2023: Battle for tickets pits governors against senators

The battle for senatorial tickets ahead of next year’s elections has pitted governors against senators nursing re-election in many states.

The governors, who belong to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), are completing their second terms on May 29, next year.

While some senators have decided to halt their aspirations to give the governors a leeway, others have resolved to slug it out with them at the primaries.

There is tension between some governors and senators, based on the fact that the governors may muscle them out because they control the party machinery and the majority of delegates.

The pattern of struggle, intrigues and resentment appears the same across the states.

In Niger State, Governor Abubakar Sani Bello, who has unfolded his ambition for the senatorial ticket on the platform of APC in Niger North District, will be locking horns at the shadow poll with Senator Sabi Abdullahi, who was rejected in the 2019 elections.

In Taraba State, Governor Ishiaku Darius, a PDP chieftain, was challenging Senator Emmanuel Bwacha for the Taraba South ticket.

However, a few weeks ago, Bwacha defected to the APC to seek the governorship ticket.

In Kebbi, sources said the Progressives Governors Forum, Governor Atiku Bagudu, is eyeing the senatorial ticket in the Central District.

His opponent is the former governor and one-time Minister of Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Senator Adamu Aliero, who has spent two terms in the Senate.

Bagudu’s counterpart in Jigawa State, Abubakar Badaru, who was initially nursing a vice-presidential aspiration should Ekiti State Governor Kayode Fayemi pick the ticket, is consulting on whether he should pitch his tent with Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, who is running for president, or obtain a senatorial form.

Until recently, the Enugu North PDP senatorial ticket was a bone of contention between Enugu State Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi and Senator Chukwuka Utazi, who was re-elected to the Senate in the last general election.

A frosty relationship had developed between the two politicians over the slot.

However, a few weeks ago, Utazi told party leaders that he had stepped down for the governor.

In Plateau State, Governor Simon Lalong is battling Senator Nora Daduut for the Plateau South ticket.

The governor had nominated the woman professor as a candidate for the by-election following the demise of Senator Ignatius Longjam.

In Abia South, the coast appears clear for Governor Okezie Ikpeazu to pick the South senatorial ticket as Senator Eyinnanya Abaribe has opted for the governorship ticket.

A source said the governor may be the lone contestant at the primary.

In Benue State, Governor Sam Orton is squaring up with Senator Orkel Jev in Benue Northwest, also known as Zone B.

But, a source said Jev is likely to withdraw from the race.

Delta State Governor Ifeanyi Okowa has unfolded his senatorial ambition in Delta North on the platform of the PDP.

Following his declaration, Senator Peter Nwaoboshi, who is also nursing an ambition to retain his seat in the Upper Chamber, has defected to the APC to realise his aspiration.

(THE NATION)

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