As Nigerians file out on Saturday, certain factors might play a major role in deciding which governorship candidates they will vote for during the polls.
The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, had rescheduled the governorship and state houses of assembly elections from March 11 to March 18, 2023, due to the controversy surrounding the configuration of BVAS used during the presidential election.
The National Commissioner and Chairman Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, disclosed that the commission needed time for the reconfiguration of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS used for the presidential election held on February 25, 2023.
The Daily Post reports that factors like the continued naira scarcity, religion, and ethnic permutations might affect the decision of voters in Saturday’s governorship election across the country.
During the presidential election, APC lost Lagos, the home state of the president-elect, Bola Tinubu. The Labour Party's (LP, presidential candidate, Peter Obi, defeated Tinubu in Lagos.
Igbos in Lagos have been linked to Tinubu’s defeat in the state because they were accused of voting along ethnic lines. But Obi, while appearing on Arise Television, rubbished such claims.
Also, Nigerians have been groaning under their inability to have cash following the redesign of the naira. The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN, had introduced N200, N500, and N1000 notes prior to the presidential election.
The continued scarcity of the naira might affect the chances of the All Progressives Congress, APC, candidates and other incumbent governors on Saturday.
In Abia, Governor Okezie Ikpeazu might fail in his bid to ensure his party, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, retains power. This might not be unconnected to the death of the party’s governorship candidate, Prof. Uche Ikonne.
Also, Ikpeazu lost his Senate bid, and the Labor Party (LP, tsunami might see Alex Otti become the next governor of the state.
The APC might lose Kaduna State despite the efforts of Governor Nasir El-Rufai. Worthy of note are the people of southern Kaduna, who might opt for the LP governorship candidate, Jonathan Asake. Over the years, the people of southern Kaduna have suffered terrorism and killings with little or no succor coming from El-Rufai’s government. Against this backdrop, Asake stands a better chance of winning. However, the Peoples Democratic Party, or PDP, is a no-pushover in the polls, with the party winning all three senatorial seats in the Feb. 25 polls.
Governor Ben Ayade’s alleged inability to deliver on his electoral promises might work against the APC’s chances on Saturday. The governor, who would complete his second term, is a strong advocate for power to go to the south.
In the Cross River state PDP, long before the official bell was sounded, candidates from the central senatorial district had declared their intention to vie for the gubernatorial seat. This produced some discomfort within the southern caucus of the party, which, citing a previous agreement, averred that the next governor should indeed come from the south. Many meetings had been held to try to resolve this imbroglio. In the end, it has been implicitly accepted that the race is open to any aspirant, no matter the geographical base.
However, a chieftain of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chuks Ibegbu, said a major factor that would decide the outcome of Saturday’s governorship election is the candidates participating in the polls and not the political parties.
Ibegbu, a former spokesman of Ohanaeze, said the youths would be the deciding factor in states like Enugu, Abia, Kaduna, and Lagos.
Speaking with the Daily Post, he said: “The electorates have witnessed the governance narrative in Enugu, Abia, Delta, and Kaduna over the years, especially the youths who bear the brunt of misgovernance; they are going to take their destiny into their hands.
“The youths are going to reclaim their states, and the electorates have been judging the performance of their governors and political actors over the past eight years, and this would inform voting patterns." One thing I know is that it’s not going to be business as usual in regards to their voting pattern.
“The people are going to take their destiny into their hands; this is not about political parties but more about individuals; the people will push away those that have nothing to offer them and take their destiny into their hands.
“People will look at the incidents of those who want to lead them; APC has two states in the southeast—Imo and Ebonyi. If APC has good candidates in the Southeast, then you can’t discount them. But the Labor Party is a hurricane in the Southeast and all over the country.
“Just like you can’t stop the hurricane or a tornado, it comes and uproots everything, so is the Labour Party.”