Tension in Osun, Edo, Anambra, others as govs battle to control assemblies.

by Adabanija Kamorudeen

Tension in Osun, Edo, Anambra, others as govs battle to control assemblies

Saturday’s house of assembly election is looking to be tougher in Edo, Anambra, Osun and Imo than the other 32 states, according to projections by our team of reporters.
The odds in the four states seem heavily stacked against the incumbent governors who are now under pressure to ensure their party controls the majority of the in-coming legislators.
Realignment of political forces in Oyo, Ogun, Rivers, Katsina, Adamawa and other states following the outcome of the February 25th presidential election has already heightened tension ahead of the governorship polls also scheduled for Saturday.
Although the governorship election will not take place in Edo, Anambra, Osun and Imo this weekend, Governors Godwin Obaseki (Edo), Charles Soludo (Anambra), Ademola Adeleke (Osun) and Hope Uzodimma (Imo) have an uphill task to deliver their states for their respective parties.
Obaseki’s Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Soludo’s All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) and Uzodimma’s All Progressives Congress (APC) performed poorly in the states in the presidential/National Assembly elections.
PDP’s performance was so awful in Edo State that Obaseki and his deputy, Philip Shaibu, lost their polling booths. The party came a distant third in the presidential election while the Labour party and APC won the majority of the national assembly seats.
Gone is the sympathy the PDP enjoyed from the majority of the people in the 2021 governorship election. The governor and his deputy have since launched an aggressive campaign to woo back the people but the plan does not appear to be working.
The presidential candidate of LP, Mr.Peter Obi, visited Benin yesterday and told his supporters to ensure that all the incoming 24 members of the state assembly are from his party.
Soludo too has been appealing to the electorate in his state, majority of whom lined up behind LP in the last election, to vote for APGA candidates this time around to enable him deliver on his promises.
The governor yesterday described as deceitful a comment by Obi that LP state assembly candidates should work with Soludo after Saturday’s election.
Soludo’s spokesman, Mr Christian Aburime, said: “That call was meant to deceive Anambra people. Obi cannot be talking about development in Anambra and also be talking about asking the Anambra people to elect lawmakers from an opposition party to work with Soludo.
“He worked with a legislature that was dominated by lawmakers from the PDP when he first came in as governor, and he knows that it was not easy for him.
“He even suffered impeachment because of that, and we hope it is not the same thing he wants to set Soludo up for.
“Anambra people should go all out next Saturday and vote for APGA if they want the developmental strides of Mr Governor to continue.
“You cannot be talking of development and at the same time talking of electing opposition politicians into the House of Assembly. It is not done. It is deceit.
“Anambra people supported Obi during the presidential election, and besides, Soludo refused to interfere as the people trooped out to vote for Labour Party, and that was even before Soludo made the environment conducive for people to come out and vote.
“We have voted Labour Party in the presidential election, but for the House of Assembly election, we are voting for APGA, and we want Anambra people to know so.”
Aburime told The Nation separately that the House of Assembly elections would be a different ball game altogether.
He said what the governor would not allow anyone to do is to cause problems during the election, adding that if INEC holds a free and fair election, APGA would triumph.
For Ozo Obi Ochije, one of the chieftains of APGA, the Labour Party candidates should not dream of what transpired during the presidential to repeat itself.
According to him, “Anambra State is APGA and APGA is Anambra. My problem with the LP members is that they only think straight forward without looking for other options.”
Uzodimma’s dilemma is similar to Soludo’s. He has a daunting task to get the electorate to vote for the majority of APC candidates.
Former Imo Assembly Speaker Kennedy Ibeh, who is contesting the Obowo seat for a record third time on the platform of APC will slug it out with the Labour Party candidate, Mbachu Nkechi Favour, and PDP candidate, Chika Ambrose.
He comes from a constituency where people believe strongly in equity, and on that premise, it may be a difficult task for him to survive the political chess of some leaders in the area, particularly now that LP is enjoying popularity bliss, although with the backing of Governor Uzodimma, he stands the chance of been reelected.
Another old war horse is the Deputy Speaker, Chycha Iwuanyanwu, from Nwangele state constituency. The deputy speaker is a member of APC and he is known as one of Uzodimma’s loyalists even though he has lately faced several integrity tests. He is a smart politician and stands a good chance to return if he plays his game well in his constituency.
Oru East is the governor’s zone and he has not lost his constituency to the opposition. It may not be a political miscalculation to say that the government determines who wins an election in his den. Thus the chances of the APC candidate in the local government Chigozie Nwaneri making a comeback the second tenure look bright.
In Ideato South, Johnson Duru will be facing hurdles during this election because his backbone, Rochas Okorocha, on whose back he rode to victory in 2019 is no longer there. Some of Okorocha’s loyalists are not likely to forgive him for ditching the former governor.
Adeleke’s PDP fared well in Osun State last month, but he too is leaving nothing to chance as he has spent the last one week moving from one part of the state to the other to get support for PDP candidates.
For Governor Adeleke and his predecessor, Adegboyega Oyetola of the PDP, the Saturday election will be a fresh test of their popularity.
Both are determined to win the majority of the assembly seats for their parties more so when Oyetola is looking forward to returning to office on account of the petition he filed against the last governorship election.
The election petition tribunal adjudged him winner but Adeleke has taken the matter to the Court of Appeal.
Adeleke, since his inauguration, has been trying to endear himself to the people by clearing salary and pension arrears.
Oyetola urged the people of the state to vote massively on Saturday for the candidates of the APC, saying this would go a long way to make things easy for his administration when he returns to power soon.
He said: “We want you to continue to pray for us to reclaim our mandate soon. We want our people to win in the next House of Assembly election so that no opposition will be allowed.
“We want you to know that APC is the only party that can take us to victory. This is the party that God has made for us. That is where benefits lie.
“Please, vote APC all through. If we truly want to benefit from the federal government, please, let’s elect our people to House of Assembly. These are the people that will work with us when we return to government.”
Adeleke in a broadcast explained why he needed the state assembly to be filled by PDP member.
He said: “For me to continue to serve you well, I request that you vote for the 26 House of Assembly candidates of the PDP.
“They are the team I will work with. They are very important for the implementation of the Imole agenda.
“A PDP fully controlled State Assembly is the key to more dividends of democracy.”
A civil society activist, Comrade Ayo Ologun, charged the electorate not to be swayed by politicians’ campaign of which party owns the assembly but vibrant legislative arm that will make policies and contribute to good governance.
Majority of the current members of the state assembly are from the APC, which remains very popular in the state.
Realignment in Oyo, Ogun, Rivers, Katsina, Adamawa, others
The outcome of the last presidential election has sent the political class into a frenzy ahead of this weekend’s polls, the parties and candidates desperately resorting to fresh strategies in their bids to garner advantage over their opponents in the elections.
Some of the parties are battling fresh crises stemming from disagreements over various issues.
The governorship election will not take place in Edo, Anambra, Osun, Ondo, Ekiti, Imo, Kogi and Bayelsa states.
The political realignment is more noticeable in Oyo, Ogun, Rivers, Katsina and Adamawa.
In Oyo State, for example, many politicians are engaging in open rebellion against their political parties by dumping the candidates and opting to support those of other parties.
Leading beneficiaries of the unfolding political horse-trading are Governor Seyi Makinde of PDP and Senator Teslim Folarin of the APC both of whom have been receiving endorsement from different camps.
Folarin is enjoying the backing of a former governor of the state, Senator Rashidi Ladoja, who has asked his supporters to vote for Folarin.
The APC candidate is also understood to have met with other influential politicians in the state to support his bid.
These include a former deputy governor of the state, Hazeem Gbolarumi and Abdulrasheed Olopoenia.
However, candidates of the Accord Party, Social Democratic Party (SDP), and the Young Progressives Party (YPP) have suffered from rebellions and re-alignments within their parties.
The governorship candidate of Labour Party (LP) in Adamawa State, Engr Umar Mustapha, has declared support for the APC candidate, Senator Aishatu Binani. Mustapha said he decided to put his ambition on hold and fully support the governorship ambition of Binani because “I am confident that Binani will provide a people-centred leadership that will prioritise human capital and resource development that will prosper Adamawa State.”
More support for Sanwo-Olu in Lagos
In Lagos State, the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), Lagos State, yesterday asked eligible voters among the student populace in Lagos State to vote for Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, saying he is tested and trusted with the best plan for education in Lagos State.
Speaking during a press briefing at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, Ikeja Lagos, Comrade Olusesi Tolulope hailed Sanwo-Olu’s contribution in the area of education.
He said: “The priority accorded to tertiary education in Lagos by the Sanwo-Olu led administration is unrivaled, as the upgrade of former Lagos State Polytechnic and Adeniran Ogunsanya College of Education as Lagos State University of Education and University Science and Technology respectively are topnotch.”
He noted further that the Sanwo-olu-led administration has been working on setting up an education trust fund that will change the mode of funding tertiary education in the country, by showing that with the right leadership at the state level, education can be taken to a world-class level in Nigeria.
Amaechi canvasses vote for Tonye Cole
Former Minister of Transportation Rotimi Amaechi asked Rivers residents to go all out, vote and support Tonye Cole, the APC gubernatorial candidate of the state on March 18.
Amaechi, who spoke during a visit to the northern community in the state, also urged residents to protect their votes on election day.
“All we need from you is to go out and vote, and protect your votes; everybody should be his own policeman. When you vote, sit down there until they upload it. Even when they upload it, escort them to the Ward Centre. Let them upload it there.
“Another set of people should escort them to the Local Government centre. That’s how you become your own policeman,” he said.
Amaechi told the people that he did not discriminate based on ethnic and religious lines when he was a governor. He said that he made sure of was that 1,200 Christians went on pilgrimage, 500 Muslims also went on pilgrimage every year for eight years.
He added that he appointed a Muslim Pilgrims Board the same way he appointed a Christian Welfare Pilgrims Board.
The Chief Imam of Rivers State, Alhaji Haliru Imam, said that the Northern Community in Rivers expressed support for Cole who assured the people that his administration would give them an enabling environment to help them succeed.
PDP vows to defeat LP in Abia
The ruling PDP in Abia State said the Labour Party (LP) would be thoroughly defeated on Saturday.
The PDP in a statement signed by Michael Nwabueze, for its Campaign Council in Abia, said the people of the state were already aware that Peter Obi, who made a majority of them vote for LP on the February 25, would not be on the ballot election.
The PDP Campaign Council berated the LP in Abia for alleging that it (PDP) has concluded plans to violently rig the March 18 governorship election, stressing that the reverse is the case.
“This has always been the character and tactics of the desperate serial losers that have currently taken over the LP’s platform in the state after failing miserably sojourning in the APC and All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA),” the Campaign Council said.
Ebonyi APC candidate dismisses death rumour
Governorship candidate of the APC in Ebonyi State, Chief Francis Nwifuru yesterday in Abakaliki dismissed social media report that he was indisposed or possibly dead.
Nwifuru, Speaker of the State House of Assembly told newsmen that the rumour was a distractive tool employed by opposition which felt threatened by his soaring acceptability by the people.
“You are already seeing me; I am alive, healthy and not sick. I never visited any hospital due to sickness. The last time I underwent medical check-up was in February 2022 and I am supposed to undergo another one in 2023,” he said.
“I will do so hopefully after my inauguration because I am confident of being sworn in as the state governor.”
Nwifuru urged the people to disregard reports about his ill-health, noting that he had nothing to hide.
He said: “Ebonyi people have seen that the opposition cannot offer anything to them except lies and deceit.”
Tension in Imo LP
Meanwhile, tension is brewing in the LP in Imo State over dissolution of the former ad hoc committee of the party and reconstitution of a new caretaker committee.
The party had on Thursday dissolved the old state leaders of the party led by Ambrose Onyekwere and put in place the Festus Onyekwulisi-led committee.
It was gathered that the development is now threatening the peace and harmony of the party as majority of the members including nine governorship aspirants are kicking against the change of executive leadership.
The governorship aspirants in a joint statement had frowned at the dissolution claiming it was a plot by a particular governorship candidate of the party to achieve his aim of grabbing the gubernatorial ticket as the party primary draws near.
APC, PDP at war in Ogun
Ahead of Saturday’s election, the Ogun State chapter of the LP has endorsed the re-election bid of Governor Dapo Abiodun of the APC.
The endorsement by the Ogun State leadership of the LP, which does not have a governorship candidate in the state, was led by its National Publicity Secretary, Abayomi Arabambi.
Governor Abiodun said the total endorsement by leaders of the frontline opposition party was a clear statement on how well the projects, programmes and policies that have shaped Ogun State under his administration sit with all and sundry, even across party lines.
Other leaders of the LP who were led by Dr Arabambi were Comr. Michael Ashade, Engr Michael Feyisola, Mrs. Oladimeji Elizabeth, Babaseun Ogunyemi, Shobajo Olaniyi, Adebiyi Adekunle, Barr. Monday M., Comr. Oyewale Okusanya, Otunba Yinka Adeboye, Adeleye Godwin, Olufemi Olusola, and Prince Tosin Meadows.
In a related development, factional governorship candidate of the PDP, Jimi Lawal, has joined the APC. Lawal’s defection to the APC came after he failed to make the courts declare him as the governorship candidate of the PDP in Ogun.
On Sunday, Lawal and his followers were received into the APC by Governor Dapo Abiodun. The defection of Lawal and his supporters is a big boost for the ruling party towards winning Saturday’s elections in the state.
But Ladi Adebutu, the PDP candidate in the state, said that he was not bothered about the defection of Lawal and other party chieftains. He spoke shortly after a peaceful reunion with one of the governorship aspirants of the party in the state, Hon. Segun Sowunmi, at his residence in Abeokuta, the state capital, to reconcile their differences within the party.
Adebutu, while speaking at the reunion, said that some bad elements in the party were responsible for the feud between Sowunmi and him, adding that it was instigated to frustrate his chances of winning the 2023 governorship election in the state.
Some other PDP bigwigs who dumped Adebutu to join Governor Abiodun include Segun Seriki, Johnson Fatoki, Otunba Femi Osifade, Alhaji Saula Adegunwa, Ralph Olaosebikan and Tola Mebude. Others are the former Financial Secretary of the PDP in Ogun State, Bola Odumosun; Chairman of the Elders Council, Alhaji T.A. Olatokunbo; Alhaja Fatimo Sonibare, former Chairman of Ijebu East Local Government, Michael Agbolaade and former House of Assembly member, Akeem Salami.
APC, PDP battle for assembly seats in Ekiti
The March 11 governorship election in Ekiti State will be a two-horse race between the ruling APC and the PDP.
Other parties appeared to have gone to sleep.
The APC has six female candidates while the rest 20 are male. The party’s candidates include Mariam Ogunlade (Emure), Okeimen Fakunle ( Ilejemeje), Hakeem Jamiu (Irepodun/Ifelodun), Tajudeen Akingbolu (Ekiti West), Lateef Akanle (Ekiti East), Adeoye Aribasoye (Ikole II), Ayorinde Oluwayomi, Ayodeji Ajayi (Ise/Orun), and Babatunde Fawekun ( Ido/Osi I).
Others are Babatunde Oke (Ikere II), Babatunde Idowu (Ikere II), Bode Oyekola (from Ekiti West II), Femi Akindele (from Irepodun/Ifelodun), and Adeteju Okuyiga (from Gbonyin).Abimbola Solanke (from Moba I), Ayodeji Adegbite (Ado I), Oladapo Osunniyi (from Ekiti southwest II), Bolaji Olagbaju (Ado II), and Bosede Olowookere (Efon ).
They also include Temitope Longe, (Oye 1), Kareem Agunbiade (Ekiti West I), Goke Oyeleye (Ijero), Babafemi Fatunla (Ikole 1), and Omoyeni Oluwasola (Ekiti East II), Abraham Fatoba (Ekiti East I), Mathew Attah (Ikere II), Idowu Odebunmi (Oye II), Oluwafemi Alabi, and Adeyemi Awoniyi (Moba II) and Rotimi Orewole (Gbonyin).
The PDP candidates are Akin Abimbola (Ekiti West 1), Anjorin Olarenwaju (Ikole 1), Abraham Adeleye ( Ekiti West 1), Bolarinwa Omolase(Ado 1), Victor Ogundipe (Ado 2), Simi Olusola (Ikere 2), Yomi Daramola ( Efon), Owoeye Oyeniyi ( Ikere 1) Oluwole Durodola ( Ijero) Kolade Oladeji (Emure) and Gbenga Olajide (Irepodun/Ifelodun 2).
Others are Kehinde Ogunlade (Ise/Orun ), Adeolu Fasakin (Gbonyin), Akin Adeyemi (Ekiti East 1 ), Abiodun Ogunlade (Ekiti East 2), Edward Ojaomo (Ekiti Southwest 1 ), Afuye Awosode (Ekiti Southwest 2 ), Niyi Adeogun( Moba 2), Awoniyi Tolulope ( Ido/Osi 1), Ayodele Alonge (Ido/Osi 2), Samson Ayodele (Oye 1), Kayode Ojo (Oye 2), Owolabi Taiwo ( Ilejemeje) and Anifowose Oluwafemi (Irepodun/Ifelodun1).
There is no doubt that the governorship race would follow the same pattern as the Presidential and National Assembly elections which the APC won with a wide margin.
In the presidential poll, the APC’s Asiwaju Bola Tinubu got 202,494 votes to defeat his main challenger and Atiku Abubakar of the PDP who polled 89,554 votes. APC won all the 16 local government areas of the state with wide margins.
The ruling APC also won all the National Assembly seats across the state, leaving the opposition PDP with nothing. It won the three senatorial seats and all the six House of Representatives seats, thus consigning PDP in Ekiti to the political dustbin at the moment.
The outcome of the February 25 election is currently having a reverberating effect on the camps of all the political parties ahead of the Assembly election in the state.
Observers believe that Saturday’s election may be an easy sail for the APC because Governor Oyebanji has wooed the people with his performance since assumption of office six months ago.
PDP’s chances have been undermined by internal crisis which has torn the party apart. The PDP leaders of who are ordinarily supposed to galvanize supports for their candidates are at war with one another.
Indications clearly shows that the ruling APC will clear all the 26 seats because Governor Oyebanji and his lieutenants are not leaving any stoned unturned in seeking votes across the states despite all odds in APC’s favour. So, it would be miracle of the year if PDP wins any seat.

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