The anxiety, which is based on the possibility of a repeat of LP’s feat at the polls, has thrown the major parties, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and All Progressives Congress, APC, into a panic mood. Sunday Vanguard observed that should the voting pattern witnessed at the polls play out this Saturday, the outcome may not be favourable to the leading parties and their candidates. Banking on its performance, LP is optimistic about an eventful outing during the March 18 exercise.
Though the party’s presidential candidate, Mr. Peter Obi, lost the election, he won the majority of votes in 12 states including Lagos and the Federal Capital Territory, FCT. The LP, powered by the Obidient Movement, is aiming to win at least 12 governorship seats at the polls this Saturday.
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Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, had on March 1, 2023, announced Bola Tinubu of APC as the winner of the presidential election with 8.79 million votes. Obi received 6.1 million votes as the second runner-up.
Obi had since gone to court to challenge the outcome, claiming voter manipulation, suppression, disenfranchisement, and rigging.
The former Anambra State governor, who was taunted as social media president, with no structure to win an election, surprised critics.
Like Tinubu and Atiku Abubakar, many believed Obi could not win a local government election outside Anambra State let alone a presidential poll.
The states LP won include Lagos, Enugu, Nasarawa, Ebonyi, Abia, Delta, Anambra, Plateau, FCT, Edo, Cross River, and Imo.
One of the shocking outcomes of the election was Obi’s victory in Lagos State.
LP won in nine out of 20 local governments to win the state with a total of 582,130 votes, while APC polled 571, 575.
Also, he won in Delta State, the stronghold of PDP where its vice-presidential candidate, Ifeanyi Okowa, is the incumbent governor.
The Obi wave also made it possible for the party to win six senatorial seats and 34 in the House of Representatives, HoR, making it the third most popular party in the 10th National Assembly.
Expectedly, the LP presidential result has provided a springboard for the governorship candidates on its platform, with Obidients assuring them of another victory.
In a chat with a reporter, National Legal Adviser of LP, Akingbade Oyelekan, said the party would repeat the feat of February 25 on March 18.
His words:” I want to emphatically say that LP is taking Lagos on March 18, 2023. I want to let you know that what LP scored in Lagos was more than one million despite the harassment and intimidation.
“We are not targeting Lagos alone. The entire South-East is already in our bag. Rivers State is in our pocket. We have also made inroads into North Central. I’m talking about Benue, Plateau, and Nassarawa. We will also win Taraba, Bornu, and Kaduna states.’’
Meanwhile, ahead of the polls, there are fears in some state chapters of APC and PDP over the growing popularity of the Obidient Movement.
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LAGOS: For instance, in Lagos, as part of strategies to gain confidence, Governor Sanwo-Olu has set machinery in motion to interact with Igbo and other tribes.
The governor met an amalgamation of Igbo traders across 58 major markets in the state. He also interacted with others in the popular Computer Market.
However, LP governorship candidate in the state, Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour, has seen his popularity grow beyond expectation. From a distant third position in the ranking, he has emerged as one of the frontrunners. The LP candidate is believed to be banking on the massive popularity of Obidient Movement in the state.
In the state, the latest dynamics appear to have made APC leadership embark on massive campaigns across strategic areas. As part of strategies to gain confidence, Governor Sanwo-Olu has set machinery in motion to interact with Igbo and other tribes.
The governor met an amalgamation of Igbo traders across 58 major markets in the state. He also interacted with traders at the popular Computer Market. The Igbo in Lagos constitutes a strategic voting bloc, capable of determining the direction of the pendulum.
Apart from the governor, who enjoys overwhelming support in the state, the state chapter of APC is confident of victory.
The party’s spokesperson, Sola Oladejo, said APC isn’t perturbed by Afenifere’s endorsement of Rhodes-Viviour, saying Sanwo-Olu boasts of landmark achievements capable of earning him victory.
He said: “Lagosians will at the polls massively reject a candidate known not to identify with his purported heritage and needed historians to weave together some tales by moonlight to sell him to a people he cannot even speak their language.
At this time and age, it’s not sufficient to make the exploits of his progenitors his selling points to administer the fifth largest economy in Africa.”
EDO: In Edo where Obi also won the presidential election, both PDP and APC are unsettled by LP’s popularity. The governorship election won’t take place in the state, but the House of Assembly poll would be held across the local government areas. During the presidential and National Assembly elections, LP won two of the seven House of Representatives seats and one senate position. Two legislative elections are still pending. Though PDP’s poor outing was largely attributed to the crisis between Governor Godwin Obaseki and the Dan Orbih-led faction, LP is now a household name in Edo. Ahead of Saturday’s exercise, both the APC and PDP are in a panic over a repeat of the presidential election feat.
RIVERS: Like Edo, LP and its candidates are popular. Their popularity dwarfs the image of Governor Nyesom Wike, who was largely accused of rigging the presidential election in favour of APC.
The Wike-led faction of PDP seems threatened by the acceptability of LP in the state, which may have informed the controversial endorsement of its candidate, Siminalayi Fubara, by a section of LP.
The state chairman of LP, Dienye Pepple, had backed Fubara, leading to her suspension by the party leadership. The state executive committee was consequently dissolved. At the moment, there is confusion in Rivers LP over who it’s backing. Despite the crisis rocking the party, LP national leadership has called on Rivers residents to vote for its governorship candidate, Mrs. Beatrice Itubo, to prove a point.
He said: “Let us prove a point. Rivers is Obidient. It will be easier for us to prove that we won the state in the presidential election.
“Do not be deceived by the PDAPC’s ploy that you should vote for them. It’s a ploy to make regaining our mandate more difficult. A vote for our governor is a vote for our mandate as represented by Peter Obi.”
Regardless of the situation, LP is set to give the PDP and APC a good run in the governorship and state assembly polls.
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ANAMBRA: In Anambra, Sunday Vanguard observed that the voting pattern would remain the same. People seem to be more determined to vote for LP, especially given what they described as the “stealing of Obi’s mandate.”
Apart from the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, the incumbent’s party, APC and PDP were thrown into confusion by Obi’s outing at the presidential polls.
But Governor Chukwuma Soludo appears upbeat ahead of the exercise, saying Anambra people would elect APGA candidates.
Soludo also described the call by Obi for the electorate in Anambra to vote for candidates of LP as a landmine for him.
Obi had, during a meeting with LP House of Assembly candidates in Awka, said their winning would not pose any danger for the Anambra governor, assuring that they would work with him for the progress of the state.
Reacting to Obi’s call, Soludo, through his Press Secretary, Mr. Christian Aburime, said the call was deceptive and inappropriate, adding that it would amount to laying landmines for the governor.
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