It has been a house divided against itself after the conduct of the presidential, governorship and legislative primaries. The ruling party is facing challenges and the number of aggrieved aspirants and stakeholders surge everyday. 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. While some are calling for the resignation of the national chairman of the party, Adams Oshiomhole, other party members abandoned the part to seek re-election in other parties. With this development, political analysts quoted by Daily Trust, assert that the ruling party may lose some states it currently holds to the opposition parties unless it is able to successfully reconcile the aggrieved members. Below are the listed states.
1. Oyo state There is a likelihood that Governor Abiola Ajimobi may scuttle chances in Oyo state. The state also failed to manage the primary elections well and this has left to the exit of some key members of the party, a negative signal that may hamper the chances of the ruling party in 2019. The withdrawal of a former governor, 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 an 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. Also, there are speculations that Adelabu is yet to reach out to his co-contenders, reconcile with them and solicit their support. “With the towering influence of Senator Rashidi Ladoja, a former governor in the ADC which has received members of the PDP, the political sagacity of the PDP candidate, Seyi Makinde, and the ambition of Alao-Akala, the APC may lose in 2019 if it fails to embark on genuine reconciliation,” Daily Trust reports..
2. Kaduna state Politics, they say, is a game of number. Governor Nasir El-Rufai, however, does not seem to subscribe to this notion as he has tactically shown some of the key members of the party the way out. His posture has finally led to the defection of Senator Shehu Sani to the PRP and the return of Senator Suleiman Hunkuyi to the PDP. Analysts, according to the newspaper, believe that the APC may need to work extra hard to retain the governorship seat with the current strength of the PDP in Kaduna state. An analyst, Tony James, quoted by Daily Trust, said 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.
3. Benue state The ruling party has already lost Governor Samuel Ortom to the opposition PDP. Inability to manage the herdsmen crisis well and some other political miscalculations led to the exit of Governor Ortom. Nevertheless, analysts are of the opinion that the coast is still not clear for the PDP, despite Ortom’s defection. “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,” a political observer, Kenneth Eche, told Daily Trust.
4. Zamfara state The ruling APC is also facing difficult challenges as a result of the poor management of the primary elections in Zamfara state. The party is currently having a running battle with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) due to the inability 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 on-going tussle with the electoral umpire, in addition to the internal crisis, may give an edge to the opposition in the state. The obstacle to opposition victories in 2019 is only if the court grants the APC permission to participate in the elections and the party resolves its crisis on time.
5. Imo state may also be slipping out of the ruling APC due to the ongoing battle between Governor Rochas Okorocha and other party stakeholders in the state. At the moment, the party has been unable to resolve the issue of who flies the party’s flag in 2019. Governor Okorocha wanted his son-in-law, Ugwumba Uche Nwosu, to succeed him, but Senator Hope Uzodinma emerged as the party’s candidate in the controversial primary election conducted in the state. Eventually, the party had two primary elections. 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.
7. Sokoto state Like Benue state, Sokoto APC has lost the governor, Aminu Tambuwal, to the PDP, causing a shift of loyalty among APC members. With Tambuwal’s defection, 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. Daily Trust reports that the latest political development in the state will have a negative influence on the voting pattern in 2019 as Tambuwal and Wamakko have continued to exchange banters ahead of the elections. In 2019, Tambuwal will lock horns with the deputy governor, Ahmed Aliyu, who emerged the APC governorship candidate. There are speculations that the impending votes split may affect the chances of the APC.
8. Lagos state Lagos, no doubt, could be seen as the political base of the APC. The national leader of the party, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, has the state in his grip. However, current political unfolding has greatly hampered the chances of the party in Lagos state. Political observers believe that Lagos may slip out of APC control as a result of the political battle of survival and confidence which broke out between the incumbent governor, Akinwunmi Ambode and Tinubu in one hand, and the governor and the party leadership on the other hand. In the end, Ambode’s hope of earning a return ticket for the second term was dashed as one of his aides and a former commissioner, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, supported 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. Also, the candidate of the major opposition party, Jimi Agbaje, is not a push-over. He is a well-known figure and experienced politician who also has a widespread influence in Lagos state. In the 2015 general election, Governor Ambode defeated Agbaje with just 152,206 votes – the closest margin the ruling party ever recorded in the state.
9. Ogun state Ogun state is another APC controlled state that may slip out to the opposition. The gubernatorial primary election in the state is tearing the party apart. Governor Ibikunle Amosun wants Adekunle Akinlade as his successor but the party has given the ticket. 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 Muhammadu Buhari more than three times. Yet, the coast seems not clear,” Daily Trust states.
A report by The Punch alleges that Governor Amosun has perfected his defection plans and already planted his top aides in another party, DPP, who will be contesting against the candidates of the APC for various positions. As the ruling party gets caught up in this messy fight, other parties are gearing up to take over the reign of power in the state. Candidates from other parties like Gboyega Nasiru 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. 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 PDP candidate, Ladi Adebutu, are ready to oust the ruling party in 2019.