The Presidential and National Assembly (NASS) elections which held Saturday, February 25, 2023 across the 36 States of Federation and FCT Abuja has come and gone. However, the shockers and surprises that came with the exercise still remain the topics of discussion among pundits and politically conscious Nigerians at home and in diaspora.
The conclusion therefore is that the outcome of the first leg of the Nigeria’s 2023 general elections is most likely to affect what happens in the next 24 hours or more – when the results from the polling units and final outcome of the elections from States begin to trickle in, one after the other.
Just like the first elections, today’s Governorship elections (in 28 States) and House of Assembly in all States are expected to be keenly contested by the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC); oppositions Peoples Democratic Party (PDP); Labour Party (LP) and New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP). Still, another underdog to look out for is the Social Democratic Party (SDP).
What are the likely shockers and surprises that may come with today’s polls?
The North West geo political zone was the hope of ruling APC, for it to receive massive vote in the last Presidential poll. However, what eventually happened was the opposite – the party ended up struggling and competing with its closest rival, the PDP and by extension, NNPP. The most shocking of all was Kaduna State. No one could ever imagined such political disaster happening to Governor Nasiru El-Rufai! His party, APC did not only lose the Presidential election to the rival PDP by a wide margin, but in addition, lost all the three Senatorial seats of the metropolitan State to the opposition!
With this, the fate of the APC Governorship candidate Senator Uba Sanni and his counterparts for the State’s House of Assembly seem to be hanging in the balance!
Kano is not in any way different. With a distant wining figure, it appears that NNPP as presently led by the former State Governor, Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso is again set to fiercely battle Governor Abdullahi Ganduje and finally wrestle power from the ruling APC in the ancient State! Will this surprise happen? We wait, watch and see.
Kebbi is the State of the Progressive Governors’ Forum, Atiku Bagudu. Shockingly too, APC lost to PDP in the Presidential poll! To worsen the matter, Bagudu also lost in his Senatorial contest to the opposition! So, the question is: Will there be any difference, or the APC and Governor Bagudu are in for more shockers and surprises? Answers will definitely come in the next 24 hours, or thereabout.
Another North Western State to look out for is Sokoto. The stiff competition between the APC and PDP was repeated in the last Presidential poll. Therefore, should Aminu Tambuwal’s led PDP and Senator Aliyu Wamako’s led APC maintain their back-to-back contest, one might conclude that the Governorship seat might go either way. Also, barring the last minute change, the seats in the State’s House of Assembly are most likely to be shared almost equally by the two leading parties. Surely, watching the test of popularity, the number of supporters and spread of viable political structures of the APC and PDP will be an interesting experience in the ongoing Nigeria’s general elections.
The North Central States are also likely to witness more shockers and surprises, just like in the Presidential poll.
In its case, having lost two Senatorial seats to the opposition, APC and one to LP, Benue State is most likely to be minus one for the PDP. What more? Governor Samuel Ortom in the last poll lost in his Senatorial contest. Still, it will be surprising, yet, exciting to see that both Ortom and the PDP National Chairman, Dr Iyorchia Ayu to wield their influence in order to change the narrative and avert the looming shame!
Plateau and Nasarawa States belong to the ruling APC. Still, the two States were lost to the underdog LP in the last Presidential poll. No thanks to tribal and religious sentiments deployed by the LP Presidential candidate, Peter Obi. Understandably, the two are pre-dominantly Christian States. So, the religion calculation worked for Obi in the two States. This is coupled with the controversial Muslim-Muslim ticket of the APC Presidential ticket, an arrangement loathed by not few Christians and who vowed to protest through their votes.
So, it’s not yet clear whether both Governors Simon Lalong of Plateau will be able to deliver his party’s candidate and Abdullahi Sule of Nasarawa will survive the raging tsunami in his re-election bid. However, if the obidients are still agitated, motivated and resolute, then, shockers, surprises loom in the two States!
Taraba State falls in the North East geo political zone. It is a PDP State. However, the first opposition APC Governorship candidate, Senator Emmanuel Bwacha is said to be very popular and influential. Whether he would be able to provoke remarkable surprise to give Governor Ishiaku Darius and his party’s candidate, a good competition, later today and latest tomorrow, where the pendulum swings will be determined.
In the South South geo political zone, the two States of utmost interest are: Delta and Rivers. Delta is the home of the PDP Vice Presidential candidate, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa. Surprisingly, PDP lost abysmally in the last Presidential poll in Delta to LP. Today, the State faces another challenge in the APC Governorship candidate, the Vice President of the Senate, Ovie Omo-Agege. So, will Okowa survive the perceived strong influence of the number four citizen? Can the PDP candidate, Sheriff Oborevwori compete effectively with Omo-Agege? We wait and watch how the contest plays out.
In Rivers State, the enraged and factional PDP members are threatening a protest vote – against Nyesom Wike’s candidate, Sir Fubara Siminalayi. The questions are: What influence the faction has and which candidate will they be voting for? Magnum Abe of SDP or Tonye Douglas of APC or the LP candidate? It will be interesting to see Wike’s opposition within PDP to upstage him in today’s election. But can they? We must wait in haste to see the outcome.
In Edo State, if the ruling PDP had lost two Senatorial seats in the last polls, we wait to see Governor Godwin Obaseki’s jokers to change the perception that he is only in power, but not really in charge, as the results of the Edo House of Assembly drop from later today.
The South West zone seems to be the cynosure of all eyes. Starting from the ancient Oyo State. The battle is definitely going to be between the ruling PDP and closest rival, APC. After tactically supporting the APC Presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu to win in the State in the Presidential election, incumbent Governor Seyi Makinde is now faced with the challenges of ‘bandwagonism’ and very strong opponent, the APC candidate, Senator Teslim Folarin. The Oyo gubernatorial contest promises to be exciting. A back-to-back voting trend is most likely, thus the final result may go either way.
Interestingly, both Makinde and Folarin are from Ibadan. Therefore, the influence the two have on the other tribes in the State will also go a long way in the final result. Nigerians are watching and waiting for the final outcome of the politically charged State.
The Gateway State, Ogun APC candidate, Governor Dapo Abiodun might not have much to contend with. APC in the State seems very formidable and united. Therefore, Abiodun’s main contender, Oladipupo Adebutu of PDP will have to work extraordinarily hard to compete effectively with the incumbent to make an instructive statement. What about other oppositions led by the former Governor Ibikunle Amosu forming alliance? There might be wonder! The results of this will be out until the end of the ongoing contest.
On his own, Governor Ademola Adeleke is still bent on proving his popularity and his party, PDP in Osun State. He will definitely aspire to replicate the victory achieved on February 25. Except new calculations, the incoming Osun State House of Assembly is also likely to be shared by both rival parties – the APC and PDP.
Now the biggest of all, Lagos State! Despite the win in lesser (eight) local government areas, LP defeated the ruling APC which won in 12 LGAs with a good margin! In today’s contest, whether there will be a change or not, in the factors (tribe, religion, #EndSARS controversies) that counted against APC on February 25, Presidential poll, is not really clear. Although, the main oppositions – LP and PDP have been in the last few days recording cracks within. While the PDP Governorship candidate, Abdul Azeez Adediran, Jandor is being dumped by his notable party Chieftains and identifying with the LP candidate, Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour GRV, the same GRV is also being abandoned by his party’s LP leaders in the State and shifting support for the incumbent Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of the ruling APC.
Of the three leading political parties in the State, APC seems to be the only one running one house! But can this amount to a needed and winning vote number for the APC? The answer to this depends on Obidients supporters – who among the three leading candidates, the majority of them (Obidient) vote for is likely to become the overall winner in the contest. As for the State’s Assembly, the APC still stands a better chance of an overwhelming victory as some the candidates of the oppositions are hardly visible to the general public.
Lagos, Nigeria and the world wait for the outcome – another political surprise, shocker, perhaps, in the mega city!
In the South East, the pundits are watching whether there will be a repeat of February 25. Of particular interest is Anambra State House of Assembly. This contest will be between the ruling APGA and LP. Anambra is the home of Obi. So, the public is waiting to see the voting pattern and the final outcome. It will definitely be a test of popularity for the incumbent Governor Chukwuma Soludo.
In the same vein, how trusted and influential are both Governors Hope Uzodinma and David Umahi of Imo and Ebonyi respectively, of APC, will be established in today’s poll. As for Imo, it will be interesting to see APC winning majority vote while in Ebonyi how will the ruling APC compete successfully with the oppositions in both gubernatorial and State Assembly elections, will be a point of interest.
Finally, the elections still underway is likely to provoke surprises, just like Presidential. The shockers and surprises being experienced today in our political space is a good development. They will definitely help in shaping and improving our democracy, attract good governance, which results to rapid development. The public and people benefit more from this and better for it!
Balogun is the Deputy Editor, The Eagleonline Newspaper. E-mail: email@example.com; Twitter: firstname.lastname@example.org