In this concluding part of the series on how the political parties stand in the states, THISDAY features the remaining 12 states of the federation with regards to their command and influence
The last two weeks of the assessment of the political parties in the 36 states of the federation have though made one thing clear; that technically, the country may have begun to inch in the direction of a two-party system, ultimately.
The assessment, of course, was contingent on the prevailing circumstances in the respective states, many of which are not fixed yet even as the nation runs into another election cycle in 2015.
This final leg of the series therefore follows the same pattern as the two others and shows how the parties stand in each state with regards to their strengths and weaknesses.
Borno: Despite Insurgency, APC Calls the Shots
Until the merger of opposition parties last year, Borno has always been an All Nigeria Peoples Congress (ANPP) state. Therefore, it will be apt to assume that the ANPP is synonymous with the state, despite the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) good showing at every election. But PDP’s attempt at making an inroad into the state changed in the 2007 election with the ANPP recording 100 per cent victory.
Against this backdrop, everyone had believed that the election of 2011 would follow the same pattern. But there came the politics of hate where former governor Ali Modu Sheriff, who used to be an issue in the state, was undone by the Boko Haram politics, a monster believed to be his own creation.
The idea was that Sheriff and his ANPP cronies should be done away with to allow for peace and put the Boko Haram insurgency in check. Indeed, the idea sold amongst the electorate and it took so much for the ANPP to win the state in the last election. The ruling party, as a result, lost two senatorial seats among other devastating defeats.
Although the Boko Haram menace is still very much in place, the people of Borno seem to have come to accept the fact that the solution to the menace is not which party rules the state. In fact, the insurgency has made it impossible for politics to thrive with the killings that have become an everyday affair in the state.
Thus, recent happenings in the political space of Borno have shown that if an election holds today, the APC would most likely clear everything on offer. There has never been the kind of defection into a party like what has been witnessed in the last few months in the annals of the state, because in the last three months, there was rarely a week without a mass defection into the APC from the PDP.
This situation has made the people to begin to question if the PDP could ever make any impact in the next election in the state. The defection is so alarming that it is not only limited to the membership of the PDP alone but in most cases, an entire party machinery is dissolved into the APC as if there was an understanding to that effect.
Today, the song in the mouth of most supporters of Governor Kashim Shettima of the state is that there would be no opposition for him during his re-election across the parties. When this indication first came from the Commissioner for Finance, Alhaji Yunus Mairami, via an interview in some newspapers, many thought it was a function of political naivity. But this seems to be gaining grounds with the current happenings in the political atmosphere in the state.
The situation in the PDP is also not helped by the disdain towards the federal government which many believed has not done enough to assist the victims of terrorists’ attacks. The federal government is equally accused of not deploying enough resources to contain the insurgents who daily kill the innocent people in their homes and on the highways.
The position of the PDP in the state is further made worse by the choice of the minister from the state after the 2011 election. President Goodluck Jonathan could be said to have made a blunder by appointing a career civil servant as minister from the state instead of a known and established politician, who would have used his appointment to further grease the party structure in the state.
The minister, Bukar Tijjani, who had though been relieved of his work, was said not to have improved the lot of the party members in the state, who could not but seek greener pastures elsewhere. Many now hope that the mistake can still be undone with the appointment of a new minister from the state.
Although everything still points to the fact that APC may be having a joyful ride towards the 2015 elections, the party too could be its worst enemy with the crisis now brewing within it fold as some bigwigs are said to be fighting for the soul of the party.
That said, since 24 hours is a long time in politics and 2015 is still about a year away from now, chances are that other parties could still take such measures to enhance their standing and perhaps, alter the subsisting equation.
Yobe: A Comfortable Opposition Zone
Yobe State is one of the few states that have constituted a menace to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) since 1999. The party has always struggled to record success at every election in the state with little or no success because it has always been stifled by the powerful All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP). As a result, the change in leadership has always been a smooth relay amongst the political gladiators in the ANPP.
The baton was first given to Bukar Abba Ibrahim, who in spite of all the hullabaloo in the 2007 election transferred power to Mamman Ali whose sudden death also transferred power to Ibrahim Gaidam, whose politics has endeared him to many, the result of which was his party’s victory in all the elections in 2011.
At present, there seems not to be any reason to believe that in the 2015 elections, the equation will change since the state is still hostile to PDP. The position of the PDP is made worse and the footing of the ANPP nay the APC is made better by the fact that the people of the state are displeased with the fact that there is no notable federal presence in the state.
Thus, if Yobe must buy into voting for PDP, it would be able to point to needed infrastructure from the federal government. But they have reacted with entrenched hatred that the PDP and his bait should go to “hell” and that rather than vote for the PDP, they would remain the way they are.
With their choice party, APC, gaining weight everyday and looking determined to will the election at the federal level, the people of the state feel the more persuaded that the PDP should be inflicted more pains during the 2015 elections.
Though the number one PDP member in the state, Dr. Yerima Lawan Ngama, a former Minister of State for Finance seemed to be doing a lot to sell the PDP to the people of the state through his contribution to party men and the others in the state, his effort had always hit a brick wall due to the aforementioned reasons, compounded by the fact that the Goodluck Jonathan administration is largely seen as enemy of the state in view of the ongoing Boko Haram insurgency.
The federal government is believed to have left the state to suffer without the much needed support. Payback time is around the corner and an equal, if not greater pains, might be inflicted politically on the PDP.
Gombe: PDP Gallivants Untamed
In Gombe State, the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has taken absolute control of things. From 2003 when it took over the reins of power from the Alhaji Abubakar Hashidu-led All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) till now, the PDP has established itself in the state.
Though the party has continued to grow in strength with its leader and governor, Alhaji Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo, boasting a firm grip and ensuring that discipline is maintained at top echelon of the party, the 2015 elections is a direct confrontation between the PDP and the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Unfortunately, the APC in Gombe appears not united as it is finding it difficult to fuse into one harmonious political family. And despite the recent registration of members preparatory to its inaugural national convention slated for April 26, it has yet to have harmonious interim management committee.
This is because barely two days after the commencement of the registration exercise, the party was polarised over leadership tussle that now seems irredeemable.
Addressing a Press Conference last week, Hon Khamisu Ahmed Mailantarki, the member representing Gombe/Kwami/Funakaye Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives said the legacy parties that formed the merger might step aside if the national secretariat of the party refuses to address the lingering feud as soon as possible.
The lawmaker, who before the merger was the leader of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) in the state, accused the immediate past governor, Alhaji Muhammad Danjuma Goje, now a serving Senator who recently defected to the APC from the PDP of hijacking the party machinery and leaving them with nothing.
According to him, they raised objections to the national secretariat before the inauguration of the State Interim Management Committee but were told to go ahead with the inauguration and not assign roles.
That instruction, he said, was not adhered to when the Interim National Vice Chairman of the Party for the North-East, Alhaji Umar Duhu, came to inaugurate the Mohammed Magaji Doho-led Interim Management Committee for the state.
Mailantarki, who was in company with all the former party chairmen of the CPC, ANPP and the ACN alongside all the three APC members in the Gombe State House of Assembly said they were the genuine members of the APC and would not allow those coming from the New PDP dislodge them from a house they built with their sweat.
Despite the fact that Goje, a two-term former governor of the state led a large followership when he defected from the PDP that brought him to limelight, he needs to embrace internal democracy, unite all the warring factions and stabilise it for the task ahead.
But the ruling PDP under Dankwambo is believed to have done well when compared to what the state was since its creation. There is an obvious political will on the part of the governor to sustain the momentum by making use of up-to-date and relevant technological innovations, adopt and facilitate necessary institutional changes, increase agricultural production of farm inputs, make full use of human and other resources to improve the living standard of the people. This is a plus for the ruling party which others might find hard to catch up with.
Katsina: PDP is the Idol
The stature of the ruling peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Katsina State cannot be compared to that of the All Progressives Congress (APC) by all standards. Simply put, the PDP calls the shot in the state.
In terms of strength, the APC seems to rely on ethnic and religious politics, particularly the issues of ineptitude raised against the PDP and President Goodluck Jonathan. The APC thus capitalises on the Northern sentiment of power shift to woo more supporters.
But the party’s major weakness is the lack of a strong personality figure that can lead the state to the elections in 2015. The fear of who would succeed Governor Ibrahim Shema seems to have silenced the leadership in most of them.
However, with the success of the PDP under Shema, the party may be difficult to defeat in the state. PDP is believed to present a credible alternative for localised interest in an election. The party is entrenched across the councils. But its major undoing may be a worthy successor to Shema, the choice of which could upset the apple cat.
Ebonyi: Though PDP, Susceptible to Change
The emergence of the All Progressives Congress (APC) is seen as the only route to wresting power from the ruling Peoples Democratic Party. The emergence of the APC, therefore, has conscripted Ebonyi into a two-party system. Yet, the ruling PDP has continued to be a veritable platform for any person to pursue his or her political ambition.
Today, in Ebonyi, any contestant on the platform of PDP that scales through the primaries immediately regards themselves as winner of the election.
No doubt, the state has remained home for the PDP and this may remain so for as long as the party controls the federal government. PDP is in control of 12 local governments, while APC has taken over Ezza North, with glowing prospects
The setback of APC is the lack of sustained touch with the people otherwise they appeared ready to embrace the party for the much needed change
In 2011, the Ebonyi people rose up for a change of platform so that competition could be instilled in the polity. But the drivers of the wind of change were mere political jobbers interested only in their pockets. The defunct ANPP, now APC captured one seat in the House of Representatives and two in the state House of Assembly.
But immediately the Supreme Court ruled on the governorship position in favour of the PDP and its candidate, Martin Elechi, all the major stakeholders deserted their supporters and fled to unknown places. The supporters were left as prey for the PDP.
Those that were quick to identify with the PDP were received as prodigal sons of the party even though the PDP may not have been the preferred party for them. Since 1999, PDP has monopolised the state. The people have also attributed the low development index of the state to lack of vibrant political opposition.
But a deep hollow may be waiting for PDP in 2015, if it fails to manage the power shift to the south as well as the automatic tickets being proposed to the National assembly members well. Already, Governor Elechi has vowed that power would shift to the south for the charter of equity to be maintained. Far from the zoning, the choice of candidate may also pose a big threat to the PDP.
Sadly, a PDP stalwart has prophesied doom for the party if internal democracy and rule of law were not given a pride of place in the process. The source, therefore, described APC as a veritable alternative to the PDP.
At every point in time, the PDP has remained a party to beat as far as Ebonyi is concerned. The slogan and logo of the party have remained a household name in the state. Again, the political consciousness of the people has always guided them into believing that the formation of the party was anchored on national interest, devoid of tribal or ethnic coloration. This, however, has remained a punch to the survival of other political parties in the state. This apart, the strength of the party has remained the continuous touch with its members and the public.
The All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) is another party that could have given a good showing but is now submerged in crisis. Indication emerged recently that the party might be close to extinction in the state when one of its strong financiers and eyes of the party, Ambassador Frank Ogbuewu, defected to the PDP.
Adamawa: In the Firm Fist of APC
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had continued to dominate the political landscape of Adamawa State when Governor Murtala Nyako was first elected and re-elected, having defeated the candidate of the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Engineer Markus Gundiri and General BuBa Marwa of the defunct Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), who came second and third respectively in the election of 2012.
But the political permutations in the state changed when the three legacy parities coalesced to form the All Progressives Congress (APC) and created a two-party system in the state.
For PDP to have allowed Nyako and his supporters to join other PDP state governors who formed the G-5 and subsequently defected to the APC following their unresolved political differences, marked the beginning of the death of the PDP in the state.
The defection of Nyako and his supporters to APC was initially contested by Gundiri and Marwa over who becomes the leader of the party in the state as well as the allegation that Nyako and his supporters were scheming to highjack the party structures from them.
The crisis in APC would have placed the PDP in a vantage position, unfortunately for the PDP, the brawl between Nyako, Marwa and Gundiri was resolved making the APC to become the strongest party in the state.
With Nyako, Gundiri and Marwa coupled with the recent defection of former Vice-President Atiku Abubarkar to the APC, the state may have become impregnable for any other party, at least, for now.
Although some PDP chieftains were of the viewed that the coming of Atiku into the APC was no cause for alarm for the PDP because Atiku’s political structures had been handed over to former governor Boni Haruna when Atiku first left the defunct Action Congress (AC), to return to the PDP.
They said it is the same structure that was handed over to Gundiri when Boni also left the ACN to join the PDP last year, adding that a way out for PDP might be to woo Gundiri to the party because he was believed to have won the 2012 governorship election.
But the PDP also needs to battle the incumbency factor since Nyako defected alongside 27 commissioners, 21 local government chairmen, as well 37 Development Area Administrators and other political appointees, who were in firm control of the grassroots in the state. But the deputy governor, Bala James Nggilari, stayed back in PDP.
PDP also has the onerous task of unifying the various interest groups in the party, particularly the Abuja politicians who are not in touch with the grassroots and pursue a common goal.
Aside, there are also fringe parties like Kowa Party, APGA, and the newly formed PDM struggling to gain support of the grassroots.
Jigawa: APC Unsettles Lamido’s PDP
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is the centre of attraction in Jigawa State under the leadership of Governor Sule Lamido. The party, as it were, is stronger in many ways than the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) because of the success of the PDP administration.
But the opposition party is generally regarded in the state as the mere inventions brought about by the frustrations of those whose aim is to achieve their political agenda without regards to the strides of the PDP.
Although in the 27 local government areas of the state, the opposition APC is said to have a few structures to showcase for its existence, its members are also said to have dual membership with PDP because of their belief that PDP remains the party to beat.
The opposition is particularly stronger in two local government areas of Hadejia and Birnin Kudu because of their beliefs that the PDP is not friendly to their people, despite the fact that Lamido hails from Bamaina in Birnin Kudu local government area of the state.
PDP has been on the ground since 1999 but the defunct ANPP under former Governor Saminu Turaki ruled for two consecutive terms of eight years and later dumped the party for the PDP.
The Turaki defection to PDP while in power allegedly contributed to the strength of the party in the state and left behind very few members in the opposition who now resurfaced and joined the APC. PDP’s major weakness is located mainly in its bias for a northern presidential candidate, against what many called the Nigerian spirit.
However, the APC has adopted strategies to square up with the PDP. But many believed that with control of the PDP in the state, it’s going to be tough for the APC to woo more members because of the belief that the opposition party is weaker in addressing the needs of the rural populace.
The party did not attract public attention in the state but by featuring personality like Alhaji Badaru Abubakar, Honourable Farouk Adamu Aliyu and many more, the party has the chance to flourish. Sources also revealed that the party has resorted to house-to-house campaign strategy in the rural areas and bring them to their fold to enhance their capacity to win in 2015.
APC is also getting support from the state indigenes who reside outside the state as a majority of them do not have the backing of their local populace who accuse them of having left them for a long time, only to be back for political reasons. Majority of the state indigenes usually reside in Kano, Kaduna and Abuja.
Cross River: PDP Leads the Pack
Before merger and registration of the All Progressive Congress (APC), Cross River was a one-party state. In short, the state was a franchise to the PDP. But the emergence of a formidable opposition in APC has altered the balance of power hence the race for 2015 will no more be a PDP affair. A repeat of the 1999 elections where the PDP and the then ANPP shared elective offices almost on even basis seems to be in the offing.
But if elections were conducted today in Cross River, the PDP will sweep the polls. Reasons: the APC is still relatively new and into membership drive. Second, the party is yet to have a substantive executive committee at the state, local government and ward levels. Also, its members are mostly young people who are green in politics and do not have the wherewithal to contest elections.
The PDP is the ruling party in the state. Everything is working for it. It has structures across the 196 council wards of the state. It is the party the people of the state have come to know in the absence of any strong challenger.
From the marshy terrain of Bakassi Local Government Area to the rolling hills of Obanliku, the PDP is popular and well ahead of the pack.
In the August 21, 2013 local government elections, the PDP won the 18 council chairmanship positions and the 196 councillors. Of the 25 members in the State House of Assembly, the PDP has 24 and APC one.
The ruling party has made inroads into the womenfolk by ensuring that four of the Local Government Council chairmen are women while 56 others are councilors. In the civil service, 16 women are permanent secretaries. It is now seen as a gender sensitive administration and is winning more female members and supporters.
But the problem that may befall the ruling party is the grievance by some of its members who have continued to accuse the powers that be of imposition of candidates. Such members said the party lacks internal democracy as evident in last year’s council polls in which candidates were literally handpicked.
It is feared that members who are yet to forget how they were schemed out may indulge in anti-party activities next year. The problem of PDP in Cross River is PDP.
Currently, the South and Northern Senatorial Districts are locked in a fierce battle over Governor Liyel Imoke’s successor. The south which had already taken a shot at the Government House is still bent on doing so again to the detriment of the north which is yet to taste power. Though officially the ticket has been zoned to the north, the desire of Chief Gershom Bassey to succeed his ally has unsettled the party.
If Chief Bassey contests the primary election and wins, aggrieved chieftains and stalwarts in the Central and Northern Senatorial Districts otherwise referred to as Atam by the Efiks of south, may work for the candidate of the APC as there seems to be a consensus that power should go round the state.
And if all the PDP gubernatorial aspirants from the north are cheated out for whatever reason, the APC could win easily as Imoke is not contesting and may not pull as much weight.
Another disturbing issue in the PDP is the cold war amongst its chieftains over who should pick the governorship ticket. While some favour the Executive Secretary, National Planning Commission, Ntufam Fidelis Ugbo, others are rooting for the General Manager, Crude of NNPC, Mr. Godwin Jedy-Agba.
These leading aspirants have already split the party into factions of support ahead of the primaries later in the year. Clearly, the centre can no longer hold for the PDP.
Zamfara: Posting a Tight Standing
Zamfara State has remained in the opposition since 1999. The defunct All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) was hitherto the ruling party between 1999 and 2007 when former governor, Ahmed Sani Yerima, was in the saddle. However, Zamfara entered the mainstream politics in 2007 following the emergence of former governor Mamuda Shinkafi, an in-law of former president Umaru Musa Yar’Adua.
Shinkafi would later fall out with his mentor and predecessor, Yerima and subsequently, the ANPP for the PDP, barely two years that he assumed office. Many believed such political miscalculation led to Shinkafi’s defeat in the 2011 elections by Governor Abdulaziz Yari of the defunct ANPP and now APC.
Although some political parties operate on the fringe in Zamfara and most times, sympathetic to the ruling party in order to get political patronage. The truth of the matter is that, the battle in Zamfara state is a straight fight between the PDP and the APC and most of the political titans have started mass mobilisation of support as well as subtle campaigns ahead of 2015
The APC is currently the ruling party in Zamfara and Governor Yari, to a large extent, gave priority to infrastructure with a view to transforming the state. Yari, a former lawmaker, left the House of Representatives in 2011 to become the governor and in the last three years, had done a lot in road construction particularly the opening up of rural communities that were hitherto not accessible due to the deplorable road condition.
The APC has the incumbent factor in its favour and the requisite resources as well as goodwill to carry out its political activities without any hindrance. Another issue is that most of the formidable politicians in Zamfara are in the APC including former governor Yarima. Besides, the Yari administration also has the support of the traditional leaders across the state which is very critical to the success of any administration.
But despite its huge support base in Zamfara, APC may likely face a serious problem in selecting its candidates for the various elective positions in 2015. This may not be unconnected to the fact that many politicians have started declaring interest in various positions and it could be onerous reconciling such vested interests. Thus, there are insinuations that those who may lose out in the scheme of things will most likely move to the PDP.
Again, Yari is currently not in the good books of the civil servants in Zamfara, as he failed to accord priority to their welfare. In fact, the recent retrenchment of about 4,000 workers cut across ministries had pitted the state government against the workers, who believed that the Yari administration does not have the interest of the common man at heart.
This was further worsened by the strikes embarked by health workers, particularly nurses and midwives in the state over the non-implementation of CONHESS and up till now, nothing has been done.
Even teachers in Zamfara are currently groaning under undue neglect by the Yari administration, as they have not benefited from the Special Teachers Salary Scale due to non-implementation.
Pundits hold the view that Yari might face an uphill task in his re-election bid in 2015, as workers in the state could move against him and vote en masse for the PDP.
On the other hand, the PDP in Zamfara is currently led by former governor Shinkafi, whose preoccupation is to return to office next year. He is said to be working hard at the grassroots, mobilising ahead of 2015.
And despite Shinkafi’s defeat in the 2011 election, things seem to be going on well for him as he continues to pull crowd anywhere he goes in the state. Observers are of the notion that the recent public sympathy for Shinkafi may not be unconnected to workers’ disenchantment with the Yari administration.
PDP is believed to have the requisite resources and wherewithal to conduct its activities and many believed that with the support of President Jonathan, the party might pose serious challenge to the APC in the state. Pundits also argue that the recent screening of Gen. Aliyu Gusau and his subsequent confirmation by the Senate as minister, would likely improve the fortunes of the PDP in the state.
Shinkafi is also an in-law to Gusau and many believed that the experience garnered over the years may come handy when the chips are down. The recent defection of two APC lawmakers to PDP has further boosted the morale of the PDP supporters in the state, who strongly believed that the race is open in 2015.
But the lack of unity among political titans in the PDP in the state is something the leadership has to resolve as soon as possible. Observers believed that the acrimony between the elders of the party in Zamfara, especially between the camps of former governor of the old Sokoto state, Mallam Yahya Abdulkarim and Gusau, could affect the party’s chances in 2015 if left unaddressed.
The issue of religion may also work against the PDP, especially now that President Jonathan is planning to seek re-election. Observers believed that the APC may likely use religion and power shift as instruments to sway public opinion that the PDP-led federal government is anti-North. PDP’s greatest challenge therefore is to devise strategies to counter such smear campaigns.
Although Yerima played a critical role in Yari’s emergence as the governor in 2011, it is believed that Yarima’s magic wand may elude Yari when the chips are down as many people are no longer comfortable with his leadership style.
It is believed that unless the APC does something drastic to change the swirling public perception about the Yari administration in the next few months, it would be a herculean task for the governor to return in 2015.
Anambra: Characterised by Crises
The November 16, 2013 governorship election in Anambra State is definitely not the ideal yard stick to measure the strengths of the parties that contested in the election by way of examining their standing in the state.
This is because most analysts, local and international, had in their postmortem of the election adjudged it as not meeting the minimum standard of compliance with the electoral law, and that given the massive disenfranchisement of voters during the election; its outcome cannot possibly be a reflection of the strengths of the parties.
Though this is now a matter of litigation, even before the election, most of the popular parties namely the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), All Progressives Congress (APC) Labour Party (LP), Progressive Peoples Alliance and some other fringe parties were embroiled in crises such that they went into the election factionalised.
Similarly, the January 11, 2014 local government election in the state can also not be used as a standard for measuring the strengths of the parties. Although APGA swept the polls, winning 20 chairmanship seats of the state’s 21 council areas and over 99% of the councillorship seats in the 326 electoral wards, many of the parties boycotted the election. Those who participated like the Labour Party complained of massive rigging.
However, the PDP in the state has a large following which unfortunately found itself embroiled in crisis. The party had shortly after the 1999 governorship election which it won overwhelmingly ran into crisis.
There was the Emeka Offor, and the Chief Chris Uba faction. Thereafter, the Prince Nicholas Ukachukwu, Senator Annie Okonkwo, Chief Ejike Oguebego and Prince Ken Emeakayi factions emerged. But the Oguebego and Emeakayi faction held sway prior to the November 16, 2014 governorship election in the state. In all, the PDP is a party with a large following and needs to put its act together to make the desired impact.
APGA is the ruling party and no doubt, has its fair share of the followership in the state. In fact, Anambra used to be described as home to just three parties- PDP, APGA and the APC, which reflected in last year’s governorship election.
It is also one party torn by crisis. The national leadership of the party is factionalised between Chief Victor Umeh and Maxi Okwu. A federal High Court sitting in Abuja recently upheld Okwu’s chairmanship of APGA. But the court of Appeal, Enugu division had last year affirmed Umeh as the national chairman of the party.
The crisis at the national level of APGA has invariably affected the state chapter of the party. Regardless, APGA is still a force to reckon with in the state and has proven so, both during the governorship and the local government elections.
The APC is the most sought after party yet hated in the state. It is sought after because its leader, Senator Chris Ngige has carried the party along with his cult-like personality. The party, many reckon, is Ngige but it is hated by those who felt it is a threat.
Ngige’s performance as governor of Anambra State for 34 months endeared him to the people such that when he defected from the PDP to then Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), his never-say-die followers left with him to ACN which later transmuted to the APC.
The APC has large following in the state but unfortunately, that followership has not been translated into electoral victory as it came third in the last election.
The Labour Party and PPA cannot be said to have any roots in the state. Right from the time both of them were formed, they had not commanded any impressive followership that could tickle even a bystander. They are only heard during elections and immediately fizzle out after. Nonetheless, they too have their own share of the crises.
Kwara: Indisputably APC Haven
In Kwara- the State of Harmony- the All Progressives Congress (APC) has suddenly become the dominant party. This is because of the command and influence of its leader and former governor, Senator Bukola Saraki.
Apart from Saraki’s influence, the party still parades such persons as Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed, the interim National Publicity Secretary of the APC, Alhaji Lai Muhammed, former acting national chairman of the PDP, Alhaji Abubakar Kawu Baraje, all the six members of the House of Representatives, all the 16 council chairmen and councillors as well as 22 out of the 24 members of the state House of Assembly who have declared for the party.
Since the birth of APC in Kwara, it has remained one of the political parties that had penetrated the nooks and crannies of the 16 local government councils of the state, setting strategies and platform to outwit the PDP ahead of next year’s general election. Even the just concluded APC registration exercise confirmed this stance as members of the party in the state trooped out en masse to register.
The growth of the APC in the state is not far-fetched since the political leader, Saraki, had collapsed his structure into the APC. This has continued to assist the defection of many PDP members into the APC.
Also, the existing members and the leaders of the legacy parties of the defunct ACN, CPC, ANPP and APGA led by Mr. Kayode Olawepo, Alhaji Lai Muhammed, Alhaji Tauwo Eleja, Alhaji Suleiman Buhari and Alhaji Saliu Mustapha, among others have pledged commitment to Sarak’s structure in the state and promised to ensure the electoral victory of the APC.
On the side, however, the PDP has begun to re-organise and strengthen its platform in order to ensure that the party regains the state in the forthcoming elections.
Although the Saraki dynasty had taken away their political structure from the PDP, the remnants in the PDP had taken the bull by the horns to work as a team and ensure a PDP victory. Pundits believed that with support from the presidency, the party is likely to spring surprises at the polls.
For example, the PDP now parades the likes of chairman, Federal Character Commission, Professor Shuaib Oba Abdulraheem, Senator Simeon Ajibola, Senator Suleiman Ajadi, Senator Gbemisola Saraki, former Minister of Transport, Hon. Issa Bio, Mrs. Serah Jubril, Chief Rex Olawoye, former commissioner for information, Alhaji Abdulmumin Katibi and Mr. Muhammed Dele Belgore, among others.
The only two political parties to watch in Kwara in 2015 are the APC and the PDP. The political history of the state always radiates around the Sarakis and now, Saraki’s political structure had been taken out of the mainstream PDP to the APC. Thus, the battle for soul of Kwara is strictly between the PDP and the APC even though the odds seem to favour the APC.
Kebbi: Still Bowing to PDP
From the days of the New PDP to the eventual defection of members of the PDP to the APC, the opposition party has made frantic effort at making inroad into Kebbi State, but without any remarkable success.
Though former PDP chairman in the state, Alhaji Sani Hukuma Zauro, had left the APC on the grounds of alleged refusal of Governor Saidu Dakingari to honour an accord reached between him and former governor Adamu Aliero as a prerequisite for Aliero’s camp to leave the CPC for PDP in a deal he said was brokered by former President Olusegun Obasanjo, it may not necessarily help the fortunes of the party at later elections.
The PDP, by every means, is in charge in the state. It controls virtually all the major political offices. For instance, the National Assembly team from Kebbi State which comprises three Senators and eight House of Representatives members are all PDP members.
In the sixth Assembly (2007–2011), which was inaugurated in June 2007, the PDP won all the Senate and House of Representatives seats. The same trend was repeated at the 2011 election where the PDP won all the National Assembly seats.
A strong sign of the weight of the PDP as against any form of opposition in the state and of what to expect in the 2015 elections, was also shown in 2012 when the local government elections held in the state.
Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), a legacy party in the APC, which was the main opposition in the state sponsored 16 chairmanship candidates and 159 councilors while the ruling PDP fielded candidates in all the 21 chairmanship and 225 councillorship positions that were there to vie for.
At the end of the elections, PDP won all the 21 Local government seats and out of the 225 councillorship seats contested, PDP won 221 while the CPC only managed to win the remaining four seats; one in Aliero, two in Augie and one Birnin Kebbi.
But in spite of the strong poise of the PDP in the state, the APC has assured the people that it would capture the state in 2015. The interim chairman of the party in the state, Abubakar Atiku Bunu, who took this position, premised his calculations on the allegation that the ruling PDP has failed woefully because the present government has embarked on wasteful projects running into billions.
“The ruling PDP in the state is busy carrying out wasteful projects which have no direct bearing on the common man. Look at how the state capital is neglected, the road infrastructure is very poor, there are no good roads, all the roundabouts in the state capital are full of bumps and potholes. In fact, the state capital is still a rural capital,” he said.
But how feasible that is, especially with Kebbi being one of the states that is yet to lose many of its members to the rampaging APC, will interest watchers of the state’s politics.