By Gift Olivia Samuel, The Sight News
ABUJA: Political analysts at the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD’s) Election Analysis Centre (EAC), have highlighted nine key battleground states where the race for the position of the governor would be fierce.
A total of 29 states are expected to hold the governorship and state houses of Assembly elections and the nine states listed as key battleground states are: Imo, Kano, Kaduna, Lagos, Adamawa, Sokoto, Plateau, Bauchi and Ogun state.
These were disclosed on Friday at a Stakeholders’ Briefing on Battleground States: Matters Arising, ahead of the 2019 governorship and houses of assembly elections.
Speaking at the briefing, an analyst at the EAC and the Nigerian director for U.K. Department for International Development, Dr. Joe Abah, noted that, “Tomorrow’s elections are important because governors are about the most strategic positions in governance and who emerges often have a direct bearing on good governance and improved or worsened security”.
He further revealed that, “The greatest challenge to good governance in Nigeria is the relatively high percentage of governors who are excessively corrupt, irresponsible in their governance mandate and often almost completely absent from their respective States. Our hope is that citizens have closely monitored and assessed the performance of their governors and are ready to sanction bad governors.”
Explaining further on the battleground states, the EAC noted that two states really present interesting cases – Kano and Imo, where 29 and 65 candidates respectively are jostling for the governorship post, adding that the contest in Lagos will be highly competitive among the APC and PDP.
“For almost four years, Kano has been a theatre of open battle between the mass political movements led by Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso, former governor and ex-minister which is known as Kwankwasiyya and that led by Governor Umar Ganduje, an estranged aide and protégé of Kwankwaso known as the Gandujiyya political divides.
“Both men have a large following and the 9th March elections would be their final battle,” they added.
Meanwhile, the analysts have called on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), to ensure that it keeps to its words of using the card readers in the the entire election, so as to achieve a smooth electoral process.
“In terms of the card reader, we have mentioned that INEC must not discriminate just like what was seen in the presidential elections, some places they used the smart card reader and didn’t do that in some other places”, Said Auwal Musa, Executive Director, Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC). “There must be uniformity, if you are not going to use it, don’t use it. If you use it somewhere and not in the other places, you are going to create doubt and tension”.
Speaking further on the use of card readers, a Senior Fellow at the Centre for Development, Prof Jibrin Ibrahim, stated that no major problem is expected in the Saturday’s election, adding that it is assumed, that most of the logistical issues observed in the last election would have been fully addressed by now.
“There is actually a move in certain states to encourage people not to use the smart card reader and we know what that means when it happens, it means there is an attempt to rig the elections.
“INEC, has been categorical that smart card readers must be used as a basis for validating that elections take place. Our expectations is that it will be used and if in certain places there is a conspiracy not to use it, then it means those elections will be cancelled”, he remarked.