The new National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, Abdullahi Ganduje, faces a difficult assignment as he prepares the party for governorship elections in Bayelsa, Imo, and Kogi.
The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has set governorship elections in the three states for November 11, 2023, in compliance with the Electoral Act 2022.
After taking over the APC leadership from Abdullahi Adamu, Ganduje vowed to win governorship elections in those states.
However, his appointment as APC National Chairman raised concerns among chieftains who believed the party made the wrong decision.
Former APC Northwest National Vice Chairman Salihu Lukman said that Ganduje’s election as APC National Chairman will lead to the party’s downfall.
“If the plot to have Dr. Ganduje emerge as the next APC National Chairman succeeds in all legal and moral questions, we as a party will have set the stage for the destruction of our party, and God forbid, we will have laid the foundation that will make President Tinubu and all our elected representatives unpopular,” Lukman said.
Doubts about his ability to win governorship elections in Kogi, Bayelsa, and Imo states stem from his failure as departing governor of Kano State to ensure APC victory in 2023.
Abba Kabir Yusuf, the New Nigeria People Party (NNPP) nominee in Kano State, defeated the APC’s Gawuna to become the state’s governor.
The goal of winning the Bayelsa governorship race is difficult since the state chapter of the APC is troubled by difficulties as a result of Timipre Sylva’s selection as the party’s governorship candidate for the November 11 election.
Some of Sylva’s associates are moving away from him, frowning at his appearance, causing unease within the group.
Sylva is said to be facing at least three legal issues. The APC’s chances of capturing the governorship are jeopardized by such baggage.
On the other side, despite the party’s internal strife, the APC has a better chance of recovering control of the state, given that Sylva is a former governor and a Minister of State for Petroleum, and he’s not in the party’s crosshairs at the federal level.
Hope Uzodinma, the incumbent governor of Imo State, will run for re-election on November 11th.
As part of his efforts to prepare the party for victory, Uzodinma replaced his deputy, Placid Njoku, with Chinyere Ihuoma Ekomaro.
The APC appears to be on a solid footing in Kogi State, with outgoing governor Yahaya Bello eager to see that the party’s governorship candidate, Usman Ododo, succeeds him.
Nonetheless, despite Bello’s backing, Ododo risks being barred from running for governor before the November 11 election.
This is because an APC governorship candidate, Abubakar Achimugu, is requesting that Ododo be disqualified from the governorship race because he failed to resign from his post with the Kogi State government 30 days before contesting in the governorship primary election.
Though the APC would face heavy opposition from the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and Social Democratic Party, SDP during the governorship campaign, Bello’s political persistence and proximity to President Bola Tinubu could be game changers in Ododo’s favor.
Former APC Deputy National Publicity Secretary Yekini Nabena, speaking on the election, said Ganduje must first unite disgruntled party members before the November 11 governorship election.
“It is not people in Abuja who vote during the election,” he said. Ganduje will not travel to Bayelsa, Imo, or Kogi States to deliver the election, and he must make an effort to appease dissatisfied citizens.
“How will he bring people in to collaborate?” As a leader, he must be aware of the situation and not try to dodge it.
“He must be able to rally the people and unite all disgruntled political parties before the election; he must promise what he can deliver and not make empty promises, which are part of the problem; promises are made but not kept.”
“Ganduje can only bring people together when he works with the President and they have a mutual understanding,” Nabena remarked.
“As I’ve previously stated, you can’t give what you don’t have.” He must work with the President.”