The second and third quarter of 2018 in the Nigeria politics sphere has witnessed major, overhead and underground manoeuvre, all reshaping the 2019 general elections.
The timeline for the presentation of flag bearers is weeks away and the decampings are adding flavor to the cooking dish. We have witnessed calculations and “testing of waters” that have uplifted some politicians from grass to grace and some from hero to zero.
Some states like Sokoto is witnessing the emergence of new guber candidates owing to the window created by the incumbent and further staggering the leadership at party level on who becomes godfather at state level.
For Akwa-Ibom, the Apkabio punch dealt a finishing move to the opposition, the geo-political region and incumbent governor. From the drama that dogged Akpabio’s defection with the reception as well as the cross carpeting in Rivers State, the canvass on the wall is that of the ruling party fishing deep in foreign waters with massive results.
These events of the South-South and North Central have downplayed that of other regions. In states like Taraba, Gombe (NorthEast), factors are also taking shape as both the ruling and opposition party lay claim to guaranteed success at the 2019 polls. The most contested is Gombe. The incumbent, Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo is already too busy with his presidential ambition with a massive chaotic silence on anointing his successor.
In 2015, Dankwambo despite incumbency, narrowly escaped the change wind with a paltry 80,237 votes. Both gubernatorial and presidential showed APC had some muscle to flex in the state.
With a distracted governor with presidential ambitions and an encroaching ruling party from the centre, the guber elections in Gombe State will be a heated process to the tail end.
Aspirants from all parties are in full mobilization and as at last count, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the APC emblem have featured on no fewer than 10 aspirants posters. More interesting is the dynamism and financial power at display. The state has arguably never witnessed such tact and commitment this early by aspirants.
Recently, candidates like Farouk Bamusa (APC) was reported to have gifted over N40m cash, hundreds of motorcycles and many cars to lure voters and party officials. The same is being reported on other aspirants too.
Stage-one scrutiny will be the purchase of nomination forms especially with price tag many have described as exorbitant from the ruling APC. So far, only Bamusa has made the purchase from the APC. If this same Bamusa who enjoys massive followership sustains this gesture, giving him a tripod balance, the prospects of the APC will rise above all but will make the scene more interesting if the PDP should match the spending power of the opposition.
There is also argument of the incumbent governor leaning on the APC candidates through his body language, presuming the possibility of decamping. These could be assumptions but on the lips of majority on the street in Gombe, the drain is still wide open.
With about a month to the party primaries, we are certain of a heated politicking. But who goes where and who clinches the ticket for both major parties will determine the volume of heat.
–Joshua sent this from Balanga
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