However, contrary to previous projections and political permutations, the emergence of General Muhammadu Buhari as winner of the presidential election is bound to impact on the outcome of the governorship and state assembly elections.Before now, any politician who clinched the ticket of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) was almost hundred percent sure of winning the election, especially in PDP’s strongholds.But the victory of the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) has now dimmed such expectations.Since he ventured into politics in 2002, Buhari has helped scores of politicians, especially from the North, to win elections as governors, senators, House of Representatives and House of Assembly members.Pundits maintain that the PDP lost most of its former strongholds to the APC, mainly because of Buhari’s acceptability.Buhari is the inventor of that famous Hausa phrase in 2003 when he campaigned in Kano for former governor Malam Ibrahim Shekarau. There were permutations that Kano people will vote for another candidate in the governorship election and then turn around to vote for Buhari in the defunct All Nigeria Peoples Party. Buhari took to the podium and made a declarative statement saying, “ANPP sak”, meaning that voters should vote for ANPP in all positions. These magic words, analysts say, gave Shekarau victory. The same thing resonated in the presidential and National Assembly elections as candidates struggle to be identified with Buhari and anywhere he goes, the General kept repeating the same phrase: “APC sak”. Pundits say that sitting PDP governors whose anointed candidates may be affected by the APC bandwagon effect include Adamawa, Bauchi, Katsina, Jigawa, Kebbi, Niger, Benue and Ondo states. The APC won all National Assembly seats and the presidential election in six of the states listed and won majority in Benue and Ogun states. Additionally, governors Gabriel Suswam, Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu, Sa’idu Usman Dakingari and Isa Yuguda all lost their bid to become senators. The March 28 elections, no doubt, weakened them and voters may decide to follow the moving train and be identified with the in-coming government, given the nature of our politics.In Rivers and Akwa Ibom, the APC is also likely to win the governorship election. On the issue of allegations of rigging in the two states, hopefully now the security personnel and INEC officials would not want to be part of anything that could compromise the coming elections.Another factor that may favour the APC candidates, especially in Rivers, Akwa Ibom and Imo States in the elections is the fact that those states may not produce any presiding officer in the National Assembly, having failed to return most of their ranking lawmakers in both the Senate and House of Representatives. Therefore, electing the APC candidates as governors may be the only opportunity to align with the Central government.In Imo State, APC’s governor Rochas Okorocha may have an easy time in the election because he is now the only link or bridge between the mainstream central government and the entire Igbo nation. Observers say it is therefore in the collective political interest of the South-east to return Okorocha as governor or risk isolating themselves from the centre.There are also PDP governors who are seeking second term such as Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo and Ramalan Yero from Gombe and Kaduna states, respectively, whose seats are under serious threat from the APC as the party won the presidential and National Assembly elections with landslide in their states. Taraba could be the only PDP state that may be insulated from the bandwagon effect given that PDP won all the three Senate seats and the presidential elections in the state. But for Plateau State, the case may differ in that the APC presidential candidate, for the first time, got 45 percent of the votes there coupled with the fact of jettisoning of the PDP’s power sharing arrangement by Governor Jonah Jang by anointing his kinsman Senator Gyang Pwajok as PDP governorship candidate. For the APC controlled states of Borno, Yobe, Zamfara, Kano, Soun Nasarawa, Kwara, Oyo, Ogun, Lagos, Sokoto, it may just be another sweet victory, that is if voters join the bandwagon.
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