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Presidential/NASS elections as roadmap to guber elections in Southeast

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Rochas Okorocha

All out of the Presidential/National Assembly elections will not only be felt by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), but also political parties, candidates that won and lost, as well as the electorate, who will either continue with an already established order or desire a change.

A political analyst, Dr. Jude Ugwu, said: “I think the outcome of the presidential and National Assembly elections will have a serious impact on the March 9 elections.

Already, some political parties have been affected by the outcome. There are also those that were favoured by the outcome.

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So, it will serve as morale booster for some while for others, it would have ended their dream to make strong political inroads.”

Ugwu said how electoral materials were distributed to various polling booths, the threats suffered by INEC officials, candidates and electorate would also impact on the coming elections.

“There are people who felt very disappointed that their votes did not count,” he explained. “There are people who don’t believe the results INEC published, while there are those that have been motivated by the outcome.

So, all this will act as the determining factor on how people will vote on that day. Some have already concluded that there is no point in voting again, while others see it as a welcome development. A road map has already been set at the national level, and it is left for states to either adopt or reject it using the coming polls.”

This may be the case with Mrs. Stella Okpara, who said she had a tough time getting accredited at the Christ Church, Uwani polling unit, where she registered.

“If that is how election is conducted, then count me out. I could not find a vehicle to convey me to my polling unit, so I decided to walk, since I was determined to vote. But on getting there after the long trek, I had to queue up for many hours to vote. It was an experience I won’t want to repeat, no matter who is involved,” she said.

In the Southeast, beyond the delays and security challenges among others, attempts were made to break the dominance of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the zone. While the party leadership struggled to retain its dominance, those interested in a new political order made efforts to change the status quo.

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The All Progressives Congress (APC), which eventually won the presidential election, used the election to make stronger inroads in the zone by improving on its performance in 2015.

And though its candidate, President Muhammadu Buhari won, he was defeated in the zone, as the five states gave their votes to PDP’s presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar.

It is strongly felt that while an attempt would be made to let this continue in the next election, the APC might want to put up a last fight.

Senator Ayogu Eze, who is the party’s governorship candidate in Enugu State, said the “missing link” that ensured the alleged marginalisation of Ndigbo in the scheme of things was the fact that the people have not fully embraced APC.

He said participating in the election was to bridge the gap, so that when victory was won, it would help return the state to the path of development like others that have fully embraced APC. But would this materialise in the coming elections, going by the voting pattern from the various states?

The outcome of the elections that returned 100 percent victory to PDP in Enugu State shows that the people would want to carry the winning streak into the next election.

This is because not only did Atiku win strongly in the state, but all the candidates that participated in the National Assembly election on PDP platform also won their seats.

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PDP’s governorship candidate and incumbent governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi has not shown signs of one who cannot deliver.

In terms of projects, he has surpassed the expectations of many. In terms of acceptance and popularity, the people love him.

Indeed, his appeal won the last elections and many felt it would be an uphill task for anybody challenging him now. And though many may not have agreed with some of the candidates that emerged for the State Assembly elections in the party, but their love for the governor appeared to be all that was needed to see them through.

But APC and its candidates appear unperturbed. The party, which has never won any election in the state since inception, believes its time has come. Its governorship candidate, Eze is leaving nothing to chance to clinch the seat at the Lion Building.

Eze has consistently maintained that Ugwuanyi “is not the best for the state”. He believes he is the right man for the job and given the people’s support, he would do better than the incumbent.

As it is, his party, from last election’s account, did not win in any of the 17 local governments of the state.  His party could not score up to 25 percent of the total votes cast in the last elections.

THE situation was the same in Ebonyi State, which massively voted the PDP presidential candidate and all candidates of the party for the National Assembly election.

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Apparently to sustain the party’s dominance, the members ensured that none of the seats at the National Assembly election was lost to any other party. The APC lost its only senatorial seat in Ebonyi south to PDP.

With the way things are, it is unlikely that this would change in the coming elections. Governor Dave Umahi and all the candidates of the State House Assembly appear to be coasting home to victory. 

APC in the state seems to have given up with the protest launched against the elections last week by its candidates. They called on INEC to cancel the exercise, alleging various irregularities, which according to them were committed by PDP in connivance with INEC officials and security operatives.

IN Abia State, there are indications that the coming elections would be fought with whatever arsenal that the PDP, APC and probably APGA can gather, going by the outcome of the last elections.

The PDP won in the presidential election in the state, while Buhari got over 25 percent votes.

The PDP, which went into the election with three senators and members of the House of Representatives, lost one of the senatorial seats and two House of Representative seats to APC.

While the former governor of the state, Orji Uzo Kalu won the senatorial seat for Abia north; Nkiruka Onyeaguocha and Benjamin Kalu won their seat for Umunneoche/Isikwuato and Bende/Ohafia federal constituencies.

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This development has put pressure on PDP, which presently controls the state government.

APC’s hope is that it would improve on its rating in the state, using the coming elections, while the PDP hopes to consolidate on what it has.

If the voting pattern is maintained, then PDP would coast to victory. Where this is altered, and then there is a possibility that APC would take over governance in Abia. Not likely though.

IN Imo State, it is becoming difficult for APC to sustain its winning formula. From last elections’ report, the party appeared to have lost grip, as almost all its candidates lost.

The governor, Rochas Okorocha, who contested senatorial election for Imo West, is mired in a battle of his life on how to sustain the contentious declaration that he won the senatorial election. Reports indicate that the Returning Officer, who pronounced him “winner”, alleged that he did so “under duress.”

PDP is already leading in the state with a firm control of the remaining two senatorial zones and the seats at the House of Reps.

The battle ground is that the party would want to sustain its position by voting its governorship and State Assembly members, while Okorocha may be divided on where to throw his support between his party, APC and his son-in-law, Uche Nwosu, who is the governorship candidate of Action Alliance (AA).

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Okorocha had told those that cared to listen that he would produce his successor.

He said he would be seen as a “failure” should he not have a hand in determining the person that would succeed him to continue with his administration’s programme. He went ahead to decimate all those he felt could threaten his ambition.

In the end, his son-in-law was forced out of the APC. The governorship ticket of the party was won by one of those not favoured by Okorocha but he managed to secure the ticket for his senatorial seat.

Okorocha remained in APC but not without a frosty relationship with the party leadership.

On March 9, he will want to prove that he knows how to use power, and that the people are in his support. To cage him ahead of March 9, the party’s NWC has suspended Okorocha.

ALTHOUGH Anambra is controlled by the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), the party voted APC’s Buhari in the presidential election. But all other APC candidates, especially at the senate lost.

It, however, managed to secure some House of Representative seats. The state is not voting in the governorship election on Saturday, but it will certainly vote for its lawmakers.

Already, PDP is in the lead with its victory in Anambra Central and north, where two women, Uche Ekwunife and Stella Odua won their seats.

PDP would want to consolidate the hold in these two zones, while the Young Peoples Party (YPP), which won an election for the first time in the state with Ifeanyi Uba’s victory in Anambra south, will want to ensure representation at the State Assembly.


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