The just-concluded 2023 presidential election has shown Labour Party (LP) is not just a social media fluke but a strong political force to reckon with especially ahead of the March 18 governorship and state assembly elections.
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Contrary to the expectation of some pundits, the party, through its candidate, Peter Obi garnered over six million votes in the presidential election.
With just a few days before the governorship elections, the LP and its young energetic supporters are making waves again. Here are three states the party win in the forthcoming polls.
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1. Lagos state/Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour
Lagos state, Nigeria's commercial capital, is traditionally the stronghold of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC). Since Nigeria's return to democracy in 1999, the state has been under the political influence of the president-elect, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
Tinubu governed the state for eight years and went on to become the kingmaker, wielding a strong influence on who becomes the state governor.
However, the Labour Party in the last presidential election recorded a huge feat by defeating the APC in Lagos. The presidential election success has emboldened the party and its guber candidate in Lagos, Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour, as they make efforts to sustain the momentum.
For instance, in its first predictive poll about the outcome of the governorship election in Lagos, Anap Foundation predicted Rhodes-Vivour to come third, trailing Abdul-Azeez Olajide Adediran (Jandor), the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the second place.
The APC candidate, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu was predicted to win by a wide margin.
However, the latest predictive poll by the same organisation has shown that the political dynamics have changed. Though Governor Sanwo-Olu was still predicted to win, Rhodes-Vivour snatched the second position from Jandor "with momentum on his side" ahead of the polls.
2. Abia state/Alex Otti
The possibility of the Labour Party winning Abia state is predicated on three factors: Peter Obi/Obidients' wave, the popularity of the LP candidate, Alex Otti and the southeast's shift from its traditional affection for the PDP which is the ruling party in the state.
In the last presidential poll, Obi polled a total of 327,095 votes while his closest challenger, Atiku Abubakar of the PDP came a distant second with 22,676 votes. The PDP is gone if this is replicated in the guber polls.
Meanwhile, Anap Foundation's November 2022 poll (even before the 2023 presidential election) revealed a significant lead by Otti, the LP candidate.
The results showed a significant lead for Otti with 20% of voters proposing to vote for him.
3. Enugu state/Chijoke Edeoga
The Labour Party guber candidate Chijoke Edeoga is expected to ride on the Peter Obi wave to victory.
Obi won with almost 90% (88.7%) of the votes cast in the state during the presidential election.
The people of Enugu state embraced the Labour Party to the extent that even the sitting governor, Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, lost his senatorial bid to the party's candidate, Okechukwu Ezea.
4. Delta state/Ken Pela
Apart from Lagos, Delta is another state where Obi and the Labour Party recorded a surprise win in the last presidential poll.
Delta state is a stronghold of the PDP and the party's vice presidential candidate, Ifeanyi Okowa, is from there. Not only that, Okowa is the current governor of Delta. However, Obi defied the odds and beat the PDP and the APC in the state.
This feat has made Delta another state the LP can win in the forthcoming guber poll.
5. Plateau state/Patrick Dakum
Though Plateau is a north-central state under the control of the APC, Obi won the state in the just-concluded presidential election.
Patrick Dakum, the LP flagbearer, may become the next governor of Plateau state if the feat achieved in the last poll is replicated on Saturday.
Peter Obi cancels all guber campaign trips, announces plan to appear in court
In another report, Obi announced the cancellation of all his governorship campaign trips to various states across the country.
In a series of tweets on Wednesday, March 8, Obi said he was supposed to commence the party's whistle-stop campaign for the governorship and state House of Assembly elections.
He, however, cancelled the trips as he plans to head to court for the ruling on the request by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to reconfigure the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS).