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BATTLE of GODFATHERS, PROTEST VOTES

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BATTLE of GODFATHERS, PROTEST VOTES
 

…as 72.8 million Nigerians pick governors, lawmakers

 

Over 72 million Nigerians are expected to file out across the federation today, to elect 29 state governors among the 1,067 candidates jostling for the top seats as well as their deputies. The electorate will also choose lawmakers that will take charge of all states assemblies, in a contest that had been largely dominated by violent campaigns and clash of political godfathers in many states.

The tone of the aggressive campaigns, the utterances and body languages of some of the political gladiators has left no one in doubt that today’s contest is largely going to be dominated by political wars between some godfathers and protest votes against some leaders seen as domineering. The contest, coming after the just concluded presidential and National Assembly elections, which brought about a major ethnic divide in some parts of the country, has set the tone for a renewal of hostilities between some major players, and will see the two dominant political parties; the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), slugging it out again.

 

Though there are other political parties contesting at various levels in almost all the states, the political battle has gradually narrowed to a two-horse race in most of the 36 states of the country, with the two major parties being the arrowheads in the competitions. While there would be gubernatorial and state assembly contests in 29 out of the 36 states that make up the federation, the remaining seven states will be dealing with elections into the state assemblies while the Federal Capital Territory is expected to go ahead with municipal and council elections, barring any postponement.

Tough assembly contest in Anambra, others

There will be no gubernatorial election in seven states, including, Anambra, Bayelsa, Edo, Ekiti, Kogi, Ondo and Osun. These are the states where governorship elections had earlier been decided by court cases, as such, the election calendar altered, making governorship polls in the aforementioned states to no longer falls within the regular four-year intervals of the general elections. In these states, the dominant parties are seeking to extend their controls, thereby jostling to take charge of the state assemblies, irrespective of the party in control of the government.

For instance, there are palpable fears in Anambra State that both the APC and the PDP are pushing very hard to take control of the legislative arm, as such, they are expected to make a good run for all the state assembly seats in the state, in order to push out the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), which had been dominating the space.

As opined by a female PDP chieftain, Mrs. Adake Lawrence, the dominance of APGA in Anambra State might have come to an end, going by its poor showing at the Presidential and National Assembly polls, in which the party lost all the senatorial seats to other parties. “The reign of APGA is gradually coming to an end in Anambra, and that end will be pronounced this Saturday, it is very certain. How do you expect a party that could not win a senatorial seat and even lost the one it is presently occupying, to continuing ruling the state? “It will start with the state assembly on Saturday (today), because APGA will surely have very few lawmakers that will remain in that chambers after the election, and you know what that means. “Once the former governor, Peter Obi takes control of the assembly, it means Governor Willy Obiano is on his way out. That is the long and short of the whole permutations.

“We know that they won’t give up without a fight, but the reality on ground, judging by what happened during the last election, is that, both the APC and the PDP will soon take charge of the legislative arm”, he said. But an APGA chieftain in Lagos, Chief Lucky Williams, who was quick to punctuate such assertions, defended the loss, saying that it was borne out of the fact that APGA had no presidential candidate and the vote for Obi led to a bandwagon action. “This is a state election, not federal. There is no way APGA can lose a state election in Anambra. What happened at the last election was because of the hatred for President Muhammadu Buhari in the South East.

“They refused to follow Obiano because they don’t like Buhari, and you know that Obi is their son, and not just their son, he is a former governor of the state, the immediate past.“So, it was not a vote for the PDP as such, but it was more of a vote for their son and a vote against Buhari. But they won’t go against Obiano during the state assembly, that won’t happen, I can assure you”, he argued.

History may give it to Ekiti APC

10 out of the 26 lawmakers in Ekiti, including the former Assembly speaker, Pastor Kola Oluwawole were recently suspended, over alleged misconduct. With the situation, APC now has 11 lawmakers, with PDP having five. Looking at the outcome of the presidential and NASS elections in the state, the APC looks good to have an edge.

Ekiti Assembly election has always tends toward the incumbents; in 1999, under Niyi Adebayo, the Alliance for Democracy (AD) had 24 lawmakers while PDP had two. During the first tenure of Governor Ayodele Fayose in 2003, PDP had 24 while opposition had two lawmakers. In 2007, during Segun Oni’s regime, the lawmakers equal in number, having 13 members on each side for the ACN and PDP. In 2010 under Governor Kayode Fayemi, APC had 24 lawmakers with PDP having two. Fayose’s second tenure in 2014 saw the PDP taking full control with all the 26 lawmakers being PDP.

Two-horse race, 45 guber candidates in Lagos

The electorate in Lagos is deeply polarised between the APC and the PDP on one hand, and the Igbospeaking populace against their Yoruba compatriots on the other hand.Since the beginning of the Fourth Republic in May 29, 1999, Lagos State had been under the grips of the progressives, which started as Alliance for Democracy (AD) to Action Congress (AC) to Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and now All Progressives Congress (APC). And every four years, the main opposition party, the PDP, aspire to win Lagos but the party had not been able to actualise its dream in the last four elections – 2003, 2007, 2011 and 2015. For today’s governorship polls, 45 candidates according to the list published by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) will participate in the election out of the 91 registered parties in the country. According to INEC list, among those battling to succeed Governor Akinwunmi Ambode are; Babajide Sanwo-Olu of the APC, Jimi Agbaje of the PDP, Owolabi Salis (AD), Babatunde Gbadamosi (ADP), Olufunsho Awe (NCP), Adetokunbo Pearse (SDP), Olumuyiwa Fafowora (ADC) and Ladipo Johnson (ANP), among others. But despite the long list of governorship candidates, political analysts believed the governorship poll is a two-horse race between Sanwo-Olu and Agbaje.

Without any iota of doubt, the outcome of the gubernatorial poll is crucial to both the ruling and opposition party. While APC is strategising to maintain its edge in Lagos politics by winning the gubernatorial poll, the opposition parties are not resting on their laurels to send the ruling party away from the Government House. Today’s governorship election is going to be another power tussle between APC and PDP, which used the February 23 presidential and National Assembly elections to settle political scores in the state. The outcome of the elections brought about a lot of surprises in the state as some political gladiators and candidates failed to deliver their polling units, wards, local governments and state for their respective parties. Buhari won the presidential election in Lagos, defeating Atiku Abubakar of the PDP with a margin of 132,798 votes.

He polled 580,814 votes to beat Atiku, who got 448,016 votes. APC won 15 local governments while PDP won in five local governments, heavily populated by non-indigenes. Political analysts believed that a lot of factors would be responsible for today’s polls in Lagos State. The issues are postprimary crises in APC and PDP; imposition of candidates, indigeneship, party’s structures, power of incumbency, personality, protest votes, state and federal might, among others.

The governorship election is going to pitch political gladiators and candidates from different political parties against one another in the struggle for political relevance in the state. APC leaders believe that losing the state to the PDP would end the reign of the ruling party in the state and that is why the party leaders are not resting on their oars in ensuring that they do whatever it takes to retain the Centre of Excellence.

Okowa, Ogboru in titanic battle

The candidate of the APC in Delta State, Chief Great Ogboru, and his counterpart in the PDP, Sen. Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, who is seeking reelection, will keenly contest and tenaciously fight to win the governorship seat of the oil rich state. However, the battle would be decided among the godfathers, such as former governors James Ibori, Emmanuel Uduaghan, the senator representing Delta Central, Chief Ovie Omo- Agege, a former National President of NUPENG, Chief Frank Kokori, the Minister of State Petroleum, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, among others. Going by the predictions of some bookmakers, Okowa is likely to coast to victory by 60 to 40 percent in the long run, but Ogboru, who is a factor to reckon with in opposition politics of the state, may spring a surprise.

Okowa, who hails from Owa-Alero in Ika North East Local Government Area of Delta North Senatorial District of the state, popularly known as Anioma ethnic nationality, will be banking on the entire Igbo speaking axis of the state, such as, the nine council areas of Asaba, Agbor, Kwale, Ogwashi- Uku, Issele-Uku, Akwukwu- Igbo, Owa, Aboh and Ukwuani, which are his stronghold. Ogboru, whose stronghold is in the Delta Central, with back-up gladiators, like the the 2015 governorship candidate of APC, Olorogun O’tega, Uduaghan and a chieftain of the party, Chief Hyacinth Enuha, is set to give Okowa a run for his money.

The reason being that the magic-wand of the ruling PDP in the state has come under a serious threat, following the defection of Uduaghan to the opposition party in the state and especially with APC being in charge at the national level. No doubt, the present structure of politics in the state favours Okowa because his party is in full grip of the 29 House of Assembly members and 25 council chairmen. But will the-likes of Omo-Agege, O’tega, Uduaghan, Kokori, and others allow the state give PDP victory again? That Uduaghn lost Delta South Senatorial bid and former Director-General on the Delta State Board of Internal Revenue (DBIR), Hon. Joel Onowakpor, who is now a chieftain of the Federal Inland Revenue (FIR), South-South Zone, lost Isoko Federal constituency seat for APC is bad omen in the governorship race for Ogboru. Their victory would have put Okowa on a hot seat. But lo and behold, Hon. Leo Ogor, also a fifth time occupier of the Isoko constituency seat, and Manager, won, thereby heralding soft-landing for Okowa.

Epic battle in Ogun, Oyo

Going by permutations, there is expected to be tough contests in Ogun and Oyo states as many observers have argued that the scenarios playing out in both states at the last minute, have left the show wide open, and could be anybody’s game. Though the gubernatorial candidates of the APC in Oyo and Ogun states, Chief Adebayo Adelabu (a.k.a. Penkelemesi) and Chief Dapo Abiodun respectively, are expected to ride on the federal power of incumbency in today’s election, the trip may not be as easy as projected. In Ogun State, the roles being played by the likes of former President Olusegun Obasanjo, former governors Olusegun Osoba and Gbenga Daniel are some of the factors that will shape the outcome of today’s elections.

While Daniel has pitched his tent with Abiodun, the state governor, Ibikunle Amosun, is leaving no stone unturned to ensure that his anointed candidate, who is running on the platform of the APM, Abiodun Akinlade, wins the election. While Daniel abandoned his party’s candidate, Senator Buruji Kashamu of the PDP, the former candidate of the party, Ladi Adebutu, has thrown his weight behind Amosun’s choice of Akinlade. Speaking during his endorsement of Abiodun, Daniel said: “Going forward, I have directed all our structures statewide to cast all their votes on Saturday for Prince Dapo Abiodun, another bona fide Remo son despite current party differences.

“I, therefore, enjoin all to please go and cast your vote on Saturday for Dapo Abiodun in the overall interest of our people”, he said, leaving the contest more ferocious than expected. In Oyo State, the fact that the APC lost to the PDP in the last presidential election, coupled with the resolve of many opposition parties and the aggrieved members of the APC to work for the candidate of the PDP, Engineer Seyi Makinde, show the electoral battle would be tough. Three gubernatorial candidates of the Zenith Labour Party (ZLP), Chief Sharafadeen Alli; Senator Olufemi Lanlehin of the African Democratic Congress (ADC), and Chief Bolaji Ayorinde of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) were on Tuesday formally led by an ex-governor, Senator Rasidi Ladoja, to drop their ambition and unanimously agree to vote for Makinde with whom they plan to form a Unity Government upon his victory at the polls.

Many loyalists of the late Governor Lam Adesina (LAMISTS), as well as, “Unity Forum” members that previously populated the APC, have pledged their unalloyed loyalty to Lanlehin, thereby vowing to vote for PDP. They devastatingly lost the National Assembly seats, but have resolved to change the tune at the APC-dominated House of Assembly, for the opposition candidates to sweep the polls.

Bayelsa polls, build up to December election

There won’t be any governorship election in Bayelsa today, as that will come up in December this year, but the House of Assembly election, taking place in the state, would be a prelude to the governorship polls later in the year. The contest is no doubt a show of strength between the incumbent governor, Seriake Dickson, and his predecessor in office, Timipre Silva. It will also be an election to measure the clout of former President Good luck Jonathan, who did not prove consequential during the last presidential election. There are 24 seats in the state House of Assembly with 22 of them as PDP members.

But with APC getting one Senatorial seat and two House of Representatives seats, it is going to be a bit difficult for the PDP to clinch most of the seats this time as it did in 2015 election when APC didn’t get any National Assembly seat in the state. Already, some government officials are jittery that the state may be militarised and the with the recent election results in the state, despite the notion that PDP is an Ijaw party, there is fire on the mountain. During a recent enlarged meeting between the governor and PDP political appointees, Dickson charged all of them to deliver their units to PDP, saying; “If you are a political appointee, you must ensure that you deliver your unit and community, else posterity will speak for you after the Assembly polls.

“We are collating efforts made by political appointees in the just concluded presidential and National Assembly election and we have got our findings on those who abandoned our PDP candidates local government by local government. “All those set of appointees who lost in their various political wards, units and communities, actions will soon be taken on them except they show remorse and deliver in this House of Assembly elections, because our party must win all the 24 seats”, he said.

However, analysts have said it is not going to be easy battle, judging by the fact that the current Speaker of the state assembly lost his Southern Ijaw Federal constituency to the APC. Some APC members are even boasting that they will coast home to victory with no less than 18 assembly seats. Today’s result will prove them right or wrong.

Odds may not count against Ganduje

In Kano, the race to the exalted seat is no doubt in a confusing stage with the recent court rulings barring the main challenger and the PDP candidate, Abba Kabir Yusuf. Despite the backing of a former governor of the state, Senator Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, some political pundits have argued that it would be a herculean task for the PDP to untangle itself from the current web. Although, Muhammad Abacha the Candidate of APDA, is slowly sneaking into the main fold of the contest, some political events still favours Governor Umar Ganduje. Already, a handful of other smaller parties have adopted Ganduje as their main candidate making the race less tense.

 

However, Abacha who still sees a window of opportunity after going round the 44 local government areas of Kano in campaign trails, believes that with the Court ruling that befell the PDP candidate, he is the man to beat. But the Peoples Redemption Party (PDP) candidate Salihu Sagir Takai, sees himself as a much more favourable candidate to beat, even as some believe that Takai has not what it takes to make any meaningful show. Also, a factional chairman of the PDP, Senator Mas’ud Jibrin El-Doguwa, alongside his supporters, in a dramatic move, dumped the PDP to pitch its tent, with the ruling APC. This singular move might have dampened the fighting spirit of the PDP to pose any serious threat to unsettle the APC.

APC, PDP battle for Edo, Ondo assembly seats

In Edo, it has dawned on the leadership and members of the ruling APC that, indeed, in democracy the people hold the power and say. This is given the scare amongst the fold from the glaring collapse into self-inflicted defeat during the just concluded Presidential and National Assembly elections in the state.

There is a likelihood of a slim chance not to recover at the home front if things continue the way it did last month. The APC’s saving grace, however, was that PDP won in eight of the 18 local government areas while the APC won in 10 local government areas of the state. As it stands now, the 24-member house has four PDP lawmakers and 20 APC legislators.

It is evident that the stakes are high in Edo for both camps, drawing from the experience of the February 23 polls. Also, in Ondo, the two major political parties would be contesting for the 26 state constituencies today. Although some political parties including African Democratic Congress (ADC) and Social Democratic Party (SDP) caused upsets in two federal constituencies in the last National Assembly election, the battle will be predominantly between APC and PDP. Out of the 26 state constituencies, the ruling APC is targeting 18 in order to produce the principal officers and have control over the legislative arm of government. Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu had been meeting with stakeholders in order for the APC to have control of the Assembly.

He has met with unions, traditional rulers and civil servants in order to woo them to his side. However, the PDP is targeting majority members in the Assembly in order to have virile legislative arm of government in the next political dispensation. While the APC is targeting an assembly that will be cooperative with the executive, the PDP is working on a legislative arm that will put the governor on his toes.

The battle is expected to be fierce in Akure where it was alleged that members of National Road Transport Workers (NURTW) would be used for the election in Idanre Local Government where there have been clashes between PDP and APC members, as well as the four local governments in Akoko and Ilaje council areas. Since governorship election will not be holding in the state, the assembly polls will be used to determine the strength of all sides.

Adamawa, Kaduna hots up

In Adamawa State, the battle to govern the state is a very dicey one as the APC and the PDP remain excited and nervous. Governor Mohammed Umar Jibrilla of the APC who promised to retain his seat as the Chief Executive of the State has vowed to consolidate on his achievements especially in the areas of infrastructural development and prompt payment of workers salaries among others. However, out of the 25 members in the assembly,there is possibility of members of other political parties especially the PDP and SDP sharing the seats.

In Kaduna, the battle to win the governorship seat had been reduced to a duel between the APC candidate, Governor Nasir El-Rufai and his main challenger, PDP’s Isa Ashiru, leaving the others tagging along. Following the parties’ showing in the last elections where President Buhari won the state, the general belief among political enthusiasts is that it has come down to a two-horse race.

But that is not to say that the election has been won and lost, as the PDP, which surprisingly posted a poor showing in areas it was expected to give a good account of itself, is said to be working to redeem its image. Many of the top shots that lost their local areas to the APC are expected to shore up some votes. Some of the power brokers that will determine today’s polls include, former Vice President Namadi Sambo, former governor of the state, Ahmed Makarfi, and Senator Sulieman Hunkuyi among others. Within the week, the immediate past Director General of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), who contested and lost the governorship ticket of the PDP defected to the APC. However the PDP has not rested since the results of the last elections, some political parties like the APGA and the Liberation Movement (LM) governorship candidates have endorsed the PDP candidate and called on their supporters to vote for him.

In the state House of Assembly elections the situation might not be different from what played out during the last National Assembly elections. In the elections, the APC won two of the senate seat, while the PDP had only one. In the same vein, in the federal constituencies, the APC won 11 of the 16 positions up for grabs mainly in the north and central and PDP won four seats also in the southern part of the state. The election in one constituency is still inconclusive. The pattern might not really change in the election as the APC has its main support base in the north and PDP in the south.

APC, PDP maintain momentum in Niger, Sokoto, Benue

In Niger and Benue states, the race will be between the candidates of the APC and the PDP, though many other political parties will be fielding candidates in the governorship elections. In NIger, two are women – Aisha Mamhud and Abdulsalam Aisha, representing Change Advocacy Party (CAP) and Labour party (LP) respectively are among the candidates while Governor Samuel Ortom is set against the likes of former governor George Akume and others. It is going to be a repeat of the 2015 contest in which Governor Abubakar Bello flew the APC flag while Umar Nasko was the candidate of the PDP.

The two rivals are the children of two former military officers; while the sitting governor’s father, Sani Bello, retired from the Nigerian Army as a colonel after serving as a military governor of old Kano State. He was later appointed an ambassador and is the founder of the Sani Bello Foundation. He is also married to the daughter of former Military Head of state, General Abubakar Abdulsalami. The PDP candidate is the first son of Gado Nasko, a retired Major-General in the Nigerian Army who later served as Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT Minister) under the military Presidency of General Ibrahim Babangida.

The outcome of the February 23 Presidential and National Assembly elections also shows that the APC remains the dominant party in the state as it won the presidential poll with a wide margin; won the three senatorial seats and all the House of Representatives seats in the state. The incumbent governor has been more visible on the campaign trail than his rival, apparently because he has more resources at his disposal, while Nasko and the PDP in the state have been focusing on door-to-door campaign, which means they have reached out to the grassroots who embraced them. In Sokoto, the notable candidates contesting the number one seat are the incumbent governor, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal of the PDP, Alhaji Ahmed Aliyu Sokoto of the APC and the SDP candidate, Alhaji Abubakar Sadeeq. Tambuwal who is seeking reelection may likely find the contest tough against his opponent former deputy.

Tambuwal may likely enjoy the support of 19 PDP members out of 30 members of the Sokoto State House of Assembly who defected from the APC recently. Besides, the governor is believed to be popular among the electorate. Another candidate is Alh. Abubakar Sadeeq of the Social Democratic Party (SDP). He is largely seen as an Abuja-based politician by the populace and this appears to affect his popularity in the state. Sadeeq, who happened to share the same local government origin with the incumbent state Deputy Governor, Alhaji Munnir Dan’iya, may work hard to penetrate or win even his home town which is the stronghold of PDP

Saraki’s group fights back

Today’s election in Kwara is basically between the APC and the PDP. If the outcome of the presidential and National Assembly elections were to be a basis for projection, then it will be safe to say that the day belongs to the APC which cleared the three Senate and six House of Representatives seats in the election to create an unprecedented upset in the history of the state. Currently the APC is on the upward swing as a result of the first election with many members of the PDP defecting daily to support the APC. Many political office holders in local government areas of the state are in this category. At least Isin council area, all serving councillors have defected while in Patigi nine out of the 10 councillors have defected. Also there is festering division among PDP followers following the outcome of the first election. There are daily outbursts and attacks against many leaders of the party who were believed to have mismanaged election logistics and failed to deliver their areas.

The party is therefore going into the election with acrimony among its foot soldiers unlike the APC which is going into the poll as a more united front. However, leader of the PDP, Dr. Bukola Saraki is not giving up the race according to feelers from his camp. He has spent the last five days reuniting his team and building their confidence towards the election. One incident that may affect the outcome of the poll, particularly in the five local government areas that make up the Ilorin emirate is a story linked with an Islamic cleric, said to be a key supporter of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Sheikh Abdulrahim Aduranigba, who claimed that a victory for the party in the election will clear the coast for the emergence of a new traditional ruler in Ilorin, the state capital, to be known as Oba of Ilorin. Aduranigba in an exclusive interview with a Yoruba language newspaper, Yoruba Ronu, published on pages two and three under theheadline “Ni Ipinle Kwara,Yoruba Setan Lati Fi Ibo Gba Agbara Lowo Saraki Ati Fulani” claimed to be the Chief Imam of Ilorin and entire Yorubaland, and further disclosed a grand design by the Yoruba to use the 2019 general elections to wrestle power from the Saraki political dynasty and the Fulani clan in Ilorin.

The cleric claimed that the Yoruba ethnic group constitutes the largest population in Kwara State, and that his people had adopted the APC gubernatorial candidate in the state, Abdulrahman Abdulrasaq as their choice for the governorship poll. However, the APC has dismissed the allegation it was planning to impose a Yoruba Oba after winning the election. The party said the cleric is not a card carrying member of APC, assuring the indigenes that it remains committed to respecting traditional institutions in the state.

Former allies clash in Abia

In Abia State, a former governor of the state and the newly elected senator that would be representing Abia North, Orji Uzor Kalu, will be slugging it out with his successors in office, Theodore Orji and the incumbent, Governor Okezie Ikpeazu. Kalu, who won on the platform of the APC is leading his party’s campaign for the success of the APC candidate, Uche Ogar to fight the PDP, which is also struggling to maintain hold on the state. However, both parties would be in tough contest against the candidate of the APGA, Alex Otti, who is also said to be having a good show in the race. The race for the state asssembly will aslo be keenly contetsed among the three parties; APC, PDP and APGA.

Ogun guber:

The fourhorse race

The stakes are quite high for the governorship and House of Assembly elections in Ogun State. Amid intriguing permutations, dramatic realignment of forces and agitation for power shift, the state has inevitably become a battleground of some sorts. Perhaps, because of the political heavyweights involved in the contestation for power, the state elections have generated keen interest in several quarters and made the succession politicking for Governor Ibikunle Amosun’s job fiercer than could be imagined. A total of 41 political parties are fielding candidates for the crucial contest. However, based on the projection of bookmakers, the odds favour only four parties.

These include the African Democratic Congress (ADC), All Progressives Congress (APC), Allied People’s Movement (APM) and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). The ADC is fielding a two-time governorship candidate in the state, Prince Gboyega Isiaka, while the APC has settled for billionaire businessman Prince Dapo Abiodun, as its standard bearer.

The APM picked a House of Representatives member, Hon. Adekunle Akinlade, as its flag bearer while Prince Buruji Kashamu, the Senator representing Ogun East in the National Assembly, secured the PDP governorship ticket on the orders of court. The results of the Presidential and National Assembly elections showed clearly that the state was in for a four-horse race. Only the four major parties won federal legislative seats.

The APC won the three senatorial districts of the state and six House of Representatives seats. However, the ADC, APM and PDP each picked the remaining three federal constituencies. From all indications, the election would also be a fight for political relevance by certain godfathers in the state. A former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, has endorsed Isiaka for the governorship. Former governor, Chief Olusegun Osoba, is backing the APC candidate, who lately got the endorsement of another former governor and PDP chieftain, Otunba Gbenga Daniel, for the plum job. Since its gubernatorial primaries last year, the state chapter of APC has continued to grapple with crisis.

The party’s national leadership declared Abiodun winner as against Akinlade, whom Amosun and his loyalists insisted, won the primary election. Consequently, Amosun vowed not to support Abiodun’s ambition, thus creating setback for the APC. After winning his election for Ogun Central zone, the governor embarked on full blast campaign for the APM. To check him, the APC national leadership suspended the governor for anti-party activities and further recommended him for expulsion from the party. The APC appears unperturbed by Amosun’s scheming.

The party believes it could rely on the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, who hails from the state, to counter the governor’s onslaught. This is already playing out. The VP is an indigene of Ikenne, a town that shares same local government with Abiodun’s Iperu-Remo. It is widely believed that Osinbajo wants to stamp his authority in his home state. With the federal might and resources at his disposal, it is unlikely that he would allow his party to lose governorship in the state. In addition, the resolve by Ogun East people to have the governorship in their kitty may be a blessing in disguise for Abiodun.

The “Ijebu Agenda” has assumed a life of its own and altered Amosun’s succession plan. The APC candidate has become a fallback option in the calculation of the Ijebu people. The PDP that could pose serious threat has been enmeshed in factional squabbles and unending litigation which had badly depleted the party. Rival chieftains of the opposition party fought into the presidential election.

The situation degenerated ahead of the governorship with Daniel endorsing the APC candidate and Adebutu adopting APM. The PDP flag bearer, Kashamu, is left bare and the party’s woes further compounded. The development will certainly have adverse effect on the chances of the party at the polls. On his part, Isiaka is positioning himself as the potential candidate to reap from the crises rocking the two major parties.

 

But his party, ADC, also has hurdles to cross as it would have to battle the PDP for its strongholds in addition to contending with another Yewa-Awori person, Akinlade, for votes in Ogun West. For the APM, it is movement to victory for its members, even though critics are not giving the party’s governorship candidate any chance. This is probably because they saw the party as a splinter of the ruling APC, which lacks prospects and may go the way of PPN bankrolled by Daniel in 2011. However, the APM may have something on its sleeves. Against all odds, it won a federal constituency and based on its performance.

 

NewTelegraph 

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