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2019 Guber: CDD Lists Lagos, Kano, 7 Others as Key Battleground in Saturday’s Polls


By Chibuike Nwabuko
Abuja (Sundiata Post) – Experienced analysts at the Centre of Democracy and Development (CDD’s) Election Analysis Centre (EAC), have identified nine key battleground states where the race for the position of the governor would be fierce.

According to the analysts, Lagos, Kano, Kaduna, Imo and Adamawa made the cut among 29 states holding gubernatorial and state houses of assemblies elections on Saturday. Others are Ogun, Plateau, Bauchi, and Sokoto.
The analysts posit as follows:

“Tomorrow’s elections are important because governors are about the most strategic positions in governance and who emerges often have a direct bearing on good governance and improved or worsened security,” Dr. Joe Abah, an analyst at the EAC and the Nigerian director for  U.K. Department for International Development, said.  

“The greatest challenge to good governance in Nigeria is the relatively high percentage of governors who are excessively corrupt, irresponsible in their governance mandate and often almost completely absent from their respective States. Our hope is that citizens have closely monitored and assessed the performance of their governors and are ready to sanction bad governors.”

As part of its effort to monitor and provide factual analysis and updates on the Saturday polls, the CDD’s EAC is collaborating with the Premium Times Centre for Investigative Journalism (PTCIJ) and The Cable newspaper to deploy about 100 journalists from their stables to travel to Rivers, Oyo, Benue, Sokoto, Imo, Kano, Adamawa, Lagos, Plateau, Akwa Ibom, Kaduna, Zamfara, Bauchi, Ogun, Taraba, Niger and Kwara states to observe the election process, expose irregularities, and provide timely updates on the Election Day and later during the collation of results.  

In Lagos state, the EAC believes that the contest would be a highly competitive one between the APC and the PDP, pointing out that issues such as the weakness of the PDP’s party structures, its lackluster campaigns before the general elections as well as the denial of a second term to the current state governor Akinwunmi Ambode whom some party members believe has not shown strong commitment to supporting the party’s governorship candidate would shape the outcome of the polls in the state.

 “It is a contest that is now, more than ever, cast in terms of capturing the ethnic voting banks controlled by the two major ethnic groups in the state—the Yoruba and Igbo,” the EAC said in a statement on Friday.  “In effect, the governorship elections in the state, as indeed of the presidential elections that preceded them, are viewed as a test-run for the prospects for a Yoruba or Igbo presidency in 2023.”

The EAC noted that two states really present interesting cases – Kano and Imo, where 29 and 65 candidates respectively jostling for the governorship post.  
The analysts at the centre said that the PDP’s chances of putting up a good fight has been weighed down by the decision of the Federal High Court in Kano to nullify the primary conducted by the PDP in the state, which produced Abba Kabir-Yusuf as the party’s governorship candidate in the state.

“For almost four years, Kano has been a theatre of open battle between the mass political movements led by Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso, former governor and ex-minister which is known as Kwankwasiyya and that led by Governor Umar Ganduje, an estranged aide and protégé of Kwankwaso known as the Gandujiyya political divides.

“Both men have a large following and the 9th March elections would be their final battle,” they added.

By extension, the EAC asserted that the ethno-religious north and south divide should be taken into consideration in Kaduna state, but also warned that Governor Nasir el-Rufai’s chances of being re-elected might be affected by a number of factors, including his selection of Hadiza Balarabe, a fellow Muslim as his running mate; the force of  political elites and heavyweights in the state and then Alhaji Isa Ashiru Kudan, the gubernatorial candidate of the PDP, who is considered to be a match for el-Rufai, going into the contest.

In addition, they said that the contest in Bauchi state makes for an interesting case with Governor Mohammed Abdullahi Abubakar’s re-election bid appearing to be an uphill task due to the pervasive and widespread perception among the citizens of the state that he is unapproachable and that he has underperformed.

“An array of powerful forces has vowed to unseat him,” the EAC continued.  “Ironically, at the forefront of the ‘M. A. Must Go’ clamour are several disenchanted individuals and groups within his All Progressive Congress, with whom the governor has been having a running battle. The open rebellion, and their resolve to work against the governor and the party, is unprecedented.”

Meanwhile, the EAC has decried the lack of adequate oversight functions among state houses of assemblies.

“The State Houses of Assembly have been historically incapable of over-sighting governors and if and when we improve the quality of the intake, governance would certainly improve in the country,” the EAC explained.

The centre further complained that instances of thuggery orchestrated by some of the governors during the last elections hamper the smooth conduct of elections.

“There is a strong possibility that some of them would be tempted to use the vast resources at their disposal to affect electoral outcomes,” the statement read in part.

“As Nigerian Governors consider any challenge to their desires as unacceptable behaviour that requires punishment, security agencies must be at their best to ensure that governors too abide by the law.”

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