As the governorship and State House of Assembly elections hold tomorrow, Saturday, some residents of Rivers State are cut in between the line on who to vote for, especially for the position of Governor.
Some observers hold the opinion that the governorship and the state Assembly candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party are likely to win.
They believe Governor Nyesom Wike’s influence will give a landslide victory to his party, the PDP.
The PDP had won 90% of the National Assembly seats in the state, including the 3 Senatorial districts and 9 House of Representatives seats.
The Labour Party won 1 House of Representatives seat and the All Progressives Congress won 1 seat at the House. Two constituencies are yet to be announced.
The PDP has, however, been accused of hijacking the process of the February 25 election.
The Labour Party in the state had claimed that they won the presidential election in the state, as well as most of the National Assembly seats, but their mandate was allegedly stolen by the PDP.
For the March 18 election, it is widely speculated that the APC and the Social Democratic Party, SDP, in the state, have great interest in the elections, despite not showing much interest in the presidential and National Assembly elections.
The Labour Party is also not left out as some “Obidients” have vowed to vote for LP from top to bottom, as a revenge for what happened in the February 25 election.
Meanwhile, some residents of the state have promised to follow through with Governor Wike’s alleged directive during the presidential election, to vote for the APC.
Wike is believed to have worked for the presidential candidate of the APC, now president-elect, Bola Tinubu, to make him remove his interest in APC winning Rivers governorship election.
Tinubu is reportedly caught in the middle on who to support among the guber candidate of his party, which is the APC, Patrick Tonye-Cole, the guber candidate of the SDP, which is his longtime ally, Magnus Abe or the guber candidate of the PDP, Siminalaye Fubara, whose boss (Wike), allegedly worked for his victory in the state.
Tensions are high in the state as various political parties, especially the APC and the SDP, have vowed that the PDP will not hijack the electoral process like they supposedly did with the presidential and the National Assembly elections.
The guber candidate of the Labour Party, Beatrice Itubo is also gathering momentum, as the electorates and the Obidients are gearing towards her. The support for her candidacy increased after the former state chairman of LP in Rivers state, Dienye Pepple, as well as the state executives of the party, publicly endorsed the guber candidate of the PDP.
Their decision, they said, was hinged on the fact that, “they want to support a candidate that can win the election.”
They also accused their party’s guber candidate of being, “unserious and unready to run an election.”
As for the candidate of the SDP, Abe, he has been endorsed by several groups in the state, including the Igbo community, of which the leadership have come out to refute.
He also has a large number of followers and has been described as, “a grassroots politician.”
He worked with the previous administration, where he served as Secretary to the State Government. Abe is also said to have a stronghold in his area, which is the Ogoni axis.
The candidate of the PDP is said to also have a great chance. This is because Governor Wike has managed to poach some influential leaders of the APC and SDP in the state to join his camp.
He has equally had meetings with several groups and sectors, to woo them to vote for his party’s candidate.
A week ago, he went as far as promising to employ 10,000 youths in the state, promotion of civil servants, an employment scheme and promotion of several persons. However, this strategy may have won some people to the side of the strategic Governor.
The candidate of the APC, Tonye-Cole, had earlier gathered some level of support from the people, after the presidential and National Assembly elections. Some electorates described him as, “the best man for the job.”
But this did not last, as he allegedly posted a congratulatory message to the president-elect, Tinubu on his Facebook page.
However, some people, despite the congratulatory message, have decided to vote for him, because of his experiences.
The physical campaign of former Governor, Rotimi Amaechi has also helped him gather support from people who are not in tandem with Wike’s style of leadership.
Amaechi has been vigorously campaigning for the APC candidate in what could be seen as a renewal of the supremacy battle between him (Amaechi) and Wike.
People are also expecting some guber candidates from the Kalabari extraction, where Tonye-Cole is from, to step down for him, as the many candidates from the Oceania LGA’s, will mar the possibility of a Kalabari Governor.
The guber candidate of the African Democratic Congress, ADC, Tonye Ibraye, as well as his Deputy, Tonto Dike are the first to step down.
It is uncertain if others, including Dumo Lulu-Briggs of Accord, Dawari George of Action Alliance and Sogbomabo Jackrich of National Rescue Movement, will step down for Tonye-Cole.
Tension is high, as many fear of possible violence in the Saturday’s election in the state.
The candidates of the APC, LP, PDP and SDP, all stand a good chance of winning the election. It is quite difficult to say who is likely to win as the race in the state is too close to call.