Few hours to the presidential and National Assembly elections rescheduled to hold on Saturday, March 9, we take a look at the some ‘battleground states’ where the two leading political parties, the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and the lead opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) are expected to keenly contest for votes.
Legit.ng focuses on 10 states that stand as potential battleground where victory can swing to the APC or the PDP.
The highlighted states are Oyo, Ogun, Lagos, Imo, Sokoto, Zamfara, Kwara, Benue, Kaduna, and Rivers.
The two main candidates are Adelabu Adebayo Adekola of the APC and Oluseyi Makinde of the PDP.
Though Oyo state is currently an APC state, President Muhammadu Buhari lost to Atiku Abubakar of the PDP in the recently conducted presidential election in the state.
The two candidates have since entered into coalitions that will make the contest one of the most intense in the state's history.
According to a report by Premium Times, Makinde’s campaign received a boost when former governor and a key player in Ibadan politics, Rasheed Ladoja, collapsed his political structure to support his ambition.
He also has the support of three governorship candidates, namely Sharafadeen Ali of Zenith Labour Party, Femi Lanlehin of the African Democratic Congress and Bolaji Ayorinde of the Social Democratic Party.
He has also received the endorsement of the Chairman of the Alliance for Democracy (AD), Akin Fasogbon.
Similarly, Adelabu has secured the support of least 13 political parties have signified their support for the APC candidate, even brightening his chances of a win on Saturday.
The parties include the Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN), Allied People’s Movement, APM), United Progressives Party (UPP), Grassroots Development Party of Nigeria (GDPN), and the Young Democratic Party (YDP).
Others are Northern People’s Congress (NPC), Independent Democrats (ID), Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), Mass Action Joint Alliance (MAJA), Nigeria Elements Progressives Party ((NEPP), People’s Democratic Movement (PDM), Rebuild Nigeria Party (RNP) and Democratic Peoples Party (DPP).
A faction of the ADC has also endorsed the APC despite the fact that their governorship candidate has gone with the PDP candidate.
Ogun state has three leading governorship candidates namely; Dapo Abiodun of the APC, Akinlade Adekunle Abdulkkabir of the Allied Peoples Movement (APM) and Buruji Kashamu of the PDP.
Ogun state should have been a walkover for the APC but for the internal crisis that led the outgoing governor of the state, Ibikunle Amosun, to ditch the APC candidate and pull his weight behind the candidate of the APM, his anointed APC aspirant who could not secure the ruling party's governorship ticket.
One would also expect the opposition PDP to take the advantage of the APC crisis to take over the state but, like the APC, it also suffered internal wrangling that led to series of court interventions.
Thus, as it stands, the state is open to be grabbed by either the APC, PDP or APM.
Lagos is the stronghold of the APC in the southwest, being the home state of the national leader of the party, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.
No doubt, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, the APC candidate in the state, has an edge, but the crisis the party suffered during the primaries, give hope to the PDP candidate, Jimi Agbaje.
Major political stakeholders in Imo state have spoken on the chances of their parties, highlighting the reasons why they believed their governorship candidates will emerge the winner on March 9.
With a total of 70 candidates, Imo state has the largest number of governorship aspirants in this year’s general elections.
Analysts, however, believe that only five out of the 70 candidates have realistic chances of becoming the next Imo state governor.
They are: Senator Hope Uzodinma of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Ugwumba Uche Nwosu of the Action Alliance (AA), Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP); Senator Ifeanyi Araraume of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) and Ikedi Ohakim of the Accord Party (AP).
Prince Casmir Iwuh, president-general of Umunokwu Okwuato Autonomous Community in Aboh Mbaise LGA and a chieftain of Action Alliance (AA) described the Imo 2019 governorship election as a tough battle of five ‘hot’ contenders.
“If you asked me, I will say this is balance of terror. The five candidates have all what it takes to emerge as the next governor of Imo state,” he told The Guardian.
“This is the first time these five leading politicians in Imo state are in five different political parties. Before now, it used to be one of them pitched against the others. This year’s peculiar outlook is what distinguishes it from the previous elections.”
Sokoto used to be under the APC until the defection of the state governor, Aminu Tambuwal, in 2018.
However, despite Tambuwa's defection to the PDP, APC still delivered the state to President Buhari in the last presidential election.
The governorship contest now is between Ahmed Aliyu Sokoto of the APC and Tambuwal of the PDP.
It is interesting to know that the APC governorship candidate was Tambuwal's former deputy before he later resigned, having refused to follow his former boss to the PDP.
Zamfara is also an APC stronghold but the security challenges in the state which many alleged was not properly handled by the state governor coupled with the legal battle the party went through before INEC recognised its candidate has limited its winning chances in the coming election.
Thus, Idris Mukhtar Shehu of the APC will have a strong contender in the hands of the PDP candidate, Bello Mohammed M.
The APC's 'O to ge' movement is a strong political wind that has seen the Senate president, Bukola Saraki, sent out of Senate by APC's Ibrahim Oloriegbe but whether the movement is strong enough to completely crush the Saraki dynasty is left to the outcome of the governorship election on March 9.
Like Sokoto, Benue fell to the PDP with the defection of Governor Samuel Ortom. The PDP also delivered the state to Atiku in the last election.
However, all is not lost for the APC in the state as APC's Senator George Akume, who lost his bid to return to the Senate for the fourth time, may want to stage a comeback at the governorship poll.
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Governor Nasir El-Rufai is seeking a second term bid and has a major contender in the candidate of the PDP, Isa Mohammad Ashiru.
El-Rufai has been under severe criticism lately particularly regarding the security challenges in the state. This, coupled with other factors, may hurt his chances at the poll.
Rivers state should have been a walkover for Governor Nyesome Wike of the PDP since the APC, at the momemt, does not have a candidate in the state, thanks to irregularities in its primaries.
However, the recent move by the APC leader in the state, Rotimi Amaechi, to support the candidate of the African Action Congress (AAC), Awara Biokpomabo changed the political game.
The PDP still has an edge in the state but a 'coalition' of the APC and AAC will surely make some difference.
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