The Road to 2019: Flashpoints to Watch (V)

Fallouts from last week’s primary elections have left many of the political parties in critical conditions and also changing the permutations, writes Olawale Olaleye

It was not unexpected that the outcome of the political parties’ primaries would end in utter stir, save for the presidential conventions. And as it was projected to happen, the two leading parties – the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) suffered the hardest being the two most viable platforms any intending aspirant could approach for ease of realising their ambitions.

From the North to the South of the country, staggering tales of confusion had fraught many of the exercises in different states. Compounding this, however, was the leadership disposition of these parties especially, in the APC, where its National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, had stoked more crises than they would have sprung up on their own.

This got so bad to the point that the wife of the president, Aisha Buhari took the party to the cleaners over their inability to uphold democratic ethos. Also following in many states were protests over  one issue or the other, some of them violent.

However, while battling internal contradictions and avoidable discontent arising from the outcome of the primaries on the one hand, the parties also had to race against time on the other hand with stipulated deadline by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to conduct the exercise and also submit names of the successful candidates.

But since the dust raised by these developments is yet to settle, it has been difficult for the parties and their candidates to really move, even though self-inflicted discomfort is unlikely to alter the time-table guiding the elections of next year. Even then, what is the state of the states?


No Retreat, No Surrender

The situation in Zamfara is one of the very pathetic cases for which the leadership of the APC has not been able to find solution, except, of course it does so today and now. The primary, which saw the candidates of Governor Abdul-Aziz Yari emerge, had pitted the governor against the leadership of the APC, which cancelled the exercise and fired the panel, because a group in the party led by Senator Kabiru Marafa is not happy with the outcome. But the governor did not take that kindly and had threatened fire and brimstone.

Efforts by the National Chairman of APC, Adams Oshiomhole to have his way were rebuffed by the state executive, which threatened to bring down the roof. Unfortunately, the state had been notified by INEC that it had missed the deadline for primaries and therefore not qualified to present candidates for elections in the state.

Quite naturally, PDP had quickly moved in and warned INEC not to bend the rules for Zamfara State. INEC too had come out to say it would not change its position while the APC in the state had said it would be part of the election. It was said that efforts were being put in place to rectify the crises in some of the identified states; that could not be said to have been done as at the time of going to bed, except it just happened.



Still Not at Ease

As it is in Zamfara State, the situation in Ogun State is equally not encouraging for all the contending parties. The stalemate which arose from the emergence of two candidates – Adekunle Akinlade and Dapo Abiodun has left the state in serious political crisis, a situation that the leadership of the party is still looking at.

Although there was jubilation in the camp of Governor Ibikunle Amosun at the weekend following speculations that Akinlade had been eventually confirmed as candidate of the party in the state, that has yet to be done officially, therefore, Abiodun is still the one on the card as you read this.

The Ogun case is even as messy, because President Muhammadu Buhari was said to have intervened about five times by asking Oshiomhole to do the needful especially after Amosun was able to prove that he was effectively in charge with the rerun primary for the state and national assembly elections but Oshiomhole allegedly ignored the president.

Truth is that the last has not been heard of the Ogun APC matter as it is in other states and a final action is being awaited. In the same breath, the PDP in the state is still grappling with its own challenge, which has been exacerbated by some court rulings, which favoured Senator Buruji Kashamu.



Okorocha’s Last Survival Moves

The Imo case has not abated either. But it appears the move by Governor Rochas Okorocha to install his son-in-law has been completely blocked by other stakeholders. In fact, a recent report that Senator Hope Uzodinma might have emerged the APC candidate in the state is an indication that the matter is far from being resolved.

But PDP’s Emeka Ihedioha appears to be consolidating his governorship bid by subtly exploiting the seemingly intractable contradictions in the APC. Imo election would be interesting as APC might vote against APC if the contradictions are not contained.



Between the el-Rufai and the Presidency

Not very happy presently is the Kaduna State Governor, Nasir el-Rufai, who has pushed endlessly to truncate the ambition of Senator Sheu Sani for Kaduna Central. It is public knowledge that there is no-love-lost between Sani and el-Rufai and the governor sees the election as an opportunity to finally settle scores.

Unfortunately, for the governor, the presidency is interested in Sani’s matter and that has made it difficult for el-Rufai to deal with Sani. It is not clear yet whether or not the governor would still find a way to get at Sani, the issue of his election might have been settled. But there is more to come the ways of both men soon in terms of their disagreement.



It’s Consolidation Tussle

Reminiscent of the situation that heralded the coming into office of outgoing Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State in 2014, Ekiti is again replaying a similar script, ultimately of consolidation ahead of the new regime.

Recently, the state House of Assembly removed the Speaker, Kola Oluwawole and his deputy, Sina Animasaun, a move that was spearheaded by the three APC lawmakers in the Assembly, alongside some aggrieved PDP members, 11 of them.

The removal came a few days to the end of the tenure of Governor Fayose tomorrow, October 15. The assembly however reinstated the former Deputy Speaker, Segun Adewumi, who was recently removed by the lawmakers. At the same time, a member of the APC, Gboyega Aribisogan, was elected the new Leader of Business.

The session suspended the two impeached principal officers and 10 others loyal to Fayose for 125 legislative days. That this plays closely to 2014 proves it is about positioning and consolidation.



Basking in Ugwuanyi’s Euphoria

Enugu State was recently thrown into celebration when the non-Igbo in the state endorsed Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi for another term in office. The governor, who has been holding his ground since the journey for re-election began with many endorsements, sees the development as a huge plus and which he cannot afford to take for granted.

And either by accident or design, APC has not been able to pull any weight in the state with its candidate, Senator Ayogu Eze, because the governor is not only popular with his people, he is confident about running on his stellar record.


A Test of Strength

What the 2019 election would bring out of Kwara is an opportunity by the two leading parties to test their strengths for yet another time. Although the PDP appears very confortable, having effectively managed its primaries, APC had a rough path to that station despite having reportedly elected as its candidate, Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq.

But in contending with the PDP, the APC must know that it has a political giant in the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, who is equally war tested. At least, this experience would provide yet another opportunity to tell of their strengths.



Hovering Fear of the Unknown

Since Governor Akinwunmi Ambode was ousted in a primary election that denied him a second term ticket, stakeholders have been worried about what plans he has up his sleeves.

Although he had since given a concession speech and promised to work with the APC candidate, Babajide Sanow-Olu, political actors in the state are worried stiff that he might play the spoiler in the election and are therefore said to be monitoring every move of his.

But this situation in the APC appears to have gingered other candidates in the state like PDP’s Jimi Agbaje and AD’s Owolabi Salis, who are running a redemption campaign for the state. Truth is, Lagos will always offer an interest show each election and this one would not be different.



Between Immovable PDP and Determined Others

Governor Okezie Ikpeazu does not appear perturbed as far as next election is concerned. He believes his work would speak for him and also shares the understanding that Abia is purely a PDP state. But the opposition – the APC, which is fielding Uche Ogah and APGA, which now has Alex Otti as candidate has dismissed Ikpeazu’s confidence.

In fact, while Ogah is determined to continue where he stopped the last time, when he gave Ikpeazu a good run, Otti too claims is more determined to get the governor out and redeem the state.

Perhaps, Ikpeazu would have been more worried if the two others had combined effort to fight him but because they would be fighting their individual battle, he appears confident it is difficult to unseat him. Abia would have a good time in this election.



Combating Electoral Impunity

There has been tension in Niger State following alleged substitution of the names of people, who won the senate election in the three districts in the state. The three senators in the state were said to have lost their elections but when they went to Abuja, it was changed. This development sparked spontaneous protest from the youth, who demanded justice.

In the primary election for Niger East, Mohammed Sani Musa was declared the winner in the result announced by the Returning Officer, Alhaji Saidu Akawu, at the party’s secretariat last Thursday.

In Niger south, the incumbent Mustapha Sani came forth by polling only 1,824 to the winner, Alhaji Mohammed Bima Enagi’s 24,415, while in Niger North, the Senate Spokesman, Senator Sabi Abdullahi, came third with 3,481 to the victor, Alhaji Haliru  Zakari Jikantoro, who polled 23,618 votes. Niger is also still battling the crisis. It is however interesting because the governor, Abubakar Bello is aligned.  


Akwa Ibom

A Dose of What to Come

Although Governor Udom Emmanuel is currently gasping for breath as the election approaches especially that his aides are defecting in droves, the fact that all is also not well in the APC makes the both of them of the same flock.

Recently, some youth, who protested allegation of criminal interference in the APC primary burnt down a Divisional Police Station in Okobo Local Government Area (LGA) of Akwa Ibom State, and other property worth millions of naira in the locality, were destroyed.

The protesters alleged imposition of candidate and hijacking of materials by the party officials in connivance with security agents. They actually identified Senator Godswill Akpabio as one of the problems. This is one clear example or indicator of what to expect next year.



The Battle Has Just Begun

When a high court sitting in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, recently sacked the Ojukaye Flag-Amachree-led executive of the APC in the state, it was clear that the ruling would have far-reaching implications. But the court had quickly given a dose of what to expect when it also voided the primary election conducted by the faction recognised by the party’s national leadership and which produced Mr. Tonye Cole as governorship candidate.

Rivers has two factions of APC. While one is loyal to Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, Minister of Transportation, the other has the backing of Senator Magnus Abe representing Rivers South-east. Incidentally, the two factions conducted parallel governorship primaries, with Cole and Abe emerging separate winners.

The situation has since left the state in an utter state of confusion as protest after protest has become the new fad in the state. Many are waiting to see how the APC would resolve the Rivers crisis.



A Verdict on Oshiomhole

The APC primary for the Akoko-Edo Federal Constituency in Edo State, which held last Sunday evening and ended in violence is believed to have passed a damning verdict on the leadership of the National Chairman of the party, Adams Oshiomhole, whose style is believed to have caused the party more pains.

The election was between the incumbent, Mr. Peter Akpatason, and the Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Mr. Kabiru Adjoto. But it was inconclusive because of conflicting interests. Even the first time that primary elections were held in the state, it was cancelled over what the party leadership described as malpractices.

Edo is and will always  be in focus, it is the home state of APC’s national chairman.


Situating the Presidential Run

The outcome of nearly all the political parties’ conventions, which produced different presidential candidates has finally set the tone for what to come and soon. While the affirmation of the Muhammadu Buhari ticket was not unexpected, the acceptance of the emergence of PDP’s Atiku Abubakar by a majority of the people has thrown the Buhari camp into serious confusion and panic mode.

And to give life to this spontaneous reaction, Atiku has continued to consolidate. First, he reconciled with his former boss, Olusegun Obasanjo, who not only forgave and supported him, but described Atiku as the president-to-be. That statement had further aggravated the panic in the presidency.

Even more interesting is the speculation that Obasanjo might have begun to lobby for Atiku’s international acceptance, including helping him to lift his US visa ban. Thus, the PDP and APC have had an interesting rat race in the last few days on account of the emergence of Atiku as Buhari’s main challenger next year.

In other news, Professor Jerry Gana has rejected the emergence of Mr, Donal Duke as the candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) on account of the fact that the party zoned the office to the north. But it does not appear anyone is listening to him yet.