• Features
  • Updated: March 18, 2023

2023: States Where Candidates Won’t Determine Guber Election Results

2023: States Where Candidates Won’t Determine Guber Electi

#OsunDecides2022: Voters Storm Polling Units, Express Satisfaction With The Process

Despite having the gubernatorial and state assembly elections in Nigeria postponed for a week, today is certain to define the political and leadership stories of many states in Nigeria as eligible voters troop out in their numbers to elect leaders they think suit their regional needs.

Let’s face it, every state in Nigeria is important in the national landscape.

But because of some fundamental peculiarities, it is no gainsaying if you agree at the end of this piece that there are five states in Nigeria today where the political combat therein will be stiffer and keener than a tug of war.

It won't be about candidates but underlying superiority and kingmaker effects.

These five states are peculiar because the powers of incumbency, public opinion, or any sort of federal myths if there is anything like that, are unlikely to affect the outcome of the votes.

And as at the time of compiling this report, no political bookmaker can confidently forecast the result in these states.

Oyo State

Oyo State governor Seyi Makinde was a guest at three radio stations yesterday, trying to convince Oyo voters in the media space to allow him to complete what he had started.

An assured election victor won’t be all out at the eleventh hour of his re-election bid. 

The election is more interesting considering that more than 70 per cent of the forces that joined hands with him to defeat the incumbent party in 2019 are now against him.

The political forces, grassroots mobilisers and party men who worked day and night to see the end of the APC administration have moved away from the governor's wishlist.

The skipper of the coalition that even produced him, Former governor Rashidi Ladoja has publicly endorsed his fiercest rival, the gubernatorial candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and a serving senator, Teslim Folarin.

Though Makinde enjoys widespread support from some sections of the masses, the political organogram of the state is against him.

Some members of his party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in his state, are determined to sabotage him in the running because they believe he worked against the party’s presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, at the recently concluded presidential election.

Oyo State and its rich political momentum are also fascinating.

The last-minute party alliances across the Labour Party, the Social Democratic Party, and the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP) will be key determiners in the election in the state.

Though Seyi Makinde still has the power as the incumbent governor (our reporter gathered that many government functionaries were forced to organise religious prayers for the governor’s re-election) and he has run a controversial leadership in the state (he has been found wanting of religious imbalance from some quarters), the election will be cruelly tough.

The All Progressives Congress won the presidential election in the state and will be keen to repeat the feat. 

The battle in Oyo is between two Davids with zero goliath where power brokers will play major roles.

Delta State

Governor Ifeanyi Okowa is undoubtedly under immense pressure today.

He is fighting desperately to restore his political significance having failed to wreak in the number of votes from his region that could deliver his running mate, Atiku Abubakar, the presidential mandate. 

Shockingly, a vice-presidential candidate fell short in his home state.

It is a testament to the fact that he is an unpopular governor in the state he governs. 

Understandably, his anointed successor, Sheriff Oborevwori, should be worried.

The just-concluded presidential election reliably suggested that his leader rooting for him, Okowa is not as popular as he might think he is.  

Lurking around the bars is the incumbent Deputy Senate President, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, the gubernatorial flag-bearer of the All Progressives Congress.

Though his party made huge progress considering the jaw-breaking number of votes it racked up in the presidential poll, it is a known fact that it will be interesting to see him win the election. 

Reports show that Omo-Agege has former governor James Ibori in his camp.

A single support structure cannot deliver a state for any party, even though the APC would fancy their chances of winning in Delta State to make a solid statement. 

Labour party’s Ken Pela is the wild card in Delta. His party pulled a giant surprise in the presidential poll, and all it has to do is to repeat the feat and usher him to office.

It is easier said than done, but Delta is a winner takes all state the three front-running candidates and parties can’t afford to let go.

The battle is among former governors Emmanuel Uduaghan, James Ibori, and incumbent Ifeanyi Okowa.

 Rivers State

Interestingly, the battle in Rivers State is not between the gubernatorial candidate per se.

It is ultimately between Governor Nyesom Wike and some mythical political gods like him.

Except you are in Rivers state, you may not know the gubernatorial candidates in the state, but you will know Nyesom Wike and Rotimi Amaechi, who want to test their political strengths with this election.

Tonye Cole of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Siminalayi Fubara of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) are the likely winners.

But we have hardly seen the two contestants in the show but Wike and Amaechi, two political powerhouses fighting for superiority.

Wike openly worked for the APC in the presidential election, while sources said Ameachi pitched his tent with the PDP after losing his party's presidential ticket.

Now both would not receive any national backing because they both worked against their party’s success.

It will be interesting to see how Wike and Amaechi flex their muscles without any federal or national referee.

That is what makes Rivers's election hard to call.

Kano State

The battle in the northern political cornerstone is between Rabiu Musa Kwanwaso, the frontier of the NNPP, and Umar Ganduje, the incumbent governor.

Like Rivers, though they are both not on the ballot, today’s election is between the grassroots mobilisation forces of the two of them.

For the record, Nasir Yusuf Gawuna is running under the platform of the APC (Ganduje’s party) while Abba Kabir Yusuf is the candidate of the NNPP while a certain Sadiq Wali of the PDP is miles behind them in the race judging by the momentum and the context of this piece.

Kwankwaso triumphed in the presidential race flawing Ganduje and winning Kano State in his presidential push, but it is safe to say that Ganduje will not fold his hands and surrender power to the NNPP in the state after the APC has been in charge for eight solid years.

Lagos State

Certainly, Lagos deserves a separate feed for its analysis considering how tight the gubernatorial election in the state will be. 

But it will be strange to see the much-talked-about progressives lose the state to the opposition for the first time since the country resumed civilian rule in 1999. 

Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s re-election is one of the trickiest to bank on considering the upsurge of Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour of the Labour Party and Olajide Adediran of the Peoples Democratic Party.

Despite the APC parading a former governor of the state in the presidential election, the party lost to the Labour Party, making the momentum a bit stiffer.

Many Nigerians will not even focus on their states too much in the coming election as they will consider monitoring the Lagos election.

The gubernatorial election in the region is intriguing and tougher than leather.  

Salient issues such as the #EndSARS protest, ethnicity, deep-rooted party politics, and media portrayal will largely determine the outcome of the election.

Related Topics

Join our Telegram platform to get news update Join Now
Yusuf Adua
Yusuf Adua

Yusuf Adua is an investigative journalist passionate about politics, solution-based reporting and f...

More From this Author


chams plc ICT

Chams PLC is Nigeria’s leading provider of integrated identity management ...

airtel africa plc ICT

Airtel Africa is a leading provider of telecommunications and mobile money servi...

cwg plc ICT

CWG Plc, formerly Computer Warehouse Group Plc was founded in 26 September 1991,...

courteville business solutions plc ICT

COURTEVILLE BUSINESS SOLUTIONS PLC (“Courteville”), is a foremost Ni...


0 Comment(s)


See this post in...