2019: Kalu, Okorocha, Amaechi, Akpabio,others lead APC battle for S’East, S’South

Bayelsa: APC to contend with Jonathan factor

As the 2019 general elections draw nearer, there are indications that Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the All Progressives Congress (APC) will again slug it out in Bayelsa State as it happened in 2015. While the belief that the PDP is an Ijaw party is no more, the APC is supposed to be opposition could be said not to be on ground. Besides this, what will still give the PDP an upper in the state is former President Goodluck Jonathan’s factor. The belief of most Bayelsans is that the party that gave them a president should not only be retained in the state, but supported at the national level.

In the state House of Assembly, there is only one APC legislator in the person of Sony Goli of Brass constituency out of 24 members. While some members of the APC in the state are banking on federal might to make in the state in the 2019 presidential election, the PDP leadership in the state dismissed that as wishful thinking, saying such has never worked in the state.

No doubt that APC is the main opposition party in Bayelsa State, but the fact remains that most of its chieftains operate from Abuja which does not give the party an edge over PDP. There has also been power tussle within the party for instance during the last local government and state congresses, parallel congresses were held in the state where two chairmen emerged in the person of Joseph Fafi and Jothan Amos.

Aside former Governor Timipre Sylva who is almost the only hope of the party in the state, Heineken Lokpobiri and a former commissioner in the Dickson administration, Ibarakumo Otobo, who defected to APC some months back, there is every likelihood that PDP will emerge tops in the 2019 presidential contest in the state in 2019.

It has been rumoured that three PDP senators in the state would be given automatic tickets to return to the red chamber. If that happens, the party is likely to go into the 2019 elections without much friction a development that may put APC in the state in a disadvantaged position.

Delta: APC chieftains set to battle PDP

APC in Delta State is hoping to takeover the oil rich-state after 20 years of PDP’s control. While the incumbent Governor Ifeanyi Okowa had maintained that his five prong SMART agenda of ‘prosperity for all Delta’ had delivered on peopleoriented projects and created wealth and jobs for over 3,500 youths through empowerment programmes in skill acquisition and agriculture since 2015, change agents of APC in the state had continued to cry foul, illegality and highhandedness against him as well as insist that years of PDP’s rule inflicted woes on the oil-rich state. To this effect, APC had girded its loins with the likes of the 2015 governorship candidate of the party, Olorogun O’tega Emerhor; incumbent Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu; the senator representing Delta Central, Ovie Omo-Agege; former Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Hon. Victor Ochei, former South South Zonal Vice Chairman of PDP, Dr. Cairo Ojougboh; Lagos based Economist, Prof. Pat Utomi; fifth time governorship candidate in the state, Chief Great Ogboru, among others, not only to take-over the state, but to deliver it to their party in the presidential election. This plot has been boosted by the recent defection of the immediate past governor of the state, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan, who has indicated interest for Delta South Senatorial District seat. Uduaghan has told those that cared to listen that PDP has been hostile to him, which explains why he toed the line of his counterpart in Akwa-Ibom state, Senator Godswill Akpabio.

While Ojougboh, a staunch loyalist of former PDP factional National Chairman, Ali Modu Sheriff, defected to the APC with thousands of his supporters after the Supreme Court declared Senator Ahmed Makarfi as the authentic national chairman of PDP, the former Speaker, Ochei, who jostled to succeed Uduaghan but came third at the PDP primary election in 2014 before he later picked the ticket the Accord Party (AP) for Delta North Senatorial District, but failed in the election, is currently a close ally of Kachukwu.

Ogboru, who holds the highest record of election contention in the state had criss-crossed three political parties, including the Democratic Peoples Party (DPP) and Labour Party (LP), has found a close ally in Omo-Agege, who defected from Labour Party with him to APC. They are both set for a titanic clash with PDP in their new fuond love in APC.

With Okowa warming up for a second term and various interest and groups endorsing him, and PDP presidential aspirants shuttling the state, it is clear that he will not support President Muhammadu Buhari’s re-election bid, but he has the likes of Ogboru, Ojougboh, Ochei, Kachukwu, Emerhor and Omo-Agege to contend with. These APC chieftains have what it takes to match the governor and the PDP strength to strength and money for money in the state.

Cross River: Gladiators set to turn the table against PDP

Given the calibre of people in the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Cross River State, there is no doubt that the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) led by Senator Ben Ayade will have a run for its money. This hope was based on the fact that with the former Senate Leader, Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba leading the likes of Senator John Owan-Enoh, Senator Florence Ita-Giwa and Senator Bassey Otu in the APC, the state might witness a contest of the equals. Besides, there are also the likes of former speakers and acting governors at various times, Hon. Larry Odey and Hon. Paul Adah, in the APC fold. Also in the party is the former National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Barr. Venatius Ikem. Ordinarily, with this kind of line-up, one would think that the APC will stand up to be counted as elections draw close.

However, the internal wrangling in the party which seems unending has pointed to self-destruction. Since the beginning of this year, APC in the state has moved from one internal crisis to another, with allegations and counter-allegations trailing every crisis. On Wednesday, August 21, the mainstream APC led by the former governor of the State, Chief Clement Ebri held its state congress which the Usani group boycotted, claiming that there was a court order restraining the national secretariat from conducting any congress. Now, the die is cast, especially with the national leadership of the party expected to recognize the Ebri faction. As it stands, Usani and his group needs to wear their thinking cap to overcome the huddles that the successful group is likely to place on their way.

However, any other move against the outcome of the state congress may be visited with sanctions from the national secretariat. But if the two factions join forces together, they may turn the table against Governor Ayade and the PDP in general given the belief that the governor has not done enough since mounting the saddle.

Edo: APC in firm grip

Available statistics show that the ruling APC is strongly in control of Edo State. With the positive tracks of numerous achievements in infrastructural and human capital development recorded by the immediate past eight years administration of former Governor Adams Oshiomhole, the state has become a rallying point and focus by major stakeholders and key players in the South-South zone. It was no wonder that Oshiomhole’s tactical politics earned him the state leader of the APC shortly after he left office in 2016. For one, his fiery and vocal stance on issues worked effectively for his choice during the recent APC national convention at which he became the bride and was finally elected the National Chairman of the ruling party.

Oshiomhole it must be worthy of mention demystified the PDP and whatever remains of the party today in Edo State with a devastating blow on the seeming unconquerable or invincible concept of political godfatherism . At the moment, however, just as the wild wind of the gale of defections rocks some states ahead of the 2019, Edo State is exceptionally intact with its members not looking at other sides as viable options though recently there was splashes of defection from the APC to the opposition PDP by the immediate past chairman of Ikpoba Okha local government council and ex-chairman of the Association of Local Governments of Nigeria (ALGON) in the state Mrs. Itohan Osahon-Ogbeide; business magnate, Chief John Osamede Adun and Mrs. Lucy Omagbon, who was former chairman of Ovia North East council. At the legislative level, none of the members of the house has defected to any of the opposition parties while the APC remains in the majority with 21 lawmakers as against 24 members of the house.

These are clear indications that no serious bigwig has left the fold. Instead, the party lately gained maximally when the former Majority Leader of the state Assembly Hon. Mathew Iduoyemkenwen and the lawmaker representing Egor/ Ikpoba Okha federal constituency in the House of Representatives Hon Ehiozuwa Johnson Agbonnahinma, defected to its fold. Furthermore, a former chairman of ALGON Chief Felix Akabue had since defected to the ruling party. Interestingly, the APC has positioned itself as the party to beat in the forthcoming general elections in the state. For instance, in the north senatorial district, the credibility of the party remains unshaken and perfectly retained because of the influence of Oshiomhole’s influence.

The state governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has started addressing the concerns of aggrieved party leaders on welfare issues, inclusiveness in the running the affairs of the party and the state. Obaseki, it would be recalled had initially stated his resolve to focused on governance and paid less attention on politics which almost plunged the party into crisis.

Recently, the governor embarked on meeting with the party leaders at the senatorial levels to assuage their pains and complaints. There is no doubt that the party still retains its winning streak in the state. In Edo North senatorial district, it has the likes of the incumbent deputy governor,Hon. Philip Shuaibu; Senator Domingo Obende, Prof. Julius Ihonvbere; Speaker of the state Assemby, Kabiru Adjoto, Hon. Peter Akpatason representing Akoko Edo federal constituency and Hon. Taiwo Akerele who is the current Chief of Staff to Governor Obaseki.

In the South senatorial zone are Osarodion Ogie; who served a Chief of Staff to Oshiomhole and now Secretary to the State Government (SSG); Hon. Charles Idahosa a former political adviser to Oshiomhole; former deputy governor, Dr. Pius Odubu and former member of the House of Representatives, Hon. Patrick Obaghiagbon. In the Central senatorial district are the likes of Chief Felix Akabue, John Inegbdion, Alex Okoh, Anslem Ojezua who is serving his second tenure as the state chairman of the state APC and Hon. Frank Okiye, a former Majority Leader of the stet Assembly.

Anambra: Up for grab by any party except APGA fields a presidential candidate

There are strong indication that incursion in the South-East, particularly, in Anambra State by the All Progressives Congress (APC) may change the political landscape in the 2019 elections. This is because some of the major political gladiators and heavyweight in Anambra politics across the major political zones in the state are currently in APC. APC in Anambra Central can boast of the Minister of Labour and Productivity, Senator Chris Ngige and Senator Uche Ekwunife, among others while Senator Andy Uba and Chief Gorge Moghalu are the leading voices in Anambra South.

APC can also boast of its candidate in last governorship election, Hon. Tony Nwoye and Dr Chike Obidigbo as trusted hands in Anambra North. Unlike other states in South-East, which has been in the grip of the PDP for many years, Anambra is firmly controlled by the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA). The party has won the last three governorship elections in the state. Prior to the 2015 general election, PDP was a formidable opposition in the state, but the party lost the slot to APC after the 2015 elections as some of its chieftains like Senators Andy Uba, Uche Ekwunife and Hon. Tony Nwoye defected to APC and the party proved its worth in Anambra politics as its candidate, Nwoye came second during the November 2017 governorship election won by Governor Willie Obiano, the APGA candidate. In 2019, political analysts believe that APC may have a good outing in the state if the political gladiators in the party unite to face the ruling party in the state.

Though Governor Obiano belongs to APGA, some schools of thought believe that he may have sympathy for APC and support for President Muhammadu Buhari’s re-election in 2019 given the alleged support the President gave him during the election that returned him to the Government House, Awka. But, this is if APGA will not field a presidential candidate. Since Anambra is not holding governorship election in 2019, the political gladiators in the state will flex muscles to ensure that they proof their worth in the state in the state and national Assembly as well as the presidential elections that will take place in the state. If the present state of APC in Anambra State is anything to go by, political calculation shows that the party will have a good outing in the forthcoming polls.

Abia: Kalu rallies others for APC

The politics of Abia State in 2019 will be interesting. For the first time in many years, there will be more than one party strong enough to take over the rein of government the state. In 2015, the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) pulled a surprise, taking 11 seats in the 24-member House of Assembly that was hitherto dominated by Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). It also almost snatched the governorship seat. APGA during the last general elections provided a platform through which the people expressed their disaffection with the ruling PDP and that was why most of the APGA candidates got elected into the state Assembly.

All the people wanted was to vote out PDP so it didn’t matter to them who was the candidate of APGA. In 2015, APC was little known in the state. Besides, its perception as a northern party didn’t help matters. But all that have changed. APC now has prominent indigenes of the state in its fold. The roll call is intimidating. For instance, former Governor of Abia State, Dr Uzor Kalu, the leader of the party, has brought his goodwill to bear in the party. He has drawn former political associates back to the party. APC can now boast of the likes of the likes of Benjamin Apugo, Chief Marc Wabara, who has declared for the Abia South Senatorial seat.

Wabara, a retired bank chief executive was a governorship aspirant on the platform of the PDP in 2015. Senators Chris Adighije and Nkechi Nwaogu are also political heavyweights in the state now in the APC. Both of them represented Abia Central in the Senate.

The party also has in its fold former members representing Ikwuano/UmuahiaI, Acho Obioma and Stanley Ohajuruka, who was also a Speaker of the Abia State House of Assembly. At the January 9, 2018 APC mega rally in Umuahia, the Abia State capital, Hon Martins Azubuike, immediate past Speaker of the Abia State House of Assembly led three other members, including Prince Ikedi Ezekwesili, (Umunneochi) Solomon Uchenna Okogbuo, Bende South and Theophilus Ugboaja, Ikwuano to join the party. At the moment, Ikechukwu Apugo, former General Manager of ASEPA has declared for the Ikwuano/Umuahia Federal Constituency seat just like Dr. Uche Ogah is taking a shot at the governorship. Chief Friday Nwosu is also eyeing the government house having declared his intention to contest the seat in 2019 just as Martins Azubuike has also declared intention to unseat Governor Okezie Ikpeazu.

The day Nwosu, who dragged Governor Ikpeazu to court over irregularities in his tax receipt after the 2015 elections, came to the APC secretariat to inform party leaders of his intention; he did so with the former Speaker of the Abia State House of Assembly, Hon Agwu U Agwu. Nwosu, a legal practitioner is from the same Obingwa local government area as Ikpeazu, just like Chris Akomas. But Agwu had been in the State Assembly for Arochukwu State Constituency for three terms during which time he became the speaker of the House. In 2015, Ogah was the toast of the electorate but when he did not get the ticket he took it in good fate.

The people expected him to join another party but he refused. It was that goodwill that the people transferred to Alex Otti and APGA as the alternative. Now that he has come back to political contest, the interest of the people in him will surely revive. Dr. Akomas was Senator Theodore Orji’s deputy but now a governorship aspirant on the platform of APC. It is indeed going to be an epic battle in 2019 especially given the antecedent and pedigree of former Governor Kalu, who is a no pushover in the state’s politics.

.new telegraph

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