Since the return of democracy in 1999, Nigerian governors remain one of the main power blocs in the country and ahead of the 2023 elections, governors in both the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) are once again moving to strengthen their position.
Through the control of party structures in their respective states and funding of the party, governors decide the direction of their parties.
The inclusion of section 87 in the electoral amendment bill, is generating a buzz, as many believe it could be an attempt by the federal lawmakers to checkmate the powers of the governors. A fortnight ago, Sen Kabir Gaya, the Chairman of Senate Committee on INEC, while appearing on Channels TV denied that it was targeted at governors, however, it will reduce their power over delegates.
“Sometimes, governors have delegates, and they decide who will be the next House of Representatives member, the next senator.
“The best legislators are those who come back often, because of experience, but these days, because of what is happening, because of interference of indirect primaries, you find out that only 30% will come back to the National Assembly.
In this report, DAILY POST reviews the political permutations in both parties in the build-up to their respective conventions and the implication on 2023.
Governors preventing the Oshiomhole’s experience
There are 23 governors in their second term and their political future may depend on the structure of the party they control. During the 2019 elections, Rochas Okorocha of Imo State, Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun State, Abdulaziz Yari of Zamfara State, all failed in their succession plan after former Chairman of the APC, Adams Oshiomhole kicked against them.
After the election, the governor of Ekiti State, Kayode Fayemi, explained why he did not support the APC in the election, “there is an unspoken rule in the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF). The chairman of the forum does not campaign against the sitting governor running for election anywhere.”
In the aftermath of the forceful exit of Oshiomole, the governors were able to get one of their own, Mai Mala Buni as the Chairman, Transition Committee.
In the PDP, the same formula that was used against Oshiomhole was deployed against the embattled PDP Chairman, Uche Secondus, following his fallout with Governor Wike of Rivers State.
PDP and Emergence of Iyorchia Ayu
The emergence of the former Senate President, Iyorchia Ayu, as the consensus candidates of the Northern PDP has further established the powers of the governors over the affairs of the party.
Mr Ayu, according to insiders was preferred over David Mark, after he was endorsed by Samuel Ortom of Benue State.
According to insiders, the camp of Bukola Saraki, who is nursing a run for the PDP ticket opposed the emergence of David Mark because both are from the North Central, however, following the emergence of Ayu with the support of Ortom, the camp backed down.
Kawu Baraje, an ally of Mr Saraki, while appearing on Channels TV, said the party has agreed to abandon the tradition of zoning president and chairman to different regions.
“And what does that mean? The proviso, which we crave for has been given to us, not only the north-central but the entire country, that no matter where the national chairman of PDP emerges, it does not preclude anybody from that particular zone and indeed the entire members from contesting the position for the presidential ticket when the time comes,” he said.
If Ayu is confirmed by the convention, the PDP governors have once again determined who will emerge as the chairman of the Party.
While PDP governors have been able to have a clear say on who will run the party, the governors of the ruling party, APC, have not been able to take such control. Even though the governors have one of their own planning the convention, there is yet to be a clear position from the governors.
Currently, several ex-governors are either linked to the race or have declared interest. Tanko Almakura of Nasarawa State, Kassim Shettimah of Borno State, Alimodu Sheriff of Borno, George Akume of Benue State are all interested.
Raphael Oloko, a chieftain of the PDP in Benue State, while speaking with DAILY POST, said in the case of a ruling party, the President is the de facto leader of the party, hence, the reason why governors of the APC may not have control over who emerges as APC chairman.
“Whoever assumes the leadership at the helms of affairs in a political party either at the federal level or state, automatically becomes the leader of the political party.”
Speaking on the direct primary, Mr Oloko said it will have an impact on who controls the structure of the party.
“If the issue of direct primary comes, it reduces the powers of the governors. You cannot just wake up and tell the party who to elect, the people will be involved, and they are more, unlike the delegate system. Will you go to my ward and gather people who have interest in me, and tell them not to vote for me?”
“The decision of the governors supersedes every other person. The Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, when he goes to his state, he is responsible to the governor. The governor is not seeing him as the number three citizen, but his boy because he will need the state for re-election. The strength of loyalty plays a role in the existing delegate system.”
Ekiti 2022: PDP bloc declares support for ex-Gov Segun Oni
Former Ekiti State Governor, Segun Oni has received support of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Progressive, a bloc within the state chapter.
DAILY POST reports that the race for the successor Governor Kayode Fayemi is gearing up.
On Wednesday, Ekiti PDP Progressive leader, Wale Ayeni, and Dominion Group convener, Kemi Elebute Halle declared that Oni will return to the Government House in 2022.
Halle told opponents to be prepared for battle, insisting that he remains the aspirant to beat.
“Oni is the most favoured. Politics is not all about money, Ekiti people love and want Segun Oni back.
“He is a man of the people, a politician with integrity, a man who is ready to cater for the forgotten.
“Mobilization will commence by Monday December 6. We will start from Fajuyi Park to Ekiti PDP Progressive office in Ado Ekiti”, she said.
While submitting his form of interest in Abuja, Oni stated that he and his team were ready to “start where we left”.
“We will take the state further down to a new terrain where we will be able to add value, much more value to the lives of the people”, he stressed.
Plateau APC crisis: I never collected N2m to withdraw suit – Factional chairman
Factional chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress in Plateau State, Hon. Ishaya Itse, has denied collecting N2 million to withdraw a suit filed against the party and the Hon. Rufus Bature-led Exco, saying it was meant to tarnish his image.
Itse disclosed this in an interview with journalists in Jos, the state capital, saying it was a decision taken by the two factions.
He said, “I’m surprised by this kind of unfortunate information making rounds that I collected N2 million to withdraw a case from court.
“To the best of my knowledge, no amount of money was given to me to compromise and betray my EXCO, it was a collective decision that was taken between the two factions, and a truce was brokered by the elders and a reconciliation committee from the National Headquarters of our dear party to settle all court cases and use internal mechanisms instead of litigations.
“I want to categorically and say it without mincing words, the meeting was called by the Elders and all of us including the two Counsels from both sides were in attendance, it is to my greatest consternation and chagrin to see fake news filtering in the air that I, Ishaya Itse is a cheat and fraudster.
“Ordinarily, I need not respond to such baseless and unfounded allegations, but to do justice to my supporters and other members of the public.”
According to him, “This rumour is the handiwork of some shameless and mischief makers that have vowed to smear my reputation at all cost, we know them because these are people that are desperate to frustrate the Government of Plateau State.
“Plateau is greater than an individual and we need to unite and foster peace, unity, and uneven development.
“I want to warn such elements of destruction to stop forthwith, hence we will expose them to the world.”
He assured that since negotiations are ongoing by the officials from the National Secretariat of the party, “As I speak, we are on our way to the Court, to withdraw the case, because the National body of the party advise that we should do so”.
The factional chairman appealed to his supporters to remain calm, urging them to disregard such unreliable information.
DAILY POST recalls that members who purchased forms to contest the October 16th, 2021 state elective congress had refused the consensus arrangement.
The party had produced the State Executive Committee led by Hon. Rufus Bature based on consensus but the aggrieved members rejected the arrangement.
Members of the party, who paid for forms based on the party’s guidelines, were said to have waited for the congress committee to issue forms and screen them for the election; with that not forthcoming, they opened a parallel secretariat at Kalwa House in Jos.
As a result, the faction went to court to seek redress.
2023: Next Enugu Governor should come from Enugu East for equity – Assembly
A socio-political group, Enugu State Equity and Integrity Assembly has thrown its total weight behind the existing zoning of governorship position in Enugu State.
They made their stand known in a communique read by its coordinator, Mr. Gary Eneh at the end of their meeting in Enugu on Wednesday.
They noted that the zoning arrangement had helped to stabilize the State, reduce political tension, bitterness and rancour among political actors in the State.
Our Correspondent reports that there have been arguments in Enugu State on which zone should produce the next governor of the State at the expiration of Gov. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi’s tenure in 2023.
While some believe a gentleman zoning arrangement in the State should be maintained, in which case the position should go to Enugu East Senatorial zone, others have been of the view that zoning should be jettisoned.
However, in the communique issued by the Equity and Integrity Assembly, made up of people of Enugu West Senatorial Zone, they said the zone was not interested in the guber position.
They stated that for peace and equity, the next governor should come from Enugu East.
According to them, “the members of the Association are unflinchingly in support of the established zoning formula in the State.
“That the members are not oblivious of the fact that the next governor of Enugu State should be from Enugu East Senatorial zone for equity, fair-play, integrity and justice
“That Enugu West Senatorial zone is not interested in the governorship position come 2023 as such moves would run contrary to the established zoning formula in the State
“That the members passed a vote of confidence in the amiable, untiring governor of Enugu State, Rt. Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi. These are our declarations.”
It maintained that past and present political office holders in the State emerged from the zoning formula which guaranteed the existing peaceful and secured environment.
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