Upsets likely as 28 states elect governors today 18th March 2023.
There is hope that the unexpected win by opposition parties in some states during the February 25 presidential and National Assembly elections may repeat itself in today’s governorship and state House of Assembly elections in most parts of the country, Saturday PUNCH can report.
While the House of Assembly election will hold in the 36 states of the federation, the governorship poll will hold in only 28 states as the eight other states – Osun, Ekiti, Kogi, Bayelsa, Anambra, Edo, Ondo and Imo – have off-season elections.
In states like Lagos, Abia, Oyo, Rivers, Enugu, Benue, Sokoto, Bauchi, Delta, Kano, Kaduna and Plateau, where opposition parties defeated the governing parties in the presidential election, our correspondents gathered that there was an uneasy calm among members of the ruling parties over who would win the governorship poll.
In Lagos State, where Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu is seeking re-election on the platform of the governing All Progressives Congress, there are fears that the Labour Party’s Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour will give the incumbent a run for his money given the way the LP defeated the APC in the presidential election. Also, Olajide Adediran of the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party is also a strong contender for the coveted seat. About 6.21 million voters with permanent voter cards are expected to determine the next governor of the state.
Lagos has been governed by the APC and its forbearers, the Alliance for Democracy, Action Congress and Action Congress of Nigeria since 1999, in addition to being the political base of the party’s presidential candidate and President-elect, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu. In the presidential election, however, the LP scored 582,454 votes to trump the APC’s 572,606 votes and the PDP’s 75,750 votes. While the APC won the three senatorial seats, in the House of Representatives election, the LP won three seats, the APC won 20, while the PDP won one seat.
Following the presidential election, the 18 governorship candidates in the state embarked on aggressive last-minute campaigns to woo voters. Traditional rulers and community leaders in the 62 communities in the Eti-Osa Local Government Area had appealed to the residents to support the governor’s re-election.
The APC’s National Youth Leader, Dayo Israel, had after the presidential defeat said in a thread of tweets that he deleted later stated, “Nobody should do any one million march (nonsense) again. Focus on door-to-door. Party excos, youth leaders, councillors, leaders, we have 10 days to #SanwoAgain. Go and engage your neighbours, #deliveryourstreet, be humble, get off your high horse. Ise wa o (there is work to be done).
“Any appointee in Lagos who doesn’t deliver his ward on the 11th of March (before the poll was shifted to March 18) should not bother coming to Alausa on the 13th (20th). Everyone should drop their tinted car and start walking the street. Knock on your neighbour’s doors, beg those you need to beg, make peace. Deliver for #Sanwo-Olu.”
Speaking on the party’s chances, the spokesman for the APC in the state, Mr Seye Oladejo, in an interview with one of our correspondents, expressed confidence in Sanwo-Olu’s victory given the party’s performance in the last 24 years.
He stated, “The victory recorded by the LP on February 25 was a pyrrhic one. Some circumstances engendered that victory, but those circumstances will not play up anymore. It was more of a protest against the naira redesign that inflicted hardship on a lot of people and a whole lot of factors. All of these will not play up this Saturday and I can assure you, we will win the election convincingly.”
However, the LP spokesman in the state, Olubunmi Odesanya, said, “Our candidate is well positioned to win the election and we are very confident as the Labour Party. From the performance of Saturday, February 25, you can see that we were quite favoured by the electorate and by the grace of God, we will win Lagos again.”
Similarly, the Publicity Secretary of the PDP in the state, Mr Hakeem Amode, our Saturday correspondent, “Dr Abdul-Azeez Olajide Adediran has put himself out to the people of Lagos as a better choice by physically visiting every nook and cranny, and meeting with community leaders, who determine how people vote. When you consider the fact that people’s choices have shifted and the thoroughness of Jandor’s campaign, then you will know that he is the next governor. The APC stands no chance in this election.”
In Oyo State, the race will be between Governor Seyi Makinde of the PDP and Teslim Folarin of the APC, while Adebayo Adelabu of the Accord Party has an outside chance of clinching the coveted seat.
Even though the state is governed by the PDP government, the APC won the presidential election with 449,884 votes against the ruling party’s 182,977 votes and the LP’s 99,110 votes. The APC also won the three senatorial seats and eight out of the 10 Reps seats declared, while the PDP won the remaining two.
There were insinuations that the governor worked for the APC’s victory given the conflict between the five aggrieved PDP governors, himself inclusive, and the PDP presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar.
The PDP Publicity Secretary in the state, Akeem Olatunji, said in a telephone interview that the party lost the presidential election in the state because the governor was not carried along.
He stated, “The margin between Governor Makinde and whoever is facing him won’t be less than 450,000 votes. It’s going to be a tsunami, like the Tinubu tsunami. Don’t forget that many Obas and a lot of Tinubu support groups have also endorsed him (Makinde) based on his monumental achievements.”
The APC spokesman in the state, Adewale Sadare, said in an interview that the party would repeat its victory in the election, stating, “The governor has failed in the aspect of governance. What has he done well in Oyo State? He has not performed at all. Is it in the aspect of security, healthcare delivery or heap of refuse on our major streets? Makinde has done nothing but more harm to the state than good and we cannot afford to retain him.”
Governor Dapo Abiodun of the APC is seeking re-election, but Oladipupo Adebutu of the PDP and Niyi Otegbeye of the African Democratic Congress are top contenders. The APC won the presidential election in the state with 341,554 votes, while the PDP scored 123,831 votes and the LP got 85,829 votes.
Ogun State has about 2.68 million registered voters, but 2.27 million PVCs were collected. While Abiodun is favoured to win his re-election, the PDP is also strong in the state, while Otegbeye, who dumped the APC over his displeasure with the way the primary was conducted, also has a chance, especially because he has the support of former governor Ibikunle Amosun.
Speaking on the chances of his principal, the ADC Campaign Council Media Director, Raheem Ajayi, said, “It is obvious that among the candidates, Otegbeye is the last man standing. The people of the state will support him because they have been yearning for good governance.”
Also, the media aide to the PDP candidate, Afolabi Orekoya, said, “Honourable Ladi Adebutu is popular in the three senatorial districts and is on his way to the Oke-Mosan Government House.”
The Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Kunle Somorin, said, “The grace of God and the goodwill and votes of the people will deliver Governor Dapo Abiodun. His records and achievements in the last 45 months are strong development pillars.”
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