The South-South geopolitical zone is a sensitive part of Nigeria, with six states which include Rivers State, Akwa Ibom, Delta, Cross Rivers, Edo and Bayelsa State.
There is a great expectation of heterogeneity in the voting pattern of the electorates in the South-South. Even though the vice presidential campaign candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Ifeanyi Okowa hails from Delta State in the region some factors will throw open the presidential contest to the candidates of All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Ahmed Tinubu; candidate of the Labour Party, Mr Peter Obi and Atiku Abubakar of the PDP.
Delta State is considerably a no-go area for another party than PDP but it could be too cheap to underrate the influence of APC and Labour Party in the state.
Electorates in the State will massively support PDP because of Okowa who hails from the state, regardless, Peter Obi's Labour Party will earn some votes from the Igbo-speaking Agbor people and the overflow of Igbo people from Onitsha to Asaba.
However, the influence of the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon (Rt) Ovie Omo-Agege in Delta State will earn APC many votes. Also, the Yoruba-related section of Delta State will align and cast their votes for APC.
Besides, the crises between Governor Okowa and his predecessors including James Ibori and Uduaghan will surely work against the chance of PDP from earning the huge number of votes the party has been enjoying from Delta since 1999.
Edo State is a battlefield between APC, PDP and the Labour Party. Governor Obaseki will want to deliver his state to PDP but the high presence of the Igbo population in Benin City poses a big threat to the capacity of the PDP because they formed the same set of people who formed his followers. The Yoruba-speaking people of Edo North will considerably give much support to APC, mostly looking at the presence of Adam Oshiomole in the area. The battle in Edo will be decided only when the election results are announced by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
PDP have a better stance in Akwa Ibom as the crisis rocking the APC cycle remains unsettled between Godswill Akpabio and the Eteibet faction of the party in the state. Labour Party may have a share of the votes in the region.
In Cross Rivers, the APC, PDP and Labour Party will have the battle to settle on Saturday.
Rivers State is another battleground between APC, PDP and the Labour Party. However, there is a greater tendency for APC and Labour Party to be the parties to watch in Rivers State.
Governor Nyesom Wike has unveiled his support for the presidential candidate of APC, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, citing his undeniable track record of achievement. He meant every bit of his words and APC is being projected to have the best outing in Rivers State. However, the population of Igbo people in Rivers State and the likely relationships between the Igbo and Rivers people will give Labour Party hope of coming close to APC in the state.
The elites and their followers in Rivers seem to have queued at the back of Tinubu's APC while the Igbo population in Rivers raises the hope of the Labour Party. PDP may find it difficult to do better in Rivers State because of the rift between Wike and Atiku Abubakar.
Bayelsa State could be considered to be in APC's bag for the presence of former President Goodluck Jonathan and the structure of APC that won the last governorship election in the state. PDP presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar has a poor relationship with the political bigwigs in Bayelsa State and the influence of Peter Obi is not that much in the state. APC has a better stance to win the battle with PDP in Bayelsa State.
South-South is a hot cake in this election, and it is grossly a battled field for APC, PDP and the Labour Party in the forthcoming election. One fact could be established here, it is not business as usual for PDP in the South-South which is the opposite of what the party (PDP) has enjoyed in the state since 1999.
Written by Ejiro Hassan (ejiro)
Published 2/24/2023 1:42:33 PM