By Nwangwu Uba
The struggle for political supremacy between the All Progressive Congress, APC, and the People’s Democratic party, PDP, in the states are getting clearer by the day as there have been alignment and realignment of forces in the scene. This may have made Ogun, Imo, Akwa Ibom, Rivers, Kaduna and Kano , the states to watch in the 2019 general elections.
The political situation in these states appear worrisome because of the crisis of confidence between the political gladiators. Take for instance, in Ogun and Imo states, there have been a running battle between Ibikunle Amosun, the state governor and Adams Oshiomhole , the party National Chairman.
The situation is the same in Imo state where Rochas Okrocha, is at dagger drawn with Oshiomhole. The duo had a peculiar problem with the Edo state born APC Chairman for failing to endorse their nominated Candidates as the party flag bearer in their respective states and thus, may have withdrawn their support for the party going by the mass exodus of their political associates to the rival PDP.
Amosun, the Ogun state governor was said to have assured Abdul Adekunle Akinde, the state Commissioner of Information and Strategy of his support to be the next governor of the state on the ticket of APC. He got it wrong as the Oshiomhole led party executive settled for Dapo Abiodu, an oil magnate. Okrocha, on his part, may not have considered any other member of the party to succeed him, except Uche Nwosu, his son in-law. The APC leadership, may have shocked the Imo governor when they settled for Senator Hope Uzodimma, as the governorship Candidate of the party. They were disappointed that President Muhammadu Buhari could not use his powers as the party leader to overturn the table in favour of their handpicked Candidates.
A party source told The Value News Magazine that the aggrieved governors may have given the nod to their supporters to support any party of their choice in the 2019 general elections since their elected Candidates in the party primaries were denied the position by the party leadership despite alleged allegations of bribery against them.
The Ogun and Imo states governors including Yari Abulaziz, governor of Zamfara state and Chairman of , Nigeria Governors Forum , NGF, were said to have done everything within their powers to force Buhari to withdraw his support to Oshiomole. The refusal of Buhari to bow to their pressure may have altered the power equation in the affected states as the governors want to prove to the party officials that they hold the key to the party governorship candidate winning their respective states in the 2019 general elections. But the APC officials did not think so.
The party believes that the defection of the supporters and the political machinery loyal to the aggrieved governors , would not affect the chances of the party reclaiming the states in the 2019 general elections. Party sources described the duo as not having electoral value because of the baggage they are carrying in their respective states. The unending crisis of the APC in the two states may have brightened the chances of Ladi Adebutu, the PDP , governorship Candidate in Ogun state and Ike Idioha, a former member of Hose of Representatives and now governorship Candidate of PDP in Imo state. Given the internal wrangling in the ruling APC, in the state, Uzodimma, the APC , governorship Candidate, may have to prove to Okrocha , that he could beat Ihedioha the PDP governorship Candidate in the state with his support.
The governorship contest in Akwa Ibom state may look more interesting as Senator Godswill Akpabio, may want to prove that he is a force to be reckoned with in the state. He was said to have been instrumental to the election of Udom Emmanuel,a banker, as the governor of the state in the 2015 general elections. They may hav parted ways when Akpabio, who incidentally, was a former governor of the state and PDP minority leader in the Senate , bowed to pressures to cross carpet to the ruling APC, to escape the Ibrahim Magu, led Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, planned probe of his Administration.
The former governor had expected his political son, Udom, the governor of the state to defect to the party also. He got wrong. The governor, who may have found his own political bearing in the state stayed put in PDP. The larger than size APC Senator did not find it funny as he may have plotted how to penetrate the ranks of the state House of Assembly to create confusion. He was said to have succeeded in dragging five members of the House elected under the platform of the PDP to defect to APC. This may have done to weaken the support base of the party with the intention to win the state governorship Seat in the 2019 general elections for the APC. He has every reason to do so to convince the party leadership that he is still a force to be reckoned with in the state.
A party source informed the Magazine that he master mind the emergence of Nsima Ekere, who was at the time of the governorship primaries in the state , the Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC as the flag bearer of the party.
Many are watching to see whether Akpabio, would repeat the feat he achieved in 2015, as a sitting governor and PDP leader in the state in APC, giving the Federal might.
The APC , Senator. according to sources, may have bitten more than what he can chew when he tested his political strength ahead of the 2019 general election with the alleged support to the five members of the state House of Assembly, whose Seats were declared vacant by Onofiok Luke, the House Speaker for defecting to APC.
The former Akwa Ibom state governor cronies may have thought that the people would come out enmass to support of the law makers. They got it wrong as it backfired against them s. This is because youths , students, women groups including Local government’s Chairman’s wives and the state Commissioners came out in full support of Luke, the House Speaker and the governor, promising to deal with any Abuja based politician who wants to distabilise the peace of the state.
They may have sent a signal to the Akwa Ibom born state born Senator that APC has no place in the state.but the former governor would not take it. He is optimistic that APC will win the state because of his established political machinery. This is where Udom , the state governor may to call his bluff to trounce the APC in the 2019, polls.
The situation in Rivers state look worrisome where Nyensom Wike, a power broker in PDP and the governor of Rivers state was said to have resigned his appointment as the south south coordinator of the PDP Presidential Campaign Council, coordinator, fueling speculations that there is a crack in the party, which may affect it in the 2019 general elections in the state.
There are fears in political circles, that Rotimi Amaechi, a former governor of the state and minister of Transportation, regarded in the state as an Abuja, politician, may take advantage of the crack in the party to go all out to market Toye Cole, the APC , governorship Candidate to push out Wike, his arch political rival from Brick house in the 2019 general elections.
Amaechi may be working on the assumption that Atiku Abubakar, the Presidential Candidate of the PDP, may not be willing to canvass for votes for the Rivers governor because of his alleged plot to destabilise the party Presidential Campaign Council because of his self seeking interest. The governor may have to bury his perceived personal self seeking interest to work for the party victory in the south south instead of giving Senator Akpabio, opportunity to take over the region for the APC.
Another state to watch in the 2019 general elections is Kaduna. This is because of the power tussle between Nasir El- Rufai, the state governor and Senator Shehu Sani, who was denied his re-election bid into the upper legislative Chambers by the governor.
There are fears that Sani, a well known Civil Rights activists may throw his weight behind Isa Kudan, the PDP governorship Candidate in the state to spite El Rufai, described as a” coward”’ in political circles. The governor was said to been instrumental to the expulsion of the Sani from the APC.
Kudan , may take advantage of the crisis rocking the APC in the state and the governor’s face off with religious bodies in the state to pull the wrung under his feet to snatch victory from the APC in the 2019 polls.
Many fears that it may not be a smooth ride for El-Rufai, as the party has been polarised, arising from the party primaries . This is because the losers in the primaries had vowed to work against the APC . ”You cannot eat your cake and have it back”, Musa Lawal, an aggrieved APC member had said.
For now, the only loyal political office holder the governor may have to count on her support maybe Hadiza Bala Uman, the 46 year-old Managing Director of Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA. She has been fingered as one of those used by the governor to do all his dirty political jobs in the state.
Party sources described El Rufai, as a wrong Candidate to have been elected the governor of Kaduna state as he has succeeded in polarising the party . They urged the governor to forget about a second term as he done anything good in the state to deserve such an honour .
His counterpart in Kano State, Abdullahi Ganduje, may face tougher battle in his re-election bid. This is because of the forces of opposition against him within the ranks of APC. He has been accused of collecting bribes from contractors engaged by the state government.
His political opponents were said to have released video clips showing where he received the bribe and the giver. In one of the videos , he was said to have been shown receiving dollars from an unknown person.
In spite of the fact the governor had repeatedly denied the allegations of receiving bribes from Contractors in the state, his political opponents still cling to their claims that he took bribes from Contractors. The problem of Ganduje may have been made worse as youths, students and market women have vowed to vote against him in the 2019 general elections.
More worrisome was the call on the President to probe the authenticity of the video clips allegedly showing governor , receiving bribes from a Contractor in the state. The worry in party circles is the rising opposition against the governor in the state, fueling speculation that this may work against him in favour of Abba Kabiru Yusuf, Rabiu Kwankwaso, a Senator and former governor of the state , son in-law, and governorship Candidate of PDP . Ganduje could have had a smooth political ride back to Kano state government House both for the allegations and disagreement with Kwanwanso.
This is because people of Kano state could have thrown their weight behind him because of the former governor’s plan to turn the state as family government may have changed their mind because of the video clips. The former governor justified his action to support his son in-law for the Kano governorship race because Ganduje, the incumbent governor of the state betrayed and stabbed thim at the back.
Kwankwanso , may have followed the footsteps of late Olusola Saraki , the Oloye of Kwarra state, to create a political empire, where only members of his family would be ruling the state. who , Gandunje may still be lucky to get re-elected in the state, if Buhari takes up the challenge of Campaigning for him in the state to sink Kwankwanso Kwankwasiyya political movement which had thrown up, Yusuf, his son in-law, as the governorship Candidate of PDP in the 2019 general elections.