Nigerians vote in gubernatorial polls as ruling party tries to regain lost ground in key states | CNN

Lagos, Nigeria

Nigerians will vote in delayed gubernatorial polls on Saturday, weeks after a contentious and contentious presidential election.

The gubernatorial race will be decided in 28 of Nigeria’s 36 states as the ruling party scrambles to regain lost ground in key states.

But all eyes will be on the tense struggle for control of the wealthy Lagos state, which analysts say will be the “most competitive” in the state’s history.

“This could be the most competitive gubernatorial election in Lagos state,” political scientist Sam Amadi told CNN.

“Many have tried to give Lagos a boost in the past and failed because of the ingrained power of Bola Tinubu. As President-elect, his influence in Lagos may have increased, but the Obidients are strong,” says Amadi, speaking of supporters of Labor Party presidential candidate Peter Obi.

Obi caused shock waves when it was revealed that he defeated President-elect Bola Tinubu at his home stadium in Lagos but finished third in the presidential election.

Obi has refused Tinubu’s victory and disputes the results in court.

The February 25 presidential election was widely criticized for widespread delays, outbreaks of violence and attempts at voter suppression.

Several observers, including the European Union, also said the election fell short of expectations and “lacked transparency”.

The struggle for Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial center and one of Africa’s largest cities, has usually been a bipartisan race never won by the opposition.

This is partially credited to political godfather and kingmaker Bola Tinubu, who is said to have handpicked every governor of Lagos since he left office in 2007.

Tinubu’s firm grip on Lagos politics now faces an unprecedented threat in Obi’s Labor third force after losing at home.

Obi is the first opposition presidential candidate to win in Lagos.

Amadi says his popularity with young people could be game changer in Lagos’ gubernatorial election.

“They (Obidients) won Lagos in the last (presidential) election but feel betrayed and oppressed. So we could see a more vehement fight. It depends on how motivated and hurt the Obidient are feeling right now,” he said.

Fifteen candidates seek to oust incumbent governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu from the ruling All Progressives Congress party, who is seeking a second term. But only two are seen as real threats to his re-election.

Labor Party Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour, who was considered a long shot a few weeks ago, is now riding Obi’s wave and has picked up momentum after his party’s surprise win in Tinubu’s stronghold.

Azeez Olajide Adediran of the People’s Democratic Party, also known as Jandor, is another strong contender aiming to win the Lagos seat for his party for the first time.

Adediran’s party has come second in every Lagos gubernatorial election since returning to civilian rule in 1999.

Both men tell CNN they are confident of victory. “For the first time, the PDP will take Lagos and I will be the governor,” says Adediran. “People are really tired… the streets of Lagos need a breath of fresh air and that’s what we stand for,” he adds.

A wall is decorated with campaign posters of Peoples' Democratic Party (PDP) gubernatorial candidate Abdul-Azeez Olajide Adediran (Jandor) and running mate Funke Akindele in Lagos March 7, 2023 in Lagos.

Rhodes-Vivour told CNN the time had come to free Lagos from “state conquest” and that he was next in line to rule the state.

“I am the next governor of the state of Lagos,” he declared. “You can’t stop an idea whose time has come. The idea of ​​a new Lagos… driven by the people and working for the people, as opposed to being conquered by the state; this idea, its time has come and no matter what you do, you can’t stop it. That’s where the confidence comes from.”

Governor Sanwo-Olu has asked voters to re-elect him based on his achievements “significant progress” to Lagos, including his commendable handling of the COVID pandemic.

Lagos ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) gubernatorial candidate Babajide Sanwo-Olu is seen in Lagos January 24, 2023.

But the governor has failed to calm angry young people who blame him to play a role in the shooting of peaceful protesters who were protesting police brutality by Nigerian soldiers in 2020.

Sanwo Olu admitted to CNN He recently denied ordering the shooting at the time footage showed uniformed soldiers shooting at peaceful protesters.

Analyst Amadi told CNN the Lagos gubernatorial election will be a contest between keeping or evicting the old guard.

“Lagos is a struggle between status quo and change,” said Amadi.

“Incumbent Sanwo-Olu has a good chance of keeping his job. But he faces a serious challenge from Gbadebo (Rhodes-Vivour), who has the momentum (of the Obi wave). Jandor (Adediran) is left behind because PDP has been dismantled in southern Nigeria and has no enthusiasm factor in Lagos,” said Amadi.

“Sanwo-Olu wasn’t spectacular but it’s believed to have performed well in some aspects to keep Lagos going. He might survive Saturday’s popular revolt…but watch out for excitement if APC’s fear-mongering and loss of confidence in INEC’s integrity don’t demotivate young voters,” he added.

In addition to attempts at voter suppression is a widespread loss of trust in the electoral body’s ability to conduct credible elections has undermined voters’ confidence in the democratic process.

Only 26% of Nigeria’s more than 93 million registered voters turned out to vote in the last election. This was much lower than the 2019 poll, when a third of registered voters eventually voted.

David Ayodele of the EiE Nigeria Citizens’ Initiative told CNN the February 25 elections “deepened the lack of trust between the (electoral) commission and voters”.

Ayodele called on the electoral body to redeem itself in the weekend’s election by “naming and prosecuting INEC officials caught tampering with the election process.”

Last month Lagos police authorities said they were iexamining an audio clip, in which two men were heard threatening residents of a local community to vote for candidates from the ruling APC or they risked being evicted from the area.

Polling stations will open Saturday from 8:30 a.m. local time (3:30 a.m. ET) and are expected to close at 2:30 p.m. (9:30 a.m. ET).

Source :

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *