Nigerians will go to the polls to elect governors in 28 of the 36 states today, as well as 993 lawmakers who will represent constituencies in the state houses of assembly.
The governorship and state assembly elections are being held a week later than initially scheduled after a court judgement forced the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to move it forward.
Eight of the 36 states, namely, Anambra, Bayelsa, Edo, Ekiti, Imo, Kogi, Osun and Ondo, have their governorship elections off-season due to litigations and court judgements.
The 28 states where governorship elections will hold today are Abia, Adamawa, Akwa Ibom, Bauchi, Benue, Borno, Cross River and Delta.
Others are Ebonyi, Enugu, Gombe, Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Kwara, Lagos, Nasarawa, Niger, Ogun, Oyo, Plateau, Rivers, Sokoto, Taraba, Yobe and Zamfara.
Eleven serving governors are seeking re-election while 17 outgoing ones are in the final weeks of their constitutional two-term limits of eight years, having been sworn in on May 29, 2015.
All the governors going for a second term are currently sweating going by the result of the last presidential election.
11 governors seeking re-election
Those seeking re-election are Ahmadu Fintiri of Adamawa State of the PDP (North East). He is in the race alongside 14 other candidates, including APC’s Senator Aishatu Dahiru, popularly known as Binani; Dr Umar Ardo of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) and Labour Party’s (LP) Mustapha Madawaki.
Governor Bala Mohammed of Bauchi State (North East) is also seeking re-election on the platform of the PDP. He is in the contest with 13 other candidates, including Senator Halliru Jika of the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP), as well as APC’s candidate, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, Nigeria’s immediate past Chief of Air Staff.
Also seeking re-election in the North East geopolitical zone is Governor Babagana Zulum of Borno State. Zulum is contesting on the platform of the ruling APC, alongside 11 others, including PDP’s Mohammed Jajari and LP’s Goni Abdullahi.
The Resident Electoral Commissioner, Prof Muhammad Lawal Bashar, while briefing newsmen said, “We are fully prepared for the conduct of the elections and we have taken steps to address some challenges in the previous elections.”
In Niger State, sensitive electoral materials, including ballot papers and BVAS had left the Minna branch of the CBN for Registration Area Centres for onward distribution to the polling units across the state.
The Resident Electoral Commissioner, Ahmad Yushau Garki, said a total of 21, 038 ad-hoc staff were engaged in the conduct of today’s elections.
In the North East, Governor Muhammad Inuwa of Gombe State, who is seeking re-election on the platform of the APC, will be slugging it out with 13 others, including PDP’s Muhammed Barde and LP’s Amuga Esau.
Governor Mai Mala Buni, who served as caretaker national chairman of the APC, is also seeking another term as governor of Yobe State. He is in the race alongside 10 other candidates like PDP’s Shariff Abdullahi and NNPP’s Umar Garba.
In the North West, Governor Bello Matawalle of Zamfara State is in the race seeking re-election with PDP’s Dauda Lawal, LP’s Ahmed Yahuza and 11 others.
In the North Central, Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq of Kwara State is seeking a return to office on APC platform with PDP’s Abdullahi Yaman, LP’s Abubakar Kabir and 11 others.
In Nasarawa, Governor Abdullahi Sule of the APC is in the race with 13 others, including LP’s Ewuga Joseph and Mohammed Alfa of the Social SDP.
In the South West zone, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of the APC will be slugging it out with 15 co-contestants, including LP’s Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour and PDP’s Olajide Adediran, also known as Jandor.
Similarly, Governor Dapo Abiodun is in the race for a second term bid with 12 others, including PDP’s Ladi Adebutu, as well as Biyi Otegbeye of the African Democratic Congress (ADC).
Also, the Oyo State governor, Seyi Makinde is seeking re-election with 15 others, including LP’s Akinwale Tayo, as well as a serving senator, Teslim Folarin of the APC.
In Oyo State, INEC said it had distributed sensitive materials to each of the 33 local government areas in the state.
The distribution exercise began on Wednesday at the premises of the CBN, Ibadan branch, located in Dugbe.
The Resident Electoral Commissioner in the state, Dr Adeniran Tella, supervised the process, which was witnessed by representatives of different political parties, security agents and other stakeholders.
States where new governors will emerge
Fresh governors are certain to emerge in 17 other states, where the governors have served out their two terms. The states are Abia, Akwa Ibom, Benue, Cross River, Delta, Ebonyi, Enugu, Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Niger, Plateau, Rivers, Sokoto and Taraba.
Of the 17 outgoing governors, 9 contested in the senatorial election of February 25, but seven failed in their bids to move over to the Senate. They are: Samuel Ortom (Benue), Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu), Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia), Darius Ishaku (Taraba), Simon Lalong (Plateau), Ben Ayade (Cross River) and Atiku Bagudu (Kebbi).
Elections will also hold in all states of the federation to pick lawmakers. It’s only Abuja that no election will take place.