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Gov poll: It’s D-day

Posted: Apr 11, 2015 at 7:22 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

By Augustine Adah and Williams Igenegbai, Lagos

As Nigerians go to the poll to elect governors and House of Assembly members today, there are fears that the contest would be more intense than the presidential election held on March 28.

Jega: Another litmus test

Jega: Another litmus test

The All Progressives Congress (APC), would be pulling strings to ensure it continues with its winning streak while the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), which had held meetings to re-strategise, would be aiming to recover some lost grounds.

Commentators have, therefore, ex pressed anxiety over the conduct of the poll.

Nigeria’s electoral system, which has been hailed in the international community as credible and an improvement on past exercises, will come up for another trial today.

Chairman of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Attahiru Jega, will also been on trial again.

The outcome of the presidential and National Assembly poll on March 28 has been so overwhelming that a number of critics have overlooked the obvious lapses in the conduct of the poll.

Clear logistical inadequacies were recorded in a number of places where elections continued far into the night, or were postponed outright to the next day.

In some states, the exercise was put off altogether and would now be held today.

Perhaps, the most embarrassing lapse recorded in the exercise was the failure of the card readers to authenticate registered voters and their permanent voter cards (PVC).

Despite the hiccups arising from the failure of the card readers, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) insisted on Monday that it must be used for today’s poll.

But Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) and rights advocate, Femi Falana, advised that the insistence of INEC should be based on clear guarantees that the card readers would be adequately available and would work accurately.

He said assurance from INEC would ensure that no voter was prevented from voting for reasons that were not of their making.

According to Falana, “the directive of INEC should be anchored on the availability and functionality of the card readers.”

This was also the position taken by National Chairman of African Democratic Congress (ADC), Chief Ralph Okey Nwosu, and leader of the National Conscience Party (NCP), Tanko Yunusa.

Nwosu and Yunusa expressed anxiety over the repeated failure of the card readers in various places in the last poll, noting that a recurrence of such hitches could lead to restiveness by voters and party supporters.

They called on the electoral body to take a proper look at the mechanism and ensure it was in order before the April 11 poll.

Secretary of the Commission, Mrs. Augusta Ogakwu, had said that the provision of the guidelines for the conduct of the 2015 general elections which outlined what is to be done if a card reader fails and cannot be replaced by the Commission within a specified time frame (i.e. to reschedule the election to the next day) will be enforced.

Reacting to the development, the Conference of Nigerian Political Parties (CNPP), commended the Commission for insisting on the use of card readers noting that it would reduce rigging.

In a statement signed by its National Publicity Secretary, Osita Okechukwu said: “We salute the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for insisting on the imperative of the use of the card reader for the 11th April gubernatorial and House of Assembly election.

Also, constitutional law expert, Itse Sagay, observed that the use of the card readers was a necessity to eliminate or minimise electoral fraud, noting that only poll riggers were averse to its use.

There are indications that the performance of Nigeria’s ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the governorship poll today may not change much.

Indeed, feelers from the states point to an improvement in the fortunes of APC.

This is because its victory in the presidential election has since set afoot a swirl of defections from the PDP.

Regardless, the PDP is expected to maintain a lead in its traditional strongholds such as Bayelsa, Cross River, Enugu and Abia states.

Going by recent developments, it would seem that although the PDP would very likely win in states such as Akwa Ibom, Rivers, and Ebonyi, the APC is expected to put up gallant opposition, which could threaten the balance of power in these states.

In Lagos where the PDP has a governorship candidate who has got so much on his side, the voting could swing anywhere between the PDP and the ruling APC.

The chances of the PDP in the three states and FCT it won in the North, only Plateau appears even brighter.

Reports indicate that the party has stepped up action to ensure victory in the face of very intense challenge from the APC.

The North, including Bauchi – where the APC swept all the NASS seats in the March 28 poll – is expected to largely repeat the voting pattern.

Unfortunately, key PDP states like Benue and Kwara have now moved to the APC and are expected to vote according to the pattern demonstrated in the presidential election.

At present, the PDP controls 22 sates, the APC 14. In the North-East, it controls Adamawa, Bauchi, Gombe and Taraba while the APC hold forte in Borno and Yobe.

In the North-West, PDP is in charge in Kaduna, Katsina, Kebbi, and Jigawa while the APC controls Kano, Zamfara and Sokoto states.

In North Central the PDP leads the government of Plateau, Benue, Kogi, and Niger while APC holds sway in Kwara and Nasarawa.

In the South-West, PDP is in charge of Ekiti and Ondo states while APC controls the remaining four: Lagos, Ogun, Oyo, and Osun.

In the South-South the PDP heads the governments of Delta, Cross River, Bayelsa, Akwa Ibom states while APC governors are in charge in Edo and Rivers states.

In the South-East, PDP controls the government of Abia, Enugu, and Ebonyi states while APC controls Imo State. Anambra state is led by the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA).

In the presidential election PDP won in only Taraba, Plateau, Nasarawa, and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, in the North.

While it won in the entire South-South and South-East, it got only Ekiti State in the South-West.

Though, the PDP appears capable of winning again in the South-South and South-East, its only hope in the South-West is Lagos State.

There would be no governorship election in Anambra, Bayelsa, Edo, Ekiti, Osun and Ondo states – all in the South – and Kogi in the North.

Indeed, some states that supported the PDP in 2011 presidential election opted for the APC.

Lagos State gave 1, 281, 688 votes to Jonathan in 2011 and was expected to support the PDP candidate again in 2015. This, however, did not happen. Jonathan gained only 632, 327 votes in Lagos while Buhari polled 792, 460.

In 2011, Plateau State chose Jonathan (1, 029, 865); in 2015, votes were split almost equally between Jonathan and Buhari. Still, Jonathan’s share of vote was somewhat higher – 549, 615 votes.

In 2011 and 2015, Goodluck Jonathan was largely supported in Abia and Anambra states.

In 2011, Abia gave Jonathan 1, 175,954 votes (as opposed to Buhari’s 3, 608), Anambra – 1,145,169 votes (as opposed to Buhari’s 4,223).

In 2015, Jonathan gathered 368,303 votes in Abia (as opposed to Buhari’s 13,394), and 660,762 votes in Anambra as opposed to Buhari’s 17,926).

On the contrary, Adamawa, Ogun and Kogi states, PDP states in 2011, noticeably shifted their focus to Buhari.

29 states will produce new governors from today’s poll but seven states would only conduct the house of assembly election.

The governorship elections in these states will come up at different times.

The scenario of scattered elections in the country came as a result of legal tussle over governorship elections in the states affected.

States where election would hold today.

In Abia State, the battle for government house will be between the candidate of PDP, Okezie Ikpeazu, and that of APGA, Dr. Alex Otti.

This is because these are the two dominant political parties in the South East zone of the country.

This, however, is not to say that other political parties like APC cannot spring surprise, considering its success at the just concluded presidential election.

In Adamawa State, the former crime fighter, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, of the PDP will slug it out with Mohammed Umar Jibrilla, while in Akwa Ibom State the battle will be between Emmanuel Udom of PDP and Umana Okon Umana of the APC.

In Bauchi State, Mohammed Abdullahi Abubakar of APC will lock horns with Hon. Jatau Mohammed Auwal of the PDP. Benue will have Ortom Samuel Ioraer of APC facing Hon. Terhemen Tarzoor of the PDP.

In Borno, major contestants are, Kashim Shettima of APC and Mohammed Alkali Imam of the PDP, while in Cross River, Ayade Benedict of PDP will face Odey Anthony Ochicha of the APC.

In Delta, the battle will be between Oghenetega Emerhor of the APC and Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa of the PDP. Great Ovedje Ogboru of the Labour Party is also a strong contestant in the state.

In Ebonyi, the contest will be between Nweze David Umahi of the PDP and Agbo Anthony Udumah of APGA.

In Enugu, Chukwuka Ugwu of APGA will face Uguanyi Ifeanyi Lawrence of the PDP.

In Gombe, the incumbent governor, Ibrahim Dankwanbo, of the PDP will battle Mohammed Inuwa Yahaya of the APC.

Imo will have Capt. Iheanacho Emmanuel of APGA doing battle with the incumbent, Owelle Rochas Okocha of APC and Hon. Chukwuemeka Nkem Ihedioha of the PDP.

Jigawa will have Mohammed Badaru Abubakar of APC squaring up with Mallam Aminu Ibrahim Ringim of the PDP while in Kaduna Nasir el-Rufai of APC will face the incumbent Muktar Yero of the PDP.

In Kano, Abdullahi Umar Ganduje of APC will tackle Salihu Mohammed Sagir of PDP, while in Katsina, Aminu Bello Masari of APC and Musa Massuni of PDP will do the battle.

In Kebbi State, Abubakar Atiku Bagudu and Bello Sarkin Yaki will fight it out for APC and PDP respectively. The contest in Kwara will be between the incumbent, Abdulfattah Ahmed of APC and Senator Simeon Sule Ajibola of PDP.

The battle in Lagos promises to be an epic one between Akinwumi Dapo Ambode of APC and Joseph Olujimi Agbaje of PDP.

In Nassarawa, the incumbent, Umar Tanko Al-Makura of APC will do battle with Yusuf Mohammed Agabi of PDP.

Abubakar Sani Bello of APC and Umar Mohammed Nasko of PDP will do battle in Niger State.

In Ogun State, the incumbent, Ibikunle Amosun of APC will face Adegboyega Isiaka of PDP.

Kamar Akin-Odunsi of Social Democratic Party (SDP) is also a strong contender.

Oyo has the incumbent, Abiola Ajimobi of APC, Teslim Folarin of PDP, former governors Rashid Ladoja of Accord Party and Christopher Alao Akala of Labour Party in today’s battle.

Plateau State will have Hon. Simon Lalong of APC and Senator Gyang Pwajok of PDP slugging it out, while in Rivers, it will be between Dakuku Peterside of APC and Nyesom Wike of PDP.

In Sokoto State, House of Representatives Speaker, Aminu Tambuwal of APC will face Senator Abdalla Wali of PDP, while in Taraba, Senator Aisha Jumai Alhassan of APC and Darius Dickson Isiaku of PDP will do battle.

Yobe will see incumbent Ibrahim Gaidam of APC and Adamu Maina Waziri in the contest.

In Zamfara, AbdulAzeez Yeri of APC and Mahmud Shinkafi of PDP will do the electoral battle.

States where elections would not hold today are Anambra, Bayelsa, Edo, Ekiti, Kogi, Ondo and Osun.


The incumbent governor, Willie Obiano, was sworn in March 2014, after the expiration of the tenure of former governor, Peter Obi.

The election that brought Obiano to office was conducted in November 2013.

The next governorship election in the state will be in 2017.


The Governor of Bayelsa State, Hon. Seriake Dickson, was sworn in February, 2012, after securing victory at the governorship poll as ordered by the Supreme Court.

For this reason, the next governorship election in the state is expected to hold later in the year or in January, 2016.


Following the Court of Appeal’s judgment that upheld the decision of Edo State Election Petition Tribunal that earlier declared Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, candidate of the then Action Congress (AC), as the winner of the 2007 governorship election in the state, the then governor, Prof. Oserheimen Osunbor, who was the candidate of PDP vacated the position and Oshiomhole took over as governor in November, 2008.

Oshiomhole also won the governorship election for second term in 2012 and will complete his second term in office in 2016.


The next governorship election in Ekiti State would hold in 2018 when the incumbent governor, Ayodele Fayose, who was elected on June 21, 2014, will complete his four-year tenure in office.


The governor of Kogi State, Idris Wada, was sworn in January 27, 2012 following the Supreme Court ruling that sacked five governors from office, including the then governor of the state, Ibrahim Idris.  ImmediatelyWada was sworn in having won the governorship elections conducted on December 3, 2011.

The next governorship election in the state has been fixed for December 2015.


Governor Olusegun Mimiko will complete his second term in office in 2016.


Like its Ekiti State counterpart, the Governor of Osun State, Ogbeni  Rauf Aregbesola, who got the second term mandate last year is expected to be in the saddle till 2018.