- The All Progressives Congress (APC) is seeking to extend its reign by winning the 2023 presidential election
- The ruling party has some advantages, which include the power of incumbency and its control of major states
- However, the coast is not all clear because the presidential candidate, Bola Tinubu, may lose in some APC-controlled states due to some factors examined in this analysis
Though it’s usually expected that presidential candidates in Nigeria’s elections win states where the sitting governors belong to their parties, there may be some exceptions in 2023.
Due to at least two factors, the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, may not win in some states where the sitting governors are members of the ruling party.
The internal crisis and the southeast factor
In 2019, President Muhammadu Buhari lost some states to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)’s candidate, Atiku Abubakar, due partly to an internal crisis.
A few months to the general election, the APC is battling serious internal crises in at least three states where it’s currently ruling; Cross River, Kwara and Ogun states.
APC Crisis in Cross River State
The APC governorship primary in Cross Rivers state was deeply disputed, with Owan Enoh challenging the victory of Senator Bassey Edet Otu.
Though the court has affirmed Otu’s victory, the development has left the APC in the south-south state polarised.
Recently, an APC chieftain in the state, Sam Bassey, openly declared support for the governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Sandy Onor.
Meanwhile, Cross River became an APC state through the defection of the governor, Ben Ayade, not electoral victory.
With the unfolding developments, Tinubu may not win Cross River in 2023.
Ogun State's APC crisis
The situation is similar in Ogun state, where a serving senator and former governor, Ibikunle Amosun, is in a political war with his predecessor, Governor Dapo Abiodun.
Amosun is backing Tinubu’s presidential bid, but he has openly declared that he would work against Abiodun in 2023.
If care is not taken, the in-fighting may affect Tinubu’s chances in the presidential poll.
However, two factors will also work to Tinubu’s advantage in Ogun state: PDP’s internal crisis and ethnic politics.
Regarding ethnic politics, the fact that Tinubu is a Yoruba man from the southwest also means he may win Ogun state, regardless of the crisis in the APC chapter.
Kwara state crisis: Lai Mohammed versus Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRasaq
In Kwara, the camp is divided into two: Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRasaq and Information minister Lai Mohammed.
If the crisis is not addressed before the poll, former Senate president Bukola Sarake may take advantage of the situation to ensure PDP hurt Tinubu’s chances in the north-central state.
Imo and Ebonyi states
The southeast zone is not a fan of the ruling APC. Since 1999, the Igbo-dominated region has traditionally voted for the PDP.
In 2023, they now have two options: PDP or Labour Party, which is fielding their son, Peter Obi, as its presidential candidate.
Thus, even though the governors of Imo and Ebonyi belong to the APC, Tinubu is very unlikely to defeat either Atiku or Peter Obi in the two southeastern states in the 2023 polls.
Tinubu’ll get 40% each in Imo and Ebonyi states, APC chieftain Obidike Chukwuebuka reacts
Reacting, Obidike Chukwuebuka, a member of the APC Presidential Campaign Council, Contact & Mobilization, did not dispute the projection that his party may not win Ebonyi and Imo states.
Obidike, however, expressed confidence that Tinubu will get 40% in each of the southeast states.
He noted that the PDP’s traditional dominance in the south-south and the southeast had been lost to Peter Obi’s emergence as the Labour Party presidential candidate.
“Obi playing a spoiler for PDP and Atiku is to the benefit of APC. For instance, a state like Ebonyi, being ruled by the APC, has local government chairmen of APC and Ward councillors of APC.
“All stakeholders in Ebonyi are majorly APC. Ebonyi used to be PDP before now, but the coming of Governor Dave Umahi and his developmental strides in Ebonyi is giving room for greater support for APC,” he told onebeat.com.ng.
Obidike also said he does not rule out the likelihood of APC winning all the majority votes in Ebonyi.
He said Governor Umahi, the senatorial candidate of the APC in Ebonyi South, “is moving with speed.”
“In Ebonyi South, there's no PDP, there's no Labour. Ebonyi South is purely APC. In Ebonyi North, the APC senatorial candidate is very strong. They're going to pull a lot of votes for APC.
“Also, in the Federal House election, APC has an edge because we have very strong candidates and because of the internal crisis that rocked PDP primaries in Ebonyi. PDP doesn't have any strong candidates and supporters in Ebonyi.
“The Labour party doesn't have any influence in Ebonyi. Their strongest candidate in Ebonyi is being charged by a criminal court, so he doesn't even have time to attend to his campaign. He's already in detention for drug-related issues,” Obidike said.
2023: Huge loss for Tinubu as APC chairman, strong chieftains dump ruling party in south-south state
onebeat.com.ng notes that the Ebonyi police command recently said it arrested Linus Okorie, the Labour Party senatorial candidate for Ebonyi South.
Chris Anyanwu, the spokesperson of the command, said Okorie, a former member of the House of Representatives, was arrested over drug-related matters and several other offences.
Tinubu is the right man Nigeria needs in 2023, says Orji Uzor-Kalu
In another report, former Abia state governor and Senate Chief Whip, Orji Uzor Kalu, has described the APC presidential candidate, Tinubu, as an asset Nigeria needs at the moment.
The senator described Tinubu as a man with the capacity and competence to pilot Nigeria's affairs, leveraging the already established progressive platform by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Senator Kalu, who spoke at an interactive session with the leadership of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), in Abuja, on Wednesday, November 16, appealed to CAN leaders to disregard rumours of Tinubu's plan to Islamise Nigeria.