Nigeria: 6 Days to Rescheduled Polls – Tension as Infighting in APC, PDP Escalates

….Uncertainty in Ogun, Bauchi, Abia, Enugu, Oyo, Rivers, Edo, Katsina, Ekiti, Benue, others

Less than six days to the rescheduled governorship election, the prospects of leading political parties in some states seem to be hanging in the balance owing to infighting.

The situation, which has polarised the parties into different factions, is poised to make them participate in the contest with a divided house.

Findings by Sunday Vanguard across the states showed that All Progressives Congress, APC, and Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, are the worst hit as some of their stalwarts were found to be supporting candidates other than their governorship hopefuls.

Internal squabbles are also an issue in some state chapters of Labour Party,LP, where some of its candidates seem to have entered into what was described as questionable alliances with APC and PDP, leading to intra-party rumbles.

Sunday Vanguard learned that while some of the controversies predated this electioneering period, the majority are fallouts of party primaries.

The failure of the political groups at addressing grievances arising from primaries largely culminated in a tense atmosphere among members. Several people in both parties were left disenchanted.

It was further gathered that the matter led some into defecting while those who opted to remain, did so simply to work against their parties.

Grievances

This is the case in Ogun, Bauchi, Abia, Enugu, Oyo, Rivers, Edo, Katsina, Ekiti, Delta, Kwara and Benue states.

The two major parties in the states taking part in Saturday’s election are sharply divided, with many chieftains in a vengeful mood.

In the identified places, multiple party sources told Sunday Vanguard that they were poised to “deal with” their various national bodies for failing to address their grievances.

Some of the issues found to have led to the charged intra-party affairs ahead of the poll include alleged imposition of candidates by outgoing governors, unresolved crises arising from ward, local government and state congresses, lingering party executive crisis, unresolved supremacy battle between state governors and party chieftains and alleged financial inducement of state party leaders for political support among others.

Last-minute

Sunday Vanguard learned that barring any late-minute change of mind, APC and PDP members in these states may likely work against their parties this Saturday.

A breakdown of the findings by our correspondents showed that members’ loyalties have been split along different camps headed by party leaders.

The divided allegiances may shape the voting pattern on election day.

OGUN: In Ogun, it is Ibikunle Amosun Vs Governor Dapo Abiodun, APC Vs APC. The former governor and his supporters are openly opposed to the incumbent’s re-election. They are backing the governorship candidate of the African Democratic Congress, ADC, Biyi Otegbeye, who hails from Ilaro in Ogun West Senatorial District. A faction of APC would be voting against their party’s candidate.

BAUCHI: Former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, is locked in a battle with Governor Bala Mohammed in Bauchi. PDP Vs PDP.

The former Speaker, who was among the governor’s supporters in 2019, has turned around to back APC candidate, Sadiq Abubakar. He endorsed the retired Air Marshall and also urged his supporters in PDP to vote against Governor Mohammed, his fellow member.

He asked the people to “toe the path of honour” by voting out the governor from office.

ABIA: A former governor of Abia State, Sen Orji Kalu, is supporting his brother, Chief Mascot Kalu, who is the gubernatorial candidate of African Peoples Party, APP, for Abia governorship. The battle is between APP and APC.

Kanu recently said he wouldn’t endorse another person when his brother is contesting in the election.

The governorship contest is between candidates of the three major parties in the state, namely PDP’s Okechukwu Ahaiwe, Alex Otti of LP and Ikechi Emenike of APC.

Kalu was also quoted as saying Emenike would not enjoy his support for not consulting him, Kalu, about his plans.

ENUGU: Ex-governor Chimaroke Nnamani who was expelled by PDP in Enugu, is leading a faction that opposed the party’s presidential candidate, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar. It is PDP Vs PDP in Enugu State. The former governor supported APC’s Bola Tinubu in the presidential election.

OYO: The tension in Oyo PDP is unrivalled. Given that party members voted against PDP during the presidential election, many fear a repeat in the governorship poll. One factor that has some level of certainty is the likelihood of Atiku’s supporters voting against Makinde.

Party leaders like a former Minister of State Federal Capital Territory, Jumoke Akinjide, and ex-Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Wole Oyelese, former Oyo Deputy Governor, Hazeem Gbolarumi, and Director Special Duty, PDP Presidential Campaign Council, Femi Babalola among others, may not be voting for the governor. Therefore, it is Makinde Vs Atiku men in Oyo.

RIVERS: In Wike’s Rivers, the battle line is already drawn. Having openly worked against his party, PDP, in the presidential election, many doubt if PDP leaders in the state would support his candidate, Siminalayi Fubara.

The Rivers State governor is known to have engaged in anti-party activities.

Apart from the harassment of Rivers PDP elders and their supporters, who are sympathetic to Atiku, Wike’s action alienated many party faithful. The PDP is going into the governorship contest without the backing of many party elders, who are known to have grassroots influence. Support for Wike’s candidate is unlikely as the PDP is divided against itself in Port Harcourt.

It is Wike Vs Atiku men in Rivers.

EDO: Edo PDP has been fictionalised into two camps for a long time. One of the divisions is loyal to Governor Godwin Obaseki while a former state chairman, Dan Orbih, leads another group.

The Orbih group, which is known as the old block, fell out with the governor’s group shortly after Obaseki’s re-election, leading to court cases over many party issues. These diverse tendencies are already defining the voting pattern in the state. It is PDP Vs PDP.

KATSINA: If events in Katsina State PDP are anything to go by, the party would be up against itself. The bitterness arising from the emergence of Yakubu Danmarke as PDP governorship candidate may not go away anytime soon.

Earlier in the week, a faction of the party dragged Danmarke and 10 others before a Katsina High Court over alleged N1.05bn election logistics funds.

Others joined as respondents include the state deputy gubernatorial candidate, Aminu Ahmed Yar’dua, state chairman of the Lado faction, Lawal Danbaci, and state Director General of the Atiku/Lado Campaign, Dr. Mustapha Inuwa among others

In Katsina, PDP has two factions with each claiming the leadership of the party. What is happening is between PDP and PDP.

OTHERS:

Fayose and pro-Atiku forces are set for a battle in Ekiti. The situation in Delta is dicey irrespective of the blessing a former governor of the state, James Ibori, earlier gave to Sheriff Oborevwori, candidate of the PDP. There are insinuations that Ibori men may likely join forces with APC candidate, Omo-Age. As things stand, it is PDP Vs PDP in Delta.

There is a likelihood that supporters of Governor Abdulrahaman Abdulrazaq may be dragging it out with Lai Mohammed forces in Kwara. It is APC Vs APC.

In Governor Sam Ortom’s Benue, PDP faces an uncertain future. The governor’s men have the Ayu sympathizers to contend with, making Saturday’s battle PDP Vs PDP.

Like Wike, Ortom didn’t work for his party’s presidential candidate, a development largely considered anti-party. As the governorship election holds, many fear his failure to support PDP in the presidential poll may rub off on his candidate, Paul Angya.

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