After one week of postponement, the stage is finally set. The Governorship and State Assembly elections will be held today. There will also be 11 senatorial and 35 House of Representatives polls that were not concluded or conducted on February 25.
In spite of the fear of violence and voters’ apathy, no fewer than 87.209 million Nigerians who collected their Permanent Voters Cards, PVCs, out of the 93.469 million registered voters will decide who will occupy 28 governorship seats and 993 legislative positions across the country.
The outcome of the February 25 Presidential and National Assembly elections has raised the stakes for today’s balloting. Tough contests are expected in most of the 28 states as 10 first-term governors struggle to retain their seats and 18 out-going governors, some of whom failed to secure senatorial slots, the battle to produce their successors.
States, where tight races are looming, include Lagos, Enugu, Rivers, Delta, Sokoto, Katsina, Kaduna, Plateau, Nasarawa, Benue, Oyo, Ebonyi, Cross River and Abia.
The results of the February 25 elections demystified many juggernauts and altered political equations in Nigeria.
After a very tight contest, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress, APC, was declared winner and announced as president-elect, by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC. Tinubu got 8,794,726 votes to beat Alhaji Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, who polled 6,984,520 votes.
Both Tinubu and Atiku won 12 states each.
The Labour Party, LP, Candidate, Mr. Peter Obi, garnered 6,101,533 votes to place a close third. He also won 11 states and the FCT.
Former Governor of Kano State and New Nigeria Peoples Party, NNPP, Candidate, Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso, came fourth with 1,496,687 votes and won his native Kano State.
How Tinubu, Atiku, Obi shared the states
Tinubu won Ekiti, Kwara, Ondo, Oyo, Ogun, Jigawa, Niger, Benue, Kogi, Borno, Zamfara and Rivers states. Three of these states (Oyo, Benue and Rivers) are under PDP governors. The rest are APC states although the governors of Oyo and Rivers reportedly worked for Tinubu.
On the other hand, Atiku prevailed in Osun, Yobe, Gombe, Adamawa, Taraba, Katsina, Akwa Ibom, Bauchi, Bayelsa, Kaduna, Kebbi and Sokoto states.
Six of the 12 states- Gombe, Katsina, Kaduna, Katsina, Kebbi and Yobe are APC states while the rest are PDP states.
Obi had the upper hand in Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Imo, Delta, Cross River, Lagos, Edo, Enugu, Plateau, Nasarawa and Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Abuja. None of the states was an LP state or area before the election. While APC governs Ebonyi, Cross River, Imo, Lagos, Plateau and Nasarawa, the PDP is in charge of Abia, Delta, Edo and Enugu. Anambra is ruled by the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, and FCT had a PDP senator.
How presidential/NASS polls altered calculations
Although the outcome of the presidential poll is being disputed by Atiku and Obi, who have vowed to seek redress in court and are already doing so, the election has altered Nigeria’s political plate tectonics.
Many political heavy weights suffered crushing defeats at the polls. As it is, 20 governors could not deliver their states in the presidential election. Many of them lost their bids to go to the Senate. Many senators and members of the House of Representatives were roundly beaten by political greenhorns.
For the first time since 1999, the new National Assembly will have eight parties represented. In the 10th Senate, there will be seven parties while the 10th House of Representatives will have eight parties.
Currently, 325 of the 360 House of Representatives slots have been taken with the APC cornering 162. The PDP has 102; LP, 34; NNPP, 18, Social Democratic Party, SDP, 2; and Young Progressive Party, YPP, 1
In the Senate, 98 of the 109 seats have been won with the APC leading with 57 slots, PDP- 27, LP -7, NNPP- 3, SDP -2, YPP-1, and APGA -1.
The shocking results have been attributed to the kind of campaigns carried out by the four leading candidates, especially Peter Obi and Kwakwanso. Through them the LP and NNPP are enjoying their best run ever in the history of electioneering in Nigeria. In the 10th National Assembly, LP will have at least 41 members and the NNPP 21. The number may go up if they win more seats in the 46 (35 Reps, 11 Senate) supplementary elections that will be held today.
Will Presidential/NASS polls affect gov polls?
Giving the Tsunami that trailed the February 25 polls, the polity is astir. Politicians have returned to the drawing board. The political careers of a host of them are on the line.
Today, 28 governorship and 993 House of Assembly seats will be fought for.
There will be no governorship election in Anambra, Bayelsa, Edo, Ekiti, Ondo, Osun, Kogi and Imo on account of Supreme Court rulings that made their governors assume office on dates different from May 29.
Although the governors of the seven states are not contesting elections, will they deliver their parties’ candidates at the Assembly poll? Of the seven, the governors of Anambra and Edo could not deliver APGA and PDP respectively at the presidential poll.
Among the 28 states where the governorship election will be held, 10 are seeking re-election while 18 are out-going.
Four of the 10 governors (Lagos, Oyo, Gombe and Nasarawa) seeking re-election could not win their states for their presidential candidates.
In like manner but conversely, only four of the 18 out-going governors (Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Sokoto and Jigawa) generated victory for their parties in the presidential election. Although Nyesom Wike is of the PDP, he reportedly worked for the APC in the presidential election because of his spat with Atiku Abubakar.
As Nigerians go for the second round of 2023 general polls will the trend observed in the February 25 polls continue? Currently, only three parties-APC, PDP and APGA have governors. Will the number of parties with governors increase after the polls? Will governors who failed to deliver on February 25 deliver this time? Will those who delivered continue the winning streak or falter? Will more parties join APC, PDP, APGA among others in winning state assembly seats?
Answers to these questions and more are the reasons today’s polls will be keen.
Battle for Lagos
In Lagos, the polity is astir as Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of APC is in battle of wits to retain his seat against LP’s Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour of the LP, who is riding on the crest of the Obidients’ wave, and PDP’s Abdulazeez Adediran. Lagos has become a battle ground of sorts following threats by some actors against people who would not vote for certain candidates.
In Delta, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, who was the PDP vice presidential candidate, could not deliver the state to the PDP in the presidential election. Today, he has the task of delivering Sheriff Oborevwori as his successor and other candidates of the PDP.
He, however, has Senator Ovie Omo-Agege (APC), Ken Pela (LP), Kenneth Gbagi (SDP), and Great Ogboru (APGA) among others to contend with.
The Coal City as Enugu is christened is another battle ground. Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi sought to go to the Senate but was stopped by the Obedient Tsunami. Today, he and other PDP leaders have the clear task of delivering Mr. Peter Mbah as governor-elect ahead of Chijioke Edoga of the LP, Frank Nweke of the APGA, and APC’s Uche Nnaji among others.
Benue State was a battleground during the presidential and National Assembly polls. APC narrowly won the presidential poll with LP and PDP following very closely.
The ruling PDP in Benue State lost its overwhelming dominance to the opposition APC, which took two of the three Senate seats and 10 of the 11 House of Representatives seats.
Governor Samuel Ortom, who supported Peter Obi, failed to secure a Senate seat for himself.
Except Benue voters choose to do otherwise, today’s governorship and assembly polls will be very tough among Titus Uba (PDP), Hycinth Alia (APC) and Herman Hembe (LP).
Nasarawa is another state where the LP dominated after good fights from the APC and PDP during the February 25 polls. The development has set the state up for a pitch battle between second term-seeking Governor Abdullahi Sule (APC), and David Ombugadu (PDP), who has got the backing of some LP bigwigs. The governorship candidate of the Labour party, Joseph Ewuga; Action Alliance, Asha Manga; National Rescue Movement, NRM, Alhaji Musa Sambo and the African Renaissance Party, Alhaji Muhammed Auwal, last week, Ombugadu of the PDP.
On the Plateau, there will be a battle royale of sorts among Patrick Dakum of the LP, Caleb Mutfwang of the PDP, and Nentawe Yilwatda of APC. Any of the three can emerge tops given the outcome for the last elections where Governor Simon Lalong, who was the director-general of the APC Presidential Campaign Council, failed to deliver the state to Tinubu.
With the LP winning the presidential election in 11 LGAs while the PDP and APC won three LGAs each, it will be seen if the LP will repeat the winning streak today.
In Kaduna, the contest to succeed Governor Nasir El-Rufai has been narrowed down to two key actors: Senator Uba Sani of the ruling APC and Isa Ashiru Kudan of the PDP, even though Jonathan Asake of the LP and Senator Suleiman Uthman Hunkuyi of the NNPP are in hot pursuit. Governor el-Rufai who could not deliver during the presidential poll, is out to deliver Sani and other APC candidates, today in spite of the hurdles mounted by PDP, LP and other parties.
Since 2015, Sokoto State has remained a battleground between PDP and APC. Today, the stage is set for a major political onslaught between both parties as the governorship contest is between APC’s Alhaji Ahmad Aliyu Sokoto, a former deputy to Governor Aminu Tambuwal, and PDP’s Malam Saidu Umar Ubandoma, a former secretary to the state government.
The PDP candidate, who is also Tambuwal’s former commissioner of finance, enjoys the support of Tambuwal and many state government appointees. Given the outcome of the presidential poll that PDP narrowly won, a tough contest is in the offing today.
Katsina is the state of President Muhammadu Buhari and governed by Governor Bello Masari of the APC but it was won by Atiku of the PDP during the presidential poll.
Thus, the APC with Dikko Umar Radda as governorship flag bearer has a chance to bounce back today. The ruling party must, however, stop Yakubu Lado Danmarke of the PDP in what is promising to be a high-wire battle.
With Governor Wike having a huge hand in the presidential election win of Bola Tinubu, the APC would not enjoy the same fortune in the governorship and State House of Assembly polls.
The ruling PDP governorship candidate, Siminaliayi Fubara, has the full backing of Wike. He would, however, face the fiercest of opposition from the APC’s Tonye Cole, who also had robust campaigns with the full support of former governor and immediate past Minister for Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi.
Also in the race are Senator Magnus Abe of the SDP, Dawari George of the Action Alliance, AA; and Dumo Lulu-Briggs of Accord Party; and Ugo Beke of APGA among others.
The PDP, in Oyo State, lost its three senatorial seats and eight House of Representatives seats out of 14 seats to the APC and won four House of Reps seats. Two House of Representatives seats are still under contention.
The state also fell to the APC in the presidential election. Governor Seyi Makinde of PDP has a tough task at hand in today’s election against Teslim Folarin (APC) and Bayo Adelabu of Accord.
After the PDP upstaged the ruling APC in the Presidential election in Kebbi State, the party is nursing the hope of repeating the feat today. As it is, APC Governorship Candidate, Dr. Nasiru Idris, has Major General Aminu Bande, retd., of the PDP to contend with.
In Bauchi, Governor Bala Mohammed of the PDP will be fighting to keep his seat which stands at the risk of being taken by the candidate of the APC, and immediate past Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Saddique Abubakar retd.
There is also a third candidate, Haliru Jika of the NNPP, a serving senator who defected from the APC.
The Presidential and National Assembly elections threw up a lot of surprises. The APC won areas that were hitherto considered strongholds of the ruling party and vice versa.
In Kano State, the battle for the governorship seat is between the ruling APC and the fast growing opposition NNPP. No doubt, it will be a fight to finish as it is going to be a replay of the 2019 election between the Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje’s APC and Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso’s NNPP formerly of the PDP.
Similarly, at that time, the PDP governorship candidate and the current NNPP flagbearer, Abba Kabir Yusuf, contested against the sitting governor, Ganduje, who was seeking re-election. This time, Yusuf is battling it out against Ganduje’s anointed candidate and incumbent Deputy Governor, Nasiru Yusuf Gawuna.
Given NNPP’s massive victories in Kano during the February 25 presidential poll, two of the three Senate seats and 18 of the 24 House of Representatives seats, NNPP’s Yusuf is going into today’s election as a strong force.
Govs seeking re-election
•Adamu Fintiri, PDP, Adamawa
•Bala Mohammed, PDP, Bauchi
•Babagana Zulum, APC, Borno
•Inuwa Yahaya, APC, Gombe
•Abdulrahman Abdulrasaq, APC, Kwara
•Dapo Abiodun, APC, Ogun
•Seyi Makinde, PDP, Oyo
•Babajide Sanwo-Olu, APC, Lagos
•Abdullahi Sule, APC, Nasarawa
•Bello Matawalle, APC, Zamfara
States without gov poll today
•Okezie Ikpeazu, PDP, Abia
•Udom Emmanuel, PDP, A/Ibom
•Samuel Ortom, PDP, Benue
•Ben Ayade, APC, Cross River
•Ifeanyi Okowa, PDP, Delta
•Dave Umahi, APC, Ebonyi
•Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, Enugu
•Badaru Abubakar, APC, Jigawa
•Atiku Bagudu, APC, Kebbi
•Nasir el-Rufai, APC, Kaduna
•Umaru Ganduje, APC, Kano
•Bello Masari, APC, Katsina
•Sani Bello, APC, Niger
•Simon Lalong, APC, Plateau
•Nyesom Wike, PDP, Rivers
•Darius Ishaku, PDP, Taraba
•Aminu Tambuwal, PDP, Sokoto
•Mai Mala Buni, APC, Yobe