the APC.
Buhari in 2015 came within 40% of the total votes scored in Plateau State for the first time largely because of the division in the party caused by the choice of the late Senator Pwajok as successor to Governor Jonah Jang.
Though issues about party management remain, the sentiments against Governor Lalong have made the PDP’s task of winning the state easier.
Besides, the APC continues to present a divided front with the governor and the minister of youth and sports, Mr. Solomon Dalung working at cross purposes.
Sentiments against herdsmen killings which were rampant in the state until very recently are likely to be in the mind of many voters.
The APC is not expected to do as much as it did in 2015 but PDP appears to lack the leadership to oust it.
Borno: Political romance with Buhari endures 2015 Winner: APC
Security may be seen as the number one issue for the people of Borno. But beyond that is the matter of bread and butter and in the two cases as evident by the Tuesday night shooting of the governor’s convoy, the Buhari administration has not done well.
However, Borno is Buhari’s territory where he gets even more support than from his Katsina State. The relationship between the people of the state and the president is expected to continue.
The PDP in the state is also not united putting the chances of a surprise good showing in serous doubt.
The outlook will be to see whether Buhari can give the PDP the normal trouncing of the past.
Yobe: Buhari’s Backyard 2015 Result: APC: 446, 265; PDP: 25, 256
Yobe is part of the Northeast belt that has been part of Buhari’s political base since his joining politics. He has consistently won the state and there is no indication of the state going the way of the PDP despite Atiku’s pitch.
The PDP is also not very strong in the state and the relative lull in attacks by the Boko Haram in the state may count positively for the APC in the state.
Buhari is expected to win in the state by far.
Bauchi: 2015 Result: APC: 931, 598 PDP: 86, 085
Like many other states of the Northeast, Bauchi has been part of the Buhari belt.
However, the governor’s poor performance and the uprising of the Bauchi political class against Governor Mohammed Abubakar could for the first time dent Buhari’s strong election record in Bauchi State.
Unlike the APC which is divided following many defections including Speaker Yakubu Dogara, the PDP is strong in Bauchi State. Also, many of Buhari’s victories in the past were against southern candidates and he is now faced with a very strong Northern candidate also from the Northeast.
The indications are that Buhari’s easy walk in Bauchi would not be so and it could turn out a crunch test for him with the probability of victory still going to him but with a reduced margin.
Taraba 2015 Result: APC: 261, 326; PDP: 310, 800
Buhari did not win in this state in 2015 but the recent presidential campaign rally showed so much enthusiasm for the president to betray the fact that this is the one state in the Northeast that he had consistently lost.
Following that rally there was talk that several of those who attended were either imported or tribesmen of the president who came to show solidarity.
But against the background of recent killings associated with herders, the president could get a backlash from voters on that score and on the score of poor actualization of the 2015 campaign promises.
Another challenge for the president would be the fact that the strong enthusiasm for him mobilized by Senator Aisha Alhassan would be missing.
Atiku is expected to win in the state but with strong showing from Buhari.
The APC won in the state with the strong support of the former governor of the state, Senator Aliyu Wamakko in 2015.
However, the defection of Governor Aminu Tambuwal from the APC to the PDP and the strong support he, Tambuwal has received from the PDP has positioned the PDP as a strong bargainer for the votes of the people of the state.
Indeed, all the major players in the PDP are united behind the governor. Among them are the first governor of the state in the Fourth Republic, Alhaji Attahiru Bafarawa, a former deputy governor of the state, Alhaji Muktar Shagari among many others.
Tambuwal’s strong performance as governor in education, health and agriculture are also issues that have translated to the ordinary voter.
With Tambuwal pushing seriously for Atiku in Sokoto, the odds for Buhari have been seriously cut down putting Sokoto as a state that could go either way.
Zamfara 2015 Result: APC: 612, 202; PDP: 144, 833
The decision of INEC to bar the APC from fielding candidates for state level elections would do little to impact upon the chances of Buhari in Zamfara State. However, local issues including security and the matter of bread and butter could be decisive if the message of the PDP is readily absorbed by the people of the state.
With the APC still divided as at election eve, the consensus is that Buhari would enter the election in Zamfara with demoralized troops putting the prospect of the state returning the kind of votes it did for Buhari in the past out of the question.
Kebbi 2015 Result: APC: 567, 883 PDP: 100, 972
This was a state that Buhari carried last time and he is expected to again carry. Unlike neighbouring states, the party is united in Kebbi behind Governor Atiku Bagudu and the administration’s rice initiative has benefited farmers in the state and would be well remembered as they go to vote.
It is a state that Buhari will again do well.
Kaduna: 2015 Result: APC: 1, 127, 760; PDP: 434, 085
Buhari carried Kaduna well in 2015. However, his policies and those of the governor of the state, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai have energized voters in the Southern areas of the state to mobilise to show their protest.
After successfully overcoming his local enemies in the APC such as Senator Shehu Sani and Senator Hunkuyi, el-Rufai may be in charge, but he is almost alone as those who fought with him in the 2015 victory are either despondent or out of the party.
With the choice of a Muslim-Muslim ticket, some are determined to show their opposition to him. What could help the PDP is if they are united, however, there is concern over the unity of the opposition especially in the Northern section of the state.
The chances are that it would not be easy for Buhari as it was in 2015.
Katsina: 2015 Result: APC: 1, 345, 441; PDP: 98, 937
President Buhari is expected to win in the state despite the mutterings from sections of the state over the alleged discrimination in federal appointments supposedly skewed towards Daura Emirate.
Atiku made a good showing in the PDP presidential campaign rally, but that is not expected to show that the people of the state would forsake their local hero.
Kano 2015 Result: APC: 1, 903, 999; PDP: 215, 779
Governor Abdullahi Ganduje had promised to deliver five million votes for the APC presidential candidate. However, the prospect of that has now become an issue since last Sunday’s ‘unbelievable crowd’ showed up at the Atiku rally.
The influence of Senator Rabiu Kwankwanso in swinging victory either way may have also touched a raw nerve among APC officials who have since then been trying to find a reason for that.
Before that rally, Kwankwanso was said to have taken weeks mobilizing for it. If the mobilisaiton translates to votes the inevitable could well happen and for the first time Buhari loses Kano.
But it still remains a remote prospect and in the opinion of some the best the PDP could get may be 40% of the votes.
Niger 2015 Result: APC: 657, 678; PDP: 149, 222
The APC won the state against the background of alleged poor performance by the former governor of the state, Alhaji Babangida Aliyu and the northern sentiments against a second term for President Goodluck Jonathan. Now, those sentiments are either missing or in the reverse.
The APC governor of the state has a mixed record that has not excited many and against the background of the common interest of bread and butter, the APC would be seriously challenged.
Lagos 2015 Result: APC: 792, 460; PDP: 632, 327
The APC narrowly won in the state in 2015 upon the combination of perceived incompetence by the Goodluck Jonathan administration and strong campaign for Buhari by the Southwest’s most influential political leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.
Now with Buhari in the driving seat the ease and perceptions of negative performance about the administration, Tinubu has his work well cut out. How he is going to convince the sophisticated part of the electorate to go along with him for another four years of the APC administration at the federal level would be a tough one for him.
But Tinubu cannot afford not to deliver Lagos, not just for his own perceived 2023 aspiration, but also for the sustenance of his legacy in Lagos.
However, with discontent on the performance of the APC federal administration in roads like the Mile 2 – Badagry Expressway and the administration’s failure to find a solution after almost four years to the menace on the Oshodi-Apapa Expressway, the APC would be challenged by voters who bring such issues to bear at the ballot box.
The APC, however, has to be grateful for the fact that the PDP in Lagos is not very strong.
Nonetheless, the voters in the state have strong positions that they are likely to express at the ballot box that could bring the state into play.
Oyo 2015 Result: APC: 528, 620; PDP: 303, 376
The APC won in the state in 2015 and with a party now united around the outgoing governor following the exit of his rivals, the party is in a strong position to deliver Buhari.
Even more, the opposition is splintered with the main opposition PDP losing its momentum.
However, the main challenge for the APC is the matter of bread and butter which if it resonates well among voters today could imperil the chances of the ruling party.
OSUN 2015 Result: APC: 383,603; PDP: 249,929
The APC won in Osun State in 2015 but against the background of sentiments arising from the lackluster performance of the immediate past administration and the strong showing of the PDP in the recent governorship election, the prospects of the APC are seriously in contention.
The prospect of the PDP in Osun State is being helped by the fact that the first wife of the PDP candidate, Titi Amina is from Osun State.
On that basis, the chances of Atiku doing well are very bright in the home of his in-laws.
ONDO 2015 Result: APC: 299, 889; PDP: 251, 368
The APC is in control in the state and narrowly won the state in 2015 even with a PDP governor in place. The chances of the APC doing so would be determined by the record of the incumbent and set against the potentials of the PDP candidate.
In 2015, the APC in Ondo State was better united than it is at this point. That ordinarily should give the advantage to the PDP, but the party has yet to pick up from the crash it suffered in the last governorship election. Even the former governor and leader of the party has abdicated.
EKITI 2015 Result: APC: 120, 331; PDP: 176, 466
This was the only state the PDP won in the Southwest in 2015 and that was when the PDP controlled the state.
But not anymore. The chances of the PDP in the state have been mired by internal strife with the immediate past governor, Ayodele Fayose openly against the re-election bid of his one time deputy, Senator Biodun Olujimi.
However, despite being out of power, the chances of the PDP cannot be easily dismissed. Ekiti with its enlightened electorate could spring surprises.
OGUN 2015 Result: APC: 308, 290; PDP: 207, 950
Ogun State is apparently home to Buhari’s closest friends in the southeast, the outgoing governor of the state, Senator Ibikunle Amosun and a first class monarch. It is also the home state of his running mate, and incumbent vice-president, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo.
Though the party in the state is mired in crisis, the expectation is that Buhari may even do better especially given the serious and quiet campaigns done by the vice-president.
The PDP is factionalised in the state and the only votes it would get will come in form of sympathy votes. Whether the party will even be able to present party agents is also an issue.
Whatever, Ogun will go the way of the president, after all, the people of the state will say that they are a heartbeat away from the presidency!