…Fight for consensus candidates
…Five of 11 first-term governors emerge as consensus standard bearers
By Clifford Ndujihe, LAGOS
Ahead of the governorship and presidential primaries of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, and the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, governors have intensified moves to electorally secure their states.
How? They want to secure their tickets, and those of their allies and wield strong influence on delegates from the states at the presidential primaries of the parties, a source told Vanguard, yesterday.
“All the governors are going for total control to secure their states for themselves. They want to secure their positions and those of their associates at all levels, including the presidential ticket.
“They want to determine who will pick the tickets for their parties. They see the primaries as the main election. For them, losing the primaries means losing 2023,” a source whose principal had secured all positions in his state told Vanguard.
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“Apart from my oga (a northern governor) all the other governors are pursuing the same goal although some of them are being fought by some ministers, serving senators and political heavyweights; they are, however, ready to have their way,” the source added.
12 govs seeking re-election
No fewer than 12 of the 36 governors are seeking re-election for a second term. Osun State Governor Gboyega Oyetola is the APC candidate for the June 18 governorship election in the state.
Of the remaining 11, no fewer than five have emerged as consensus candidates. The remaining six are in pole position to pick second term tickets.
States with first term governors are Lagos, Ogun, Oyo, Adamawa, Bauchi, Gombe, Borno, Yobe, Kwara and Nasarawa
Governors that have secured their re-election tickets without much challenge include Professor Babagana Umara Zulum of Borno; Mai Mala Buni of Yobe; Mohammed Inuwa Yahaya of Gombe; and Dr Bello Matawalle of Zamfara.
Governor Bala Mohammed of Bauchi is running for the PDP presidential ticket and is said to have his re-election ticket in the kitty if the presidential journey is aborted.
In Lagos, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu got the endorsement of the Governor’s Advisory Council, GAC and Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
However, he has Wale Oluwo, said to be supported by his immediate predecessor, Akinwunmi Ambode, to face the APC flag.
Governors Dapo Abiodun (Ogun) and Abdullahi Sule (Nasarawa) are also riding on the support of major stakeholders of their states.
With the defection of the former governor of Zamfara State, Abdul Aziz Yari; and Senator Kabiru Garba Mafara and their supporters to the PDP, the coast is clear for Governor Matawalle in Zamfara.
Indeed, Matawalle led all stakeholders of the ruling APC in the state to submit collectively the nomination forms of all aspirants last week.
To prevent a repeat of the 2019 scenario in Zamfara where the party lost all elective offices from the governorship to the state House of Assembly seats due to invalidly conducted primaries in the state, the governor has unified forces in Zamfara APC.
Speaking to journalists after submitting the forms, Matawalle said: “As you can see, we are here today to submit our nomination forms from the governorship, Senate, House of Representatives and state assembly, all from Zamfara state candidates.
“You see me here with lots of prominent people from Zamfara State, our former governor, Ahmad Sani Yerima (presidential aspirant), Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, some of the senators from the National Assembly, members of the House of Representatives and all House of Assembly candidate from Zamfara State have come here to submit our forms, which we have come to do jointly to the organizing secretary of the party.”