Exclusive 2019: States To watch

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failing to endorse their nominated Candidates as the party flag bearer in their respective states and  thus, may have withdrawn their support for the party going by the mass exodus of their political associates to the rival PDP.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.

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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.

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