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2019 Governorship Contests Lagos, Kano, Rivers, Adamawa, Imo, Others As Battlegrounds



As the 2019 general elections approach, one of the fears of Nigerians is how the political bigwigs in each state will play the game by the rule. No doubt, political permutations have begun across all political parties ahead of the polls. The election, according to observers, will be a battle for political supremacy in most states across the country. With the way things are currently going on, the battle for the seat of power in most states will be fought, won and lost between major political gladiators in their respective states.  Before now, pundits believed that the election will be for only those who sit on the command post of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). It was also believed that other political parties apart from the two giants might just be wasting their time and resources because they lack the political structure, finances, and manpower to challenge both the APC and the PDP. But recent happenings across the country have shown that the fringe political parties are putting all their strength into the forthcoming polls by recruiting some notable political players from both the PDP and APC. Although most of the fringe parties understand the truth that they don’t have the financial muscle to challenge the likes of APC and PDP in the presidential election, they are working towards ensuring they have a very good outing in governorship election in their catchment areas. LEADERSHIP findings revealed that the drama that will follow the political battle across the states including the disputes, anger, and defections that are currently trailing many of the primaries held to pick their candidates by various political parties across the nation ahead general elections will be interesting.

No doubt, the governorship election will be a straight fight between the incumbent, Abdullahi Ganduje and his predecessor, Senator Rabi’u Musa Kwankwaso Both are arguably the two most powerful political figures in the state for now. Although there may be other political lightweights that could also spring surprises, there is no doubt that they are bound to queue behind these political juggernauts. Before now, both gladiators are in the same party but the political realignments in the country pitched against each other recently when Kwankwaso dumped APC to PDP due to the irreconcilable political rift between the duo which was said to have started towards the end of Kwankwaso’s second tenure. Analysts observed that one factor in favor of Governor Ganduje is that of incumbency because of some political structures he had inherited from his former boss. But the recent defections from APC to PDP by some grassroots politicians believed to be loyal to Kwankwaso would have a negative effect on Ganduje quest to have another shot at the government house.

Ganduje is the gubernatorial candidate for the ruling APC, Kwankwaso, who is running to represent his senatorial district the second term having lost the presidential ticket of PDP to Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, wants to uproot the incumbent and replace him with his son-in-law, Abba Yusuf. Kwankwaso, it was learned, in an effort to prove his domineering influence in Kano politics come 2019. Although, there was a crisis between the two factions in the PDP because of the way and manner Kwankwasiyya group led by Kwankwaso imposed the anointed son-in-law on other faction led by Senator Mas’ud El-Jibril Doguwa, which produced Malam Sagir Takai as its candidate. But the national leadership had worked that out among the two factions. Check by LEADERSHIP revealed that the battle will not be easy for the former governor to win unless the national body and other relevant stakeholders come together to resolve the rancor that greeted the just concluded primaries of the party in the state. However, with the influence of President Muhammadu Buhari, Ibrahim Shekarau who recently decamped to APC, Ganduje may have it easy the coming election. Be that as it may, the battle line has been drawn between the two political heavyweights in the state. While the former is putting more efforts to return for a second term, the latter is out to fight him and ensure that he did not return as the governor of the state. The anticipated political rumble between the two gladiators, according to a political observer, would provide an interesting scenario to watch come 2019.

he political atmosphere remains uncertain as the two leading political party in the state, the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and the major opposition, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) are finding it difficult to produce a governorship candidate in the forthcoming poll.The two political parties held a parallel congress, that produces two separate candidates for each political party in the state.
In the PDP , a faction loyal to the lone senator of the party from the state, Buruji Kashamu, held its own at the party secretariat in Abeokuta, while the other faction led by the recognised state chairman, Sikirulai Ogundele , held its own primary at the Marquee Events Centre within the premises of the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library. The Sikirulai Ogundele – led group produced Hon. Ladi Adebutu as the sole candidate, while Adeleke Shittu . Analysts are, however, of the view that should the Dayo-led faction of Ogun PDP with the recent judgment which invalidates his expulsion from the party, may put the party in disarray and distract it from concentrating on achieving any meaningful Guber campaign for the forthcoming governorship election in Ogun. That would have also gone a long way towards working to the advantage of the APC. Adebutu and Kashamu, as at now are the only known governorship candidates. Unless PDP resolves the internal crisis and comes together soonest, the party might not make any serious impact in the forthcoming elections.

In APC, tension has continued to heighten amongst the party faithful in the state over what is likely to become the outcome of the governor of the state Senator Ibikunle Amosun outburst that he will not support any governorship candidate of the party in the forthcoming poll, apart from his anointed candidate, Abiodun Akinlade. It would be recalled that the party also had two parallel primaries in the state. The primaries produced two candidates: Akinlade and an oil magnate Akinlade, in one of the most controversial primaries of the party, while the primary committee sent by the APC headquarters in Abuja conducted a primary that produced Dapo Abiodun as the candidate. With the two factions in the state producing the candidate of the of their choice and the incumbent governor, Ibikunle Amosun declaring his support for only his anointed candidate, history may be on the verge of repeating itself. In the 2011 gubernatorial election, when the Yewa-Awori people were hell-bent on producing the governor and with the strong support of the then incumbent Governor Daniel, but lost to an Egba man in the person of Governor Amosun, due to the internal crisis within the then PDP fold. With the present realities in Ogun State however, the questions remain: which political party is likely to defeat the APC? Or is the ruling party likely to retain its stronghold on Ogun State? The answer to these questions is embedded in the belly of time.
As it is, the political calculation in Ogun State as to which party may emerge victorious in the governorship election in 2019 is difficult to fathom, only time will tell.

All candidates of the political parties participating in the governorship election in the state have emerged. They include those of the PDP and former acting governor, Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri; the ADC candidate, Senator Abdulaziz Nyako and Emmanuel Bello of the SDP. However, the emergence of Adamawa Governor Muhammadu Jibrilla as the flag-bearer of the APC is still generating controversy among the party loyalists in the state. Jibril’s opponents within the APC had already threatened to support one of the opposition parties should the APC national leadership of the party fail to cancel the controversial primaries that led to the emergence of the incumbent governor as the candidate of the party for the 2019 election.  No doubt, if he succeeds the stormy crisis, the incumbency factor may help him in the general elections.
The PDP candidate is also expected to put on a very strong show come 2019 governorship election. Fintiri, the former acting governor in the state is said to be popular among civil servants for paying the controversial two months salaries of striking workers, withheld by his predecessor, due to a no-work-no-pay policy in 2014. Apart from this, the state is the home of the PDP presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubarkar. The influence of the former vice Vice President is expected to pull more crowd than the incumbent governor for the party’s candidate. Also, Senator Abdulaziz Nyako, the son of former Governor Murtala Nyako, is a force to reckon with in the forthcoming poll. Nyako, according to some analysts, is counting on the goodwill of his father who enjoys grassroots support in the state, to have a very good show in the election.

Since he joined ADC, the retired commander and serving senator is said to have to changed the fortune of the party in the state. ADC was hitherto an unpopular party in the state but with his coming to the party, some political bigwigs in the state have seen the party as the only hope for them, hence the need to join Nyako to move it forward. The candidate of the SDP, Emmanuel Bello, is the only Christian among the governorship candidates in the state. Bello may be one of the candidates to beat if the Christians in the state decide to throw their weight behind his candidature.

Lagos State
No doubt, the governorship election in Lagos State is going to be a fierce contest between the two major political parties, APC and the main opposition party, the PDP. The candidates of the two parties, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, and Jimi Agbaje are well known political gladiators.  However, the political maneuvering and power-play that heralded the emergence of both candidates from their respective parties have thus prepared the ground for a possible fierce contest in the general elections. As it stands now, the coming race will be a little more competitive than all the others before it because of the increased stakes. Pundits see the battle for control of Lagos as the clash of the Titans; it’s about supremacy and pride, power and glory. PDP candidate, Agbaje, who narrowly lost to the outgoing governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, in 2015 has mastered the game having contested for the same position several times, will want to put everything into it this time to win the contest.  The Lagos State chapter of the PDP has largely operated without much rancor till the ticket was eventually given to Agbaje, rather of his main challenger, Deji Doherty. Although, the party in the state is equally going through some crisis, analysts are of the opinion that the crisis would be resolved by the national secretariat of the party in the interest of the candidate. The party must put the past behind if it must make impact in the coming poll. It must urgently do something about the strained relationship between the candidate and his estranged political godfather, Chief Olabode George.  Rcall that the two of them became enemies when the dou aspired for the same position of the National Chairman of the party which was lost to the present occupant, Uche Secondus.However, despite the clout of the national leader of the APC, Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu, observers believe the election may not be smooth for the ruling party with the way he treated the outgoing governor Akinwunmi Ambode. For instance, Sanwo-Olu’s emergence, some people believe was because of the crisis between him and his godfather, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu (who incidentally is also Sanwo-Olu’s godfather), as well as the choice of the party stalwarts. This has created a gulf of sorts among party members.
Although Ambode conceded defeat in a state-wide broadcast after the primary election, there are fears that some of his supporters who felt cheated might revolt during the general elections.

Nasarawa state governorship election in 2019 will be very interesting because of those involved in the battle. Some political analysts have predicted that the election will be one of the toughest contest in the history of the state. With the political permutations and interest, coupled with the struggle for power shift to the northern part of the state, all these would come together to make it very interesting.All the major candidates come for the northern zone as 11 contestants from different political parties will slug it out for the single seat. LEADERSHIP investigation, however, revealed that the real contest will be between APC’s Abdullahi Adamu Sule, the anointed candidate of Governor Umaru Tanko Al-Makura, and Labaran Maku of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA).  However, in spite of the fact that everything seems to be working for the incumbent governor, pundits argue that Al-Makura should be careful in order to avoid leading the APC to a major avoidable crisis resulting into an unprecedented defeat come 2019 general election if feelers around are taken into consideration.

The PDP’s candidate, Emmanuel David Ombugadu is also seen as a force to reckon with because of the political maneuvering taking place in the state, but stakeholders are doubting his capability to withstand the political might of the APC candidate; hence they are scheming to convince him to leave the ticket for his former boss and runner-up in the contest, Solomon Ewuga.
Engr. Sule of the APC is a businessman and industrialist. The support he has from Al-Makura and the one he is expecting to get from Alhaji Aliko Dangote, makes him the candidate with enough resources to foot any financial challenge during the election. Pointedly, the crisis confronting the APC government in the state might affect its chances, coupled with grumbling by the organized labor over unpaid entitlements, especially at the local government level. He first won an election on the platform of the defunct Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) and later defected to the PDP. He is the youngest candidate among all the governorship contestants. Labaran Maku is said to be banking on his resources, friends outside the state and his former boss, ex-president Goodluck Jonathan for an impressive outing come 2019. He is also counting on his ethnicity and religion. But pundits are of the opinion that the strategy may not work for him this time around because the PDP had already featured his kinsman, Ombugadu as its candidate.

Akwa Ibom State
With the recent defection of the former governor, Senator Godswill Akpabio from the PDP to the APC, the 2019 governorship contest in Akwa Ibom State will be very interesting. Pundits said the election will be difficult to predict because it is the first time the PDP, which has been the ruling party in the state since 1999, will be fighting with all its might to retain its place in government.
The way the ranks of PDP have continued to deplete unabated since Akpabio left the party calls tor concern among the party’s top hierarchy. Many of his kinsmen, supporters, and well-wishers believe that when it comes to politics in Akwa Ibom, he is always right, and he gets whatever he wants.  However, the party also depends on the use of federal might to win the polls if other options fail.
Already, the outcome of the gubernatorial, senatorial, House of Representatives and state House of Assembly primaries has foretold what is to come. At the APC gubernatorial primary, Mr. Nsima Ekere, managing director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), emerged the winner. He will contend with Governor Udom Emmanuel of the PDP.
Presently, the residents of the state are divided over who to cast their votes for as it is believed that the APC is not better than the PDP. Many are of the opinion that the PDP primaries were relatively peaceful while that of the APC were plagued with irregularities.  However, the political gladiators have been boasting that their party will emerge victorious at the forthcoming polls. Whether the APC with its federal might will cage the ruling party, PDP with its power of incumbency, time will tell.


In Rivers, the battle will be between the two giants, that is, the incumbent governor, Nyesom Wike, and his former friend, political godfather and the Minister of Transportation, Chibuike Amaechi.
The race to the seat of power in the state, with the caliber of the actors, promises to be a fight-to-finish. Governor Wike is seeking a re-election while Amaechi is sponsoring a candidate, Arch. Tonye Cole, who is the APC flag-bearer. For some years now, the two political gladiators have engaged themselves in a fierce battle over who controls the soul of Rivers State. While Wike claims that Rivers belongs to the PDP, Amaechi thinks otherwise.  While Wike believes that Wike is relying on the numerous projects he has carried out in the state to speak for him in the forthcoming elections, but Amaechi seems not to see anything good in his administration. He has boasted time without number that the APC would win the 2019 elections.

But the crisis rocking the APC over who flies its governorship ticket may pose a setback to the party in 2019. The emergence of Tonye Cole does not go down well with some major stakeholders of the party, especially Senator Magnus Abe, who was produced as flag-bearer by a faction led by Peter Odike. The two factions are currently working directly against the interest of the party. If the current crisis rocking the party in the state is not immediately nip in the board, it may give the incumbent governor, Wike an advantage ahead of the 2019 polls. However, the two political leaders in the state, are again set to test their political strength in the 2019 elections.

With current political crisis rocking the ruling APC in the state, the fortunes of PDP, African Democratic Congress (ADC) and Action Democratic Party (ADP) are becoming visible across the length and breadth of the ancient town. Although the emergence of a 48-year-old former deputy governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Chief Bayo Adelabu as the governorship candidate of the APC, may play a major role, the party needs to do more in stopping the gale of defection rocking the party in the state. PDP may have very difficult this time because some of the party’s stalwarts in the state have defected to the ADC, with the former governor of the state, Senator Rashidi Ladoja. Also, ADP, which has a former governor of the state, Chief Adebayo Alao-Akala as its governorship flag-bearer, and a member of the House of Representatives, Olatoye Temitope Sugar as a senatorial candidate, will also be a party to reckon with in the election. With the way some political gladiators across the major political parties in the are taking the election, the race to succeed the incumbent governor will be interesting in 2019.

Imo State
The drama over who occupies the state government house did not start today. It started when the body language of the incumbent governor Rochas Okorocha, favored his son-in-law, Uche Nwosu, as his successor.  Since the time the governor showed interest in Uche Nwosu as his successor, the APC has been moving from one crisis to the other. This led to the defection of some notable bigwigs in the party recently. With that drama currently playing out, analysts are of the opinion that it will also be interesting to know how the drama, intrigues and the tension that has pervaded the emergence of the anointed candidate for the party would play out during the 2019 election. In the PDP, there have been a lot of permutations ahead of the forthcoming elections. But pundits observed that the party still hook up in crisis, hence the fate of the party in the coming election hangs on the acrimonies that have greeted an internal matter in the APC.  With the crisis currently going on the ruling party, pundits observed that the party may lose the governorship seat if Governor Rochas Okorocha has his way by choosing his son-in-law as the candidate of the party. Political lobbying and horse-trading are currently going on in Abuja over who will fly the party’s flag between Hope Uzodinma and Ugwumba Uche Nwosu in 2019.

Plateau State
Of recent, there have not been much because of the insecurity challenges ravaging the state. But since the PDP picked a 75 -year- old Senator Jeremiah Useni as its candidate for the gubernatorial election in Plateau State, the political atmosphere change. It is now down of the incumbent governor, Lalong to ensure that the ruling party in the state put more effort in terms of governance to be able to secure the confidant of the masses in the state. As at today, Useni, a retired general with a deep pocket will tackle Governor Simon Lalong in the forthcoming poll. Although, other parties may try to show themselves, in the election observers are an opinion that the battle will be between the candidate of PDP and APC. Notwithstanding his age, the old soldier is expected to pull out all tricks left on his sleeve to ensure that he gives the incumbent run for his money. However, some analysts said, it may be an uphill task for the Useni to defeat Lalong who they described vibrant and much more younger than him. But the security challenges confronting the state may be used against him. Lalong also need to pacify some aggrieved members of the party who lost out in the primaries of the party recently, so as to have the whole party behind him in the coming poll. In the last election the governor is best described as humble, which is why the opposition cast him aside as unchallenging. But his humility has proven to be his greatest strength, and it is what endears him to the people.



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