News Headlines Feb 16, 2019. Headlines From Nigeria’s Major Newspapers

  • News Headlines Feb 16, 2019. Headlines From Nigeria’s Major Newspapers

    Compiled by Demola Adefajo

    The Punch
    BREAKING: PDP rejects shift in election dates, asks INEC chair to resign
    UPDATED: INEC reschedules presidential, NASS elections
    They say I’m corrupt because I’m successful – Atiku
    Gunmen kill 66 people in Kaduna
    Lagos landlord’s daughter beats tenant to death
    Election postponement: It’s the hand of Esau but the voice of Jacob – Atiku
    Pandemonium as suspected cult members disrupt Valentine’s Day party
    INEC is a disappointment – Situation Room
    Kogi senatorial candidate writes Buhari, alleges threat to life
    Protesters seek justice for Ekiti farmer slain by herdsman
    Assets: Onnoghen finally appears before CCT, pleads not guilty to charges
    My only regret in life – Funke Etti
    Vote for candidate that can reduce killings, PFN tells members
    Nnamdi Kanu withdraws order against voting in South-East
    Pandemonium as suspected cult members disrupt Valentine’s Day party
    Protesters seek justice for Ekiti farmer slain by herdsmen
    Police arraign suspected cult members for attempted murder
    Polls: NDLEA raids Lagos warehouses, recovers marijuana, arrests dealers
    Vote-buying: EFCC releases hotlines, pledges rewards for whistle-blowers
    Enugu residents in panic purchase ahead of Saturday polls
    Election: FRSC certifies 2,000 vehicles for logistics in Sokoto, Kebbi, Zamfara
    Rwanda seizes skin bleaching products worth $46,000
    Difficult terrain: INEC opts for donkeys, bicycles in Gombe
    Elections: Customers make last-minute withdrawals as banks close early
    Inflation rate drops to 11.37% in January, says NBS
    Experts urge NCAA, Caverton to implement recommendations on VP’s helicopter crash
    Financial expert tasks policymakers on economic growth
    Why Naira remains immune to election spendings —BDC operators
    Murtala would have transformed Nigeria if he hadn’t been killed – Ibrahim, brother
    I have no single enemy in life – Onigbinde
    Customs officers are the least paid national security agents
    Election not worth the blood of any Nigerian – Abari, NOA DG
    Those criticising INEC guidelines are afraid they can’t rig – Afuye
    Some governors among importers of illegal arms – Okereke, DG, NATFORCE
    Sports
    AFCON U-20: Flying Eagles, Amajita fight for third place
    ‘New Ronaldo’ can win Ballon d’Or – Agent
    Violence: Fuludu wants severe sanctions against clubs, fans
    Don’t get drawn into pitch battle, Guardiola warns Man City
    FIFA president ‘optimistic’ about 48-team Qatar World Cup
    Halep, Mertens win through to Qatar final
    Interactive
    It’s very difficult to make Nigerians laugh – Gbagaun Muncher
    I was determined to set a new record in my department – Komolafe, AAUA first-class graduate
    Group trains pupils in malaria prevention
    BEDC donates 20,000 exercise books to Edo schools
    NAFDAC DG to build, equip science laboratory for alma mater
    ‘Every child needs basic computer skills to succeed’
    Biases, gender stereotypes keeping girls from sciences – UN
    Ayefele, Edochie, Alabi, Odule, others talk politics
    I received about 50 messages from ladies after my divorce prank – Seyi Law
    My wife warned me not to marry another woman – Ijebu
    I may not have my legs, but I’ve my brain, hands – Usman
    ‘Being a preacher won’t make me quit secular music’
    Valentine’s Day and mental well-being
    FG not doing enough to fight Lassa fever – NMA
    CMD seeks support for cancer patients
    Exclusive breastfeeding can avert 13% of child deaths – Saraki
    WHO warns of ‘backsliding’ in measles fight as cases soar
    Brown advocates task shifting to solve health care problems
    People who lost loved ones to political violence relive horror of pain, agony
    Election period, boom time for our businesses – Bar owners, others
    We’ve become preys in the hands of angry customers –Electricity workers
    Becoming a secondary virgin could restore your lost and wasted years!
    Victim mentality syndrome…
    The election and beyond
    Create a community of love outside your marriage
    Five ways to handle demands from in-laws
    What is your greatest fear in life?

    The Nation
    Breaking: PDP rejects postponement of election
    NigeriaDecides2019: Live Updates
    Amaechi blasts Wike
    Breaking: INEC postpones today’s election
    Update: INEC sets to announce outcome of meeting with stakeholders
    Amaechi blasts Wike
    Who wears the crown?
    The big contest
    All eyes on INEC
    We’re battle-ready for troublemakers – Police
    APC, PDP in tug of war
    Different strokes for different states
    CCT trial: At last, suspended CJN Onnoghen docked
    Two Lagos Assembly aspirants challenge INEC’s failure to enforce APC decision
    How President Buhari, wife will vote on Saturday
    I’ll vote if I’m alive – Obasanjo
    PDP accuses INEC of hoarding presidential, senatorial election result sheets
    Polls: Police deploy 20, 000 security in Kano
    Massive voting key to checkmate rigging – Cleric
    Lehmann vs Bachmann: Foes on the pitch lovers off the pitch!
    Pique says Messi part of new Davis Cup venture
    New York showdown: Dillian Whyte foresees Joshua’s defeat in June
    Valentine bug: Adebayor makes it a red rose affair for Dillish Mathews
    Enugu residents in panic purchase ahead of Saturday polls
    Group celebrates Ambode’s wife at 55
    Valentine’s Day: Two lovers die over lady in Nasarawa
    Slain prisons boss buried in Lagos
    Ezekwesili, Falae and unstructured, unprincipled polity

    ThisDay
    Obasanjo Denies Fleeing Nigeria, Says He’s Ready to Vote
    Drama, As Onnoghen is Forced to Take Plea in the Dock
    It’s Official: INEC Postpones General Election by One Week
    Voting out Buhari to Save Nigeria is Sacred Duty, Says IYM
    IGP Lacks Powers to Restrict Movement, Says HURIWA
    JYEI Urges Nigerians to Vote Responsibly
    INEC: Kwara has 1.4m Registered Voters, 1.1m PVCs Collected
    Atiku Raises the Alarm over Partisanship of PVC, Card Reader Manufacturer
    Imo: PDP Worries over Ghost Polling Units
    EFCC Releases Telephone Lines to Report Vote Buying
    Sensitive Materials Yet to Arrive Bauchi INEC Office
    IPOB Calls Off Election Boycott, Apologises for Lateness
    Abia PDP Accuses INEC of Plot to Rig
    Stop blaming APC for your failures, Amaechi tells Wike
    NEMA Receives 160 Stranded Nigerians in Libya
    Protest Rocks Ekiti Community Over Killing of Farmer by Suspected Herdsmen
    Group Commends INEC for Peaceful Election Campaign
    2019 Elections: The Calm After The Storms
    Boko Haram: Where Are the Drones?
    Jimi Agbaje and the Power of Leadership
    Why Election Boycott is not an Option
    BUHARI’S COVENANT WITH ASUU
    Eunisell Bags ISO 9001:2015 Recognition
    Mercedes-Benz Delivers Hit Over 180,000 Vehicles Worldwide in January
    Uber Driver-partners Win Prizes, as New Greenlight Hub Opens in Abuja
    Kia Presents Rio Cars to Nigerian Winners of Access Bank Lagos City Marathon 10Km Stretch
    World Premiere for the new BMW 7 Series
    Nigeria, S’Africa Battle for U-20 AFCON Third Spot
    Iwobi Gets ‘Mixed Ratings’ in Arsenal’s Loss to BATE
    FA Cup: Guardiola’s City Takes Quadruple Quest to Newport County
    Leon Balogun: Fading Dream?
    DStv, GOtv to Air Barcelona, Real Madrid Matches
    Onoriode Ehwarieme: Throws Cap into the Ring for Joshua
    Mikel Obi: Still in Rohr’s Plan
    Green House Wins Beehive School Inter-sports Competition
    Kunle Afolayan Projects ‘Mokalik’ for Film Festivals
    Bright Simons, Using Technology to Impact Everyday Life
    Lady Chukwudozie Eulogies Husband
    Ibra Ake is Still in Wonderland
    Abby Zeus’s Gospel of Boobs
    British Schoolgirl Who Joined ISIS is Pregnant, Wants to Return Home

    Daily Trust
    Peter Obi: Inside campaign style of an opposition running mate
    ‘How ill-treatment of beggars pushed me to become trader’
    How Multinational Joint Task Force operates, by Commander
    Nigeria not partnering Israel enough on security – Envoy
    Young Nigerians cashing in on mobile money biz
    Why INEC postponed general elections by one week – Prof. Yakubu
    Kajuru: Buhari condemns killings, directs security forces to arrest perpetrators
    #NigeriaDecides: 2019 Presidential Election may be postponed
    Kogi governor sues for peaceful polls
    No ballot papers missing – Niger REC
    Kidnapping in Katsina spreads to metropolis
    BREAKING: INEC postpones Nigeria’s elections to Feb 23, March 9
    Presidential election: INEC has taken a decision after emergency meeting – Spokesperson
    Nigerians demand surgical operation on Flying Eagles
    Papa Idris: Kada City won’t be a flash in the pan
    Can Sarri survive until the end of the season?
    LADOL’s MD, Jadesimi wins FIN award
    Caverton Helicopters assures on services
    British Airways offers reduced fares for Valentine
    2019 Elections: Passengers stranded at Abuja motor parks
    Kidnapped housewife, 2 children set free after N.5m ransom
    Police arrest 3 over kidnap of 2 pupils in Karu
    Islamic State ‘breathing its last’ in Eastern Syria, monitor says
    Girl defilement: Lawyers advocate severe punishment
    Election: Police deploy over 6000 in Bauchi
    N411m fraud: Court remands ex-bank manager
    Lessons From IP3 in Washington DC
    How I met, fell in love with my wife – Ali Nuhu
    5 politically active Nigerian celebrities
    Kannywood star Zango denies being mobbed for ‘insulting’ Buhari
    JUST IN: Onnoghen pleads not guilty, gets bail on self-recognizance

    The Sun
    Unqualified foreign trained doctors causing havoc in Nigeria –Prof Faduyile, NMA president
    Kuje school of horror
    BREAKING: INEC may postpone election
    PDP accuses police AIG, others of plotting to rig elections in Akwa Ibom
    JUST IN: INEC postpones elections to Feb. 23
    Anxiety, suspense as 84m Nigerians decide Buhari, Atiku’s fate today
    Crazy thing I did for love –Omotola Adebayo, actress
    Unqualified foreign trained doctors causing havoc in Nigeria –Prof Faduyile, NMA president
    Kuje school of horror
    Umahi orders arrest of criminal suspects for allegedly inserting hot iron into vice chairman’s private parts
    Company to develop equipment to determine child’s paternity
    Ghana’s “Alomo Bitters’’ sold 13.9m bottles in Nigeria in 2018
    3 in court over alleged possession of guns
    Gunmen abduct Delta APC women leader, demand N30m ransom
    IG deploys additional AIGs, CPs in Ogun, Lagos, other states
    Warri port to attract $1.6m annual concession fee — BPE
    Buhari in Daura, thanks Nigerians for show of support
    Give Nigeria free, fair elections, Bode George urges INEC
    Kolade, Asiodu, Obiozor, others demand credible polls
    6,000 security personnel ready for election in Zamfara –Police
    Omidiji makes history as youngest Golden Eaglets call up
    Miller rates Fury higher over Joshua
    ATP Tour: Nadal’s Spain to face Croatia in Davis Cup finals
    Semenya’s running future to be decided next week
    Newport County tries Man City for size
    AFCON U20: Nigeria battles South Africa for bronze
    Kuti’s loss at the Grammy will spur him to do better – Esho
    10 years on, Dampte waxes stronger on global scene
    In the boardroom with Chris Ezeh, founder, Christopher university: ‘There’s hardly an ideal board chairman’
    Why you shouldn’t rush into marriage
    Looking for policemen to arrest
    Be ye holy for I am holy (3)
    No man is too poor to give
    Understanding peak time performance
    Olayinka: Three years of managing recession in UI
    Women and the fight for better Nigeria
    TFP: Whistleblower and Eraskorp’s potential double jeopardy
    Agric a silent goldmine
    The shoe on the other leg
    Weird world of gamblers
    Young terrors
    FG approves FETHA as AE-FUNAI teaching hospital
    2019 elections: Mike Pounds unleashes Baba

    The Guardian

    Auto dealers lament low patronage As Nigeria decides

    Aspirin to prevent colon cancer
    INEC postpones general elections
    PDP rejects election postponement
    Buhari Campaign condemns the postponement of election
    Elections postponement plan to disenfranchise voters, says Atiku
    ICAN: Delayed passage of 2019 budget may sabotage growth prospects
    Girl-child education, panacea for uplifting womanhood
    UN sues for calm, patience among Nigerians
    UK Aid to improve farmers’ access to market in Edo
    No terminal date for Amnesty Programme, reiterates Dokubo
    Barcelona eye full point against Valladolid
    Kia Rewards winners of 10km Lagos City Marathon
    Argentina, Chile, Paraguay, Uruguay in joint bid
    Fury, Wilder’s rematch ‘to be announced on Monday’
    ‘Yenagoa’s new airport will boost Bayelsa sports tourism’
    Africa’s UFC ‘Predator’ targets legendary Velasquez
    Like Obama, U.S. envoy Symington cautions Nigerians against infantile political behaviour
    Stop allowing people pay you with ‘exposure’, women in media urged
    1 hour ago Guardian Woman
    How to slay the mummy guilt
    1 hour ago Guardian Woman
    Factors to consider when choosing a crèche
    Stars light up 2019 Grammy AwardsTribune
    PDP Rejects Election Postponement
    LEON USIGBE – ABUJA.
    CUPP Backs INEC On Polls Postponement
    Fear, Tension As Nigerians Elect President
    Economy, Insecurity, Corruption Weigh On Elections
    BREAKING: INEC Postpones Elections Till February 23
    BREAKING: Elections postponed? ‘Wait to hear from the horse’s mouth,’ INEC chairman’s CPS tells…
    Activists call for violence free election in Ebonyi
    INEC yet to commence distribution of election materials in Taraba
    Security operatives conduct show of force in Kaduna
    Shiites: ‘Because our 8 million members will vote against Buhari, FG has ordered our arrest at polling centres’
    2019 polls: INEC working for PDP in Rivers —Amaechi
    PDP accuses INEC of hoarding Presidential, Senatorial election result sheets
    Kaduna PDP alleges use of security operatives to terrorise electorate
    Shun violence, don’t sell your vote, Olamijuwon tells youths
    Google Partners UBA On Free Wi-Fi For Customers
    9mobile’s launches Magic Hour promo
    Obeahon Ohiwerei: Keystone Bank’s turnaround strategist
    Nigeria’s GDP grows 2.38% in Q4 2018 ― NBS
    Showdown Between Nigeria’s ‘Political Grandfathers’
    I ’ll consolidate on gains of democracy in Gombe —Nafada
    I disagree that governorship position is an exclusive right for men
    Ogun: Akinlade and his consolidation message
    ‘CBN’ Tour Not Sponsored By Any Politician, Political Party —MI
    Celebrities speak on today’s elections: ‘Make sure your vote counts’
    How Fake News Threatened Today’s Elections
    Bathed with acid: Peacemakers who end up living in pains
    Forbes: The worth of Dangote, Adenuga, Alakija and Rabiu in 2019
    After presidential visit, gridlock returns to Apapa
    Obiano Inaugurates New Boards For SUBEB, Post-Primary Schools Commission
    Quality human capital key to economy recovery —Crawford VC

    Vanguard

    President Buhari Expresses Disappointment Over Postponed Elections
    Polls Postponement: CUPP Hails INEC, Blames APC, Security Agencies Over Action
    Breaking: Gov Okowa’s Aide Assassinated
    Elections Postponement: I’m Not Worried, Gods Will Is Supreme – Peter Obi
    Election Postponement: Osanebi Calls For Calm
    Angry Reactions Trail Rescheduling Of Polls
    Election Postponement Was A Difficult Decision -INEC
    Resign Now, PDP Tells INEC Chairman
    Buhari Condemns Killings In Kaduna
    #NigeriaDecides2019: Elections Postponement: Remain Peaceful, Atiku Admonishes Nigerians
    INEC: 587,440 Voters Cards Yet To Be Collected In Kano
    POLLS: We Can’t Afford To Get It Wrong – Nkwocha
    Oritsejafor Empowers 100 Widows On Valentine
    2019: The Place Of Nigerian Woman
    Enthusiasm As Nigeria Votes Today
    Antics of drug traffickers at Lagos Airport
    Elections unite 1994, 2013 Eagles
    I came to Nigeria to buy a car but ended up spending five years
    Breaking: We condemn INEC’s postponement of Nigeria’s election – APC
    Breaking: INEC finally postpones Nigeria’s general election to February 23rd
    Updated: Presidential election 23 Feb; Governorship 9 March
    Read INEC’s full report on postponement of Nigeria’s election
    Why we postponed Nigeria’s election to Feb. 23rd – INEC
    SHAME!! When vision, expertise, merit not enough to win
    President Buhari expresses disappointment over postponed elections
    Elections postponement: I’m not worried, Gods will is supreme – Peter Obi
    Election postponement was a difficult decision -INEC
    #NigeriaDecides2019: Elections postponement: Remain peaceful, Atiku admonishes Nigerians
    POLLS: We can’t afford to get it wrong – Nkwocha
    Tribute to Taiwo Ogunjobi
    Ozil’s situation at Arsenal embarrassing – Keown
    Nnamdi Ehirim charts path to tennis revival in Nigeria
    Elections unite 1994, 2013 Eagles
    Chelsea stars want Cahill back
    2019 PRESIDENTIAL POLLS: Nigerian entertainers speak on their expectations, hopes
    It’s 130 years for Mr & Mrs Chris Aligbe
    Gabosky reveals why his dream to revolutionize Nollywood crashed
    Daniella Okeke: Rising above controversies
    Rapper MI, Choi Boi Nation storm four cities with CBN tour
    Breaking: Nigeria’s inflation rate drops to 11.37 per cent – NBS
    Teenager docked for alleged murder
    LAMDA: London examiner examines 111 music, drama Students in Greensprings Schools
    PRINCESS OGHENE: Where beauty, brain, entrepreneurship meet

    New Telegraph

    VIDEO: INEC Postpones General Elections To February 23
    Gunmen kill 66 including women, children in Southern Kaduna
    Tough battles for 11 pressured lawmakers
    APC Elders dumps party to PDP in Plateau State 24 hours to elections
    D-Day for seven outgoing governors in Senate race
    APC and its Rivers and Zamfara debacle!
    What impact will Jonathan make?
    ISSUES: ‘Ogun State people are loyal to their leaders’
    ISSUES: ‘Ogun State people are loyal to their leaders’
    JOHESU laments discrimination, injustice in LAUTECH
    Ghana, Benin, Togo for MP Tiger Tennis tourney
    Ballot Papers For Niger East, Niger North not missing but delayed –REC
    Election 2019: HLSI debunks allegation of jamming phones, funding campaigns
    DATE WITH DESTINY: …as 84 million voters decide Buhari, Atiku, others’ fate today
    POLLS: N’Delta militants’ threat, extreme –Afenifere
    JULIE COKER: I failed as a mother:
    Some Nigerians won’t vote as 109 senate seats, 360 Reps up for grabs
    Meet the presidential candidates
    Mastercard debuts Sonic Brand
    Troops kill 11 insurgents, recover ammunition in Adamawa
    Election 2019: HLSI debunks allegation of jamming phones, funding campaigns iNEC, others must allow law prevail –Olajide
    Ghana, Benin, Togo for MP Tiger Tennis tourney
    Not placing priority on money helped me to succeed –Adesokan
    Taiwo Ogunjobi: The dimming of a Shooting Star
    Pinnick, Dikko, time to improve NPFL
    Apart from talent, Teni’s right attitude makes thing easy –Dr Dolor
    GHANAIAN ACTRESS, SUMNEY: WHEN NIGERIAN MEN WANT A LADY, THEY FIGHT FOR HER SHOW
    AY, Timi Dakolo present as Bridge Peridot debuts in Abuja
    Seyi Shay: Criticising myself means I’m involved in entire creative process
    Troops kill 11 insurgents, recover ammunition in Adamawa
    Nigeria can’t afford another Civil War –Lagos titled chiefs

Breaking: INEC postpones elections

UPDATED: INEC reschedules presidential, NASS elections

Presidential, NASS elections hold February 23
Governorship, State Assembly elections hold March 9
Friday Olokor, Abuja

The Independent National Electoral Commission has announced the postponement of the Presidential and National Assembly elections earlier scheduled for today (Saturday) by one week.

Consequently, the commission has rescheduled the Presidential and National Assembly Elections to Saturday, February 23, 2019 while the governorship, State Houses of Assembly and Federal Capital Territory Area Council polls earlier fixed for March 2 would now be conducted on Saturday, March 9 2019.

The chairman of INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, who read a five-paragraph statement by 2:50 am on Saturday morning attributed the decision to logistic reasons, but refused to entertain any question.

He said, “The Independent National Electoral Commission met on Friday, February 15, 2019, and reviewed its preparations for the 2019 General Elections scheduled for Saturday, February 16 2019 and Saturday, March 2 2019.

“Following a careful review of the implementation of its logistics and operational plan and the determination to conduct free, fair and credible elections, the commission came to the conclusion that proceeding with the elections as scheduled is no longer feasible.

“Consequently, the commission has decided to reschedule the Presidential and National Assembly Elections to Saturday, February 23 2019. Furthermore, the Governorship, State House of Assembly and Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Area Council Elections is rescheduled to Saturday, March 9 2019. This will afford the commission the opportunity to address identified challenges in order to maintain the quality of our elections.

“This was a difficult decision for the commission to take, but necessary for the successful delivery of the elections and the consolidation of our democracy.

“The commission will meet key stakeholders to update them on this development at 2pm on Saturday 16 (today) February 2019 at the Abuja International Conference Centre.”

ANALYSIS: 2019 Presidential Election: How the battle will be fought and won

ANALYSIS: 2019 Presidential Election: How the battle will be fought and won

Bisi Abidoye 

On Saturday, voters across Nigeria will go to the poll to elect the president, 109 senators and 360 members of the House of Representatives.The 2019 general elections are the fifth since that of 1999 gave birth to the Fourth Republic. This is the longest series of regular elections since Nigeria became independent on October 1, 1960.According to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), slightly over 84 million voters are on the electoral roll. However, not all of them obtained the permanent voters’ cards that they need to present to be allowed to vote.A breakdown of the voters’ register by regions shows that the North-west tops with 20, 158,100 voters, followed by the South-west with 16,292,212.The North-central has 13,366,070 voters, followed by the South-south with 12,841,279. The North-east zone has 11,289,293 while the South-east has 10,057,130.Each of the regions has six states, except the North-west which has seven and the South-east which has five.Okowa Campaign ADSeventy-one parties are participating in the elections, but only 73 are officially fielding presidential candidates. Some of the candidates, like Oby Ezekwesili of the Allied Congress Party of Nigeria, have pulled out or endorsed either of the two leading candidates.
A two-horse race
Like the four others before it since 1999, this is expected to be a two-horse race. Of the past four, only the first in 1999 and the last in 2015 produced keen contests. Observers think this will be another.In 1999, two of the three parties presented Olu Falae on a joint ticket with the late Umaru Shinkafi as his running mate. But their combined forces could not stop Olusegun Obasanjo of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) from returning as the first president of the Fourth Republic. His running mate was Atiku Abubakar.By the next election in 2003, the All Peoples Party (APP) and the Alliance for Democracy (AD) had failed to consolidate their alliance and gone their separate ways. Some other parties had also been registered to crowd the track and further fragment the opposition. It was no surprise, therefore, that the PDP, which had then become a behemoth through the power of incumbency, would make mincemeat of all its challengers in that election.The PDP went on to produce two other presidents until the opposition realised they would remain fodder for the PDP unless they again merge forces.That merger was the first feat of the All Progressives Congress (APC). Nigerian political parties since the First Republic had always seen the need to broaden their bases through merger or alliances. But they never succeeded because they often left the construction too close to elections.The parties that eventually became the APC had their roots in the APP and AD of 1999-2003. They began thinking of getting together again before the third cycle of elections in 2011 but only achieved it in 2014.The merger, combined with the implosion of the PDP and the absorption of those who found themselves out of the then ruling party and other factors, gave the APC the muscle to truly challenge the lumbering behemoth in the 2015 election.The election would become the stage for the first defeat of a ruling party at the centre in Nigerian history as Muhammadu Buhari stopped President Goodluck Jonathan’s reelection.Four years later, the PDP is now determined to serve Mr Buhari a dose of his own medicine. It is a measure of the growing political culture in Nigeria that four years out of power, the party has managed to retain enough strength to prop the same Mr Abubakar, who was Mr Obasanjo’s sidekick in 1999, for a real fight with President Buhari on Saturday.So how will the battle be fought and won?
Many, especially those observing from outside, have presented a rather simplistic analysis of this contest. It goes like this: Mr Buhari will get most of the votes of Muslim voters in the three northern zones and hitch a ride on the back of his allies for a share of the south-west votes. Mr Abubakar, on the other hand, will sweep the two almost monolithically Christian zones in the south and glean the Christian and ethnic minorities in the North, with the seething North-central forming the nucleus of his support in that hemisphere.In truth, Mr Buhari, since his first attempt in 2003, has drawn his votes from the deeply Muslim North and needed the hands of new allies, especially Bola Tinubu, to cross the River Niger for the first time in 2015 at the fourth attempt.Apart from 2007 when his nemesis was the late President Umaru Yar’Adua, a fellow Muslim from the North-west, Mr Buhari had drawn the bulk of his recurrent 12 million votes from his home zone. In 2007, his basket shrank to a mere six million votes, leading to the conclusion by analysts that a northern rival, especially from his home zone, would dilute his support in the North.
The race in the North-west
We predict that on Saturday Mr Buhari will again be a titan in that region. But this is not entirely because his challenger this time is from the North-east.Of the seven states in the North-west, at least four appear to be safely in his column. These are Katsina his home state, Kebbi, Kano and Zamfara.Much has been made of the influence of Rabiu Kwankwaso, the former governor of Kano who last year returned from the APC to the PDP over a bitter feud with his former acolyte, Governor Abdullahi Ganduje.But Mr Kwankwaso was never part of a clean sweep of Kano until 2015 when he had Mr Buhari at his side. He won his first election to the House of Representatives in 1992. When he became governor in 1999, it followed a controversial primary which pitted him against Mr Ganduje. The general election too was tight against the candidate of the defunct APP.The primary election of the PDP was particularly rough. Elders of the then new party had to persuade the two gladiators to run on the same ticket, out of the fear that unless they worked together, the general election might yet again be thrown to the conservative wing of Kano politics.That fear was grounded in the scenario of 1992 when an acrimonious primary tore the then Social Democratic Party (SDP) in the old Kano State apart and led to the emergence of a dark horse, Kabiru Gaya, as governor on the platform of the little to the right National Republican Convention. Sule Lamido, whose part of the state was later in 1995 excised as Jigawa State, was at the centre of that costly schism in the SDP. Messrs Kwankwaso and Ganduje eventually ran on the same ticket and won a close election.In 2003, Mr Buhari ran his first electoral race at a time the conservative North was in a rage against President Obasanjo. Many states in the region had adopted the Sharia mainly to spite his leadership.Coupled with a few other factors, Mr Kwankwaso was trounced in the 2003 governorship poll by Ibrahim Shekarau, whom he had removed as permanent secretary and sent into the classroom as a teacher. Mr Buhari swept Kano that year, and many attributed him as the factor in the comfortable election of Mr Shekarau. But Mr Kwankwaso’s alienation of his allies through his abrasive leadership was also undoubtedly a factor.Mr Kwankwaso did not run again until the end of Mr Shekarau’s second term in 2011. That year, he returned as governor but won with only a plurality of about 63, 000 votes. That margin was thin in a state of close to two million voters.But Mr Kwankwaso’s cause was even further helped by the fallout of the presidential election of that year. After the announcement of Mr Jonathan as the winner, supporters of Mr Buhari, especially in Kano, broke out in violent protests. The security crackdown that followed chased many of them underground and ended their interest in the remaining elections of that cycle.If Mr Kwankwaso has gained the clout to challenge Buhari in Kano, he has yet to prove it. The APC won big with him in 2015 but that was because Kano was also caught in the Buhari hurricane of that year that swept the entire North and threw Mr Jonathan off the saddle. This state will, therefore, go to Mr Buhari again, although Mr Kwankwaso will give Mr Abubakar a foothold.The three other states in the zone; Kaduna, Jigawa and Sokoto, will feature varying degrees of contest. Kaduna is polarised mainly along religious lines with the Christian southern part the base of the PDP in the state. But voters in the area are well outnumbered by those in the other parts. Mr Buhari will draw the bulk of the votes in those parts to give him the state.In Sokoto, Governor Aminu Tambuwal and former governor Attahiru Bafarawa have a considerable following. In 2015 when Mr Bafarawa was the lone general in the PDP, he gave a good fight although the Buhari factor bolstered Aliyu Wamakko and Mr Tambuwal to firmly push the state into the APC column with 671,926 votes to PDP’s 152,199 in the presidential election. When Mr Buhari visited for his campaign this year, the turnout indicated the people are still enamoured with him. But Mr Abubakar also pulled a large crowd to his rally. We will give the state to Mr Buhari, but the margin will be closer this year.That leaves us with Jigawa in this zone. In 2015, Mr Buhari swept this state even with Mr Lamido as the sitting governor. He garnered 885,988 votes to Mr Jonathan’s 142,904. That situation appears to have altered. But this has more to do with Governor Badaru Abubakar’s stewardship than with Mr Lamido’s resurgence.Mr Lamido lost two elections in 1999 and 2003 to Saminu Turaki of the APP. He needed the support of the latter to win at the third attempt in 2007. By then, Mr Turaki had become a PDP sympathiser and one of the governors who bankrolled the failed Third Term Agenda of Mr Obasanjo. But now out of power, Mr Lamido has been putting the heat on the sitting governor who he and his supporters have branded as corrupt and underperforming.The Adamawa-born PDP flag bearer, Mr Abubakar, has traced his ancestral roots to the state and expects to be welcomed back home with votes. These are the reasons why this is considered a battleground state. If it is so, it is leaning towards Mr Buhari more than Mr Abubakar.
North-East
This is Mr Abubakar’s zone. In the parlance of Nigerian politics, he is supposed to be at home with the voters here. But that does not appear to be the case. Two of the six states in this zone can be written off for him. These are Borno and Yobe which Mr Buhari won handily in 2015. He appears set to repeat the feat on Saturday.Mr Buhari won two of the other states here, Bauchi and Gombe. Governor Ibrahim Dankwabo sneaked into reelection in Gombe even after Mr Buhari had beaten Mr Jonathan decisively with 361,245 to 96,873 votes. It was considered a measure of the voters’ love for their governor. The president is expected to retain the state, more so that a lot of the political figures, including some officials of Mr Dankwambo’s government, have crossed the bridge into the APC.Bauchi’s scenario is slightly different. Mr Buhari mauled Mr Jonathan here in 2015 with 931,598 votes to the latter’s paltry 86,085. And he again pulled a large crowd this year when he campaigned there. Last year, the APC won all the bye-elections held in the state. But local politics surrounding Governor Mohammed Abubakar appears to have helped the PDP back into reckoning in the state.The governor has alienated many of the political and traditional rulers in the state, including the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara. It was this local issue that finally pushed a hesitant Mr Dogara back to the PDP last year. A former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Bala Mohammed, is the PDP governorship candidate and he is using his deep pocket to run a serious campaign. On the positive side for the APC, many bigwigs, including two former governors of the state, Adamu Muazu (he was the PDP national chairman at the time of the last election) and Isa Yuguda have moved over to the APC. Mr Buhari looks set to win the state. But Mr Abubakar will fare better here than Mr Jonathan did the last time around. Governor Abubakar on his part may need to hang on to the hems of Mr Buhari’s flowing gown to stay afloat on March 2.Adamawa promises the most exciting spectacle on Saturday. This is the home state of Mr Abubakar. He is married to the family of the paramount traditional ruler in the state, the Lamido of Adamawa. He also holds one of the most prestigious traditional titles in the emirate, the Waziri. He has so much business investment here, including the prestigious ABTI American University in Yola, that he is said to be the biggest employer of labour in Adamawa after the state government.Mr Abubakar started his political career in 1989 and made a beeline for the governorship seat. He finally got it at the third attempt in 1999 only to be drafted to Abuja as running mate to Mr Obasanjo. But Adamawa is one of the states in the North with a broad elite base, most of them the lords of their manors.In 2015, Mr Buhari edged Mr Jonathan 374,701 votes to 251,664. It was the first time a presidential candidate not running on the PDP ticket would pick the state. Local opinions suggest Mr Buhari maintains the lead here. But it will be dicey, especially given also the storm surrounding Governor Jibrilla Bindow. From a minority ethnic group, the governor is at odds with his old allies. Adamawa is a battleground state if there is one in this zone.That leaves us with Taraba. The home state of Theophilus Danjuma, former defence minister. It has the only other PDP governor in the zone. And like his Gombe counterpart, Governor Darius Ishaku had a close shave with defeat in 2015 even though Mr Jonathan won here emphatically with 310,800 votes to Mr Buhari’s 261,326. The courts eventually gave him reprieve from the stiff challenge of the woman they call Mama Taraba, Aisha Alhassan then of the APC.Incessant violent crises have left the state further divided along religious and ethnic lines on Mr Ishaku’s watch. He is a Christian, and the composition of ethnic forces favour him and may translate again to a PDP upper hand in the state. Good for Mr Abubakar’s cause too that Mama Taraba removed herself from the APC after the party ruled her out of the governorship primary. Her defection to the United People’s Party where is running for governor will affect the APC. She was the rallying force of the party until she left. And now that she is out of the party, she is free to demonstrate her loyalty to Mr Abubakar.Last year, Mrs Alhassan caused a storm when she was overheard in a leaked video saying she would support Mr Abubakar should he be running for president. Now is the time to put her word into action.Her dilemma, however, will be the fact that the victory of Mr Abubakar in the state will boost the reelection prospects of Mr Ishaku, which may sound the death knell for her governorship ambition.All these mean Mr Danjuma’s usual scowl may soften to a rare smile after the votes are counted in this state.
North-central
Regardless of what you may have read elsewhere, this zone has something for the two presidential candidates. Against the popular perception, only Benue and Plateau of the six states in the zone have a Christian majority population. Kogi is probably evenly split between Christians and Muslims; Nasarawa and Kwara have sizeable Christian minority groups. But Niger has a large Muslim majority. In 2015, Mr Buhari had a good showing in this zone, losing only in Nasarawa with 236,838 votes to Mr Jonathan’s 273,460 and Plateau with 429,140 to 549,615.All the six states in the zone also elected APC governors. But Abdulfatah Ahmed of Kwara and Samuel Ortom of Benue returned to the PDP last year in the exodus orchestrated by Senate President Bukola Saraki who is Mr Ahmed’s political godfather in Kwara.As things stand, four of the six states are firm battlegrounds. Niger is in the APC column just as Benue appears to be fully under the PDP umbrella.Nasarawa has an APC governor, but the state always gives the plurality of its votes to PDP presidential candidates. In 2015, Mr Buhari had 236,838 to Mr Jonathan’s 273,460 even though the state reelected Governor Umaru Al-Makura on the APC platform.The death of its 2015 governorship candidate, Abubakar Audu, which threw up the then bystander Yahaya Bello as governor, has muddled the water in Kogi for the APC. The party wrested the state from the PDP in the off-season governorship election of 2015 through Mr Audu. But he died while the results were being announced. The immediate implication was that for the first time, the state has a governor who is not from the majority Igala ethnic group. Mr Bello’s abrasiveness and policy choices have broadened and hardened the hostility against him in large parts of the state. This has given the PDP reasons to be upbeat ahead of Saturday.In Kwara, however, we may have a situation close to that of 1983. That year, the kingmaker of the state, the late Olusola Saraki, who was a chieftain of the then ruling National Party of Nigeria and Senate Leader, had fallen out with the governor he helped into office, the late Adamu Attah. After the NPN ignored his protest and renominated Mr Attah, Mr Saraki hooked up a curious alliance with the opposition Unity Party of Nigeria. The UPN candidate, Cornelius Adebayo, defeated Mr Attah in the governorship election of 1983.This time, a Saraki is again at the centre of the drama in the state. But he appears to be the one feeling the heat now. The Senate President’s 16-year hold on the state is facing its biggest threat yet from a resurgent opposition gathered in the APC and rousing the streets with the battle cry, Oto Ge! Enough is enough in Yoruba, the slogan is resonating across the state. This is a battleground state. It appears too close to call.
South-west
With over 16 million registered voters, this zone is always going to have a say in who emerges president on Saturday. The two candidates are expecting an open game in all the six states here because of the open-mindedness of the largely Yoruba voters. In 2015, Mr Buhari edged Mr Jonathan in the zone and he appears poised to do the same to Mr Abubakar on Saturday.In the last cycle of the general election, the PDP had two governors in Ekiti and Ondo states. But APC has since annexed those seats in the offseason governorship elections and now makes the South-west the only zone in Nigeria under a single party flag.However, this constitutes both advantages and disadvantages for Mr Buhari’s party. It means this election is a referendum on the stewardship of the party in the zone.Last year, it took both luck and shenanigans to keep Osun in the party’s column as what was a straightforward contest in 2014 controversially went into a supplementary poll. Governor Gboyega Oyetola eventually emerged in a photo finish with about five hundred votes superiority to Ademola Adeleke of the PDP.But that election was determined by local factors, especially a labour backlash against former governor Rauf Aregbesola. Although he started well, changed the physical landscape of the urban side of the state and introduced many bold policies in the education sector that will long impact the state, the difficulty he had in paying workers became his albatross. It eroded his popularity and unfairly caricatured him as a ghastly leadership accident.But the APC can expect a more decent victory this time, mainly because of the alliance it forged with Iyiola Omisore in the heat of that supplementary governorship poll. The Ife prince started the Fourth Republic in the same company as deputy to Governor Bisi Akande.But he swiftly fell out with his boss and was peremptorily impeached and driven into the waiting hands of the PDP. That time, President Obasanjo was plotting a brutal takeover of his home region from the AD. Mr Omisore’s ordeal in the AD solidified his base in Ife around him. That electoral asset earned him the warm embrace of the same people who long and stridently accused him of every crime in the book, including murder, when they were adversaries. He again will be instrumental.Of the remaining states in the zone, Ogun seems the most fluid. This is due primarily to the crisis Governor Ibikunle Amosun has foisted on the APC through his strange power transition designs. The party split down the middle after a section rebelled against him. It managed to get the backing of the national leadership of the party. But a stubborn Mr Amosun would not yield and has herded his loyalists into the Allied Peoples Movement for the state elections while he remains a senatorial candidate of the APC. If its messy civil war does not draw the APC the whirlwind in the presidential poll, it is sure to take a heavy toll on it in the state elections.In spite of all the usual excitement, the votes-rich Lagos will rest firmly in the APC column. The opposition PDP is weak as many of the leaders have exchanged their umbrellas for brooms. Those who remain are bickering as usual and critically do not have the war chest, structure or strategy to take the battle to Mr Tinubu who at some point appeared vulnerable after his men picked a curious fight with Governor Akinwunmi Ambode. But the governor seems to have taken his harsh chastisement on the chin and, at least overtly, is placidly tagging along with his estranged friends rather than dash to the other side.In Ondo, there is also infighting in the APC. Here too, all the factions seem to have a common ground in Mr Buhari and will work for him. The PDP in 2015 had a sitting governor working for it, but Mr Jonathan still lost the state 251,368 to 299,889 votes to Mr Buhari.Now, the former governor, Olusegun Mimiko, has left the PDP and is fending for himself in the Zenith Labour Party where he is running for the Senate on Saturday.In Ekiti, Ayo Fayose has served his term as governor. He painfully failed to install a PDP successor and now contends with a civil war in the state chapter of the party where, until recently, he was he who must be obeyed.In contrast, Governor Kayode Fayemi is still enjoying a honeymoon and drawing new adherents into the APC from the PDP. This state is notorious for flipping and is poised to flip once again. Mr Buhari lost here 120,331 to 176,466 the last time around.In summary, the APC remains the top dog in this region and will again offer Mr Buhari a significant help on Saturday. It is a bonus that Vice President Yemi Osinbajo is from the zone. No wonder the whisper that APC may back the South-west for the presidency in 2023.
South-east
This is assumed a PDP territory, even though the party has only three of its five state governors. Since 1999 when the presidential bid of Alex Ekwueme attracted the zone into the PDP, the mainstream Igbo political leaders have made themselves at home in the party.In 2015, Mr Buhari harvested a paltry 198,000 votes from the five states in the region. That tally pales against the 323,653 that Mr Jonathan drew from Ebonyi, his least from a state in the zone. The streets of the South-east remain hostile to Mr Buhari. But the political elite seems to be less so now.Ebonyi’s Governor David Umahi is unabashed in praising and welcoming and fawning over the president publicly. When Mr Buhari stopped over for his campaign, the governor hosted him at Government House. The state’s traditional rulers also endorsed the visitor’s ambition. A few days later, the governor turned up to receive Mr Abubakar but offered no apologies for his strange cavorting with the “enemy.” Mr Umahi is not alone in the zone in this ambivalence to the PDP.Governor Willie Obiano is in the All Progressives Grand Alliance. In 2015, he worked furiously for Mr Jonathan who showed Mr Buhari a clean pair of his heels by trouncing him 660,762 to a ridiculous 17,926 votes in the state. Now, Mr Obiano’s vigorous campaign is for Mr Buhari. It is not entirely out of love for the president. It has also to do with his dislike for Peter Obi, Mr Obiano’s predecessor and estranged friend who is now running on the PDP presidential ticket with Mr Abubakar.Mr Obi installed Mr Obiano in 2014. But the pair quickly quarrelled and has refused to make up. When the governor ran for reelection in 2018, Mr Obi had crossed over to the PDP and vowed to throw his successor out of office. He tried but failed. Now, Mr Obiano wants to return the favour. He will do all he can to embarrass Mr Abubakar in the home state of his running mate.Although the PDP South-east heartily welcomed Mr Obi into its fold from APGA, the leaders seem to think his nomination by Mr Abubakar was a gift too generous and too early. They have no choice but to work for the PDP since they are all seeking reelection. But the passion of 2015 is now flickering and may affect the quantum of votes for the PDP on Saturday.Add to that the continued insurgency of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB). The group wants to disrupt elections in this zone if they cannot persuade the people to stay at home on election days. Strangely, everything it is doing of late seems to be in favour of Mr Buhari, the man they had called the Nigerian reincarnation of Adolf Hitler. IPOB cannot stop the elections but two in every three voters they keep at home on that day will count as Mr Abubakar’s loss. IPOB on Friday said it is calling off the boycott.Imo State gave Mr Buhari 133,253 votes in 2015, about a third of his tally in the entire zone. This is the result of Governor Rochas Okorocha’s valiant efforts. He remains the only APC governor in the South-east. He took a wing of APGA into the merger that became the party. But like Mr Amosun of Ogun in the South-west, his insistence on choosing who would be what has shaken the house that he built to its foundation.Mr Okorocha is running for the Senate as an APC candidate but has sent his in-law to another party to run for governor after the APC declined to issue him its ticket. The factions may all work for Mr Buhari on Saturday. But their disunity may cost them direly on March 2. This, however, is not to say Mr Buhari will win the state. But as in elsewhere in the zone, he is entitled to expect an improvement in his harvest from this state.Figures like former Abia State Governor Orji Kalu, former Enugu State Governor Sullivan Chime and former Senate President Ken Nnamani are in the APC and will help Mr Buhari draw more votes than ever before.All the ministers from the zone too will also like to demonstrate their political clouts. All of these will help the president avoid the embarrassment he was subjected to at the poll in the zone in 2015.Mr Abubakar will win this zone but not with the margin with which Mr Jonathan did in 2015.
South-south
This is another PDP territory. Every projection of a Mr Abubakar victory rests on the foundation that he will pick almost every vote in this zone and in the South-east. PDP runs every state in the zone apart from Edo, which Adams Oshiomhole snatched from the party in 2008 and kept in the APC at the end of his governorship tenure.This zone has 12, 841,279 registered voters. Most of them will look for the umbrella symbol when handed their ballot papers. In 2015, homeboy Mr Jonathan won all the six states decisively, garnering a few votes short of five million. He did to Mr Buhari what the latter did to him in the North-west as the APC candidate tallied only about 400,000 votes.This time, the PDP will not have it that easy. There has been a massive incursion of the APC into states such as Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Rivers and Delta that the party can reasonably fancy its chances to pick at least one of these states.The defection last year of former Akwa Ibom Governor Godswill Akpabio to the APC may be a game-changer. The development was a morale booster for the APC in the region. He has vowed to win the state for his new party. Even before the election, the APC is looking more like the ruling party as it harasses the PDP and its state government and draws a stream of defectors.In Rivers, an internal crisis in the APC has dealt the party a big blow. The Supreme Court on Tuesday ruled that the party will not be fielding candidates in the state for defying a court order barring it from conducting its congresses and primaries in the state while a matter was still pending before the court. But the party still managed to mobilise a large crowd to Mr Buhari’s rally in Port Harcourt. Nevertheless the setback to the APC in the state, the Minister of Transportation will like to prove his political relevance in his state during the presidential election.Whatever, Mr Buhari will draw far more votes here than he did in 2015 while Mr Abubakar will fall far short of the numbers of Mr Jonathan.Because the PDP cannot add the power of incumbency to the factor of its dominance in the region, some observers have predicted that the votes will generally shrink in this zone. This prediction is based on the contention that the Nigerian malaise of blatant allocation of electoral figures by those with the power to do so was most prevalent in this zone of many rivers and creeks.Aside from the fact that incumbency is now in APC hands, both parties now have strong enough representation on the ground to thwart the shenanigans of the other. What should be the most concern is keeping the combatants from deploying violence in their desperation or frustration.Mr Abubakar will count on every vote he can get in the South-south, and he will get most of the votes. But the battle on this turf will be less lopsided than it has been since 2003 when the PDP started its bullying of the opposition on the Niger Delta electoral canvass.
Conclusion
In conclusion, this has been an unusual electoral season in Nigeria. Mr Saraki complained that the APC federal government closed the space for campaigns. There have been no fundraisers.This time in 2015, the big boys were announcing donations in billions. Now, everyone seems to be looking over their shoulders and trying to avoid the attention of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.The close monitoring of campaign finances by the anti-graft agency has also deprived the season of the carnivals of street parades and media blitz by support groups.It has to be said, however, that many expect the polls to be clean, at least by continental standards. Due to the increasing deployment of technology by INEC since 2011, no one expects to see much ballot stuffing, ballot snatching and all the usual brigandage.All eyes are on Nigeria too. So the gladiators are constrained to put up their best behaviour under the circumstances. So who between Messrs Buhari and Abubakar will win on Saturday? You can do the maths.
Credit: Premium Times 

2019 Presidential election: In reality, a Buhari-Obasanjo showdown

In reality, a Buhari-Obasanjo showdown

Duro Onabule
Officially, the 2019 presidential election in Nigeria is between incumbent Muhammadu Buhari and ex-Vice-President Atiku Abubakar. But in reality the contest is between Muhammadu Buhari and his former Commander-in-Chief and one of his predecessors, Olusegun Obasanjo. Long before Atiku’s entry into the race, not to talk of his picking up the presidential ticket on the platform of PDP, Obasanjo had thrown his challenge to Buhari, dismissing, in the process, his (Buhari’s) merit for the routine second term. The nearer the election drew, the more confrontational, the more daring, sometimes, the more reckless and the more hypocritical Obasanjo became.

This irritant (as he was described by retired Lt. General Alani Akinrinade) became so repulsive that the former Chief of Defence Staff, in a well-advertised open criticism, had to fault Obasanjo’s judgement (in effect, criticism of Buhari) as no less deplorable as Obasanjo’s past record.

That, it emerged, was just only one in the series of drama recorded in the build-up to the elections. The hope, if not the excitement, raised by the registration of some 90 political parties since dwindled into near farce. Similarly, it was proper that Buhari signed into law the so-called “not too young bill,” which, it was hoped, would encourage the agitators to justify their case. Otherwise, bedlam might have been let loose against those “denying them” their rights. Unfortunately, the two measures only succeeded in exposing the lack of seriousness and desperation for cheap political aspiration of those concerned. Forty so-called newly registered political parties declared support for and endorsed the candidacy of President Buhari while another 40 of the parties similarly opted for PDP’s presidential candidate Atiku Abubakar. Was that all the purpose of registering such a large number of political parties or reducing the age for qualification for holding public office?

No less ridiculous in the build-up to the elections were the disgraceful antics of the so-called cultural organisations – Afenifere, Ohanaeze, Northern Elders Forum, Arewa Consultative Forum, etc, as they, one after the other, refused to be outdone in endorsing, or even openly split to endorse their preferred candidate out of the only two who seriously lasted the race – President Muhammadu Buhari as the APC and former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar.

What is more, these cultural organisations, over the years, neither served community interests nor failed to earn notoriety for backing wrong causes. In 2014, a splinter three-man faction of Afenifere endorsed former President Goodluck Jonathan on the excuse that he would restructure Nigeria. The same Goodluck Jonathan who, for most part of his six-year tenure totally rejected all agitation for restructuring. Similarly, in 2006, Ohanaeze, under the leadership of Chief Joe Irukwu, was the only group which openly supported Obasanjo’s third term (a euphemism for his life presidency) agenda. Therefore, there is nothing new or alarming in the latest bogus endorsement of presidential candidates.

Some members of Northern Elders Forum (have) alleged that the endorsement announced for PDP’s candidate, ex-Vice-President Atiku Abubakar was a decision without any mandate or meeting of the general body of the forum. Therefore, the Arewa Consultative Council discarded its long-standing convention and announced the endorsement of APC’s candidate, President Muhammadu Buhari. All these cultural groups are merely seeking relevance just like the self-promoting pollsters in and outside Nigeria. Accordingly, neither President Buhari nor former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar should be buoyed or demoralised by these tricksters. Ordinary Nigerias will determine the outcome of these elections. As a repeat, Nigerias already made up their mind and won’t be influenced one way or the other by any “yeye” endorsement from any quarters. Imagine foreign-based pollsters already somersaulted in favour and against the two leading candidates – Buhari and Atiku.

The 2019 election will surely shatter long-standing myth, which, during the campaigns, assumed a more puzzling dimension. There was the tumultuous crowd at Kano for the campaign of each of President Muhammadu Buhari and former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar. Hot debate ensued on who of the two pulled more crowd. In fact, the PDP was so alarmed by Buhari’s crowd and had to dismiss the feat with the allegation that the APC imported foreigners from neighbouring Niger Republic. Then the PDP also attracted such huge crowd, which raised counter-allegation whether PDP also imported indigenes of Niger Republic. Whichever was the case, did the Kano crowd in either case necessarily comprise voters for Buhari and Atiku, respectively? As was Kano, so it was in Kaduna, Zamfara, Borno, Katsina, Taraba, Kebbi, Sokoto, Adamawa, Plateau, Bauchi, etc.

Campaigns for the elections, compared to the past, have also been rated as the least expensive. Past elections featured free flow of loose, unquestioned and unexplained funds all over the place. All the same, Atiku Abubakar spent more on advertisements on electronic and print media. Buhari, on the other hand, enjoyed the benefit of incumbency with the Ministry of Information highlighting the tenure achievements of the President, as well as various organisations and state branches of APC drumming support for Buhari’s party, the APC, which controls come 24 states.

The elections have also put the political future of particular members of National Assembly on the line. Not the least affected are Senate President Bukunola Saraki and House Speaker Yakubu Dogara. Both attained stronger political worth after quitting their former PDP party to help install the newly-formed APC. Both then sneaked into their respective National Assembly leadership positions and incurred the wrath of the APC leadership. Mutual anger and distrust, which ensued, compelled their return to the PDP. Unfortunately, especially for Saraki, the failed attempt to obtain PDP’s nomination for the presidential election badly halted his political rise not only at the national level but also back in Kwara State. Saraki may just make it back to the Senate but he is unlikely to be re-elected Senate President. Even if Saraki wins Kwara for Atiku Abubakar, such political feat may not stop Buhari from attracting more than the nominal 25 per cent votes. But winning Kwara for Atiku Abubakar remains a major task.

Saraki’s counterpart in the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, is more vulnerable even to be re-elected to the House. It will be a major shock in the election if Dogara wins Bauchi State for Atiku Abubakar. Akwa Ibom is another state of interest for two main reasons. Former governor of the state and ex-minority leader in the Senate, Godswill Akpabio, who quit PDP, must prove his political worth to the APC while the party’s candidate, President Buhari, not only needs the electoral spread but also a substitute for the loss of any state his party may suffer in other parts of the country.

With APC completely out of every race in Rivers State except the presidency and with the big turnout of party enthusiasts for both Buhari and Atiku Abubakar, there is the inevitable battle for political supremacy between former governor of the state Chibuike Amaechi and his successor, Nyesoni Wike. Victory for one – that is, President Buhari or former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar – will be a near fatal political dent for the other.

Of major interest to observers are the home states of the two topmost candidates, each drawing about the heaviest crowd in the other’s state. Whatever may happen, Buhari will most certainly win home state, Katsina, in a big way since his party, APC, controls the state, and for a home lad, victory could never be less forthcoming. On the other hand, Atiku should also feel at home in Adamawa, except that with a risk. Adamawa is controlled by Buhari’s APC, a hangover from Atiku’s APC days. How far that may affect the results of the presidential election in the state is enough to cause sleepless nights in some quarters.

Benue and Plateau states, ordinarily, a year ago, appeared “no go” areas for Buhari. Miraculously, the same Buhari drew the largest crowd in Plateau during his campaigns. His mere appearance from his vehicle was enough for the people. Way back in 2015 at Maiduguri, it was the same show.

What can now be said of Benue State? Largely, owing to the hot and cold blowing of Governor Samuel Ortom, even his own political survival now depends on remarkable fortune. One moment, according to Governor Ortom, President Buhari is unacceptable and only short of evil, while the next moment, in Governor Ortom’s assessment, President Buhari “is our leader. He owns Benue State and can do whatever he likes with the state…” etc. Including shock victory reverberating even over the governorship race? Disagreement with erstwhile political god-father and former governor, Senator George Akume, the seeming undeclared kingmaker of Benue State who installed ex-Governor Suswam and after a fall-out similarly installed Governor Ortom as Suswam’s successor. Buhari’s possible victory in Benue State, if recorded, may just have dug Governor Ortom’s political grave. The situation will be clearer in the next 96 hours, especially if, in an addition to Buhari’s victory in Benue State, kingmaker Senator Akume also sails home in a return trip to the Senate.

Taraba State presents the conventional Chinese wisdom of “the enemy of my enemy is my friend. After serving as Minister of Defence in former President Obasanjo’s civilian administration, General Theo Danjuma became virtual mutual enemies and parted with such acrimony that he derisively reduced Obasanjo to “Aremu of Ota.” Danjuma also jointly endorsed Buhari’s victory in 2015.

But the same Danjuma since emerged as champion of Taraba State’s interests against the murderous cattle herders killing unarmed Nigerias along that part of the country. In fact, Danjuma advised Taraba indigenes to defend themselves. Danjuma also has not dissociated himself from the allegation of some Christian leaders that Buhari was plotting Islamisation of Nigeria. For that different reason, Danjuma is on the same wave length with his former boss Obasanjo in the battle to vote Buhari out of office.

That is the particular showdown presented by election results expected in Taraba State. Buhari drew unexpected large crowd at the campaigns. Yet, Taraba is under the control of opposition PDP. Is Buhari’s popularity in Taraba State stronger than the political/electoral influence of son of the soil, Theo Danjuma? Nigerians can’t wait too long for the results.

In this election, the entire South-East still seems impregnable for Buhari. For unstated reasons and despite overtures or even political baits, there remains the group political hostility. Construction of Second Niger Bridge, construction and re-construction of broken-down federal highways and offer of the Presidency to South-East in 2023. On the other hand, may be ideal for democracy or Nigeria will slide or creep to one-party state. It is usually a political choice guaranteed under the Constitution.

Credit: The Sun

Onnoghen pleads not guilty, gets bail on self-recognizance

JUST IN: Onnoghen pleads not guilty, gets bail on self-recognizance

Onnoghen discussing with his lawyers inside the tribunal while waiting for the proceedings to begin

By Clement A. Oloyede,

The suspended Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Walter Onnoghen, has been docked before the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) over allegations of non-declaration of assets.

He pleaded not guilty to the charge when it was read to him.

The Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) had in a 6-counts charge filed at the CCT on January 11 accused Nigeria’s suspended head of judiciary of failure to declare his assets between June 2005 and December 2016 contrary to provisions of section 15(1) of the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act Cap C15 LFN 2004 and punishable under section 23(2) a, b, and c of the same Act.

While his arraignment was initially scheduled for January 14, the suspended CJN did not come to the tribunal. He also did not come to the tribunal on January 22, January 28, February 4 and February 13, which led the tribunal to issue a warrant for his arrest on February 13.

However, at the resumed hearing today, upon his presence in the tribunal, his lawyer, Chris Uche (SAN) asked that the bench warrant order be discharged with the defendant having appeared voluntarily without the execution of the bench warrant.

Delivering ruling on the application, the tribunal Chairman, Danladi Umar held that “The bench warrant earlier issued, since the defendant made himself available voluntarily without the execution of the bench warrant, the tribunal hereby set aside the warrant on the condition that the defendant must henceforth make himself available throughout the trial.”

Earlier, the tribunal chairman asked Onnoghen to sit down in a chair provided for him inside the dock. “My Lord, sit down”, he said.

However, Onnoghen remained standing, adding, “I thank you for the privilege. When I need it I will sit down.”

He remained standing in dock throughout the proceeding.

After the plea, Onnoghen’s lawyer applied for bail on self-recognizance for his client, to which the tribunal chairman replied, “Granted.”

He thereafter applied for an adjournment till after the election, to which the prosecution counsel, Ibrahim Musa did not object.

The tribunal adjourned the matter to March 11 for hearing of all pending applications.

Credit: Daily Trust

Breaking: Onnoghen surrenders, attends CCT’s sitting

Breaking: Onnoghen surrenders, attends CCT’s sitting

Breaking: Onnoghen surrenders, attends CCT’s sitting
by Eric Ikhilae, Abuja

The Suspended Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Onnoghen has arrived the sitting venue of the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) in Abuja where he is expected to answer to a charge of alleged breach of code of conduct for public officers.

Onnghen has consistently shunned the CCT since proceedings opened in the case on January 14 this year.

He instead challenged the tribunal’s jurisdiction and obtained restraining orders form High Courts.

On February 13 this year, the CCT issued a bench warrant for his arrest after running out of patience with the suspended CJN.

Details shortly…

News Headlines Feb 15, 2019. Headlines From Nigeria’s Major Newspapers

News Headlines Feb 15, 2019. Headlines From Nigeria’s Major Newspapers

Compiled by Demola Adefajo

The Punch
Polls: FG shuts borders as police restrict vehicular movement
There will be chaos if Atiku visits Ogun State —Kashamu
Wike accuses Amaechi of planning to bomb INEC offices
I’m seeking re-election because of my pact with the poor – Buhari
Groups want racist graffiti against Mbappe investigated
Ramos may face ban for intentional booking
Chelsea have mental problem – Sarri
Harden equals 56-year-old NBA record
Number of PVCs exceeds total registered voters in Oyo
Gunmen abduct Delta APC women leader, demand N30m ransom
Ekiti seals off radio station allegedly owned by Fayose
For now, nothing suggests there ‘ll be violence on election day —Shehu Sani
Court convicts man for exporting hard drug to Malaysia
Police disperse APC protesters with tear gas in Rivers
‘Being a preacher won’t make me quit secular music’
Anambra police station burnt down, IPOB fingered
NSCDC arrests 14 suspected oil thieves in Rivers
Lagos landlords demand compensation for demolished properties
Fountain varsity sanctions official, student involved in grass-cutting dispute
Six arrested for stealing MTN mast inverter batteries
Abductors free three Bowen varsity workers
Happy Valentine’s Day: Prices of drinks soar in Benin
Saraki led Kwara into eight years of economic waste – Adedoyin
Attack on my convoy, a plan to attract media attention – Shettima
Alleged disloyalty: Group asks APC to sanction Akeredolu
Red Star Express upgrades ISO certification
Coca-Cola forecasts full-year profit below expectations
NAHCO promises shareholders increased returns
CIS to train stockbrokers on investment analysis
Stock market rises slightly as 22 firms gain
FG’s 72 housing units in Oyo ready before April — Official
Harden equals 56-year-old NBA record
Atletico part ways with trainer accused of paedophilia
Sfaxien draw positive result for Rangers – Ogunbote
Group trains pupils in malaria prevention
BEDC donates 20,000 exercise books to Edo schools
NAFDAC DG to build, equip science laboratory for alma mater
‘Every child needs basic computer skills to succeed’
Biases, gender stereotypes keeping girls from sciences – UN
Some artistes avoided me when I needed help – Lord of Ajasa
ANF appoints MBGN Tourism as brand ambassador
RMD’s sweet Valentine message to wife, Jumobi
Valentine’s Day and mental well-being
FG not doing enough to fight Lassa fever – NMA
CMD seeks support for cancer patients
Exclusive breastfeeding can avert 13% of child deaths – Saraki
WHO warns of ‘backsliding’ in measles fight as cases soar
Brown advocates task shifting to solve health care problems
How to schedule email in Microsoft Outlook
Editorial,: Elections 2019: Difficult days ahead
The election and beyond
Tomorrow, corruption is on the ballot
Demystifying a nation

The Nation
APC kicks as PDP plans its own results collation
Why Buhari is Nigeria’s best choice, by Tinubu
Attack on Buhari , VP treasonable, says Falana
Shettima: why I was attacked
President reassures foreigners, Nigerians of safety
Attack on Buhari , VP treasonable, says Falana
Shettima: why I was attacked
President reassures foreigners, Nigerians of safety
Second judge withdraws from NBA President’s N1.4bn case
PDP to Adamawa crowd: vote your chosen son Atiku
Dangote Refinery: New highway coming for oil tankers, says Sanwo-Olu
Buhari’s victory is insurance for Ondo’s economic projects
Southwest youth commends Buhari
Kano poll: Why Ganduje will win
UK, US-backed monitor YIAGA to deploy 3,906 observers
‘A choice between progress and retreat’
Ndigbo endorsed Atiku in error, says Ngige
First aircraft lands in Bayelsa airport
’Labour won’t accept retrenchment over new minimum wage’
Union urges members to vote out anti-workers governors, politicians
Govt, Stockbrkers should collaborate
Union praises Fed Govt for tackling influx of ‘expatriates’
Google, UBA partner on free internet
Student charged with stealing N150,000
Salesman accused of stealing pure water
Ex-bank manager faces N411m fraud charge
Mum in court for ‘burning son with iron’
Lagos gets e-platform to fight corruption
Kidnapping made us swim in cash and marry more wives – Suspect
Hotel staff docked over theft of employer’s money
Police warn Ogun residents against thuggery, violence
AAU: Suspended ASUU Chairman opens can of worms
Aize Obayan 1960-2019
Creative industry group supports Atiku
Valentine’s day: Hushpuppi showers love on self
Valentine’s: Davido surprises Chioma with gifts
Basketmouth expresses worry over stand-up comedy
Safer Internet Month: Censors Board warns against hate speech, videos
Valentine: BA extends romance to travellers
Presidential Committee on drug abuse begins work
50 years after, Lassa fever remains unstoppable
‘Nigeria has highest rate of tuberculosis in Africa’
Avoiding excessive bleeding after childbirth (1)
Bagudu, Adewole seek early detection of cancer
Take aways from some challenges of 2018 (1)
2019 Election and national values (2)
Editorial: D-Day
Rapist, wife beaters… Run from Edo

ThisDay
Malami Denies Directing INEC to Postpone Zamfara Elections
CBN Predicts Stability in FX as External Reserves Hit $43bn
As Nigeria Goes to Poll Saturday, Buhari Disowns Threats to Foreign Observers
Says FG committed to safety of all Clinton apologises for cancelling visit
Protect Your Votes, Sultan Tells Nigerians
Investors Wave off Election Jitters as Stock Market Gains N712bn
CBN Predicts Stability in FX as External Reserves Hit $43bn
US Insists on Fair, Credible, Peaceful Elections
Elections: Police Restrict Movement of Vehicles on Saturday
Arise TV, CDD, Others Launch Election Analysis Centre
History as First Airplane Lands in New Bayelsa Airport
CUPP Accuses APC of Planning to Jam Broadcast Equipment of Arise TV, AIT, STV
Ruling party describes allegation as false
Second Judge Withdraws from NBA President’s N1.4bn Fraud Case
Niger Delta Militants Vow to Cripple Economy if Buhari’s Re-elected
Wike Accuses Amaechi of Plot to Bomb INEC Offices
Declares public holiday to pray for peace Rivers governor is childish, afraid, coward, says Amaechi…
Agbakoba Wants NBA to Remove CCT Chairman’s Name from Roll of Legal Practitioners
Police Arrest Two Men in Kano with 14 Bags of Ballot Papers
Understanding the APM Factor in Ogun Politics
WHY WE SHOULD VOTE FOR MOGHALU
ATIKU AND NIGERIA’S RENDEZVOUS WITH DESTINY
FG Approves CIBN’s Disciplinary Tribunal Rules
‘Human Right Abuses by Nigerian Businesses Taking Huge Dimensions’
NSE All-Share Index Rises 0.12% as Market Rebounds
Stable Naira Excites ABCON
Why Nigerian Airlines Fail
NPA to Partner FG to Enhance $15bn Trade Value at Seaports
Ighalo Reunites with Former Watford Coach in China
NPFL: Mfon Udoh Leads Goals Chart as Akwa Utd Holds Abia Warriors
Nwaiwu, Abuchi to Replace Obekpa, Nwamu as D’Tigers Open Camp
Yenagoa Airport Big Boost for Sports, Tourism
Europa: Lacazette Sent off as Bate Borisov Beats Arsenal
2019 NBA All-Star Weekend Live on Kwesé Free Sports
Mourinho Reaps Heavy Pay off from Man Utd
Semenya’s Woman Status, Unquestionable, Says Lawyer
EDITORIAL: BUHARI AND THE ‘GHOST’ WORKERS

Daily Trust
Police dispatch intelligence teams to monitor vote-buying nationwide
4 police commissioners to supervise elections in Ogun
Amaechi planning to bomb INEC offices – Wike
Security agencies conduct show of force in Kaduna
Navy deploys two warships, five gunboats to western waters
Sultan to Nigerians: Vote and protect it
Buhari, 14 others seek top job with WASC, FSLC
INEC’s register contains over 1m dead — Secondus
Bauchi/Gombe oil search: Our analyses show possibility of gas – Baru
Alleged N2bn fraud: EFCC re-arraigns ex-Gov Aliyu, Nasko, others
Buhari, Atiku in ‘last contest’ for presidency
Why Atiku didn’t campaign in Ogun — Gbenga Daniel
Mixed feelings trail MTN Nigeria June listing
Fortis MFB liquidation was the last option – NDIC
Finance minister charges revenue growth initiative c’ttee on results
Surprises as we near the D-Day
Tomorrow never dies
2019 Elections: Neither religion nor ethnicity
Things that pertain to our peace
Islamic State ‘breathing its last’ in Eastern Syria, monitor says
JOHESU: UBTH staff protest non-payment of salaries
How soyabean farmers can overcome low yield problem
Zamfara: Appeal Court did not clear way for APC – Marafa’s lawyer
Certificate: Court to hear suit against Wike Feb 25

Tribune
Man Relocates To Polling Unit, Vows To Be First Person To Vote Buhari
PHOTOS: The Moment Buhari Had His Final Campaign In Kastina
Full Text Of President Buhari’s Broadcast
UCH Commences Low Cost IVF Services
Atiku Fails To Prove Buhari, Family’s Involvement In 9mobile, Keystone…
Elections: Osinbajo urges Nigerians to pray, fast for Nigeria
I did not ask INEC to postpone election in Zamfara ― AGF
Election: Ekiti SDP adopts NEC decision, endorses Buhari
We’ll collaborate with security agencies to ensure credible elections ― FCT minister
Reject anything that can derail elections, Daniel urges Nigerians
Ogbomoso stands still for Alao-Akala, as son decamps to ADP from APC
Elections: Ahmed assures residents of safety, security
Trophy Lager ends promo, produces 40 millionaires
SDP crisis not threat to my ambition ― FCT Senatorial candidate
Suspended AAU Union Chairman denies of sexual act allegations, accuses VC of embezzlement
6,000 security personnel ready for election in Zamfara — Police
Buhari’s claims in last minute campaign false figures ― PDP
Buhari’s broadcast attempts to hoodwink Nigerians ― CUPP
After 3 hours meeting with Ajimobi, Oyo labour shelves strike
INEC chairman, Yakubu should ensure free, fair poll ― Bode George
Buhari to Nigerians: Choose between stomach and real infrastructure
2019 Elections: Lagos SDP rejects Buhari, backs Atiku Abubakar
Chevron/NNPC JV inaugurates, hands over hospitals to Delta communities
Zamfara APC: Ozekhome takes swipe on AGF’s advice to INEC on postponement
2019 Elections: INEC receives sensitive materials in Anambra
2019 Elections: Ooni tasks politicians, electorate on peaceful conduct
10,000 youths stage ‘there-must-be-election’ rally in Onitsha
Hand Nigeria over to young generation in 2023, Sanusi tells Buhari, others
Buhari to Clinton: Thank you for being Nigeria’s friend
Niger PDP gov candidate, ex-Gov Aliyu, re-arraigned over N4.56bn fraud
INEC in Plateau distributes sensitive materials
2019 Elections: Kwara PDP rounds off campaign
Buhari sure of victory come Saturday, Emerhor, others declare
New LAUTECH VC reels out plans for institution at inauguration
Kashamu shuts down Ijebu North, promises to build specialist hospital
Elections: Osinbajo urges Nigerians to pray, fast for Nigeria
I did not ask INEC to postpone election in Zamfara ― AGF
Elections: Ahmed assures residents of safety, security
Trophy Lager ends promo, produces 40 millionaires
Buhari to Nigerians: Choose between stomach and real infrastructure
2019 Elections: Lagos SDP rejects Buhari, backs Atiku Abubakar
9mobile’s Launches Magic Hour Promo
Obiano Inaugurates New Boards For SUBEB, Post-Primary Schools Commission
Quality human capital key to economy recovery —Crawford VC
2019 UTME registration deadline still sacrosanct –JAMB
Alumni set to build 5,000-bed space hostel for FUT Minna

The Guardian

Election not war, U.S. tells Nigerians
Nigeria wastes 42,160MW as transmission, distribution challenges linger
ISIS claims responsibility for attack on Shettima’s convoy
Acting CJN tasks panel to decide electoral matters without bias
First aircraft lands at Bayelsa International Airport
As Nigerians decide, police allay fear of raid in Lagos
Anyaoku blames military for Nigeria’s under-development
Survivors narrate ordeal after Boko Haram attacked Shettima’s convoy
Appeal Court dashes minister’s guber hope in Cross River
Chelsea edge out Malmo as Arsenal suffer Europa League setback
Spanish fans made my days in LaLiga delightful, says Adepoju
Delta athletes grumble over Okowa’s cash reward for 2018 sports festival
Gareth Bale may be sanctioned for gesture
Ned Nwoko splashes 20m on NSF champions, Team Delta
‘Mourinho’s sack cost Man United $25M’
Like Obama, U.S. envoy Symington cautions Nigerians against infantile political behaviour
PDP, Malami disagree over letter directing INEC to shift polls in Zamfara
Groups canvass violence-free election
INEC moves sensitive materials in Imo, Plateau
A vote for your health
Five top tips to avoid a heartbreak
Editorial: As the nation decides tomorrow
Elections 2019 and the people’s consciousness
The moment of truth
My fears, hopes about 2019 elections – Part 2
Our electoral meshugaas
Nigeria to participate at 10th peering, interconnection forum
Jumia, Konga seek $4.7 billion, $3.2 billion from IPOs
FG applauds NOTAP-PZ collaboration
Uncertainty slows traffic, travels ahead of election day
Meristem launches ZEDD, an AI personal investment advisor
Avanti partners MainOne on converged solution for enterprises
UTL trustees unwraps willpower, online will service
Eye on digital revolution of the educational system
How giving mosquitoes diet pills could combat spread of malaria, Zika, dengue
Hope for diabetes cure as researchers turn stem cells into insulin-producing tissues
Aspirin to prevent colon cancer underutilised in high-risk patients
Fasting boosts metabolism, fights ageing

New Telegraph
I’ll accept defeat if election is free, fair – Atiku If I’m defeated, it won’t be the first time – Buhari
Delta APC leaders: We’re sure of Buhari’s victory
BREAKING: “If Buhari wins, we’ll cripple economy” – Niger Delta Avengers
Two arrested with 14 bags of ballot papers in Kano (PHOTOS)
ISSUES: Please blame the Lagos warlord, Amosun has no fault- Tunde Ajose
24 Hours to Presidential Election: Militants: Rig polls and we’ll bomb pipelines
President: We won’t intimidate voters, foreign observers
CDS: Politicians using military uniforms, firearms for polls
Polls: FG announces closure of borders Sleep could fight infections’
Kano, Rivers, Benue, Imo, Ogun, others as flash points
Factors that’ll shape 2019 presidential polls
‘Herbalist threatened me with snake to confess’
For them to have a safe society

Ekiti warns against violence
We swim in money, say suspected kidnappers
Despite attack, I have confidence in Armed Forces –Shettima
We need help, Sango accident victims cry out
Undergraduate convicted for posing as lady to defraud Internet lovers
PCNI commiserates with Borno State Gov on Convoy attack
2019: Reject Buhari, Vote Atiku for better economy, security – Gbenga Daniel 2019: Northern Local government chairmen declares support for Buhari
Kano, Rivers, Benue, Imo, Ogun, others as flash points
Factors that’ll shape 2019 presidential polls
The Generals’ battle over Buhari
Battleground states
Getting rid of anti-worker governors
FG moves to ban tomato paste import Election: Labour warns FG against intimidation
Benin snatches 1.5m tons of Niger’s cargoes from Nigeria
Adepoju to F’Eagles’ coach: Hunt for strikers ahead World Cup
Ighalo hails Martins over Shenhua move
We were unlucky against Mali, says Aigbogun
World Cup Qualifiers: D’Tigers open camp February 19
De-Don: If I become president, I will sell the country and…
Stop joking with people’s lives, Wizkid tells politicians
BBNaija’s Gifty slams pregnant women who dance during pregnancy
Yoruba actress, Bukola Adeeyo, welcomes 2nd child, a baby boy
EDITORIAL : The huge task before INEC
‘No country can flourish stifling women’s potentials’
AGF denies writing INEC to postpone Zamfara election
A bloody cult war
Despite attack, I have confidence in Armed Forces –Shettima
We need help, Sango accident victims cry out
Saraki: Election is date with destiny

Full text of President Muhammadu Buhari’s broadcast to the Nation

Full text of President Muhammadu Buhari’s broadcast to the Nation

HIS EXCELLENCY, PRESIDENT MUHAMMADU BUHARI’S BROADCAST TO THE NATION, FEBRUARY 14, 2019

Fellow Citizens,

On Saturday, February 16, 2019, you will, once again, be called upon to choose the leaders who will pilot the affairs of our great nation for the next four years. This is a constitutional right which should be freely exercised by all eligible voters.

2. I wish therefore to start by assuring all Nigerians that this Government will do its very best to ensure that the 2019 elections take place in a secure and peaceful atmosphere.

3. It was indeed such free, fair and peaceful elections that made it possible for our Government to emerge, despite the fact that we were contesting against a long-standing incumbent party.

4. And as your president and a fellow Nigerian, I ask that you come out and queue to fulfill this important obligation you have to yourselves and your fellow citizens – and to our common future.

5. Let me at this point, reaffirm the commitment of the Federal Government to the conduct of free and fair elections in a safe and peaceful atmosphere. Just yesterday, I signed the Peace Accord alongside 72 other presidential candidates.

6. I want to assure all Nigerians, the diplomatic community and all foreign election observers of their safety and full protection. Any comments or threats of intimidation from any source do not represent the position of the Federal Government of Nigeria.

7. As Government has a critical role in maintaining the democratic traditions, so do citizens. I therefore urge you all, as good Nigerians, to take a personal interest in promoting and maintaining peace in your respective neighbourhoods during the elections. This is certainly not a time to allow personal, religious, sectional or party interests to drive us to desperation.

8. At this point, I want to make a special appeal to our youth: Do not allow yourselves to be used to cause violence and destruction. The people who want to incite you are those preparing the ground for discrediting the elections. Having lost the argument, they fear losing the elections.

9. When you elected me in 2015, it was essentially in consequence of my promise of CHANGE. We committed ourselves to improving security across the country, putting the economy on a sound footing and tackling rampant corruption, which had in many ways become a serious drawback to national development.

10. Our Government spent the last 3 years and 9 months striving faithfully to keep this promise, in spite of very serious revenue shortages caused mainly by a sharp drop in international oil prices and an unexpected rise in the vandalisation of oil installations, which, mercifully have now been curtailed.

11. We nevertheless pressed on in our quest to diversify the economy, create jobs, reduce commodity prices and generally improve the standard of living among our people.

12. The damage that insecurity and corruption have done, over time, to our collective livelihood is incalculable. However, it is pleasing to note that our frontal attack on these twin evils is gaining momentum and bringing about visible progress.

13. The recovery of the economy from recession is complete and Nigeria is back on the path of steady growth.

14. The key to creating more jobs lies in accelerating this momentum of economic growth. Happily, we have succeeded in making the fundamental changes necessary for this acceleration, and we are now beginning to see the efforts bearing fruit.

15. Our ease of doing business policies and programmes are already impacting medium, small and micro industries, as well as Manufacturing, Mining and Agriculture, among other key sectors.

16. Our commitment to critical infrastructure – that is Roads, Rails, Bridges, Airports and Seaports – will create more jobs, improving the efficiency and competitiveness of our industries.

17. Many of these projects are at different stages of completion, and those who use them regularly will attest to the fact that even while construction is ongoing, they are beginning to see reduced travel times. This will ultimately translate to reduced costs and greater convenience, making transportation, and business in particular, much easier.

19. The economic recovery that we promised is well underway, as demonstrated by the recently released statistics. In 2018, the economy grew by 1.93%, with the Fourth Quarter growth being 2.38%, up from 1.81% in the Third Quarter.

20. Remarkably, the strong economic performance was driven by the Non-Oil sector, which grew at 2% as at full year. Indeed, Non-Oil growth rose to 2.7% in the Fourth Quarter of 2018, up from 2.32% in the Third Quarter. These results further underscore our commitment to diversifying the economy away from the past dependence on Oil.

21. Other indicators confirm the economy’s steady recovery. Our monthly food import bill has declined from $664 million in January 2015 to $160 million as at October 2018. Inflation fell from 18.72% in January 2017 to 11.44% in December 2018. Our External Reserves have risen from $23 billion in October 2016 to $43.12 billion as at 7th February 2019.

22. Now that the recession is well behind us, our next task is to redouble our efforts, accelerate the growth and use it to create even more jobs for our people.

23. The Executive Orders, No. 5, and No. 7 issued by me, and the recently approved National Infrastructure Maintenance Policy demonstrate our commitment to accelerated job creation and infrastructure development.

24. We believe that Governments cannot simply proclaim jobs into existence. Job creation will only expand as a result of economic policies that enable the private sector to flourish, and this is the approach our Administration has taken.

25. Executive Order No 5, which Promotes Nigerian Content in Contracts, as well as Science, Engineering and Technology, will preserve and prioritize job creation for our citizens.

26. Executive Order 7, on the Road Infrastructure Development and Refurbishment Investment Tax Credit Scheme, seeks to mobilize private capital and capacity for infrastructure development.

27. It responds to the demands of manufacturing and industrial complexes which wish to construct access roads without waiting for government, so long as they are allowed to recover the cost from taxes they would have paid to government.

28. We expect that this approach will boost industrial expansion and rural development, consequently creating more jobs for our people.

29. Similarly, our recently issued Maintenance Policy targets artisans, carpenters, welders, tailors, painters, bricklayers, electricians, plumbers, landscapers and many more Ordinary Nigerians at the base of our economic pyramid who will get regular and large-scale opportunities to improve themselves.

30. It is an economic solution that also brings the relevant artisans and professionals into long term sustainable employment to maintain our Schools, Court Rooms, Hospitals, Police Stations, Federal Secretariats and other Public Buildings.

31. Human Capital Development has also been a key priority for this Administration, which has increased investments in health and education. Innovative measures have been introduced to complement the traditional budgetary allocations to the relevant Ministries.

32. For instance, Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority has invested US$21 million in three healthcare projects as a Public Private Partnership with three Federal medical institutions. These include two modern Medical Diagnostic Centres located at Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital, Kano and the Federal Medical Centre, Umuahia; as well as one outpatient Cancer Treatment Centre in Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Lagos – which I commissioned on 9th February 2019.

33. Of course, our radical commitment to developing Critical Infrastructure is the foundation upon which we will deliver an all embracing national prosperity and a shared commonwealth.

34. There is no country that aspires to greatness without spending massively on its Critical Infrastructure. Rather than the discredited policy of ‘stomach infrastructure’, which could only benefit a few for a little while, we are focused on real infrastructural development for the growth of our economy and the long-term benefit of all Nigerians.

35. When you voted for our message of CHANGE, you invited us to assume office and depart from that bad and most regrettable choice. We have responded by making a choice for real infrastructure of Roads in every State, Housing in 34 States, Power Stations across Nigeria, Rail from Lagos to Kano.

36. The choice that now confronts us is whether we want to continue with real infrastructure development, which is the road to prosperity and jobs or return to the era of ‘stomach infrastructure’.

37. Agricultural Self-Reliance and Food Security is also a choice we made in fulfilment of your mandate for change.

38. Our Presidential Fertiliser Initiative has resulted in savings of US$150 million in foreign exchange due to local sourcing of inputs at 16 Blending Plants. It has also conserved N60 billion in Subsidies as well as supported tens of thousands of farmers and agro-dealers nationwide.

39. Our Anchor Borrowers’ Programme has substantially raised local rice yields from as low as two Metric Tonnes per hectare, to as high as eight Metric Tonnes per hectare.

40. Through this programme, the Central Bank of Nigeria has cumulatively lent over N120 billion to over 720,000 smallholder farmers cultivating 12 commodities across the 36 States and Abuja. Targeted crops and livestock have included cattle, poultry, fish, cassava, soybeans, ground nut, ginger, sorghum, rice, wheat, cotton and maize.

41. As a result, we have seen a remarkable rise in the production of key agricultural commodities. I am pleased to note that in major departmental stores and local markets, there has been a surge in the supply of high quality Nigerian agricultural produce.

42. Behind each of these products, are thousands of industrious Nigerians working in factories and farms across the nation. Our interventions have led to improved wealth and job creation for these Nigerians, particularly in our rural communities.

43. Again, these outcomes have been a major departure from the previous focus on consuming imported food items, which literally exported our children’s jobs to food-exporting nations, whilst depleting our precious foreign exchange reserves. This, of course, caused a closure of our factories while keeping open other peoples’ factories.

44. The choice made by this Administration to assist farmers directly and promote agriculture in every way possible has gone a long way to enhance our food security while enabling us to tackle poverty by feeding over nine million children daily under our Home-Grown School Feeding Programme. It also puts us clearly on the road to becoming a food secure and agriculture exporting nation.

45. Next to Agriculture, we are focusing on Manufacturing Sector. The Purchasing Managers Index, which is the measure of manufacturing activities in an economy has risen for 22 consecutive months as at January this year, indicating continuous growth and expansion in our manufacturing sector.

46. I will conclude by going back to where I started: that our choices have had consequences about employment and cost of living.

47. In making your choice this time, please ask yourself whether, and in what ways, others will do anything different to address the issues of Agriculture, Infrastructure, Security, Good Governance and Fighting Corruption.

48. If they are only hoping to do what we are already doing successfully, we are clearly your preferred choice.

49. Think carefully and choose wisely. This time, it is a choice about consolidating on growth for Jobs and Prosperity.

50. February 16th is all about a choice. But it is more than a choice between APC and the opposition. It is a choice about you, it is a choice between going back or keeping the momentum of CHANGE.

51. The road to greater prosperity for Nigeria may be long, but what you can be assured of is a Leadership that is not prepared to sacrifice the future well-being of Nigerians for our own personal or material needs. You can be assured of my commitment to remain focused on working to improve the lives of all Nigerians.

52. Thank you very much for listening. God bless you, and may God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Buhari v. Atiku: The inconvenient truth

Buhari v. Atiku: The inconvenient truth

by Azu Ishiekwene

If you walk by sight you cannot help approaching Saturday’s presidential election with a heavy heart. The candidates of the two major parties, Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), have been presented in the worst light possible.

One foreign newspaper said Nigerians have to choose between a former dictator and an alleged kleptocrat. Another one, International Guardian, was not so diplomatic. It said Nigerians have to decide between “a stingy rightwing dictator and an established thief.”

In the same article, the newspaper said, “without a doubt, this race might boil down to a choice between Buhari, a timid, nepotic but stingy rightist who would sit down on the national wealth without a clue about how to invest, and a lavish an irresponsible spender called Atiku, who could share the national treasury with the wolves that currently surround his candidacy.”

The local news menu is not very different, only fouled up a bit more by the sour taste of partisanship. But as I prepare to vote on Saturday, I choose to have my omelette sunny side up, and here’s why.

Whatever may be the shortcomings of Buhari and Atiku, their parties believe they are the best candidates they can produce at this time. Buhari was pressed into the race by APC kingmakers who not only regard him as the party’s best bet to retain the centre, but also as their own insurance to keep the spoils, getre-election or both.

Atiku’s candidacy, on the other hand, is a child of aconvenient marriage between a few influential PDPold soldiers feed up with Buhari’s obtuseness and an extremely wealthy business class used to easy money and unhappy with Buhari’s old school economics.

Neither candidate is easy to warm up to. But that appears to be a modern-day problem with politics, the post-modern variety that produced the fantastically ineffectual Theresa May in the UK, the bombastic Donald Trump in the US, and the reprobate Rodrigo Roa Duterte in the Philippines.

On Saturday, we’ll have to choose from what we have or sit on our blistered backsides for another four years.Things are far from perfect but this time, more than ever before, public scrutiny has been reasonably robust in putting the candidates to the test.

For me, that’s part of the sunny side up. In the five national election cycles in 20 years, no set of candidates has been dragged across more public debating floors, questioned and inspected as closely as have candidates Buhari and Atiku, especially.

The two – and other distant runners – have been forced to appear at live debates or townhalls organized by different groups and when they failed to show up, their empty stands have been mocked as evidence of disdain, incompetence or both.

The candidates have been forced to reconnect with different parts of the country, however superficially, and in a few instances, compelled to confront, face-to-face, situations that they had been shielded from in their comfort bubble.

Smaller parties that were shut out of the debates have protested or gone to court for redress, insisting, quite rightly, on fairness and greater transparency.

The fact-checkers have been tracking the exaggerations and outright lies, holding candidates to higher standards and forcing voters to take notice. Twenty years ago, when candidate Olusegun Obasanjo of the PDP was requested to debate Olu Falae of the AD-APP, the latter turned up only to debate an empty stand.

Even if the organiser’s fantasy had been realised and the debate had taken place,the country had no single mobile telephone line at the time for the sort of community and instant engagement now possible.

Thanks to the ubiquity of technology also, we can joke about Buhari’s awkward moments during his Kadaria interview or wince at the audacity of the audience member who pulled out his phone and aimed a devastatingly ugly reference from Obasanjo’s book at Atiku during a live interview.

Those who insist that the cup is half empty must also remind themselves of how the outliers may have set off a momentum that would change politics as it was. It’s not the first time that a host of smaller parties will seek to wrest power from the more established parties.

But I cannot remember any other time when over 90 parties, comprising mostly determined young people, from Omoyele Sowore to Tope Fasua and from Fela Durotoye to Oby Ezekwesili, Kingsley Moghalu and Datti Ahmed, would mount a sustained challenge to the status quo at great personal cost and with very limited resources.

The significant number of young people – 51 per cent – registered to vote in Saturday’s election is not only a reflection of the growing frustration with geriatric politics, it is a result of the rallying cry of the new crop of young politicians.

If they do not despair – and there’s no reason why they should – what they have started will impact our politics more in four years than have the last 20 years of alternating between indifference and moaning. Donald Duke even challenged the nonsense that zoning in a party’s constitution is superior to a citizen’s constitutional right to contest. And he won.

Can the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), be trusted to do its job? I believe it can. No matter what you read on social media, INEC is not playing origami with the ballot; it appears far more prepared for the vote than it has been credited. Politicians know this, that’s why they have been inventing new ways to cheat or doing their best to discredit the commission.

From the time in 2015 when 80 election results were nullified by the courts we have moved to the point where only three court-ordered cancellations occurred out of 178 conducted as at February last year.

INEC Chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, has done more since then, regardless of the multiple social media executions he has suffered. Apart from prosecuting over 100 staff of the commission for various electoral offences, he has scrapped the “incident form”, which the commission’s field staff routinely used to fraudulently bypass the card reader.

But we can’t leave the job to INEC alone. Better voter awareness and more widespread use of technology will also help greater citizen vigilance.

We don’t need to approach the polling booth with a heavy heart. Apart from Buhari and Atiku, there are over 70 other candidates on the ballot, presenting one of the most delightfully confusing crises of choice for voters in recent times.

My prediction is unchanged. Don’t let the surfeit of scientific, non-scientific and pseudo-scientific forecasts from home and abroad compound your misery. In an article widely published in the first week of January, I predicted, among other things, that Atiku will lose and gave reasons: my reasons stand.

When all is said and done, when the name-calling, slander, and scaremongering are over, and the voter is alone in the booth, face-to-face with the ballot paper, it will all come down to this central question: which candidate, given what I know, can I trust to have my back for another four years?

Atiku will not lose on Saturday. He already lost in 2006 when he fell out spectacularly with Obasanjo and suffered a Humpty Dumpty’s fall. The sum of the ongoing feverish endorsements and lobbying, the extravagant claims of momentum and the fantasy electoral maps would be insufficient to stitch his candidacy together forever again. He’s done.

Atiku would lose marginally, not because voters are overdosed on Buhari love, but because when trust is at stake – man-to-man – Buhari is the lesser of two evils. This is the inconvenient truth.

Ishiekwene is the managing director/editor-in-chief of The Interview and member of the board of the Global Editors Network.

APC, PDP in two-horse race: How the states may vote

APC, PDP in two-horse race: How the states may vote

by Yusuf Alli, Sam Egburonu and Dare Odufowokan

The presidential election holds on Saturday. Although over 60 parties are participating in the poll, from all indications, it is a two-horse race between President Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and former Vice President Abubakar Atiku of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Here is an updated analysis of how the states may vote. Yusuf Alli, Sam Egburonu and Dare Odufowokan report.

NORTH EAST ZONE

BAUCHI STATE

Ordinarily, this is an electoral fortress for Buhari who garnered 931,598 votes in the state in 2015 compared with a paltry 86,085 votes received by ex-President Goodluck Jonathan. But the coalition which brought Governor Mohammed Abubakar to power during the last poll collapsed – leading to a major crack in APC and the dwindling of the party’s fortunes.

Until Buhari and the APC pulled a fast one, the state was almost lost to the PDP going by massive defections from the ruling party to the opposition. Among those who left was the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara. Armed with an impressive war-chest, a former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Senator Bala Mohammed, also revved up the PDP in the state with the choice of Baba Tella (a grassroots politician) as his running mate for the governorship race. The ex-minister, who is from Bauchi South Senatorial District like the governor might split the votes from the zone.Other factors in favour of the Bauchi PDP are Dogara (who commands the strong following among Christians and minorities in the state) and a former Majority Leader in the House of Representatives, Abdul Ningi.

However, in recent weeks, Buhari and APC have embarked on a salvage mission which is paying off for the party. Apart from wooing ex-Governor Isa Yuguda to the ruling party, the President has also courted aformer National Chairman of PDP, Adamu Mu’azu, the immediate past Deputy National Chairman (North) of PDP, Sen. Garba Babayo Gamawa and a Board of Trustees member, Alhaji Kaulaha Aliyu. The major heavyweights in Bauchi politics are back in APC to give more bite to the campaign of the party.

Verdict: Buhari to win.

BORNO STATE

In spite of the insurgency, Borno is still a stronghold of the APC and Buhari. The people of the state have undiluted loyalty to the president and his commitment to the war against Boko Haram has strengthened their political bond with him. The humble and unifying disposition of Governor Kashim Shettima in governing the state have also left APC more united for a straightforward victory at the polls. Initially, there were fears that the imposition of a former Commissioner for Reconstruction, Rehabilitation and Resettlement, Prof. Babagana Zulum as the APC governorship candidatemight create crisis, but the governor managed the stakeholders with maturity.The return of a former National Chairman of PDP, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff to APC, which he assisted to form, has been a game-changer which has left PDP in quandary.

The seemingly intractable crisis in opposition party in the state has affected its fortunes. Since the ill-fated governorship primaries of the party, it has broken into two factions led by Alhaji Usman Baderi and Alhaji Zanna Gadama respectively. The PDP is not only in bad shape to promote its governorship candidate, Mohammed Alkali Imam, it is yet to win the confidence of the masses of the war-torn state. The defection of the highly-respected ex-Governor of old Borno State, Alhaji Mohammed Goni (1979-1983) from PDP to APC has made the victory of APC a fait accompli.There are 2,315,956 votes available in the state and APC may win with a landslide.

Verdict: Buhari

YOBE STATE

A politically homogenous enclave, Yobe State has been traditionally progressive since 1999. It has always voted against PDP despite its political transformation from All Peoples Party (APP) to All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) and APC. The smooth transition of power laid down by the first civilian governor of the state, Senator Bukar Abba Ibrahim has helped in consolidating its progressive credentials. The Kanuri-Fulani collaboration has made the state impregnable for the opposition. But the Kanuri have been governing the state since its creation.Although the PDP is rebranding itself with the emergence of Ambassador Umar Iliya Damagum as its consensus gubernatorial candidate, the party is still weak. Its weakness was fueled by the crisis of confidence between ex-Minister of Police Affairs, Adamu Maina Waziri, who has been the sole gubernatorial flagbearer of the party since1999, and the current Senator representing Yobe South Senatorial Zone, Mohammed Hassan. They both emerged from parallel primaries.In 2015, APC received 446,265 votes as opposed to just 25,256 for the PDP. This pattern is set to repeated as Buhari’s appeal remains strong here.

Verdict: Buhari

TARABA STATE

This is one Northeastern state where analysts expect PDP to do well. Governor Darius Ishaku is still popular and former Minister of Defence, Lt. General Theophilus Danjuma who is the governor’s political godfather, remains highly influential. He has not hidden his opposition to a second term bid by Buhari.The security problems which the state underwent in the last three years with ethnic undertone have not helped electoral chances of the APC. The defection of ex-Minister of Women Affairs, Aishatu Jummai Alhassan from APC to United Democratic Party (UDP) has made the latter to lose its soul. The internal wrangling within APC has not put it ingood stead for next month’s election. Still, the massive turnout for last Thursday’s APC presidential rally in Jalingo, the state capital, has become a talking point. While the PDP is still expected to prevail here, the ruling party would give it a close fight. In 2015, the difference between the parties was roughly 50,000 votes. PDP raked in 310,800, while APC managed 261, 326 votes. A re -enactment is likely.

Verdict: Atiku

GOMBE STATE

Initially, it was thought that the contest between APC and PDP in Gombe State would be a keen one. The outgoing Governor Ibrahim Dankwambo is trying to assert himself as the new kingmaker. The party on October 3 lost Sardauna Gombe, Alhaji Jamilu Isiyaku Gwamna who defected from PDP to APC. Gwamna’s parting of ways with PDP has made the race keener.For the presidential poll, ethnic fault lines will be sole determinants. The ethnic groups in the state are Fulani (Northern part); Tangale (Southern part); Hausa, Tera, Waja, Bolewa, and Kanuri. Both Buhari and Atiku are of Fulani stock.

However, Buhari’s mesmerising connection with the masses of the people would see him win the state handily again. In 2015, APC polled 361,245 votes as against 96,873 for PDP. Watchers of politics in the state expect a similar thing on Saturday.

Verdict: Buhari

ADAMAWA STATE

Adamawa has been a PDP State since 1999 until the APC’s 2015 bandwagon altered its political focus. The next poll in the state will draw more attention than elsewhere because the PDP presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar is from there; Buhari married from the state to make the First Lady, Hajiya Aisha Buhari, equally a factor in the presidential race.

The likely factors in the state are religion, ethnicity, security challenges, the political elite, money, and good governance. If performance is anything to reckon with, Governor Jibrilla Umaru Bindow’s achievements will make it an easy ride for APC.

Although Atiku attempted to install a governorship candidate in 2015 under the banner of APC, he failed in his bid because Bindow defeated his preferred candidate twice at the primaries.

Expect a major electoral battle here. Adamawa may be too close to call.

Verdict: Battleground

NORTH CENTRAL ZONE

KWARA STATE

In 2015, President Buhari, the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) won the presidential election in Kwara State, polling 302,146 votes, while the then incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan of the PDP polled 132, 602 votes. It was the first time the state voted against the presidential candidate of the PDP since 2003 , and the party lost to APC with almost 200, 000 votes.

Today, the state is a major focus point following the return of Senate President Bukola Saraki to the PDP. It is also attracting attention because the threat to the status quo in Kwara politics, as symbolized by Saraki dynasty, is real today more than ever before. The rate at which the APC’s ‘O To Ge’ (Yoruba for Enough is Enough) mantra caught fire like dry leaves in the harmattan, is reportedly a source of worry for the Senate President and his political family.

The emergence of the APC’s candidate, Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq, from a noble family like the Sarakis has changed the usual scenario where Saraki would confidently boast of the support of the royals and elites in the state. Today, the creme de la creme in Ilorin are sharply divided in their support for APC and PDP ahead of the general election on account of Abdulrazaq’s candidature.

Despite the power of incumbency and over reliance on money politics, it won’t be an easy ride for Saraki in Kwara Central District. In the last one month, the Senate President has retreated to fault lines for political survival and to retool his campaign machinery, but the people of Ilorin Emirate who dominate the district, are now sharply divided for and against him.

The exodus of his loyalists and strategists to APC; the “O To Ge” (Enough is Enough) revolution; and the imposition of PDP governorship candidate, Razaq Atunwa, on the party.

Factors that may swing electoral behavior this time include the looming protest votes from Offa and its environs over the recent bank robbery which claimed many lives; the spiral effect of losing Irepodun/ Ekiti/ Isin, Oke-Ero Federal Constituency to APC; and the neglect of the district in the scheme of things. The Ibolo, the Igbomina and the Ekiti in this district naturally detest the politics of the Sarakis.

Against this backdrop, the relative strengths of the APC and PDP in the different senatorial districts is likely to impact the outcome of the February 16 contest. As things stand the race between Atiku and Buhari in Kwara is too close to call.

Verdict: Battleground

KOGI STATE

It came to many as a surprise in 2015, when INEC declared Buhari of the APC as the winner of the presidential election conducted in the state. In an unexpected victory, he won by 60.3 % of the total votes. It was unexpected largely because Kogi at the time was governed by a PDP administration that appeared ready to be re-elected.

But as the February 16 date of the next presidential contest draws nearer, it is uncertain if the APC under Governor Yahaya Bello can repeat the winning streak of the last general election in the state. Surprisingly, the PDP in the state appears to have woken up from its slumber, ready to chase Buhari’s men out of town if they are not careful.

Verdict: Battleground

BENUE STATE

At the onset of the 2015 presidential election, Benue State was one of the few remaining states through which the then President Jonathan and the PDP were hoping to defeat the APC and its presidential candidate, Buhari. Most pundits gave the state to PDP. Surprisingly, and unfortunately for the PDP, the people of the state opted to follow the APC.

Today, the two frontline political parties have huge tasks on their hands in their bid to take their campaign to the nooks and crannies of 23 local government areas in the state. The politics has largely been personality-based, but has also been coloured by economics, ethnicity and religion in the light of the herdsmen killings witnessed in the last two to three years.

The scenario in the state is being monitored because the three senators from the state, who are leaders with massive support in the grassroots, are treading different political paths.

Verdict: Battleground

PLATEAU STATE

Few days to the next presidential election, the political climate in Plateau State is as uncertain as it was in 2015, but Governor Simon Lalong’s leadership qualities have reunited and restored peace to the state. The main issue in Plateau for February poll is how to curtail the security challenge in the state. The people of the state are divided in their opinion as regard how well the APC administration has handled the menace of killer herdsmen across the country.

Another issue playing a key role is religion which ex-Governor Jonah Jang has exploited in the past to sustain PDP. Being a Christian-dominated state, Buhari’s candidacy is seen from the prism of Hausa-Fulani /Muslim sentiments. But that approach may no longer work for the PDP as neither Buhari nor Atiku is a Christian this time around.

To most observers, the presidential race might be neck and neck with PDP having a little edge.

Verdict: Battleground

NIGER STATE

In spite of the fact that Governor Abubakar Sani Bello has a lot of political baggage that could make him lose his re-election bid, the goodwill of Buhari is his asset. The president is still adored in the state more than his PDP challenger, Atiku.

Despite the well-advertised opposition of Gen. Ibrahim Babangida to Buhari’s re-election bid, the incumbent’s lopsided win in 2015 is expected to be repeated come February 16. Four years ago, he received 657,678 votes – dwarfing the PDP’s 149,222 votes. Our investigations show that the president’s popularity is still holding steady.

A former PDP commissioner in the state said: “There is no doubt that Buhari will win Niger State. This has been his political terrain and voters in the state have not changed in following him.”

Verdict: Buhari

NASARAWA STATE

During the 2015 presidential election, the then President Jonathan of the PDP, surprisingly won the presidential election in Nasarawa State, defeating main challenger Buhari of the APC. It was a surprise because the state has always been a stronghold of Buhari’s even when he had no formidable political platform to contest on.

Not even the widespread opinion that Governor Tanko Al-Makura has done well in office had changed that status quo.

Al-Makura’s decision to stamp his feet and allow power to shift from Nasarawa South District to Nasarawa North District for fairness and equity has deflated the anticipated winning formula of the opposition. This has in turn shored up the popularity of the ruling party in the north where the PDP held sway before now. This is expected to impact in favor of President Buhari in the presidential election.

The harmony within the rank and file of APC in the state notwithstanding, it is still uncertain if Buhari can floor Atiku in the state.

Verdict: Battleground

NORTH WEST ZONE

KANO STATE

If there is any state giving PDP a headache, it is Kano which has been a hard nut to crack. In the heat of the recent gale of defections, the opposition had toyed with the idea of taking over the state which has about 5,457,747 votes in its kitty.

The PDP has employed all sorts of political gimmicks but it suffered a big setback in the way it conducted the governorship primaries that led to the coronation of Alhaji Abba Kabiru Yusuf, a son-in-law to ex-Governor Rabiu Kwankwaso. Following the loss of the APC presidential ticket by Kwankwaso, he left the party with his disenchanted supporters.

But that triggered a counter reaction: the mass movement of ex-Governor Ibrahim Shekarau and his supporters from PDP to APC. It was the last straw that broke the carmel’s back. Others who have deserted PDP are Prof. Hafiz Abubakar, a former Deputy Governor to Governor Abdullahi Ganduje, a former Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority, Aminu Dabo; the immediate past National Treasurer of PDP, Bala Mohammed Gwagwarwa; Security Adviser to Kwankwaso, Gen. Danjuma Dambazzau (rtd); Sen. Isa Zarewa; and Mu’azu Magaji Dan Sarauniya, who was a former Senior Special Assistant to ex-President Goodluck Jonathan on SURE-P.

But in an embarrassing turn of events, almost all of aforementioned who initially left APC with Kwakwaso, have since beat a retreat to the ruling party.

No doubt, APC has a robust edge over PDP in Kano because of Buhari’s factor, the influx of new influential defectors, and the incumbency influence of Governor Ganduje who is more popular among the masses and Islamic clerics.

Since 2003, Buhari has never lost in Kano State and this year’s poll will not be an exception. What remains to be seen if he can once again receive the 1,903,999 votes he got in 2015. PDP only managed 215,779 votes in that contest.

Kwankwaso is now on the opposing side but he will be fighting against the combined forces of Buhari, Ganduje, Shekarau and his erstwhile lieutenants. It is not looking good for the PDP and Atiku.

Verdict: Buhari

ZAMFARA STATE

The irreconcilable intra-party crisis in the APC in Zamfara State almost left PDP waiting to be crowned as the next ruling party until the Appeal court gave APC a lifeline yesterday by recognising its primary election earlier nullified by the High Court. Governor Abdulaziz Yari and all the APC stakeholders threw decorum to the wind and the center did not hold again. Not even the intimidating presence of two ex-governors (Sen. Ahmed Sani Yerima and Mahmuda Aliyu Shinkafi) and the Minister of Defence, Gen. Mansur Dan Ali could help find a solution to the division.

Four years ago Buhari received 612,202 votes to 144,833 for the PDP’s Jonathan.

Verdict: Buhari

KADUNA STATE

The political scenario in Kaduna State is complex in view of some dynamics in the last three and a half years. The tense security situation in Southern Kaduna and Birnin Gwari axis has compounded the political permutations. The issues beclouding politics in the state are performance; security challenge; the prolonged Hausa-Fulani/ Southern Kaduna cat and mouse relationship; religious factor especially mutual suspicion by Muslims and Christians; the rising Shiites clan and its attendant grave security implications; and distrust among political elites.

Kaduna State Governor, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai has controversially trudged on since 2015, his greatest asset is the enthronement of new governance modules which have reduced waste in government. Apart from pruning the size of his cabinet, he has cut frivolous expenses and his performance is appreciable. But his garrulous, uncompromising and dictatorial leadership style at a point alienated him from the masses.

There are no old politicians in Kaduna State who are with him. Members of the old brigade who were with him in 2015 like Suleiman Hunkuyi, Isa Ashiru, Yaro Makama, and Ambassador Sule Buba are now in PDP against him. These old hands have teamed up with ex-Vice President Namadi Sambo, a former National Chairman of PDP, Senator Ahmed Makarfi, and ex-Governor Ramalan Yero.

But, Buhari is likely to retain his grip on the state albeit with a lesser margin in February.

Verdict: Buhari

KATSINA STATE

Despite the formidable nature of PDP in Katsina State, APC would still emerge victorious because of the Buhari factor. The people of the state want power to continue to reside in their domain for the next four years. The party boasts of a majority in the House of Assembly, it also controls all available seats in the National Assembly. Of recent, the APC won by-elections conducted in the state.

Although ex-Governor Ibrahim Shema and the PDP governorship candidate, Garba Yakubu Lado, are pulling some strings, they are unlikely to erode Buhari’s grip on his home territory. Four years ago, he polled 1,345,441 votes here to PDP’s paltry 98,937. The landslide victory of 2015 is likely to be repeated on February 16.

Verdict: Buhari

KEBBI STATE

The sterling performance of Governor Abubakar Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi State in the last three and a half years has surpassed all permutations. He has brought his experience in the private sector to bear in managing the economy of the state. His focus on agriculture has led to massive employment and a rice boom. His ability to bring more supporters into APC, especially ex-Governor Saidu Dakingari and his deputy, Ibrahim Aliyu has sealed whatever hope was left for PDP.

The recent attacks on the late Emir of Gwandu by the PDP presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar and the PDP over the 53 suit cases ferried into the country in 1984, have made things difficult for the main opposition party.

Buhari won handsomely here in 2015, receiving 567,883 votes to the PDP’s 100,972 votes. He remains hugely popular in the state and is expected to win comfortably.

Verdict: Buhari

SOKOTO STATE

The battle in Sokoto State is between Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal and his estranged godfather, ex-Governor Aliyu Wammako – with each of them having stakeholders in the state split between them.

Besides his solid structure, some of those with Wammako are some ex-ministers, lawmakers and APC leaders including Umar Nagwari Tambuwal, Muhammed Maigari Dingyadi, Yusuf Suleiman, Abubakar Shehu Wurno, Jibril Gada, among others. His asset, however, is his closeness to the grassroots.

The APC had an impressive campaign outing in the state recently and look set to repeat the comfortable victory of 2015. Back then, Buhari received 671, 926 votes compared to 152,199 votes for PDP. Nothing on the ground suggests that this pattern would change dramatically.

Verdict: Buhari

JIGAWA STATE

What is at stake in Jigawa State is a struggle for the soul of the state between ex- Governor Sule Lamido and Governor Abubakar Badaru whose rice production revolution has empowered many citizens. His problems are the alienated political elite and some royal fathers who are not enjoying as much largesse as they used to do in the past.

Both APC and PDP attracted massive crowds when their presidential campaigns stopped over in the state capital, Dutse. However, for Atiku to win here, he would have to cover the margin of over 600,000 votes by which Buhari defeated Jonathan in 2015.

Back then APC polled 885,988 votes to the PDP’s 142,904 votes. That seems, at this point, an insurmountable objective.

Verdict: Buhari

SOUTHWEST ZONE

OGUN STATE

The presidential contest in Ogun state is already showing flashes of being an unusual one, but the result is most likely to be same as it was in 2015 when the APC defeated PDP by a hundred thousand votes. Buhari polled 308, 290 votes while former President Goodluck Jonathan of the PDP took 207, 950 out of 559, 613 total votes cast. According to formal results announced, Buhari won in 13 local governments while PDP won in 7 local government areas.

Save for a few changes expected to happen here and there, the outcome of the next presidential election in Ogun State may still remain close to what obtained in 2015. In spite of the support currently being enjoyed by Atiku and the PDP from former President Olusegun Obasanjo, Buhari will still win the presidential election in Egbaland convincingly.

With the APC and APM in the state working towards the victory of President Buhari, and the two factions of the PDP unable to come together and galvanize their members towards the presidential election, the APC is looking good to win the presidential election in the state even with a wider margin that it posted in 2015.

Verdict: Buhari

LAGOS STATE

Not minding the threat to “take over Lagos” by the opposition PDP, it is convenient to predict that APC will win convincingly in Lagos State at the presidential poll. Pundits are even of the opinion that the opposition PDP will perform poorer than it did in 2015 when it gave the ruling APC a good fight in all the elections.

APC scored 792, 460 to defeat the PDP which had 632, 327 in the presidential race back then.

Although the PDP governorship candidate is working had to garner the votes for Atiku, the personality of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, national leader of the APC, and the recent restructuring carried out within the party, will do the trick once again and Buhari will win more votes in Lagos. Also, unlike in 2015 when some fallouts of its party primaries caused serious frictions within its ranks, the APC is today more united that it was four years ago.

Also working against the PDP in Lagos State is the loss of majority of its prominent leaders to the APC. Chieftains like Chief Mrs. Remi Adiukwu, Senator Musiliu Obanikoro, and its then state chairman, Moshood Salvador, are now in the APC ready to work for Buhari’s re-election. Even Chief Bode George, though still in the PDP and openly supporting Atiku, is on a self-imposed political holiday, leaving the party without a known leader in the state.

Verdict: Buhari

OYO STATE

APC won the presidential election in Oyo during the last presidential poll. APC scored 528, 620 while PDP got 303, 376. The state used to be the stronghold of the opposition PDP until recently. But today, majority of those chieftains who made the party tick in the state have jumped ship or gone into political oblivion, leaving the party in limbo.

The likes of former governors Rashidi Ladoja and Adebayo Alao-Akala are no longer with the party. While Ladoja now leads the Zenith Labour Party (ZLP) in the state, Alao-Akala is the gubernatorial candidate of the Action Democratic Party (ADP). Both leaders have also lost some of their chieftains to the ruling APC in recent times, especially Alao-Akala, who joined the APC briefly after dumping the PDP.

Other erstwhile PDP top guns like former Senate Leader, Senator Teslim Folarin and former Secretary to the State Government, Chief Ayodele Adigun are now in the APC working for the success of its presidential candidate. Observers of the politics of the state say PDP in Oyo State is today a ghost of its glorious past and cannot put up any serious challenge to the victory of President Buhari on Saturday.

Verdict: Buhari

ONDO STATE

In spite of the state not being under the control of the party, the then presidential candidate of the APC, Buhari was declared winner of the presidential election in Ondo State. He polled 299, 889 votes to beat former President Jonathan of the PDP, who got 251, 368 votes, according to results declared by INEC.

The result came as a surprise to many pundits who had thought the PDP would ride on the popularity of the then governor, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko, to clinch victory.

The state is still firmly in the political grip of the ruling party under Governor Rotimi Akeredolu. Political observers say the PDP which used to control the state until 2012, is struggling to stay alive even in Akure, the capital.

Verdict: Buhari

OSUN STATE

After giving the impression that it was ready to take over the political leadership of Osun State during the last governorship election in the Southwest state, the opposition PDP appears to be fading away from the political firmament of the state so soon. The party in Osun shocked many people when it almost snatched the governorship seat of the state from the ruling APC last year in a keenly contested election.

The APC appears to be repositioning itself for new electoral challenges ahead. Governor Oyetola, who took over from Rauf Aregbesola has embarked on a number of fence-mending missions that analysts say are yielding fruits.

Verdict: Buhari

EKITI STATE

In 2015, PDP won the presidential election in Ekiti State. Today, the scenario is totally different. Kayode Fayemi of the APC is governor and the federal government is also under Buhari’s APC.

The PDP in the state is now divided into two groups led by ex-Governor Ayo Fayose and Senate Minority Leader Abiodun Olujimi. As it stands, the APC appears to have the advantage.

VERDICT: Buhari

SOUTHEAST ZONE

ANAMBRA STATE

Although Anambra State is currently governed by an All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) government, a political party whose leader, Governor Willie Obiano currently supports APC presidential candidate, Buhari, we can report that the PDP candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, is better positioned to win in the state during this week’s presidential election.

Since the death of APGA’s former Presidential candidate, Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, in 2011, the party had been aligning with the then ruling PDP in most of the presidential elections. So, though APGA has continuously governed the state, it has somehow remained largely a PDP state.

PDP evidently has a boost because the former governor of the state, Peter Obi, is its vice presidential candidate. It is a fact that in Anambra, Obi is well loved and has incredible grassroots support. This, added to the sentiment that ‘PDP has fielded our own son’ will go a long way in securing a chunk votes for PDP’s Atiku.

A major snag for PDP in the state, however, is that Governor Obiano, the estranged former political godson of Obi, is backing APC’s Buhari, a move his critics say is primarily to slight Obi. He is closely supported in this assignment by the senator representing Anambra Central Senatorial District, Senator Victor Umeh, also a former political ally of Obi. The governor and the former National Chairman of APGA are some of the forces that will battle Obi and PDP in this coming presidential election. How far they would go remains to be seen.

It is, however, believed that with APGA’s alliance in Anambra State, APC chieftains like Senator Chris Ngige, the Minister of Labour and Employment will be further empowered to win more votes for APC and Buhari in this week’s presidential election.

Besides the sentiment that “Obi is our son,” sources confirmed that the former governor enjoys much support from the people because of his achievements when he was governor. He is also known to be highly loved and supported by the Catholic and even Anglican faithful because of his unrivalled personal investment in the church while he was in power and ever since then.

Besides the Church, Obi, according to sources, will garner massive votes from youths, most of who benefitted immensely from his support during his tenure as governor, when they were still in secondary schools or in the universities.

Given these realities, it seems difficult to imagine that the Atiku/Obi ticket can lose in Anambra State, where Obi hails from, Obiano’s factor notwithstanding.

Verdict: Atiku

ENUGU STATE

In Enugu State, Atiku is poised to win in this week’s presidential election, notwithstanding the recent progress made by the APC in the PDP stronghold.

Since the return of democracy in 1999, Enugu has remained a PDP state. In 2015, for example, PDP garnered 553,003 out of the total 573,173 viable votes cast in that year’s presidential election, leaving the other 13 political parties that contested that election to share the remaining 20,170 votes.

The PDP, which has power of incumbency and age-long loyalty, has greater chances of winning in the state, not only because of the internal dynamics that still favours it but also because PDP’s Vice Presidential candidate, Peter Obi, from the neighbouring Anambra State, also enjoys wide acceptability in the state.

Verdict: Atiku

ABIA STATE

Abia State has been another PDP stronghold since 1999. But as we reported earlier, reports of under-performance or near total lack of dividends of democracy there have resulted to outcry from across the state for far reaching change.

This feeling will ultimately affect the result of the forthcoming presidential election in the state. We gathered that most stakeholders are furious to note that Abia, though an oil-producing state, is today one of the least developed in the country, physical infrastructure wise, a development that has resulted in aggressive agitation for change of leadership. How that change will affect the result of this week’s presidential elections, promises to be intriguing.

Verdict: Atiku

IMO STATE

Imo is the only Southeast state currently under the leadership of an All Progressives Congress-led government. But following the intricate power struggle amongst its leaders, there is the fear that APC may not take it for granted that it would win the presidential race in the state. Unlike in Abia, where some analysts believe APGA may be persuaded to support either APC or PDP candidate, the political rivalries in Imo may make such a possibility more difficult. As at today, it is not yet certain which of the two leading presidential candidates Senator Ifeanyi Araraume, the APGA governorship candidate and his supporters will support. So, the two candidates, Buhari and Atiku may have to rely on the strength of their political parties and their individual popularities for victory.

Whatever may be the case, the picture will certainly not be a repeat of 2015 scenario, where, out of the 702,964 valid votes, PDP, with the cooperation of APGA, garnered 559,185 votes, leaving only 133,253 votes for APC which eventually took the governorship election.

This time, APC and PDP will have to fight hard to win the presidential election, but latest intrigues and inability of APC current leaders in the state to reconcile with Governor Okorocha, may neutralize incumbency factor, which would have worked in its favour. .

Verdict: Atiku

EBONYI STATE

Ebonyi State has remained a PDP state since 1999 and there is no definitive factor that suggests there would be a change in this year’s presidential election. Of the 363,888 valid votes cast in the state in 2015, PDP, in collaboration with APGA, harvested a whopping 323,653 votes, leaving only 19,518 for APC, which came second.

Observers said since Dave Umahi, the governorship candidate of PDP, cannot openly work against his party during the presidential election; his personal reverence for Buhari may not translate into significant votes.

Verdict: Atiku

SOUTH-SOUTH ZONE

BAYELSA STATE

Since 1999, Bayelsa has remained a PDP state. It produced the last president, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan and still boasts of PDP faithful at the grassroots.

Out of the 367,067 valid votes cast in the state in 2015, PDP got 361,209 votes, leaving only 5,194 votes for APC, which came second.

However, so much has happened in the state politically since then. For example, the competition during the January 9, 2016 governorship bye election, which followed the inconclusive substantive election held on December 5, 2015, confirmed the growing influence of APC in the state.

At the end of the hot contest however, the incumbent governor and the candidate of PDP, Seriake Dickson, emerged the winner. Dickson polled 134,998 votes to defeat Timipre Sylva, the candidate of the All Progressives Congress who scored 86,852 votes.

Also, the ruling PDP has been battling with some internal disagreements that have threatened its fortunes in this week’s presidential election. One of the issues that threatened the unity of the party in the state was the automatic return ticket ripples. Late last year for example, some concerned stakeholders of the party in the state had to call on the National Chairman of the party, Uche Secondus, to intervene in the internal crisis rocking the party to protect its chances in the 2019 elections. One of the groups, Bayelsa State PDP Stakeholders Forum (BSPSF), particularly made the appeal in a statement signed by its Chairman, Chief George Amaibi, in Yenagoa.

This week, PDP’s candidate, Atiku, will depend on the leadership of Governor Dickson, and former President Goodluck Jonathan whose influence still looms high in this region.

The APC candidate, President Buhari, will depend on the diligence of the leader of the party in the state and former governor, Chief Timipre Sylva, and of course on the Minister of State for Agriculture and Rural Development, Senator Heineken Lokpobiri.

Verdict: Atiku

RIVERS STATE

In this week’s presidential election, Rivers is one of the states observers will take special interest in. This is because of the complexities that now define the politics of the oil-rich South-south state.

Rivers, which started out in 1999 as a PDP state, became a major APC state under the then governor, Rotimi Amaechi, who governed it for eight years. However, Amaechi’s erstwhile political son, Nyesom Wike’s emergence as the state governor, on the ticket of PDP, not only returned the state to PDP but marked the beginning of an intriguing political rivalry that has held the breathe of Nigerians.

Because Amaechi, the current Minister of Transportation, is also the Director-General of Muhammadu Buhari’s Presidential Re-election Campaign, the expectation is high that he ought to ensure APC’s victory in the state during the presidential election. Both because of the high offices he currently occupies and the fact that it has become a personal battle between him and his former ally, it is certain that Amaechi will put in all he has to deliver Rivers to Buhari.The same pressure is on Wike to deliver Rivers to PDP.

As it stands however, PDP still remains set to claim the state once again. of the 1,565,461 valid votes cast in the state in 2015 Presidential election, PDP garnered 1,487,075 votes while APC got 69,238 votes to come second. It remains to be seen if the figures can change significantly in the coming election even as Amaechi and Wike continue their ongoing epic political rivalry.

Verdict: Atiku

DELTA STATE

Delta has also remained a PDP state since 1999. Given that the party has continued to grow under the leadership of Governor Arthur Ifeanyi Okowa, there is likelihood that it would still win this year’s presidential election.

Of the 1,267,773 valid votes cast in the state during the 2015 presidential election, PDP got 1,211,405 votes, while APC got 48,910 votes. Looking at this figure, one would ordinarily write off any party contesting with the ruling party, PDP, in Delta.

But today, so much has happened in the politics of the state, especially within the opposition APC. For example, the defection of the former governor of the state, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan, to APC last year is considered a major plus for the party.

But informed observers wonder if such gains are enough to defeat PDP leadership in the state and win votes for Buhari? In all, PDP, which enjoys incumbency advantage, is still popular enough to win the presidential election in the state.

Verdict: Atiku

EDO STATE

President Muhammadu Buhari will easily garner the majority of votes in Edo state given the popularity of his party, the ruling All Progressives Congress across the state. The APC’s political hold on the state, from the days of former Governor Adams Oshiomhole, who is now its National Chairman, supported by the rave reviews currently being enjoyed by Governor Godwin Obaseki, should work in the party’s favour.

Before the 2015 general elections, the PDP could boast of pockets of strongholds in the Southern Senatorial District of the state, but all that faded with the defeat of the party by APC that year. The death of PDP strongman and former political leader of the state, Chief Tony Anenih, late last year, may have completed the demystification of PDP in a state it controlled for nearly 12 years before Oshiomhole took over.

Verdict: Buhari

AKWA IBOM STATE

In the opinion of political pundits, Akwa Ibom State, the nation’s biggest oil producer, has made a right about turn politically, moving away from the PDP, which has ruled the state since 1999, to become an unmistakable APC enclave. A number of factors are responsible for the shift in political colouration in the oil-rich state.

Gale of Defections: In the last three and half years, the ruling PDP in the state has suffered unrelenting gale of defections. The state started out in 2015 with three PDP senators; now it has one, two of them having defected to the APC in the last one and a half years, the last senator to defect being Godswill Akpabio, former governor of the state and former Minority Leader in the Senate. Many house members, political leaders and ordinary rank and file members of the party have moved over to the APC. Last week, the entire serving local council members in Essien Udim Local Government Area decamped to the APC. Essien Udim is the home council area of Senator Akpabio.

The stage is thus set for a keen contest, a local derby of sorts, in the district. Pundits see a 50-50 split for the two parties in the district.

Verdict: Buhari

CROSS RIVER STATE

In Cross River State, the PDP still looks good to repeat its 2015 landslide victory in the state in spite of some improvement in the visibility of the opposition APC after the last general election. Governor Ben Ayade and his predecessor, Liyel Imoke, appear to still have their firm grips on the politics of the state. The harmonious relationship between the duo, in spite of insinuations that they have fallen apart, helped the ruling PDP to wax stronger after the last election. Across the state, the governor is also adjudged as having done well. So, PDP looks good to get the votes to prevail on February 16.

Verdict: Atiku

Source: The Nation