Gov/State Elections: Performance Counts For Nothing As Mob Mentality Holds Voters

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By Our Reporters

Upsets are on the card as voters appear to bray for the blood of many incumbent office holders and ruling parties in the country in today’s governorship elections holding in over 30 states and states assembly poll in all 36 states of the federation.

  To be sure, even governors who have demonstrated administrative competence in their first term in office and are seeking re-election are unsure of a return to their seats as complex political undercurrents interact to signal a possibility of their rejection at the poll.

 Similarly, second-term governors angling to replace themselves with their hand-picked successors are in for an uphill task as rear-guard political movements seek to upend the out-going governors’ succession plans.

  In Ogun State, Governor Dapo Abiodun is fighting for his political life as he seeks a second term in “The Gateway State”.

  From the developments monitored by The Dream Daily Newspaper across the state, Abiodun faces a strong opposition from elements within and without his own All Progressives Congress (APC), the strongest being from the ruling APC and, according to political analysts in the state, led by a serving APC senator in the state cum former Governor, Ibikunle Amosun.

Ogun State Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun

 The Remo-born Prince Abiodun is also contending with the Peoples Democratic Party and its Candidate, Chief Ladi Adebutu, who is also from the Remo Division as the governor.

  Perhaps the most beleaguered of the second-term-seeking governors is Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos. The suave, likeable Sanwo-Olu whose performance as a first-term governor has been widely lauded has a political storm on his hands as the hordes of the Igbo voters in Lagos – still smarting from the loss of their presidential candidate in the 25 February, 2023 poll, Mr. Peter Obi of the Labourt Party (LP), and an obvious disdain for the President-Elect, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu of the APC.

Governor Sanwo-Olu

  It appears that the Igbo electorate are bent on claiming Sanwo-Olu’s scalp to compensate for Obi’s presidential election and disgrace Tinubu in his Lagos stronghold (which he lost in the presidential election to Obi, largely on the strength of Igbo voters) via a mass protest vote for the LP governorship candidate, the upstart Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour, of the LP.

   Out-going Kaduna State Governor, Nasir el-Rufai, faces a similar challenge to Sanwo-Olu’s as the APC, second-term governor seeks to get his party’s candidate and hand-picked preferred successor, Ubah Sani, elected in “the Crocodile State”.

Kaduna State Governor, Nasir el-Rufai

   Although El-Rufai is adjudged to have done well over his two terms in Kaduna, his handling of ethno-religious relationship in Kaduna appears to have been rated below par by a good chunk of voters in Kaduna who punished the governor and the APC in the presidential/National Assembly poll by swinging to the opposition PDP. Tinubu lost Kaduna to the PDP presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and APC lost all three senatorial districts in the election to PDP.

  The gubernatorial election in Kano is expected to be a referendum on the eight-year administration of Governor Abdullahi Ganduje of the APC.

 Ganduje faces a huge challenge in stopping the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP), led by former Governor Rabiu Kwankwaso, from thwarting his plans to install Dr. Nasiru Yusuf Gawuna as his successor.

Governor Ganduje of Kano State

   Political analysts underscored the obstacle on Ganduje’s way citing the presidential election win of Kwankwaso in Kano on 25 February, 2023 in which the NNPP presidential candidate polled over 1 million votes to defeat both Tinubu and Atiku.

Malam Abba  Kabir Yusuf is the NNPP Gubernatorial Candidate in Kano.

  In Oyo State, Governor Seyi Makinde of the PDP faces a herculean task in swinging the voters back to him and the PDP in his re-election bid.  In the presidential poll, Makinde – one of the “rebellious” G-5 governors of the PDP, had reportedly worked for Tinubu, hence the triumph of the APC presidential candidate in Oyo.

 However, Makinde, who is also adjudged to have performed well in the state, is up against both political history as well as a formidable opposition. Historically, Oyo State voters are somewhat averse to rewarding incumbent governors with re-election. In the four-decades of the state’s political history, only the recently deceased Governor Abiola Ajimobi broke that jinx.

Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State

 And to secure a second term, Makinde would have to find a way to outwit the candidate of the APC, the veteran Teslim Folarin, a current Senator, political juggernaut and regular fixture of Oyo State politics for decades who had served as Senate Majority Leader at the National Assembly.

  National attention is also focused on the arrowhead of the PDP G-5 Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike, as he bids to install his preferred candidate, Mr. Siminalayi Fubara, of the PDP as the next governor.

  Like Makinde, Wike had backed Tinubu in Rivers in the presidential poll against Atiku – his party’s candidate, and Tinubu won Rivers. 

Governor Wike

  However, political analysts say the governorship contest might turn out to be a different kettle of fish in Rivers as voters might prefer to align with the centre by voting for the APC Candidate, the businessman-turned politician, Mr. Tonye Cole.  

 In Niger, the battle is between Mohammed Umar Bago of the APC and PDP’s Isah Liman Kantigi. Bago is supported by the out-going APC Governor, Abubakar Sani-Bello.

Niger State Governor, Abubakar Sani Bello

  Kantigi – a controversial figure who recently appeared in an online viral video threatening diabolic consequences for any voter who takes his money and votes against him, and whose company and person have been indicted by the courts for money laundering – is expected to give the Sani-Belo backed-Bago a run for his money in Niger, a state won by Tinubu in the presidential election.

   In the South-East, the waves of the Peter Obi presidential bid are expected to have considerable impact in the three states where governorship elections are taking place. The Obi effect is also expected to impact on the legislative poll across the five South-East states.

Governor Soludo of Anambra State

   Gender-sensitive Nigerians are focused on Adamawa State to see if the APC Candidate, Hajiya Aishatu Binani, would emerge the nation’s first democratically elected female Governor.

Governor Fintiri (left) and Hajiya Binani (right)

Hajiya Binani has an uphill task to pull off as she faces the incumbent Governor, Ahmadu Fintiri, of the PDP. Atiku won Adamawa in the presidential elections.

  Delta is also a state of interest in the governorship race as current Senate Deputy President, Ovie Omo-Agege of the APC bids to succeed Governor Ifeanyi Okowo of the PDP.

Delta State Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa

  Okowo, who lost Delta to Obi in the presidential election despite being on the ballot as the vice presidential candidate to Atiku, handpicked Oborevwori as his successor.  The contest is expected to be tough as the Obi/LP influence would like play out as the LP candidate, Mr. Pela Kennedy, fancies his chances of causing an upset.   

   Political analysts wager on a flip from PDP to APC in Benue State.  The Catholic Reverend Father, Hyacinth Alia, is the APC Candidate while Mr. Titus Ubah flies the PDP flag.

 However, the Alia effect swept Benue for Tinubu in the presidential election despite Governor Samuel Ortom’s – a member of the PDP G-5 governors – support for Obi.

APC Governorship Candidate In Benue State, Fr. Alia

  Ortorm also lost his bid for the Senate in the 25 February National Assembly poll, a development analysts say points to his ineffectuality in Benue politics as it stands today.

  No election is taking place in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) today as the FCT does not have a governor or its own legislature.   

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