As governorship elections hold in 29 states across the country today, state governors elected on the platform of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party who are seeking re-election will be facing fierce battles in order to retain their seats.
The battles will be coming mainly from chieftains of the ruling All Progressives Congress in their different states.
The victory of President Muhammadu Buhari of the APC in the February 23 presidential election has further made the battle tougher for them as the chieftains of the ruling party are bent on using the governorship elections in their states to make a statement about their political clouts.
In Rivers State, Governor Nyesom Wike of the PDP has his former political associate and Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, to contend with in his quest for a second term.
Unfortunately for Amaechi, a former governor of the state, his party, APC, has no candidate for the governorship election based on court judgment.
But in his desire to stop Wike’s re-election, the minister had instructed his supporters to vote for the governorship candidate of Africa Action Congress, Awara Biokpomabo.
Having lost his state to the presidential candidate of the PDP, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, in the February 23 election, Amaechi who was the Director-General of APC Presidential Campaign Council, is desperate to stop Wike for pride.
The governor, on his part, is not leaving anything to chances to confirm his position that Rivers is a PDP state.
In Akwa Ibom State, it is also going to be a battle royale for another PDP governor, Udom Emmanuel, who is seeking re-election.
It is a battle between him and his erstwhile godfather, Godswill Akpabio, who dumped the PDP for the APC last year.
Akpabio, who failed in his bid to get re-elected into the Senate on February 23, is backing the governorship candidate of the APC, Nsima Ekere, against Emmanuel who was his favourite candidate in 2015.
The former Senate Minority Leader will be throwing everything in the contest in order to prove his stance that he did not lose the senatorial contest, but was rigged out.
Emmanuel too needs the election to prove that Akwa Ibom is a PDP state and that Atiku’s victory in the state and Akpabio’s loss were not mere flukes.
Another state where the contest between the APC and the PDP is expected to be intense is Sokoto where the governor, Aminu Tambuwal, will be slugging it out with his former godfather, Aliyu Wamakko.
Tambuwal returned to the PDP from the APC and contested for the party’s (PDP’s) presidential ticket which he lost to Atiku.
Having lost the presidential ticket, he resorted to seeking second term as governor.
But Wamakko is ready to stake everything to ensure that the APC governorship candidate, Ahmad Aliyu, wins the election and unseat Tambuwal.
Similar situation will be playing out in Benue State where the battle will be between the state governor, Samuel Ortom of the PDP and a former governor, George Akume, who recently lost his re-election bid to the Senate.
Akume is supporting the APC governorship candidate, Emmanuel Jime.
The situation is not different in Delta State where Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of the PDP will be fighting the battle to retain his seat being eyed by Great Ogboru of the APC.
Ogboru will be leveraging on federal might and the supports of the likes of a former governor of the state, Emmanuel Uduaghan, who recently left the PDP for the APC and that of Senator Ovie Omo-Agege.
Okowa however still enjoys the backing of a former governor of the state, James Ibori, and an Ijaw leader, Edwin Clark.
In Cross River State, the governor, Ben Ayade, has the APC governorship candidate, Owan Enoh, to contest against.
In the South East, there will also be tussles in Ebonyi, Abia and Enugu to unseat the PDP governors of Dave Umahi, Okezie Ikpeazu and Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi respectively as APC struggles to make an inroad into the zone.
In Taraba State where Darius Ishaku of the PDP holds sway, he will be contesting against Sani Danladi of the APC.
In Gombe and Kwara States where outgoing governors Ibrahim Damkwabo and Abdulfatah Ahmed of PDP hold sway, there will be battle as the APC struggles to take over the states.
Having succeeded to stop the re-election of the President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, in Kwara, the APC is not sparing any effort in ensuring that the party produces the next state governor.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, is at the forefront of the “O to ge” movement that aims at installing the APC candidate, Abdulrahaman AbdulRasaq, as the next governor at the expense of Razak Atunwa of the PDP.
In Gombe, Damkwabo who also contested the PDP presidential ticket and lost will be supporting the party’s, Usman Nafada, against that of the APC, Inuwa Yahaya.