Less than four months to governorship election in 29 states of the federation, the political atmosphere is already tense. Governorship candidates of various parties have commenced subtle and surreptitious campaigns. While the incumbent governors of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) seem to be rated high in terms of capacity to get re-elected in 2019, little information is known about candidates in the opposition-controlled states, especially where the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is in charge.
Benue: Emmanuel Jime
In Benue State, Emmanuel Jime, a lawyer, is the APC governorship candidate. He is challenging Governor Samuel Ortom of the PDP and Dr Hwande Terungwa Stephen of the Social Democratic Party (SDP).
Other governorship candidates are Sam Tyonenge Abah, a veteran broadcaster, who is flying the flag of the United Peoples Party (UPP), and a clergy, The Rev Frederick Ikyaan of the Peoples Redemption Party (PRP).
At the moment, Jime’s chances at the poll seem bright as political pundits think the battle would actually be between him and PDP’s Ortom. It is believed that both men have 50-50 chances to win the state in 2019
Abia: Dr Uche Sampson Ogah
Dr Uche Sampson Ogah is the APC governorship candidate in Abia State. Ogah is in the opposition party alongside Dr Alex Otti of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA). The PDP has been ruling Abia State for over 10 years and is fully on ground with structures, unlike the APC.
Pundits say that with the present factions in the state, the APC has a slim chance as each camp has its own executive and party offices. They are also working seriously against the interest of one another.
Akwa Ibom: Nsima Ekere
The managing director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Mr Nsima Ekere, is the gubernatorial candidate of the APC in Akwa Ibom State. He will be contesting the seat with Governor Udom Emmanuel of the PDP.
Political analysts are of the opinion that with the likes of Senator Godswill Akpabio in the APC, the PDP has a lot to contend with, particularly as the former is the party controlling the central government, a situation its members are banking on to clinch the governorship seat come 2019.
But the PDP is undeterred as they insist the party is like a religion in the state. They believe that Governor Emmanuel would return to the Government House in 2019 as his achievements would speak for him.
Another determinant would be the unwritten policy of zoning. Previous governments of Obong Victor Attah and Senator Godswill Akpabio satisfied the two terms zoning policy for Akwa Ibom North-East and North-West senatorial districts respectively, while the incumbent is serving the first tenure of Akwa Ibom South and is expected to complete it with a second term.
In the race for the Government House, the achievements of Governor Emmanuel could count for him at the polls, but the opposition party will not go down without a fight.
Gombe: Inuwa Yahaya
In Gombe, the APC gubernatorial candidate is Alhaji Muhammad Inuwa Yahaya,. He also contested in 2015, but lost to Governor Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo.
Yahaya defeated eight other aspirants in a fiercely contested primary election to emerge as the flag-bearer of the APC. He will now slug it out with Senator Usman Bayero Nafada of the PDP, Abdulganiyyu Bello Akko of the PRP and other contestants.
Political observers in the state are of the opinion that Inuwa has a brighter chance this time, with the APC in control at the federal level and the unflinching support President Muhammadu Buhari enjoys at the grassroots, which many believe will work in his favour.
Inuwa is also believed to be a man of honour as he was never seen disrespecting the elders or playing dirty politics, particularly during his campaigns in 2015.
Ebonyi: Senator Sonni Ogbuoji
The gubernatorial candidate of the APC in Ebonyi State is Senator Sonni Ogbuoji. Sen. Ogbuoji, who is the vice chairman Senate Committee on Appropriation, is representing Ebonyi South. He is challenging Governor David Umahi of the PDP.
Ogbuoji hopes to gain the support of his kinsmen in Afikpo North and South, as well as the central zone.
Cross River: Senator John Owan-Enoh
Although there are two contenders for the APC governorship ticket in Cross River State, John Owan-Enoh, who represents Cross River central in the Senate, is the candidate recognised by the national secretariat of the party.
The other contender is the minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Usani Usani, who many think is doing all he can to become the party’s authentic candidate.
Owan-Enoh will be contesting against Governor Ben Ayade of the PDP.
Ayade is reported not to have political structures on ground, but he has many foot soldiers, many of whom he gave political appointments.
However, there are indications that many of Ayade’s supporters and appointees may have jumped ship, thereby creating the suspicion that many could work against him.
The other governorship candidate is that of the SDP. He is a former attorney- general and commissioner for justice in the state, Mr Eyo Ekpo. Ekpo, who is believed to be backed by a former governor of the state and the SDP presidential candidate, Donald Duke, could garner enormous votes from the southern senatorial district, especially the Efik.
Taraba: Alhaji Sani Abubakar Danladi
Alhaji Sani Abubakar Danladi is the APC governorship candidate in Taraba State. His main challengers are the incumbent Governor Darius Ishaku of the PDP and the former minister of Women Affairs, Hajiya Jummai Alhassan of the United Democratic Party (UDP).
Danladi, who was an acting governor of the state, was said to have played a big role in the emergence of Governor Ishaku in 2015.
He is said to have initiated a move to reconcile with all the aggrieved aspirants who followed Hajiya Alhassan to the UDP.
Recent events in the state showed that many APC members who followed the former minister to her new party are now returning to the APC. But from all indications, only the incumbent governor poses a threat to Sani’s ambition.
Delta: Great Ogboru
The fifth time governorship contender, Chief Great Ovedje Ogboru, is the candidate of the APC in Delta State.
Chief Ogboru, who joined the APC last year from the Labour Party (LP), emerged from a contentious factional primary held on September 30, 2018 at the Federal College of Education (Technical), Asaba.
Three other aspirants, Prof Pat Utomi, Rt. Hon. Engr. Victor Ochei and Dr Cairo Ojougboh, opted out of the APC gubernatorial primary over allegations of irregularities and lack of transparency.
But the Major-General Martins Onoja committee sent by the NWC went ahead to conduct the primary, with a controversial consent list that produced Ogboru.
Pundits say that with a severely fractured opposition, the chances of the APC to achieve victory in 2019 against Governor Ifeanyi Okowa are slim.
Kwara: Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq
The APC gubernatorial candidate in Kwara State is Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq. He will be slugging it out with Razak Atunwa of the PDP, Comrade Issa Aremu (Labour Party), Ayorinde Adedoyin (Accord), Alabi Morakinyo (KOWA), Abdulazeez Yinka Oniyangi (NPM) and Murtala Tunde (ACPN) and many others.
The chances of Abdulrazaq and his party, the APC, are very bright, judging from the political atmosphere in the state.
Daily Trust on Sunday gathered that Kwarans seem prepared to change the status quo by challenging the Saraki dynasty.
Pundits say that Abdulrazaq’s chance is bright because of the antecedents of his father, who happens to be the first lawyer from northern Nigeria and the first person to build the first secondary school in Ilorin.
Analysts say the determination to have somebody without any link to Senate President Bukola Saraki is an added advantage for him.
Rivers: Tonye Cole
The APC governorship candidate in Rivers State is Architect Tonye Cole. He is challenging Governor Nyesom Wike of the PDP, who has been scored high in terms of provision of infrastructure and payment of salaries to civil servants.
However, the unresolved crisis in the APC over who flies the party’s ticket is yet to be resolved as Senator Magnus Abe, who has gone to court to challenge the circumstances that brought Cole, may work against him.
Enugu: Senator Ayogu Eze
Senator Ayogu Eze of the APC will slug it out with at least 38 candidates from various political parties, including Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of the PDP.
Like Ugwuanyi, Senator Eze hails from the same Enugu North senatorial zone.
It is believed that an average Enugu man would rather vote for the PDP to enable Ugwuanyi complete his second term so that the office would rotate to another zone.