Will PDP improve on its gubernatorial rating in 2019? The opposition is doing its calculations in virtually all the states. How does the game add up for PDP? In this peep, Yusuf ALLI, Musa ODOSHIMOKE, Lagos, Oseheye OKWUOFU, Ibadan, Abdulfatah ALABELEWE, Kaduna, Bisi OLANIYI, Port Harcourt, Chris OJI, Enugu, Ogochukwu ANIOKE, Abakaliki, Kolade ADEYEMI, Kano, Nicholas KANU, Calabar and Justina ASISHANA,Minna review the intrigues in some states,the contenders and the pretenders.
NOTHING underscores the challenge of picking PDP governorship candidate than the emergency shuttle of the President of the Senate, Dr. Bukola Saraki, to Kwara State on Monday night where he held a closed door session with all the aspirants. So far, none of the aspirants is ready to step down for the September 30 (tomorrow’s) battle.
The aspirants include the following: ex-Governor Mohammed Sha’aba Lafiagi; ex-Minister of Sports, Bolaji Abdullahi; ex-Minister of National Planning, Prof. Abubakar Olanrewaju Suleiman; a ranking member of the House of Representatives, Alh. Zakary Mohammed; the Speaker of the Kwara State House of Assembly, Dr. Ali Ahmad; a former Commissioner for Finance, Hon. Razaq Atunwa; a former Attorney- General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Saka Isau(SAN); and a member of the House of Representatives, Hon. Ahman Pategi Aliyu; a Secretary in the FCT, Mr. Ladi Hassan and Ibrahim Ajia, who was a former Aide-de-Camp to ex-President of the Senate Anyim Pius Anyim.
Saraki has five challenges confronting him namely: he is haunted by his pledge to allow transparency in the primaries and the need to walk the talk; his promise to give a sense of belonging to Kwara Central, Kwara South and Kwara North Senatorial districts; most of the aspirants are his core loyalists; and whether or not to gamble between Kwara Central (which held the governorship mantle in the state from 1999 to 2011) and Kwara North which has not tasted the power since 1993; Naturally, it ought to be the turn of Kwara North but the political permutations in APC will largely determine the beacon of Saraki and PDP in the state. Saraki is uncertain of the joker of the APC on where the ruling party at the centre will pick its candidate.
If APC concedes the ticket to Kwara Central, he will have no choice than to take the battle to the same district to the ruling party. But PDP runs the risk of losing Kwara North(where President Muhammadu Buhari is popular) and Kwara South which Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed cannot deliver to him.
In Katsina State, Sen. Garba Yakubu Lado has been unanimously endorsed by all the stakeholders in the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP).
Lado is a veteran in governorship race having contested for the same position on the platforms of the defunct Congress for Progressives Change (CPC) and the Peoples Democratic Movement(PDM). He is from the same Katsina South with the incumbent APC Governor Aminu Masari. While Masari is from Karfur Local Government Area, Lado is from Kankara in Kankara LGA. Lado faces a straightforward “family” battle with Masari because he has always been an ardent loyalist of President Muhammadu Buhari until when he dumped CPC for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
The deliberate choice of Lado by PDP was designed to make the race tougher in Katsina because the candidate is a man of the grassroots having been a local government chairman, a member of the House of Representatives and a Senator. Apart from the incumbency factor, Masari might have a smooth sail back to power because of the influence of President Muhammadu Buhari.
Out of the 30 governorship aspirants of the PDP in the North-East, Gombe is topping the chart with 13 aspirants who are eager to succeed Governor Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo who has succeeded in sustaining the high standards he inherited from his predecessor, Sen. Danjuma Goje.
Those in the race include a former Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Sen.Bayero Nafada(who is said to have a secret pact with the governor);the Managing Director of the Tinka Point Limited, Bala Tinka who was the convener of the ‘’Talba Neighbor 2 Neighbor’’ which worked for the re-election of Dankwambo in 2015despite the formidability of APC; the state Commissioner for Finance, Hassan Muhammadu; the Commissioner for Local Government, Alhaji Ahmad Abubakar Walama; the Chief of Staff to the Governor, Alhaji Ahmed Yayari, Senator Haruna Garba; Ambassador Haruna Garba; Alhaji Jamilu Isyaku Gwamna (who is the Managing Director of the Kano Electricity Distribution Company (KEDCO).
With a united APC in the state, it will be extremely difficult for PDP to sustain its 15-year old winning streak after the tenure of Dankwambo. The leader, who holds the aces in Gombe, is Sen. Danjuma Goje. He is anxiously waiting to dislodge PDP by installing his loyalist as the next governor of the state.
Although Dankwmabo will have substantial say on who will get the PDP ticket, the manner in which he plays his politics will determine the success of his party. Gombe State is a politically slippery environment where zoning plays a key role.
The refusal of Governor Jibrilla Bindow to defect from APC to PDP has left ex-VP Atiku Abubakar with a wild card to call the shots and prop up his banker son-in-law, Adamu Modibbo which may not translate to a victory for the opposition party.
Those who might give Atiku a headache are a former Acting Governor of Adamawa State, Ahmed Fintiri, who has been funding PDP before Atiku and others defected; Barrister Ahmed Aliyu; Jamilu Waziri, who was a former protocol officer to ex-President Goodluck Jonathan; Saad M. T. Tahir(ex- Deputy Governor) and ex-Governor James Bala Ngilari. The imposing attitude of Atiku might affect intra-party cohesion and PDP may end up not making significant gubernatorial impact in a heterogeneous state like Adamawa.
Going by the negotiation which heralded his defection from APC to PDP, the main governorship aspirant to beat in Benue State is Governor Samuel Ortom. Investigation confirmed that Ortom’s return to PDP was a “wholesale” deal by the National Secretariat of the party because of what is termed as his “high electoral asset.”
Notwithstanding, there are five others struggling for the ticket with him including a former Director-General of NAFDAC, Dr. Paul Orhii; Prof. TorIorapuu; Gabriel Nyitse; Felix Atume; David Iorhemba, and John Tondo.
Wherever the pendulum swings, the obvious part of the race is that PDP’s ticket will certainly go to a Tiv candidate like the case with APC in view of the huge voting strength of the tribe.
In Bauchi, the PDP is managing to find its bearing because of the cult followership which President Buhari enjoys in the state. The only notable coalition by PDP leaders is alleged gang up against Governor Mohammed Abubakar who has remained unperturbed.
According to the Chairman of the North-East Screening Committee of PDP, Mr. John Mathew, only four aspirants had been screened in Bauchi State but only three had been prominent. The aspirants are a former Minister of FCT, Bala Mohammed; a former Majority Leader in the House of Representatives, Abdul Ningi; Sen. Ibrahim Gumba; The plot to outwit each other by power brokers in Bauchi PDP may be the undoing of the party. There are many vested interests that are unprepared for political rapprochement.
The scramble for the slot is between Bauchi South Senatorial District and Bauchi Central Senatorial District. The incumbent APC governor, Bala and Gumba are from Bauchi South. But Ningi is from Bauchi Central. It will be politically fatal for PDP to pick its candidate from Bauchi Central in derision of the exiting power rotation agreement in the state which allows each district to spend two terms in office.
By the power sharing formula of the PDP, Governor Emmanuel Udom of Akwa Ibom State enjoys the Right of First Refusal. Since he is interested in a second term ticket, he is the automatic candidate of the party. The hurdles against the governor are his estranged political relationship with his erstwhile godfather, Sen. Godswill Akpabio; the new coalition in APC which looks like a Tsunami; and his inexperience in politics. If Udom wins, he would have nailed the coffins of godfathers in the state. How he will wriggle out of this self-inflicted political problem is a riddle to be solved in 2019.
It is a Southern affair in Plateau State PDP and it could be anybody’s chance. The party, like the APC, has zoned its governorship slot to Plateau South Senatorial District and it is unsurprising that all the 13 leaders aspiring to occupy the Government House in Rayfield in Jos are from the Southern part.
They include the aged formerFCT Minister, Sen. Jeremiah Useni; Brig-Gen. Gently M. Gambo; Arc. Samuel Jatau; Hon. Exedos Pennam; and Engr. Jimmy Cheto. Others are Rt. Hon. Daika George; Hon. Johnbull Shakarau; Mr. Yitman Maimako; Mr. Sam Abashe; Dr. Godfrey Bawa; Hon. Kemi Nshe; Sen. Victor Lar and Engr. Ibrahim Ponyah.
The joker of the outgoing Governor Umaru Tanko Al-Makura in ceding the APC governorship ticket to Nasarawa North Senatorial District has left the PDP stranded with no campaign issue. Al-Makura opted to create a sense of belonging for all groups in the state and if his formula works, it will be the first time that power will shift to the North in the state.
The PDP, which also opted for Nasarawa North to pick its governorship candidate, boasts of the following aspirants: ex- Deputy Governor Solomon Ewuga; Sen. Philip Gyunka; Hon. David Ombugadu; Sen. Patricia Akwashiki and Hon. Dameshi Luka. Except for ex-Governor Abdullahi Adamu who is opposed to the emergence of APC candidate from Nasarawa North, the consensus in the state appears to be in favour of the neglected North.
Being a volatile state with many ethnic groups, only power shift to Nasarawa North can address the security and disunity challenges facing the state.
If there is any state where PDP is battle ready for governorship race, it is Zamfara State where the stakeholders came together to endorse former member of the House of Representatives, Bello Muhammad (Matawallen-Maradun) as the party’s governorship candidate. Although it was not easy pleading with another aspirant, Sahabi Ya’u, to step down, the interest of the party was larger than other consideration.
With the ongoing re-strategizing of PDP in Zamfara by a former National Security Adviser, Gen. Aliyu Gusau(rtd) and other elders, the APC will have to look for a credible candidate against PDP’s choice. Since 1998, beginning with the defunct United Nigeria Congress Party (UNCP), Bello had won elections into the National Assembly. Apart from serving as a commissioner in many ministries in Zamfara State, the PDP candidate was in the House of Representatives from 2003 to 2011.
In Jigawa State, some foxes in APC are now realigning with their old folks in PDP against Governor Abubakar Badaru . Leading the pack of PDP aspirants is Ibrahim Aminu Ringim, who was the gubernatorial candidate of the party in 2015.
Others, who have obtained the governorship nomination form, are the first Civiilian Governor of the state, Barrister Ali Sa’adu Birnin-Kudu; Useini Namadi; Danladi Auyo and Tijjani Ibrahim Kwiya whose posters are everywhere in the state.
The Lagos State Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) may not go into its governorship primary with more than two aspirants. As at now, the aspirants jostling for the ticket of the party are Mr. Deji Doherty and Mr. Jimi Agbaje.
Though, the news was recently circulated that billionaire businessman Femi Otedola was in the race, this he had refuted. Doherty and Agbaje are not new in contesting for the governorship of the state; the only person who came close to testing his popularity is among the electorate is Agbaje. He was the standard bearer of the PDP in the 2015 election which was won by the Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The PDP has not been able to win the governorship election in Lagos State, even when it was in control at the centre. The PDP is aware that it must present a formidable candidate to slug it out with the candidate of the APC in 2019. That is why, in deciding who picks the party’s ticket at the shadow polls, the candidate must be well grounded for the position.
As part of the preparations to ensure victory for the party in 2019, its leadership is closing ranks in order to ensure victory for the party in next month primary. The fortune of the party was recently deflated when the former Lagos State PDP chairman Chief Moshood Salvador defectef to the APC with thousands of his followers. The party is still battling to fill the wide gap.
It’s a straight fight between Makinde,Adeseun Businessman and philanthropist, Engineer Oluwaseyi Makinde and Senator Ayoade Adeseun are the gladiators in the Oyo state Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship primary tomorrow.
Makinde is from Ibadan while Adeseun in from Ogbomoso. Makinde is not new to the governorship race having previously bid for the PDP ticket in 2015 and lost. He soon switched allegiance to the Social Democratic Party (SDP) on which platform he contested the governorship election only to lose to incumbent governor Abiola Ajimobi. He returned to the PDP in 2017 at the invitation of the then caretaker national chairman of the party,Senator Ahmed Makarfi,spending his time and resources to rebuild the party ahead of the 2019 elections.
His efforts have endeared him to many party supporters who are rooting for him to go all the way. His popularity and grip on the PDP structure seemed to have forced former governor Rashidi Ladoja and his supporters out of the PDP to join the African Democratic Congress (ADC). His opponent, Adeseun ,is not a push over either.
He has been chairman , Surulere Local Government, pioneer chairman of All People’s Party (APP) in the state, member House of Representatives elected on the platform of PDP and senator elected on the platform of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) before rejoining PDP ahead of the 2019 polls.
But the odds seem to be overwhelmingly in favour of Makinde who many party supporters adore for his generosity. The fact that majority of the votes will be coming from Ibadanland which controls close to half of the 33 local government areas of the state is a factor in deciding who,between the two, will fly the PDP ticket.
A former governor and an array of ex-commissioners and legislators.That is the line up for the Kaduna State PDP governorship primary tomorrow. Immediate past governor Ramallan Yero is slugging it out with former NEMA Director General, Sani Sidi, Dr. Mohammed Sani Bello, Sen. Suleiman Hunkuyi, former House of Representatives member, Isah Ashiru, Mohammed Kadade, Bello Kagarko, Jonathan Kish Adamu, Shuaibu Mikati, Ibrahim Dauda and Mohammed Sani. Of the lot,Yero,Sani Bello and Isah Ashiru appear to be the top three aspirants. Bello is a former Commissioner for Science and Technology and former financial controller at the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). Party chieftains are well disposed to him for sustaining the party since it lost power in 2015.
The party chiefs, according to sources,are not happy that many of the other aspirants were not there for the PDP when it needed them most in the aftermath of the last elections. They said it was only Bello that put his resources at the disposal of the party and ensured that the party did not go under. He is regarded as the godson of former governor of the state,Senator Ahmed Makarfi,who remains immensely popular in the state and is also a presidential aspirant.
Ashiru is a grassroots mobiliser and former member of the House of Representatives. He also enjoys the support of notable party bigwigs, including the longest serving chairman of the party in the state, Alhaji Audi Yero Makama. He had defected to the APC and only rejoined the PDP recently.
Some party members believe he can hold his own against Governor Nasiru el Rufai and that but for the support of President Muhammadu Buhari in the run-up to the 2015 elections he would have defeated el Rufai in the APC primary. Jonathan Kish Adamu is the only PDP aspirant from southern Kaduna state. Alhaji Shuaibu Idris Mikati, is a business mogul and perennial aspirant. Senator Suleiman Othman Hunkuyi, who recently defected from the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC),is another perennial aspirant. He said he joined the PDP for the purpose of kicking Governor El-Rufai out of Government house.
Things are not looking good for the PDP in Kano state ahead of the primary. On the one hand is the struggle for the soul of the party by the Kwankwasiyya Movement, headed by a former Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Rabi’u Suleiman Bichi, and the embattled leadership of Senator Masaud El- Jubrin Doguwa, which was purportedly dissolved by the party’s national chairman, Prince Uche Secondus. There is also the nomination of Abba Kabir Yusuf by his father in law and PDP leader in the state ,Dr.Rabiu Kwankwaso who recently defected from the APC.
He was handed 51 percent of the party leadership structure in the state by the national leadership, to the chagrin of other party stakeholders, including former Minister of Education, Malam Ibrahim Shekarau. Shekarau has since defected to the APC in protest. Many PDP supporters are opposed to Yusuf’s choice, saying he can’t win the state for the party. Professor Hafiz Abubakar who resigned as deputy governor last month and joined Kwankwaso in the PDP seems to have been left to his fate after picking his own nomination form for the PDP governorship race. Alhaji Sagir Salihu Takai,a former ally of Shekarau who decided to pitch his tent with Kwankwaso has also abandoned the Kwankwassiyya group having refused to succumb to pressure from Kwankwaso to forget the governorship ticket and instead gun for a senatorial ticket. Takai has already been screened by the PDP for the governorship race.
Another political heavyweight who has picked the gubernatorial form and screened is Alhaji Al-Amin Ibrahim Little,an associate of former Vice President Atiku Abubakar. He has been nursing the ambition to govern Kano since 2003. He is regarded as Atiku’s eye in Kano and is mobilizing support for the former VP ahead of the PDP presidential primary. Also in the race are Sadiq Wali, son of the former Permanent Representative of Nigeria at the United Nations, Ambassador Aminu Wali and Jafar Sani Bello, a young breed politician who has served PDP in Kano in several capacities. Sources said some of the aspirants are trying to forge a common front to defeat Yusuf.
The Nation gathered from reliable PDP sources that Sadiq Wali, Jafar Bello and Sagir Takai met for several hours last Tuesday working out how to come up with a consensus candidate that would confront and defeat Kabir Abba Yusuf. They are yet to make their decision public.
Ibeshi, Udayi to challenge Ayade Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River State will have a former National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Emmanuel Ibeshi, and a real estate developer,Paul Udayi to contend with in the party primary. The three men are from the northern senatorial district of the state.
Some party members are reportedly unhappy with the governor for allegedly neglecting them since his assumption of office. They fear that the PDP will be taking a risk by fielding him in next year’s election. But Ayade has maintained his hold on the party structure and remains the aspirant to beat in the primary.
Locked in the battle for the Borno PDP governorship ticket are Alhaji Mohammed Wakil who doubles as the state co-ordinator of the Bukola Saraki presidential campaign organization, and a former chairman of Maiduguri Metropolitan Council, Mohammed Imam. Political observers in the state consider the two not formidable enough to pose much threat to the APC and even say the PDP could be waiting in the wings to cash in on any possible disagreement that may erupt in the APC during its own governorship primary by offering aggrieved aspirants a chance to try their luck in the PDP.
In it also a two -way affair in neighbouring Yobe State where two former ambassadors are gunning for the PDP ticket. They are Alhaji Umar Illya Damagum, former ambassador to Romania and Alhaji Umar El- Gash, former ambassador to Pakistan.VParty sources said Damagum stands a better chance to clinch the ticket having previously served as partysecretary for over five years and seems to have mastered the terrain. One of the sources said the non-participation of serial contestant,Adamu Waziri, is also a good omen for Damagum.
Five aspirants are contesting the PDP governorship ticket in Niger State with Nigeria’s immediate past High Commissioner in South Africa,Mr.Ahmed Musa Ibeto on top of the list. Contending the ticket with him are: the party’s governorship candidate in 2015, Umar Nasko, prominent Minna hotelier Umar Ahmed, Engineer Aminu Bakar and Engineer Hannafi Sudan.
Party sources told The Nation that it will be a straight battle between Ibeto who recently rejoined the PDP from the APC, and Umar Nasko. According to the sources, Ibeto would not have left his ambassadorial position and ditched the APC if he was not sure of clinching the ticket of PDP based on assurances from PDP kingmakers. But they also conceded that Nasko could spring a surprise as he is well respected in the party for his steadfastness.