Abdullahi Ganduje, the recently appointed National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), is facing formidable challenges as he readies the party for the upcoming governorship elections in Bayelsa, Imo, and Kogi states.
According to the provisions of the Electoral Act 2022, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has scheduled the governorship elections for November 11, 2023, in the aforementioned states.
Ganduje, who succeeded Abdullahi Adamu as the APC National Chairman, has expressed his determination to secure victory for the party in these states’ governorship races.
However, his elevation to the role of APC National Chairman has triggered concerns among party leaders who believe that the wrong choice was made.
Former APC Northwest National Vice Chairman, Salihu Lukman, expressed apprehension that Ganduje’s appointment could lead to the party’s downfall. He voiced concerns about the potential negative consequences on the popularity of President Tinubu and other elected representatives.
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Doubts regarding Ganduje’s ability to secure victory in the governorship elections of Kogi, Bayelsa, and Imo stem from his inability to secure APC’s victory in the 2023 Kano State governorship election when he was the outgoing governor.
In the Kano State election, the candidate of the New Nigeria People Party (NNPP), Abba Kabir Yusuf, defeated APC’s Gawuna to become the governor.
The task of winning the governorship election in Bayelsa is complicated due to internal conflicts within the APC chapter. The emergence of Timipre Sylva as the party’s candidate for the November 11 poll has led to divisions among party members.
Sylva is currently facing legal challenges, which pose a threat to APC’s chances of winning the governorship election.
In Imo State, incumbent governor Hope Uzodinma is seeking re-election in the November 11 poll. Uzodinma’s efforts to position the party for victory included choosing Chinyere Ihuoma Ekomaro as his new deputy, replacing Placid Njoku.
In Kogi State, the APC appears to be on a strong footing with outgoing governor Yahaya Bello determined to ensure the success of the party’s governorship candidate, Usman Ododo.
Despite Bello’s support, Ododo faces potential disqualification from the governorship race due to a challenge from another APC aspirant, Abubakar Achimugu, who alleges that Ododo failed to meet the requirement of resigning from the Kogi State public service 30 days before the governorship primary election.
Although APC may encounter strong competition from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the Social Democratic Party (SDP) during the governorship election, Bello’s political resilience and his relationship with President Bola Tinubu could significantly impact Ododo’s prospects.
Former APC Deputy National Publicity Secretary, Yekini Nabena, emphasized the importance of Ganduje’s role in uniting disgruntled party members ahead of the November 11 governorship election. He highlighted the need for Ganduje to address grievances, make realistic promises, and collaborate closely with the President to ensure the party’s success.