The Road to 2019: Flashpoints to Watch (IV)

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Steeped in grim crises of interests, supremacy, survival and power play, this week’s edition of the THISDAY guide to the 2019 elections focuses on the intrigues and theatrics that dogged the primary elections of the two major political parties – the All Progressives Congress and the Peoples Democratic Party, write Olawale Olaleye and Shola Oyeyipo

For the two major political parties, last week was an anti-climax of sorts in the journey to 2019. Apparently running against the October 7 deadline for the submission of names of successful aspirants for the different offices up for election by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the two parties held their primaries almost about the same time as though other fringe political parties.

With different modes of election approved for different states as deemed fit by the All Progressives Congress (APC) National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole-led National Working Committee (NWC), it caught no one by surprise that the exercise ended in fiasco in many of the states. Although the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had always gone through the delegate route, the outcome of the elections in many parts of the states was equally a letdown.

Indeed, in a majority of the states where decisions had been taken, what they currently savour is peace of the graveyard. The outcome did not reflect the expectations of major stakeholders and this was across both parties. It was either that the candidates were imposed right from the top or the governors connived with the election committees to undermine the whole process.

As you read this, both parties are still writhing in the pains and disappointment of their indiscretion and it is fair that they are allowed to stew in their own juice. While it is true that the APC leadership had reportedly cleared 24 out of the 36 states of their governorship and other elective offices, it is still not well with some of the cleared states let alone those waiting to be cleared as a result of the postponement or outright nullification of their elections.

However, while the PDP, which held its presidential convention yesterday, has vowed to reclaim the national spot it lost to the APC during the 2015 elections; it is trite to note that such a feat would depend largely on the calibre of candidates it field to run against that of the APC in the election.
Thus, while the two parties are still struggling to resolve some of the contradictions that arose from the exercise, candidates have already emerged, even amidst inexplicable flaws, clearly presenting major crises to leadership of both parties. So, what is the state of play in the states?

 

Abia
Governor Okezie Ikpeazu is to fly the flag of the PDP in Abia State. That is not unexpected, because apart from being the incumbent governor, he emerged the sole candidate of the party, evidently a product of the gains of the many endorsements he had since enjoyed. No other aspirant picked forms to challenge him. So, the primary was merely a formality for affirmation. At the end, the Chairman of the PDP Governorship Primary Committee for the state, Chief Raymond Dokpesi, announced that Ikpeazu polled 1,991 votes out of 2,207 total votes cast by the delegates accredited for the exercise. It is expected that Ikpeazu would constitute a very formidable opposition to the APC or any other party in contention.

But that permutation is not absolute. Followers of Abia politics, particularly those loyal to Governor Ikpeazu are now of the opinion that the PDP leadership should look forward to a formidable opponent in the APC candidate in the person of Uchechukwu Ogah, an oil magnate, who eventually emerged winner of the party primary in the state.

Recall that Ogah, was issued a Certificate of Return by INEC, when an Abuja High Court declared him the rightful PDP candidate before same judgment was upturned by the Supreme Court in favour of Ikpeazu. He is therefore an opponent the PDP and Ikpeazu cannot afford to take for granted.
In yet another interesting slant, Chief Chikwe Udensi has defeated Dr. Alex Otti to clinch the APGA ticket. It is worthy of mention that APGA is a South-east party and so, both Ikpeazu and Ogah must pay attention to a possible underdog emerging from that party.

Adamawa
Former acting Governor of Adamawa State, Ahmed Umar Fintiri, is the PDP candidate in Adamawa State. He polled 1,625 votes to clinch the party ticket. His acceptability is reflected in the fact that his closest rival, Jameel Zubairu, polled 465 votes. Former Governor, Bala James Ngilari, scored 76 votes, Aliyu Ahmed only got eight votes and Umar Ardo got just a vote because he voted for himself.

Fintiri came to prominence in the state after the impeachment of former governor of the state, Murtala Nyako, when he became the acting governor. He is fondly remembered for paying the backlog of salary arrears owed civil servants in the state but his record was equally stained by the fact that he was charged to court for alleged N2.9billion fraud after his tenure.

He is a political figure with his support base cutting across the state and his party, the PDP is hoping to take advantage of that against the ruling APC, which has created the biggest upset after Lagos as Mahmoud Halilu Ahmed, the younger brother of the First Lady, Aisha Buhari, reportedly defeated the governor, Mohammed Bindow.
This has made the race to the government house somewhat unpredictable. The race is going to be a rather tough one for both the APC and the PDP.

Akwa Ibom
Akwa Ikom is certainly a state to watch in 2019, because of the intrigues that are expected to shape the outcome of the governorship election. Long before the party primaries, incumbent Governor Emmanuel Udom and his predecessor, Senator Godswill Akpabio, had fallen out.
And for reasons of political exigencies, the latter crossed to the opposition APC, even as the Minority Leader in the upper chamber of the National Assembly. However, daring his former boss and depending on his relationship with the people of the state, Udom has picked the PDP ticket and has told whoever cares to listen that he would win his second term.

Interestingly, Udom is not only contesting against Akpabio’s political sagacity, he equally has the Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Ekere Nsima, who won the governorship ticket of the APC to contend with, not minding that Akpabio ha the mandate to deliver him.
Though Udom has incumbency factor going for him, Nsima is not a pushover either in Akwa-Ibom State politics, the more reason the APC considered him its best option against the PDP and with Akpabio’s support, Ekere definitely stands a good chance in 2019.

Anambra
Naturally disposed to leadership crisis, Anambra State has not distinguished itself from all that is happening across the country in the countdown to 2019 and this is across both parties.
In the APC, stakeholders and aspirants recently rejected the purported primary elections, which threw up the trio of Senators Andy Uba, Uche Ekwunife and Margery Okadigbo as candidates for Anambra South, Central and Northern Senatorial zones of the state respectively.

The stakeholders in a joint press briefing with Senatorial and House of Representatives aspirants said the names touted as winners of the primary elections were false and that no primary election held in the state. The party has yet to address their concerns, regardless.
In the PDP, the protracted leadership crisis rocking the party resurfaced recently with two different factions contesting the party leadership. While the Chief Ndubisi Nwobu-led PDP executive claimed to be the recognised executive council by National Headquarters, another group championed by the Legal Adviser of the elected executive, Dr Nwadozie Ndubisis, the State Vice Chairman Anambra South and Marcel Jackeline Anyiam also laid claim to the leadership.
Although this is the way of the PDP in the state, the development is however expected to have unsavoury impact on the party, in the state and National Assembly elections.

Bauchi
Former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Bala Mohammed is the governorship candidate of the PDP in Bauchi State. He won the keenly contested primary with two other former senators in persons of Senator Abdul Ahmed Ningi, Senator Adamu Gumba and an aspirant for the ticket in 2015, Auwal Jatau.
Bala, a minister during former president Goodluck Jonathan enjoys the support of the Bauchi people, because he is rated as the best lawmaker ever in the state. It is however not clear how much his popularity would sway against the incumbent Governor Mohammed Abubakar.
Abubakar has picked the APC gubernatorial ticket. Though the governor emerged the party’s candidate amidst protests from other aspirants, who cried foul over alleged irregularities, he is however counting on his achievements and perhaps, the incumbency weight.

Benue
Benue is another state where the governorship election will be dicey. Ordinarily, Governor Samuel Ortom would have had an easy ride back to power for the fact he won the admiration of the citizens by his enactment of the Anti-open Grazing Prohibition Law. That simply is his biggest advantage, because the sentiment of anti-APC-led government is rife.
There is a general belief that the federal government has deliberately looked away from the herdsmen, who killed in hundreds and destroyed properties worth millions. So, the people see Ortom as a leader, who stands with them despite the insensitivity of the federal government. In fact, no one is talking about his seemingly poor report card.

There is also the issue of zoning. Benue has three zones: A, B and C. Unfortunately, zone C, which comprises Idoma, Igede and Agatus are in the minority, so they are not reckoned with as regards power rotation. As a result, each zone between A and B had completed eight years at different times. Now that Ortom, who is from Zone B, has had four years, the calculation is that he should be allowed to complete the second term rather than vote candidate of the APC, Emmanuel Jime, who is also from the Zone and would want to have two terms.

Jime however has his advantages too. First, there is a general feeling that Ortom has not performed well and there is hunger everywhere in the state. Second, politicians in the state are of the view that Jime should be compensated, because in 2015 he was on the cusp of winning the APC ticket when Ortom crossed over to the party and Akume gave him the ticket.
Another thing is that the only functional state-owned institution is the state university, with which he worked with former governor, Moses Adasu to establish. Jime was the Speaker of Benue State House of Assembly then. He signed the bill that created the institution into law. There is also a widespread belief he is the most vibrant lawmaker in the state.

Again, he is married to an Idoma woman and no Idoma woman has ever been a First Lady in the state hence it is winning him support from Zone C. He is from Iharev, the largest ethnic bloc of Makurdi, which places him at advantage, and being with Akume, who like Tinubu in Lagos, has the mastery of Benue politics, Jime cannot be underrated in the Benue race.

Borno
Former Commissioner for Reconstruction, Rehabilitation and Resettlement (RRR), Professor Babagana Umara Zulum won the APC governorship ticket in Borno State. He may likely ride easy to become the next governor and that is basically, because he has been around most of the Boko Haram ravaged citizens of the state, who consider him as a source of succour.
But one thing the party must quickly address is the grievances of other aspirants, who maintained that the primary process was skewed to favour Zulum.

Nigeria’s Ambassador to People’s Republic of China, who was PDP governorship standard bearer in 1999; former Secretary to the State Government (SSG),‪ Ambassador Baba Ahmed Jidda; Alhaji Mohammed Attom Maigira and the current Federal Director of Finance, Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Alhaji Idris Mamman Durkwa are unhappy with the outcome of the election and must be pacified.
In fact, 10 of the 21 aspirants had already petitioned the National Chairman of the party, Adams Oshiomhole, advancing cancellation for allegedly “falling short of the party’s guidelines.”

Zulum would also need to contend with the agitation of the people of Southern senatorial district, who have been agitating for power rotation. There had been a parley between elders of the North and South to support Mamman, who is a Southern candidate, but Zulum’s emergence has changed all that.
But APC has Alhaji Mohammed Alkali to deal with as he is the candidate of the PDP.

Cross Rivers
In Cross Rivers State, the sitting governor, Professor Ben Ayade of the PDP will square up against the Senator representing Cross River Central senatorial district, John Owan Enoh. Enoh was a member of the House of Representatives between 2007 and 2015. He is a political force in the state known not to have any godfather. Yet, he defeated Senator Victor Ndoma Egba in the 2015 general election.

What may however be his undoing is the lingering hardship being blamed on the APC leadership at the national level and the continued killings by herdsmen, who are seen as being protected by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Presently, Ayade holds Cross River State strongly and like Owan, he was also in the Senate before becoming governor. The governor enjoys support across most of the local government areas. This is coupled with his achievements and the fact that his state is predominantly a PDP state, which gives him an edge.

Delta
The APC candidate in Delta State, Mr. Ogboru Ovedje stands a good chance in the governornorship election for as long as his kinsmen of the Central senatorial district, which has the numerical strength, are ready to throw their weight behind him. He is a veteran governorship candidate.
While some bookmakers believe that he stands a better chance following the defection of former governor Emmanuel Uduaghan to the APC, contending with Governor Ifeanyi Okowa is not a child’s play. He is very much in charge.
Apart from having firm grip on Delta South and North, where he hails from, the factor of former governor, Mr. James Ibori, who is still a member of the PDP and whose support is still very important. It would take more than the god factor to unseat Okowa.

Ebonyi
Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi State has picked the PDP ticket to return to office and from all indications he is set to return to the Government House with ease. The reason is because he is well bonded with his people. He has a widespread support among the Ebonyi people due to his knack for development and people-oriented amenities.
Added to that is his cleverness to maintain a rather cordial relationship with the APC-led federal government, thereby attracting benefits to his people, particularly in the area of agriculture.

His main challenger, the Senator representing Ebonyi South senatorial district in the National Assembly, Sonni Ogbuoji, who recently defected to the APC, is faced with a strong opponent, who does not only have the people with him but is equally prepared to give it all it takes to ensure that he accomplishes his development aspirations for the state.

Edo
Even in Edo State, homestead of the National Chairman of the APC, Adams Oshiomhole, there was crisis over the choice of candidates for the National Assembly. The state had voted for National Assembly candidates days earlier, only for the national leadership of the party to cancel it, saying it was unauthorised.

Describing the exercise null and void, the party, which immediately appointed Hajia Farida Odangi Suleiman to conduct the primaries, assured members of the party that the Odangi-led committee would make available the list of aspirants screened for the exercise and conduct a transparent primary election in accordance with the guidelines and constitution of the APC.

The annulment was said to have followed a protest by some aspirants of the party, who kicked against the conduct of the primaries held across the 192 wards in the state. They urged Oshiomhole to cancel the primaries and conduct a fresh one and which the NWC did.
As at the time of filing this report, a new election had not held and observers had begun to interpret the development as the beginning of the crisis between the governor, Godwin Obaseki and Oshiomhole.

Ekiti
It is no longer news that there would not be a governorship election in Ekiti State next year. In fact, its governorship election held since July 14, 2018. But there was intense high wire intrigues in the primary election for the other offices up for election. A choice between direct and indirect primaries was the undoing of the APC in the state. The party had made a U-turn over indirect primary, a development that sparked protest and forced the police at some point to take over the APC secretariat.

Some aggrieved senatorial and House of Representatives aspirants of the APC had accused the party leaders of plotting to impose their preferred candidates on the party. They said the alteration of the direct option earlier announced to indirect mode was allegedly perpetrated to manipulate the process. But at the end of the day, the direct option was embraced and the matter has since been laid to rest.

In the PDP, Senate Minority Leader, Senator Biodun Olujimi, secured her return ticket to the senate next year. Olujimi is presently representing Ekiti South Senatorial District at the Upper Chambers of the National Assembly.
Olujimi will now square up with the candidate of the APC and former Minister of Works, Prince Dayo Adeyeye, who was unanimously adopted by the party leaders to fly the party’s flag. In Ekiti Central, Opeyemi Bamidele emerged victorious and in the midst of the confusion, former Senator Ayo Arise withdrew from the race.

Enugu
Here, it is a straight and predictable fight between incumbent Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of the PDP and Senator Ayogu Eze of the APC. Although supporters of the APC do not like the sound of the reality oozing out of Enugu State, the truth is that the party has been identified not to stand any chance in the state.
Apart from the fact that Ugwuanyi is said to have posted a mesmerizing performance in the last three and a half years, he also shocked a majority of the party leaders in the lead up to next year’s election, when for the first time in the history of the state, he enforced the emergence of candidates through the adoption of internal democracy.
Only recently, Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, who was in the state, lauded his entrepreneurial spirit in the development of the state and his people. Whilst this does not forbid the APC and its candidate from trying, at least, the reality is that Enugu is one of the many states of the federation, where the APC may not stand any chance whatsoever.

Gombe
Senator Bayero Nafada and Inuwa Yahaya emerged standard bearers of the PDP and the APC respectively ahead of the Gombe governorship bout for next year.
But while some say Gombe is free for any of the two parties to take, the fact is that as Nafada may benefit from the assumption that the state is PDP and the incumbency factor of Governor Ibrahim Dankwabo, Yahaya too stands to benefit from President Buhari’s influence in the North.
But Dankwambo must also not forget that a former governor of the state, Abdulahi Goje has vowed to chase his purported stooge out of the race next year. Whichever way, it is going to be an interesting election in the state.

Imo
Though no APC candidate has been officially announced in Imo State, the state is certainly one to watch in the sense that despite swirling protests, outgoing governor, Rochas Okorocha has maintained that his endorsement of his son-in-law and former Chief of Staff, Chief Uche Nwosu as the next governor of the state was irreversible.

Nwosu has been in Okorocha’s cabinet as the Deputy Chief of Staff between 2011 and 2013. He later became Commissioner for Lands between 2013 and 2015 and was Chief of Staff from 2015 till he contested the APC primary. He is a notable politician, but his greatest problem is that party members, opposition parties and the citizenry consider him a product of rude imposition. This will surely count against him if he eventually emerges as APC candidate.

Former deputy Speaker, Chukwuemeka Ihedioha, who was elected PDP candidate, stands an opportunity to reap from the acrimony in the APC as a result of Okorocha’s grandstanding. As a prominent politician, he is not a pushover and can leverage people’s resentment to clinch the governorship. He won the PDP governorship primaries in Imo State in December 2014, but lost to Rochas Okorocha in the April 11, 2015 general election.

Jigawa
Governor Badaru Abubakar of Jigawa State won the APC governorship primaries and is coming into the race on the strength of his record, which includes among other things that he met only N16 million with liability of road contracts worth 90 billion naira. Yet, he was able to manage the meagre resources to continue and complete uncompleted projects he inherited while he initiated new ones.

Alhaji Aminu Ibrahim Ringim, who will fly the PDP flag, has been in politics since 1983. He contested and won a seat in the federal House of Representatives. In 1991, during General Ibrahim Badamsi Babangida’s transition to civil rule, he pitched his tent with the Social Democratic Party (SDP) and remained consistent on the political turf till 2003, when he was redeployed to the Government House, Jigawa as Chief of Staff of former Governor Saminu Turaki.
Former governor and erstwhile Foreign Affairs Minister, Alhaji Sule Lamido re-appointed him as Chief of Staff, the position he retained till his ambition to contest for the governor of Jigawa State.

Kaduna
Former APC member and former member of the House of Representatives, Isa Ashiru Kudan, is the PDP governorship candidate in Kaduna State. He will face Governor Nasir el Rufai of the APC in what some people expect to be a keen contest.
The PDP considered Ashiru, a one-time APC aspirant, who was the first runner-up in the 2015 primaries that produced Governor el-Rufai, as a force capable of giving the governor a run for his money and even dust him in terms of popularity.

Ashiru defeated notables like a former Director General of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Mohammed Sani Sidi; Senator representing Kaduna North Senatorial District, Suleiman Othman Hunkuyi, immediate past governor of the state, Mukhtar Ramalan Yero and Kaduna business mogul, Shuaibi Idris Miqati to pick the party ticket and yet, the party seems ready to unite to fight their common enemy: Governor el-Rufai.

However, as one who reckons that he has done enough to get massive support from his people, el-Rufai seems rather unperturbed. He is going into next year’s election convinced that his vision, governance, developmental programmes, clout, and commitment to serve and move the state forward as well as focus on the job would speak for him.
But he would contend again with other contradictions that are his own doing like the nearly bungled election of Senator Sheu Sani. And now that he has lost the consideration to Sani, he is going into the election a bitter man and that could affect his performance in the election. His candidate, Ubah Sani lost badly.

Kano
Kano State is another state where the stakes are very high. It is a state that boasts several million of votes and so, the APC and the PDP are working to keep it in their kitty. Aside that, the election would also ensure that the cold war between former governor Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso and his successor, Abdulahi Ganduje is settled once and for all.
So, when the opposition party announced former Commissioner for Works, Transport and Housing in Kano, Abba Kabiru Yusuf, as the winner of the PDP governorship primaries in Kano, there was a consensus that he is a politician of note, capable of pulling a surprise against Ganduje.

News however got to town that Yusuf is a son-in-law to Kwankwaso, but the former governor quickly debunked it. Even at that, nearly everyone knows that having dumped the APC for PDP to pursue his presidential ambition, the former governor and his Kwankasiyya movement would not only back Yusuf but also work rigorously to oust Ganduje. But while Ganduje is banking largely on the Buhari factor, he must go the extra mile to retain his seat next year.

Katsina
The battle in Katsina State is suspect. Governor Aminu Bello Masari is banking on the fanatical support that President Buhari enjoys in his home state. But this is against the backdrop of the fact that the governor is believed not to have done well in critical sectors of the economy.
Although the PDP candidate, Senator Yakubu Lado Danmarke representing Funtua senatorial district, who was councilor in his Kankara hometown and held sway in the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), is not considered a threat to Masari, it is however not going to be a walkover for the governor either.
Known to have a strong financial war chest, widespread support and politically savvy, it would still be difficult for him to dismantle the Buhari factor in Katsina State.

Kebbi
Here in Kebbi, it is going to be a two-horse race between Governor Abubakar Atiku Bagudu, who emerged unopposed as the APC candidate for a second term and Senator Isah Galaudu, a former Chief of Staff to the Senate President, the PDP candidate.
Away from the assessments of certain individuals, who believe the governor has done little or nothing to address development challenges of the state, especially Birnin Kebbi, the state capital, the narrative is that the governor is not favoured by the zoning factor.

There are four Emirates in the state: Gwandu (Central senatorial district where the governor comes from), Arugungu, Yauri and Zuru and Gwandu emirate had produced majority of the governors in the state. From January 1992 to December 1993, Yauri emirate produced a civilian governor under the leadership of Abubakar Musa of the National Republican Convention (NRC) while Gwandu emirate had the governors from 1999 to date. So, the call for power shift is likely to work against the governor.

Senator Galaudu hails from the Argungu emirate and despite the governor’s remarkable achievements, the possibility that the lawmaker may oust the incumbent governor, is high and the reason is because of the zoning factor. It was the more reason the governor emphasised in his 58th independence anniversary that the people should de-emphasise the issue of zoning.

Kwara
Kwara State is another state where nationwide and international attentions will be focused, not just because a former THISDAY staff and former Majority Leader in the state House of Assembly, Kayode AbdulWahab picked the APC ticket or because a member of the House of Representatives and former Speaker, Kwara State House of Assembly, Razak Atunwa, emerged the PDP standard bearer, but because the state will present the national leadership of the APC and Senate President, Bukola Saraki an opportunity to settle their scores.

Considering the fact that the two candidates who are from Kwara Central are coming in fresh, the success and failure or either of them depend totally on those behind them. While Saraki is backing Atunwa, the Minister of Information (backed by anti-Saraki forces and the federal government) are supporting AbdulWahab.
However, there is no doubting the fact that Saraki still holds the ace in the state. Thus, the fact that he is contending with federal forces or that some forces are working to end his reign in Kwara may not change anything but rather make the exercise more interesting even in the days to come.

Lagos
Of all the states of the federation, Lagos promises to offer the most intriguing and interesting election, following what it first churned out during the primary elections of the two major political parties in the state – the APC and the PDP.
The Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode was the first governor to lose his re-election battle, before finding an ally in the Adamawa State Governor, Mohammed Bindow. His party, the APC said he was no longer worthy of another term, because he has not been a good party man in the last three and a half years that he assumed office. In his place, the party elected a former Commissioner for Establishment and immediate past Managing Director of LSDPC, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu.

Although Ambode tried to fight it, the battle appeared way ahead of him and at the end of the day he gave in, declaring support for the party’s choice candidate.
In a surprise mode too, the PDP in the state re-elected its candidate in the 2015 election, Mr. Jimi Agbaje, who many think would give the ruling APC an even tougher fight in this election. Thus, Lagos, which has consistently been a ‘progressive state’, is on the verge of making history in 2019, either through a pass or fail.

Nasarawa
Unlike what obtained in many other states, in Nasarawa, however, not only did a former Managing Director of Dangote Sugar, Abdullahi Sule emerge the APC candidate, ten governorship aspirants, had pledged to rally round him to ensure victory for the party in 2019.
His main challenger is a serving member of the House of Representatives, David Ombugadu, who emerged the governorship candidate of the PDP.

In comparison, 59-year-old Sule has not been a very active politician over the years, but 40-year old Ombugadu has been active in Nasarawa State politics for some time. While Sule counts on the support of the outgoing governor, Tanko Al-Makura, Ombugadu hopes to capitalise on the unresolved feud between the outgoing governor and a former governor, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, to claim victory at the general election.
Indeed, that is also possible because Adamu has promised to prove to Al-Makura, whom he helped to become governor what he is worth in the state. On the other hand, Al-Makura and his team had since gone on the offensive against Adamu. Thus, how Ombugadu would leverage on the feud between the two without putting Adamu in a position of anti-party is yet to be seen. But Nasarawa promises to give a good show in next year’s election.

Niger
The scenario in Niger State is what some have tagged ‘Battle of the Generals’ sons. The PDP candidate, Alhaji Umar Nasko, is the son of the former Minister of Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Maj-Gen. Mohammadu Gado Nasko (rtd). Also in the APC, its candidate, Governor Abubakar Bello, is the son of a former military administrator of Kano State, Col. Sani Bello (rtd).

While the two men are believed to be eminently qualified to govern the state, the outcome of the election will be largely influenced by the leaning of the duo of former military heads state, Generals Ibrahim Babangida and Abdulsalami Abubakar.
From indications, the former leaders seemed to have been on different pages on the matter since 2015 and may also go their different ways in influencing the winner this time around. So, it could aptly be described a rematch between the two. However, pundits believe that of all the North Central States, Niger appears the safest for the APC.

Ogun
Currently, Ogun State is a battleground. Two different primary elections held at two different places and the National Working Committee of the party chose to affirm the result of the one that other active players in the state described as phantom. Indeed, two members of the election panel, who elected not to be part of the alleged sham that the Adams Oshiomhole leadership embraced, had been consequently expelled from the panel, because they raised the alarm on the fraud that was allegedly perpetrated.
In addition, other contestants had petitioned the national chairman that no election held in the state and what happened was a mere case of writing results.

But at the end of the day, the NWC declared Mr. Dapo Abiodun winner of the governorship ticket at the expense of Hon. Adekunle Akinlade, candidate of the Governor Ibikunle Amosun led APC as non-existent. This development has since heightened pressure and tension in the state, such that the affirmed candidate could not even celebrate his victory.
Although it appears that Amosun had lost out, THISDAY gathered that the defeat was temporary as President Muhammadu Buhari is already involved in the matter and would take a stand after their affirmation convention on Saturday.

Ondo
Although Ondo State is not holding a governorship election next year, there is however crisis in the state as the APC leadership in Ondo recently kicked against the decision of the NWC of the party, which gave automatic tickets to the three sitting senators in the state, who are obviously in a different camp from Governor Rotimi Akeredolu.

Thus, granting automatic tickets to the sitting senators followed the disqualification of other aspirants that obtained forms to contest the primary of the party. The Senators given automatic tickets were Yele Omogunwa, Tayo Alasoadura and Ajayi Boroffice representing Ondo South, Central and North Senatorial Districts respectively.
But Chairman of the APC in the state, Mr. Ade Adetimehin, said the NWC was not fair with the decision and described the development as undemocratic. As at the time of filing this report, Akeredolu was at the Villa to meet with the president for a possible resolution of the matter.

Osun
Not much is happening in Osun since the September 22, governorship election, which also indicates that the party would not be partaking in the 2019 governorship race. What had been prevalent here are the brickbats between the two parties – APC and PDP.
However, the state has not also been exempted from the crisis of selection that has been rocking other states for other elective positions. But the fact is that such crises are still subsumed under the dust so far raised by the September 22, governorship election.

Oyo
In Oyo State, the two leading political parties – APC and PDP – have presented the duo of Adebayo Adelabu (APC) and Seyi Makinde (PDP) respectively.
Determined to go into the election undivided, leaders in the ruling party in the state prevailed on the likes of a former governor of the state, Otunba Adebayo Alao-Akala, Dr AbdulAzeez Adeduntan, Joseph Olasunkanmi Tegbe, Sola Ayandele, Chief Adeniyi Akintola (SAN) and Dr Owolabi Babalola to withdraw from the race for Adelabu, who is a former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the grandson of a notable Ibadan politician, Adegoke Adelabu, popularly known as “Penkelemesi”.
Adelabu (48), who resigned his office at the CBN to contest the election, is a 1992 graduate of Accounting from the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife. He became a fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) in 1994 and was an Executive Director in First Bank of Nigeria before he was appointed into the CBN.

On his part, Oluwaseyi Abiodun Makinde (51) is a Nigerian businessman, politician and philanthropist. Also, an Engineer and expert on fluid and gas metering, he is the Group Managing Director of Makon Group Limited – an indigenous oil and gas company in Nigeria. He established his first oil and gas private business called Makon Engineering and Technical Services, (METS) at the age of 29 in 1997. Makinde contested the Oyo State 2015 gubernatorial seat on the platform Social Democratic Party (SDP).
There is no doubting the fact that the two parties have put forward their best and impressive feet for this election – both of them are vibrant, young, smart, cerebral, and well connected. Whoever emerges is a plus for the state and a clear demarcation from the impossible past. Oyo is likely to witness a rather fierce battle give the stakes at hand.

Plateau
Favoured with the gale of endorsements he had received in recent time, the incumbent APC Governor of Plateau State, Mr. Simon Lalong is facing a strong political rival in the person of a former military governor of the old Bendel State and Minister of the FCT, Senator Jeremiah Useni, candidate of the PDP.
The state’s election will be largely determined by zoning permutation. PDP’s decision to present Useni is seen from two perspectives. First is the argument that he would only complete the remaining four years of Lalong’s second term, who is also from the Southern senatorial district. Central and Northern Senatorial districts produced the two immediate past governors of the state, Senators Joshua Dariye and Jonah Jang respectively.

Then there is also the calculation that being a former military officer, the APC would not overrun him as they would have with other aspirants and also the fact that he has the financial war chest to prosecute the election. His only disadvantage is that he is 75 and people are of the opinions that he had better given his support to a much younger candidate.
Certainly, the Plateau election will be about security and this is where Useni might have an upper hand given his military background. However, if the governor is able to mend fences with other party members, who feel he is allowing the Hausa Fulani minority in the state takeover the party by giving them sensitive position, the equation might change, albeit slightly.

Rivers
Though the choice of Tonye Cole by the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi appears a shocker to some members of the APC, truth is that in Rivers State, old scores must be settled between Governor Nyesome Wike and Amaechi, his predecessor, who would tell anybody who cares to listen that Wike only claimed victory in the 2015 election through violence and the support of former president, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan and his wife, Patience.
This is what was believed to have compelled the need for a candidate with an appeal that cuts across the state and who has the financial war chest to confront the governor, who is equally a known spender.
There is no doubting the fact that a 51-year old Cole presents a credential that will give the ruling PDP in oil-rich Rivers a sleepless night, being a billionaire entrepreneur.

But whoever assumes that Wike is cow-able by Cole and Amaechi is dead wrong. Far from it! He has said it repeatedly that he was ready to prosecute his re-election in 2019 with all that it takes. Apparently determined to woo people to his side, the governor embarked on series of projects across the three senatorial districts in the state and that won him the appellation ‘Mr. Projects.’

He is particularly confident that youths across the 23 local government areas of the state would support him, while banking on the endorsements he had received from women, elders, ethnic nationalities and non-indigenes from across the state.
Besides, APC still has internal crisis to contend with as Senator Magnus Abe is not giving up the fight. He has told the party leadership that the endorsement of Cole would not stand, even though he is prepared to work for Buhari.
Rivers, of course, is a major battleground for the APC and PDP in what will be a show of superiority between Wike, who has maintained that Rivers is a PDP state and Amaechi’s APC, which claims otherwise.

Sokoto
The PDP Chairman in Sokoto State, Alhaji Ibrahim Milgoma, has said with the presentation of the deputy governor, Alhaji Ahmad Aliyu as the APC governorship candidate, his own party, the PDP which has put forward Alhaji Manir Dan-Iya, would have an easy ride to the Government House. How realistic that optimism is would be determined after the 2019 election, because as the ruling party, APC is still solidly on the ground in the state.
The is simply because despite Governor Aminu Tambuwal’s exit from the APC, the party still enjoys some degree of followership due to people’s support for President Buhari and former governor Aliyu Wamakko. However, there is a tendency for the trend to change if the governor gets the PDP ticket.

Both candidates are no pushovers. Aliyu, for instance is a household name. He is a grassroots politician, which has helped him to become a solid politician. He won an election into the House of Representatives in 2003 and was re-elected in 2007. He was the pioneer Chairman, House Committee on Capital Market.
Apart from getting maximum support from Tambuwal and former governor Attahiru Bafarawa, Dan-Iya is retired Brigadier General. He served as the Commander, Nigerian Battalion at the United Nations – African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID). He is the former Commissioner for Local Government Affairs. He emerged through consensus arrangement after a meeting with key party stakeholders.

Taraba
In Taraba State, Governor Darius Ishaku is candidate of the PDP and there are indications that he is likely to have an easy ride back to the Government House, especially if the crisis arising from the conduct of the APC primary election is not well managed.
About eight of the 10 aspirants in the APC are already calling for a fresh primary on the grounds that the process that produced former Special Adviser to Senate President Bukola Saraki, Senator Sani Abubakar Dalandi, was fraught with violence and financial inducement.‎

The permutation in the state now is that there is an interesting twist in the current extrapolations. Former Minister for Women Affairs, Senator Aisha Juumia Alhasan, who has clinched the ticket of the United Democratic Party (UDP), after she was screened out of the APC primary election, is a major contender to the governorship position. By proving her mettle in 2015, she appears the candidate to settle the APCV/PDP rivalry in the election.

Yobe
A former Nigerian ambassador to Romania, Umar Iliya Damagum emerged as the consensus candidate of the PDP in Yobe State, but the ruling APC has been enmeshed in the crisis of choice over which candidate is the authentic choice of the party. Already, the crisis in the ruling party is deep enough to be exploited by the opposition party.
Although when the APC held its primary election in Damaturu, the state capital, the party’s national secretary, Mai Mala Buni, alleged to be the anointed candidate of the governor, Ibrahim Geidam, was declared winner of the poll.
Official result declared last Monday morning said Buni polled 2,797 votes to defeat Sidi Karasuwa who scored 23 votes, Umar Ali with eight votes, and Aji Kolo who polled four votes. But Ali, has since kicked against the result of the primary election held at the weekend in the state.

Zamfara
The situation in Zamfara State is still very tense. The APC leadership annulled the Zamfara State governorship primaries, alleging malpractices, such as the snatching of election materials and result sheets, as reasons for the annulment.
A statement by its Acting National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Yekini Nabena, stated that a new date for the conduct of a fresh primary would be announced soon.

But Governor Abul-Aziz Yari of the state is not taking it easy with the chairman as he promised to go all out against him, because as far as he was concerned, it was a ploy by the Oshiomhole leadership to undermine him.
There was a massive protest in the state following the annulment and postponement of a new date. But while this report was going to bed, Zamfara was yet to hold a fresh primary. It is expected that the party would find a way out of the quagmire before it is be caught up by INEC’s deadline of Sunday and risk disqualification.

But while the APC was still unable to settle for a candidate till yesterday which is INEC deadline, the PDP had made a choice. The party adopted a former member of the House of Representatives, Bello Matawallen-Maradun as its governorship candidate in Zamfara.
The young politician had been building momentum, leaving no stone unturned to ensure that he becomes the next governor of Zamfara State. He enjoys widespread support from various interest groups in the state including traditional rulers, market women, youth groups, technocrats and artisans. Some of his loyalists are hoping that the disagreement in the APC could count in his favour.

The FCT
In the contest for the FCT senate in APC, the battle has been quite keen and interesting. About nine aspirants are in the FCT senate race. They are Khairat Abdulrasaq Gwadebe, Ireti Heebah Kingibe, Senator Isa Maina, Zakara Zamma, Angulu, Usma Jibrin Wowo, Zephaniah Jisalo, Musa Tanko Abari, and Daniel Hassan Bwala.

The primary has been controversial from the outset over which mode to embrace. Whilst some canvassed direct primary, others canvassed indirect and this was one of the reasons the primary was initially suspended following protests.
It however held on Friday but the results were yet to come as at the time this report was being taken to bed. But in the PDP, Senator Philip Aduda, who currently represents the district, has won his ticket to return to the senate. He would face whoever APC fields eventually.