States APC may lose in 2019

The rul­ing All Pro­gres­sives Congress (APC) faces a lit­mus-test in next year’s gen­eral elec­tions af­ter en­joy­ing what looked like an easy ride in 2015 as it ap­pears set to lose grip of some states.

Weekly Trust - - Front Page - Muideen Olaniyi (Abuja), Nu­rudeen Oye­wole (La­gos), Peter Moses (Abeokuta), Jeremiah Oke (Ibadan), Shehu Umar (Gusau), Hope Abah Em­manuel (Makurdi), Vic­tor Edozie (Port Har­court) & Jude Aguguo Owua­manam (Ow­erri) Amo­sun’s ac­tion may af­fect APC in Ogun

Af­ter the con­duct of the pres­i­den­tial, gov­er­nor­ship and leg­isla­tive pri­maries, the rul­ing party is fac­ing some chal­lenges as the num­ber of ag­grieved as­pi­rants and stake­hold­ers surge ahead of the gen­eral elec­tions com­ing up in less than four months.

Across the states, ag­grieved APC mem­bers and as­pi­rants have been protest­ing al­leged im­po­si­tion of can­di­dates, au­to­matic tick­ets as well as lack of jus­tice and in­ter­nal democ­racy in the just con­cluded pri­maries.

The de­vel­op­ment has led to the sud­den move­ment of party mem­bers to other po­lit­i­cal par­ties to seek ei­ther re-elec­tion or work against the rul­ing party.

As a re­sult, there is the like­li­hood that some states cur­rently be­ing held by the APC may fall into the hands of op­po­si­tion po­lit­i­cal par­ties in 2019, un­less ur­gent and con­certed ef­forts are made to ad­dress the dis­con­tent­ment. How La­gos may slip out of APC con­trol

In La­gos State, chances of the rul­ing APC to re­tain the gov­er­nor­ship seat had not been in doubt un­til now. Its ma­chin­ery, which has been in­sti­tuted since 1998,had since been pi­loted by the party’s Na­tional Leader and for­mer La­gos gov­er­nor, Asi­waju Bola Tin­ubu. It has been win­ning re­peated elec­tions from the old Al­liance for Democ­racy (AD) in 1999 and 2003, to the Ac­tion Congress (AC) in 2007, Ac­tion Congress of Nige­ria (ACN) in 2011 and the APC in 2015.

How­ever, for many po­lit­i­cal ob­servers, at no time in all those years had the win­ning ma­chin­ery of Tin­ubu been chal­lenged like it was in the last few months when a po­lit­i­cal bat­tle of sur­vival and con­fi­dence broke out be­tween the in­cum­bent gov­er­nor, Ak­in­wun­miAm­bode and Tin­ubu in one hand, and the gov­er­nor and the party lead­er­ship on the oth­er­hand. At the end, Am­bode’s hope of earn­ing a re­turn ticket for sec­ond term was dashed as one of his aides and a for­mer com­mis­sioner, Baba­jideSanwo-Olu, propped by Tin­ubu and other chief­tains,de­feated Am­bode in the party’s gu­ber­na­to­rial pri­mary.

Al­though Am­bode has since con­ceded vic­tory and an­nounced his in­ten­tion to work for Sanwo-Olu’s suc­cess at the poll, the frac­tures and bruises left in the hearts of many teem­ing sup­port­ers of the gov­er­nor, es­pe­cially those be­lieved to have been re­cently wooed by the party,are feared as the ma­jor ba­sis for dis­loy­alty that may re­ver­ber­ate next year.

Al­ready, spec­u­la­tion is rife on the gov­er­nor’s al­leged plot to starve the APC of fi­nan­cial as­sis­tance that may en­hance its vic­tory, though this is sub­ject to ver­i­fi­ca­tion. There has also been an al­le­ga­tion that the gov­er­nor is work­ing in con­nivance with a ma­jor op­po­si­tion party can­di­date to un­der­mine his party. If any of these should be proven, pun­dits are say­ing that the party’s chances of re­tain­ing La­gos will suf­fer.

As if that is not enough, the ma­jor op­po­si­tion can­di­date, Jimi Ag­baje, is a well­known fig­ure and re­spected tech­no­crat. Hav­ing lost out as a stan­dard bearer in two pre­vi­ous oc­ca­sions un­der the plat­forms of the Pro­gres­sive Party Al­liance (PPA) in 2007 and PDP in 2015, many are plac­ing their bets on Ag­baje.

In­deed, Ag­baje is not known to be a pushover. In all the five gu­ber­na­to­rial elec­tions so far con­ducted in the state since 1999, only on two oc­ca­sions did Tin­ubu’s po­lit­i­cal ma­chin­ery fail to de­feat the can­di­date of the ma­jor op­po­si­tion party with less than 200,000 votes. The first was in 2003 when Tin­ubu him­self de­feated the late Fun­sho Williams of the PDP with a mar­gin of 171,107 votes and in the 2015 gen­eral elec­tion when Am­bode de­feated Ag­baje with 152,206 votes - that was the clos­est ever. For book­mak­ers, Ag­baje’s im­pres­sive record in 2015 only re­quires a lit­tle fine-tun­ing in 2019 to earn him vic­tory and with the right al­liances and ex­pan­sion of base, it is as­sumed that he may suc­ceed in his quest af­ter all in and fair con­test.

For keen watch­ers of the un­fold­ing po­lit­i­cal events in Ogun State, es­pe­cially in the rul­ing APC, win­ning the next gov­er­nor­ship elec­tion may be a dif­fi­cult task, if not im­pos­si­ble.

A sim­i­lar cri­sis which cul­mi­nated in the de­feat of the then rul­ing PDP in the state is play­ing out in the APC. Who flies the APC gov­er­nor­ship ticket? The re­sponse to this poser has left the APC ranks in dis­ar­ray.

Adekunle Akin­lade, the anointed can­di­date of the out­go­ing gov­er­nor, Ibikunle Amo­sun and an oil mag­nate, DapoAbio­dun, have been lay­ing claims to the APC gu­ber­na­to­rial ticket in the state. How­ever, Abio­dun, who is al­legedly be­ing backed by some po­lit­i­cal forces within and out­side the state, had his can­di­da­ture rat­i­fied by the Na­tional Work­ing Com­mit­tee (NWC) of the APC. Yet, Amo­sun re­mains adamant, say­ing Akin­lade is the “of­fi­cial can­di­date.”

In the past three weeks, the gov­er­nor had made fran­tic ef­forts to re­verse the de­ci­sion hav­ing met Pres­i­dent Muham­maduBuha­ri­more than three times. Yet, the coast seems not clear. In 2011, the then out­go­ing gov­er­nor, Otunba Gbenga Daniel, had anointed Gboye­gaNasiruIsi­aka (GNI) as the PDP can­di­date but his al­leged im­po­si­tion met stiff op­po­si­tion from party lead­ers, es­pe­cially for­mer pres­i­dent Oluse­gunObasanjo who equally backed an­other can­di­date, Tun­jiOlurin, a re­tired mil­i­tary of­fi­cer.

Even­tu­ally, Obasanjo had his way. GNI, as he was pop­u­larly called, pulled out of the party and joined the Peo­ple’s Party of Nige­ria (PPN) where he con­tested and lost. Al­though, Daniel stayed put in the PDP, he al­legedly mas­ter­minded the de­fec­tion and bankrolled his can­di­date’s cam­paign.

Amo­sun, who had run on the plat­form of the defunct Ac­tion Congress of Nige­ria (ACN), ben­e­fited from the PDP cri­sis as he won the gov­er­nor­ship seat. Just last week, there were re­ports that Amo­sun had con­cluded plans to dump the APC for an­other party. The gov­er­nor, how­ever, de­nied this.

He equally stood his ground on his anointed can­di­date, say­ing, “I hand over the reins of gov­er­nance of our great state to the pop­u­lar choice of ma­jor­ity of our peo­ple, Hon. Ab­dulk­a­bir Adekunle Akin­lade.”

How­ever, can­di­dates from other par­ties like Isi­aka, the two-time gov­er­nor­ship can­di­date and now the flag bearer of the African Demo­cratic Congress (ADC), are warm­ing up to un­seat the in­cum­bent party next year if the party fails to re­solve the cri­sis be­fore the elec­tion.

For in­stance, Isi­aka came sec­ond in the fi­nal gov­er­nor­ship elec­tion re­sults re­leased by INEC. Amo­sun polled 306,988 votes to re­turn elected. Isi­aka, who con­tested un­der the PDP, had 201,440 votes.

Apart from Isi­aka, the for­mer Speaker of the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives, Dimeji Bankole, who is the gov­er­nor­ship can­di­date of the Ac­tion Demo­cratic Party (ADP) and the PDP­can­di­date, LadiAde­butu, whose can­di­da­ture is shrouded in con­tro­versy and lit­i­ga­tion, are ready to pull the rug off the foot of the rul­ing party in 2019. Aji­mobi may scut­tle chances in Oyo The fall­out of do­mes­tic pri­mary elec­tions of the APC in Oyo State which ap­pears not to have been man­aged well, may af­fect the chances of the rul­ing party in the elec­tions.

The with­drawal of a for­mer gov­er­nor, Chief Ade­bayo Alao-Akala, from the pri­mary and his de­fec­tion to the Ac­tion Demo­cratic Party (ADP) to con­test the gov­er­nor­ship elec­tion may have neg­a­tive con­se­quences for the party.

Aside Akala, an as­pi­rant of the party, Chief Niyi Ak­in­tola (SAN), also an­nounced at the venue of the pri­mary that he had quit par­ti­san pol­i­tics as a re­sult of what he per­ceived to be im­po­si­tion.

Oth­ers who have left the party are the sen­a­tors rep­re­sent­ing Oyo Cen­tral, Mon­suratu Su­monu, Oyo cen­tral, Soji Akanbi, 14 mem­bers of the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives from the state and a rea­son­able num­ber of the mem­bers of the state House of Assem­bly.

The can­di­date of the party and a for­mer deputy gov­er­nor of Cen­tral Bank of Nige­ria (CBN) Chief Bayo Ade­labu who is new in the po­lit­i­cal ter­rain may find it dif­fi­cult to bat­tle the likes of for­mer gov­er­nor Akala.

In 2015, Aji­mobi de­feated other con­tes­tants with about 35 per­cent of the to­tal votes cast which may be dif­fi­cult to gather in 2019 be­cause of the cur­rent per­son­al­i­ties in­volved in the race to Agodi Gov­ern­ment House.

Ac­cord­ing to a re­cent re­port cir­cu­lat­ing across the state via so­cial me­dia, Ade­labu is yet to reach out to his co-con­tenders to so­licit their sup­port.

In­stead, he has max­i­mized ev­ery op­por­tu­nity to fur­ther de­tach him­self from the peo­ple that should rally forces with him. Al­ready, those spo­ken to dis­closed that the for­mer CBN chief is al­ready con­duct­ing him­self as an await­ing gov­er­nor even ahead of the elec­tion. Ade­labu is con­fi­dent that his close­ness to Asi­waju Bola Ahmed Tin­ubu and his last-minute adop­tion by Aji­mobi are

enough to get him the seat with­out sup­port or in­put from party chief­tains and for­mer as­pi­rants.

Just re­cently, Ade­labu was al­legedly re­ported to have lam­basted a lo­cal gov­ern­ment chair­man from Oke-Ogun and dis­par­aged other party sup­port­ers at a get-to­gether or­ga­nized in his hon­our where he ac­cused them of plan­ning to reap where they did not sow.

These fac­tors, po­lit­i­cal ob­servers say, could af­fect the rul­ing party even though the African Demo­cratic Congress (ADC) is bat­tling with the scourge of im­po­si­tion by the lead­er­ship of the party.

But the Di­rec­tor of Me­dia, Re­search, Strate­gies and Pub­lic­ity, Sec­re­tary of the party, Dr. Ab­dulAzeez Olatunde, said the party’s chances are not in doubt re­gard­less of the de­fec­tions.

With the tow­er­ing in­flu­ence of Sen­a­tor RashidiLadoja, a for­mer gov­er­nor in the ADC which has re­ceived mem­bers of the PDP, the po­lit­i­cal sagac­ity of the PDP can­di­date, Sey­iMakinde, and the am­bi­tion of AlaoAkala, the APC may lose in 2019 if it fails to em­bark on gen­uine rec­on­cil­i­a­tion.

Not yetuhuru in Kaduna

The at­ti­tude of Gov­er­nor Nasir El-Ru­fai of Kaduna State may af­fect the chances of the rul­ing APC in his state next year, po­lit­i­cal an­a­lysts say. El-Ru­fai’s pos­ture has fi­nally led to the de­fec­tion of Sen­a­tor She­huSani to the PRP. Be­fore Shehu’s de­fec­tion, Sen. Suleiman Hunkuyi had re­turned to the PDP.

Pun­dits say with the cur­rent strength of the PDP in Kaduna State, the APC needs to work ex­tra hard to re­tain the gov­er­nor­ship seat as any gang-up against the gov­er­nor will not af­fect the chances of Pres­i­dent Muham­maduBuhari.

An an­a­lyst, Tony James, says the PDP seems to have the up­per hand in 12 of the 23 lo­cal gov­ern­ment ar­eas in the state.

Ac­cord­ing to him, the PDP may se­cure vic­tory in two of the eight LGAs in Zone 1, es­pe­cially Makarfi, where for­mer gov­er­nor Ahmed Makarfi hails from and Ku­dan, which is the do­main of both the PDP gov­er­nor­ship can­di­date and Sen­a­tor Hunkuyi.

James said in Zone 2 that has seven LGAs, the PDP may con­trol Kaduna South, Chikun and Ka­juru whose rep­re­sen­ta­tives in the Na­tional Assem­bly are not from the APC.

He said Zone 3 with eight LGAs is a pre­dom­i­nantly PDP-dom­i­nated area as the all the cur­rent rep­re­sen­ta­tives in the Na­tional Assem­bly were elected on the PDP plat­form.

Coast not clear in Benue

In Benue State, de­spite many mis­giv­ings against the party, it does not ap­pear clear if the APC will lose next year as the cur­rent sit­u­a­tion de­picts that the pen­du­lum could swing to any direc­tion.

The APC and the PDP still re­main the dom­i­nant par­ties, but new par­ties such as the SDP, PRP and APGA can’t be taken for granted fol­low­ing the pri­mary elec­tions.

There are ex­ist­ing sharp di­vi­sions among peo­ple in the state over which party to sup­port in the elec­tion as a re­sult of many is­sues of con­cern that bor­der on famers/herders crises, po­lit­i­cal cross-car­pet­ing and per­for­mances.

The ar­gu­ment among ag­grieved minds has al­ways been on poor han­dling of the famers/ herders crises by the fed­eral gov­ern­ment. So, pun­dits be­lieve that if noth­ing is done to douse these griev­ances or re­build their con­fi­dence be­fore the elec­tion, the party might lose the state, and this seems se­ri­ous.

Other opin­ions hold that the un­paid salaries would likely be a fac­tor as it did in 2015 un­less the cur­rent ad­min­is­tra­tion does some­thing ur­gent.

For a po­lit­i­cal ob­server, Kenneth Eche, “If Gov­er­nor Sa­muel Or­tom was still in the APC, I can con­fi­dently say an­other party will win the state. But now that he has moved to the PDP, we don’t know what will hap­pen.

“Peo­ple can use so many ways to win elec­tion be­cause pol­i­tick­ing is quite dif­fer­ent from win­ning elec­tion. This means that peo­ple are not happy with his per­for­mance so far but it is not enough to say he wouldn’t win the elec­tion. This game is full of sur­prises.

“On the other hand, what APC as a party has done to Or­tom, how are we sure it won’t do same thing to Em­manuel Jime (APC flag bearer)? Peo­ple have lost con­fi­dence in the APC. Be­cause of Or­tom, they may also not want to vote for the PDP. And as at to­day, SDP doesn’t have struc­ture on ground across the state. So, that is the dilemma. If PDP wins the elec­tion, it might be through a slim mar­gin,” Eche said.

INEC’s stand may give Zam­fara to op­po­si­tion

Since the cur­rent po­lit­i­cal dis­pen­sa­tion in the coun­try in 1999, the defunct All Peo­ples Party (APP) later All Nige­ria Peo­ple’s Party (ANPP), ruled Zam­fara for about 12 years largely dur­ing the eight-year ten­ure of Sen­a­tor Ah­mad Sani Yarima and later Gov­er­nor Ab­du­laziz Yari.

Al­though the PDP ruled Zam­fara for about three years when Mah­muda Aliyu Shinkafi, who was elected on the plat­form of the ANPP in 2007, de­fected to the PDP in 2008, he could not win the gov­er­nor­ship re-elec­tion bid in 2011 as the ANPP re­claimed the state when he was de­feated by Gov­er­nor Yari.

De­spite the pop­u­lar­ity of the APC in Zam­fara, be­ing a state with a seem­ingly weak op­po­si­tion, if the cur­rent cri­sis rock­ing the party is not prop­erly man­aged, the party could lose the state. INEC re­cently ham­mered the APC for not be­ing able to con­duct gov­er­nor­ship and leg­isla­tive pri­maries be­fore the Oc­to­ber 7, 2018 dead­line. INEC said the APC in Zam­fara would not be able to field can­di­dates in 2019 be­cause it failed to con­duct pri­maries.

The cri­sis in the state APC stemmed from the en­dorse­ment of the Com­mis­sioner for Fi­nance, Al­haji Muk­thar She­huI­dris, as the gov­er­nor­ship can­di­date by Gov­er­nor Yari Abubakar, which was re­jected by eight other as­pi­rants led by Sen­a­tor Kabiru Garba Marafa, the sen­a­tor rep­re­sent­ing Zam­fara Cen­tral.

The re­jec­tion led the APC’s Na­tional Work­ing Com­mit­tee (NWC) to or­der the state APC to adopt Di­rect Pri­maries to elect it gov­er­nor­ship and leg­isla­tive flag bear­ers, a move op­posed by Yari which led to frag­men­ta­tion of the APC, thereby hurt­ing ef­forts to con­duct the pri­maries.

So, the on-go­ing tus­sle within the APC in Zam­fara and the party’s NWC re­gard­ing the stand of the elec­toral um­pire not to al­low the rul­ing party to par­tic­i­pate in the 2019 elec­tions may be­come an added ad­van­tage for the op­po­si­tion in the state.

The ob­sta­cleto op­po­si­tion vic­to­ries in 2019 is only if the court which could grant the APC per­mis­sion to par­tic­i­pate in the elec­tions. But if the court up­holds INEC’s stand, then op­po­si­tion par­ties could take the state.

Amaechi-Abe feud threat­ens APC in Rivers

The po­lit­i­cal tus­sle be­tween the Min­is­ter of Trans­porta­tion, Chibuike Amaechi and Sen­a­tor Mag­nus Abe is threat­en­ing the chances of the APC in Rivers State.

An­a­lysts say the APC can’t take the lin­ger­ing feud to chal­lenge the in­cum­bent Gov­er­nor Nye­somWike, who is seek­ing re-elec­tion.

Amaechi is spon­sor­ing Arch. Tonye Cole who is the APC flag-bearer. But Abe be­lieves that he is the APC gov­er­nor­ship can­di­date pro­duced by the Peter Odike-led fac­tion.

Amaechi and Abe who had en­joyed good re­la­tion­ship were locked in a fierce po­lit­i­cal bat­tle when the per­mu­ta­tion on who flies the party’s ticket be­gan. Abe had in 2015 po­si­tioned him­self for the ticket but that was not to be as Amaechi suc­ceeded in in­stalling his clos­est ally, Dr. Dakuku Peter­side, who emerged as the party’s gov­er­nor­ship flag bearer. Dakuku’s emer­gence does not go down well with crit­i­cal stake­hold­ers of the party. The mat­ter was re­solved but the ag­grieved mem­bers were said to have worked against the in­ter­est of the party, a de­vel­op­ment that led to the party’s de­feat in 2015. Peter­side was de­feated by Gov­er­nor Nye­som Wike with over one mil­lion votes. Abe set­tled with the Rivers South east sen­a­to­rial dis­trict seat in the Na­tional Assem­bly.

The is­sue of who flies the party’s ticket dom­i­nated the po­lit­i­cal space again in May this year when the party con­ducted its pri­maries. Abe al­leged that all his sup­port­ers that bought forms for the pri­maries were dis­en­fran­chised.

The sen­a­tor headed to a Port Har­court High Court which nul­li­fied all the con­gresses. The court ruled that the sta­tusquo be main­tained while all the con­gresses as well as those elected were nul­li­fied. The mat­ter lin­gered un­tilthe Supreme Court last week up­held the de­ci­sion of the High Court that all the con­gresses con­ducted re­mained in­valid.

Amaechi raised ten­sion in the party when he told APC stake­hold­ers in La­gos that he had in mind a La­gos-based busi­ness­man, Dele Tonye Cole, as the party’s gov­er­nor­ship flag bearer. Amaechi’s de­ci­sion did not go down well with some lead­ers of the party but he even­tu­ally had his way. APC held par­al­lel con­gresses that pro­duced both Abe and Cole as the party’s gov­er­nor­ship flag bear­ers.

But with last week’s rul­ing of the apex court, APC may end up with­out a gov­er­nor­ship can­di­date in 2019.

Protest votes may af­fect APC in Imo

Imo State has been de­scribed as one of states on the cliff hanger for the APC fol­low­ing the in­abil­ity of the state chap­ter of the party to re­solve the is­sue of who flies the party’s flag in 2019.

Since last year, when Gov­er­nor Rochas Oko­rocha indi­cated his in­ter­est to have his son-in-law, Ug­wumba Uche Nwosu, to suc­ceed him, things have con­tin­ued to worsen for the party. The un­re­lent­ing ef­fort of the Imo APC Coali­tion to stop him has made the strug­gle very tense.

Oko­rocha has not had an easy sail in his Uche Nwosu project. Since the May 5 ward congress, where the coali­tion ap­peared to have taken away the party struc­ture from him, the gov­er­nor has been try­ing to win back the con­trol of the struc­ture with­out suc­cess.

As it is, the bat­tle has been nar­rowed to Sen­a­tor Hope Uzod­inma and Ug­wumba UcheN­wosu.

While Uzod­inma is the prod­uct of the Ahmed Gu­lak gov­er­nor­ship pri­mary elec­tion com­mit­tee which con­ducted the Oc­to­ber 1 elec­tion, Nwosu on the other hand emerged af­ter the Ibrahim Ag­babi­aka-led panel which con­ducted its own pri­mary on Oc­to­ber 6.

The emer­gence of Uzod­inma, who is the sen­a­tor rep­re­sent­ing Imo West, was as a re­sult of the in­abil­ity of the coali­tion to agree on a con­sen­sus can­di­date from eight out of the nine gov­er­nor­ship as­pi­rants in the party.

Even the emer­gence of Uzod­inma might not have as­suaged the de­sire of the coali­tion mem­bers as it ap­peared he might have be­trayed an agree­ment that he should hold the po­si­tion in trust for the pos­si­ble emer­gence of a can­di­date from Ow­erri.

In Sokoto, votes split may af­fect APC

In Sokoto State, there is a shift of loy­alty among APC mem­bers fol­low­ing the move­ment of Gov­er­nor Aminu Waziri Tam­buwal to the PDP.

With Tam­buwal’s move­ment, mem­bers of the House of Assem­bly are di­vided as some de­fected to the PDP with the gov­er­nor while oth­ers re­mained in the APC.

The de­vel­op­ment has pitched the gov­er­nor against his bene­fac­tor and a for­mer gov­er­nor of the state, Sen­a­tor Al­haji Aliyu Ma­gatakarda Wa­makko, the leader of the APC in the state.

Pun­dits say the lat­est po­lit­i­cal de­vel­op­ment in the state will def­i­nitely have neg­a­tive in­flu­ence on the vot­ing pat­tern in 2019 as Tam­buwal and Wa­makko have con­tin­ued to ex­change ban­ters ahead of the elec­tions.

In 2015, Tam­buwal, the then APC gov­er­nor­ship can­di­date, polled 647,609 votes to de­feat the PDP’s can­di­date, Sen. Ab­dal­lah Wali who scored 269,074, win­ning in all 23 lo­cal gov­ern­ment ar­eas.

In 2019, Tam­buwal will lock horns with the deputy gov­er­nor, Ahmed Aliyu, who emerged the APC gov­er­nor­ship can­di­date.

Amo­sun

Am­bode

Aji­mobi

Or­tom

Tam­buwal

Oko­rocha

Yari

El-Ru­fai

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