How Buhari’s Win Alters The Equation In Rivers, Abia

How Buhari’s Win Alters The Equation In Rivers, Abia

Rivers State, for very obvious reasons, will be the main theatre of

The violence that wracked the state during the March 28 presidential elections did not come as a surprise to political pundits, as events leading to the day showed how it will go. political analyst, Chidi Okoye expresses his views in this written piece.

Former cabinet member and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship candidate in the state, Nyesom Wike, is widely seen as a brute willing to do whatever it takes to edge out the anointed candidate of the incumbent Governor Rotimi Amaechi. However, Mr Wike remains a very popular man in the state and has been tipped by various polls to emerge winner; despite the impressive war chest of his major challenger, Dakuku Peterside, of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

READ ALSO: About 50 Armed Soldiers Deployed To Wike’s Residence

The loss of the PDP at the presidential level may also favour Mr Wike on Saturday, as it has been used by various support groups to fan the embers of tribalism in the state. Propaganda in the wake of the ruling PDP’s loss at the centre has centred on the allegations that the APC is a Muslim party and has succeeded in removing a Niger Delta man from the Presidency; thereby calling for punishments on the party and Mr Amaechi by voting for Mr Wike.

Several respondents in the state who did not vote during the presidential elections have sworn to come out on Saturday and vote. While some say they intend to vote for the APC to ensure the state is aligned with the centre, the majority plan a protest vote against the party being widely seen as anti-Niger Delta. A contest that was previously seen as a close race between the two major parties in the state seems to have turned into a walk in the park for the PDP.

In Abia, the emergence of former Diamond Bank Managing Director, Alex Otti, as governorship candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), has renewed calls for the Igbos to work hard at sustaining the regional party. Mr Otti, widely seen as a technocrat capable of turning the state’s fortunes around, emerges as the major challenger to the PDP candidate, Okezie Ikpeazu.

READ ALSO: As #NigeriaDecides, APC, PDP In Epic Battle

Abia has always been a PDP state and looked set to continue this tradition on Saturday; however, the APC win at the centre has muddied the waters a bit. Voters are beginning to consider the fact that an Otti win strengthens the so-called Igbo party, as APGA would then control two states in the South-East (Abia and Anambra). This consideration is also being fuelled by propaganda that the APC would be unfriendly to Igbos. Secondly, Abia always voted the PDP to align with the centre. In 2015, the party has lost the centre.

The breakaway faction of APGA that recently adopted Mr Ikpeazu as its candidate may also have caused him more harm than good as the backlash from previously undecided voters showed growing support for Mr Otti ahead of Saturday’s polls. Despite its impressive grassroots support in the state, the PDP will no longer be approaching the elections with the cockiness it had before the March 28 presidential election.​



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Khadijah Thabit (Copyeditor) Khadijah Thabit is an editor with over 3 years of experience editing and managing contents such as articles, blogs, newsletters and social leads. She has a BA in English and Literary Studies from the University of Ibadan, Nigeria. Khadijah joined in September 2020 as a copyeditor and proofreader for the Human Interest, Current Affairs, Business, Sports and PR desks. As a grammar police, she develops her skills by reading novels and dictionaries. Email:

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