2023: PROFILES: APC's 27 governorship candidates across Nigeria – Premium Times

APC governorship aspirants
Last week, the All Progressives Congress (APC) held its gubernatorial primary elections in 27 states across the country to produce its candidates for the 2023 general elections.
The exercise was not held in Imo, Ekiti, Bayelsa, Ondo, Edo, Anambra, Kogi and Osun states, where governorship elections have fallen off-season.
The party has a crisis in Akwa-Ibom State, hence, no specific candidate has been named yet.
Out of the 27 candidates, 26 are male while Aishatu Ahmad of Adamawa became the first woman to be selected as a governorship candidate by one of the two major parties in 2022.
Eight of the aspirants are seeking re-election as incumbents, while three (Teslim Folarin of Oyo, Abubakar Sadique of Bauchi and Ms Ahmad of Adamawa) are going against incumbents in their respective states.
In all the states, all anointed candidates of incumbent governors emerged without much hassle, except Niger State where Umar Bago defeated Idris Malagi, the preferred choice of Governor Sani Bello.
Also, seven members of the National Assembly got the ticket to transit from the legislature to the executive arm.
Here is a quick look at the 27 governorship candidates.
The senator representing Kaduna Central district won the APC ticket in Kaduna State to succeed Governor Nasir Elrufai.
Mr Sani, who defeated two other aspirants on Thursday, served as a special adviser on public affairs to President Olusegun Obasanjo. In 2015, he was appointed special adviser on political matters to the outgoing governor, Nasir El-Rufai.
With the endorsement of Mr El-Rufai on May 5, some of Mr Sani’s opponents, like Sani Dattijo, stepped down for Mr Sani.
Announcing the result of the exercise, the Chairman of the election committee, Anachuna Izu, said Mr Sani polled 1,149 votes to clinch the governorship ticket.
Bashir Abubakar scored 37 votes, while Sani Sha’aban, an in-law to President Muhammadu Buhari, got 10 votes.
Mr Sani will face Isa Ashiru of the PDP and others in the main election.
The incumbent governor of Kwara State was renominated unopposed. The returning officer, Emmanuel Dan-Daura, pronounced Mr AbdulRasaq the winner after delegates went through the affirmation process.
The governor was elected in 2019 on the wave of the ‘O to ge’ movement that dislodged the political dynasty of the Saraki family.
Mr AbdulRasaq also survived internal division within the ‘O to ge’ movement and a challenge to his hold on the APC by associates of the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed.

Before the primary election, several members of Mr Mohammed’s faction decamped to the Social Democratic Party (SDP), handing the governor total control of the party.
Mr AbdulRasaq, who is from Kwara Central, will face Abdulahi Yaman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) from Kwara North and other candidates in next year’s election.
Mr Bago represents Chanchaga Federal Constituency of Niger State in the House of Representatives.
He defeated Mohammed Malagi, the publisher of Blueprint newspaper; Mohammed Ketso, the incumbent deputy governor; and others.
Mr Bago lost the election for the Speakership of the House of Representatives to Femi Gbajabiamila in 2019.
One of his opponents in the main election is Liman Kantigi, a former Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, who emerged as the winner of the PDP ticket.
The Deputy Senate President will be on the ballot as the governorship candidate of the APC in Delta State, a state that has been in firm control of the PDP since 1999.
Mr Omo-Agege was the alleged mastermind of the invasion of the Senate Chamber in 2018, during which the mace was stolen.
The self-acclaimed son of President Buhari will face Sheriff Oborevwori of the PDP and other candidates in the main election.
Mr Omo-Agege represents Delta South in the Senate and is the Chairman of the Constitution Amendment Committee.
Mr Folarin, a former Majority Leader of the Senate, is the governorship candidate of Oyo State, after defeating Bayo Adelabu, the APC governorship candidate in 2019.

He polled 954 votes in the primary held at Obafemi Awolowo Stadium, Ibadan, Oyo State.
Mr Folarin was Oyo State PDP gubernatorial candidate in 2015 but lost to Abiola Ajimobi. He currently represents Oyo Central in the Red Chamber.
He will seek to unseat Governor Seyi Makinde of the PDP.
The incumbent governor of Lagos State has gotten the nod of his party to seek re-election.
Mr Sanwo-Olu had already gotten the endorsement of Bola Tinubu, the political leader in the state.
He survived speculation that he would not get a return ticket, the same fate that befell his predecessor, Akinwunmi Ambode.
His major opponent in the main election is expected to be Olajide Adeniran, the candidate of the PDP.
Mr Alia, who was suspended as a priest by the Catholic Diocese of Gboko for dabbling in politics, is the Benue State governorship candidate of the APC.
He defeated the likes of a former National Chairman of PDP, Barnabas Gemade, and former Attorney-General of the Federation, Mike Aondoakaa, in the primaries.
The Catholic Church had suspended him after his declaration to contest the position.
The priest will have to battle the PDP candidate and incumbent speaker of the State House of Assembly, Titus Uba, who is backed by the Governor of the State, Samuel Ortom.
A former Resident Electoral Commissioner in Benue State is the APC governorship candidate of the APC in Plateau State.
He defeated the deputy governor of the state, Sonny Tyoden, and several other candidates.
PREMIUM TIMES had exclusively reported how Mr Yitwatda resigned as REC and joined politics. He is seeking to succeed Governor Simeon Lalong of the APC.
The deputy governor of Kano State emerged as the candidate, following the endorsement of Governor Umar Ganduje.
Mr Gawuna polled 2,289 votes to defeat a member of the House of Representatives, Sha’aban Sharada, who scored 30 votes.
Although Mr Gawuna had a good outing at the primary, his endorsement polarised the APC, leading to the exodus of several members of the party to NNPP.
The governorship race in Kano is looking like a three-horse race involving the PDP, APC and NNPP.
Abba Yusuf, a son-in-law of Rabiu Kwankwaso and PDP governorship candidate in 2019, is the candidate of the NNPP.
The PDP is also grappling with an internal crisis that has produced two candidates, Sadiq Wali and Mohammed Abacha, the son of ex-dictator Sani Abacha.
The former Director-General of the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency (SMEDAN) is the governorship candidate of the APC in President Buhari’s home state.
Mr Radda defeated Abbas Masanawa, the former Managing Director of the Nigeria Security Printing and Minting Company (NSPMC), and eight others.
His endorsement by incumbent Governor Aminu Masari was vital to the emergence of Mr Radda.
One of Mr Radda’s opponents in next year’s election will be Yakubu Lado, a former senator, who is the candidate of the PDP.
In Kebbi State, the President of the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT), is the governorship candidate of the ruling party.
Mr Idris defeated Senate Majority Leader, Yahaya Abdullahi, to emerge as the candidate of the party.
At the main election, Mr Idris’ major opponent will be a retired major general, Aminu Bande, the candidate of the PDP.
The Governor of Zamfara State, Bello Matawalle, who was the candidate of the PDP in 2019, emerged unopposed as the candidate of the APC.
Mr Matawalle had earlier resolved his feud with a former governor of the state, Abdulaziz Yari, and Kabir Marafa, a former senator.

Governor Bello Matawalle of Zamfara state. [PHOTO CREDIT: @officialdrbellomatawalle]

Messrs Yari and Marafa got senatorial tickets. With this, the party appears to be finally united in the state, after a fight between Messrs Yari and Marafa led to the Supreme Court stripping the APC of the governorship and all other seats it won in the state in 2019.
The governor’s main opponent is expected to be Dauda Lawal of the PDP.
The current deputy governor is the governorship candidate of the APC in Jigawa State.
Mr Namadi defeated Sabo Nakudu, the serving senator for Jigawa South-West district.
In the general election, Mr Namadi will face, among others, Mustapha Lamido, the son of former Governor Sule Lamido.
The governor got his return ticket unopposed. He has been praised by many for his performance in the past three years in the saddle.
His performance has fuelled rumour of nomination as running mate to any of the presidential aspirants but Mr Zulum reiterated his commitment to continue his service in the state.

Babagana Zulum [PHOTO CREDIT: @GovBorno]

Mr Zulum will face, among others, Mohammed Jajari of the PDP in the general election.
The former Caretaker Chairman of the APC got the nod of his party to re-contest the governorship seat.
Mr Buni emerged unopposed. Shariff Abdulahi of the PDP will be his main opponent in the general election.
Many observers feared that a rift between Mr Inuwa and ex-governor Danjuma Goje would cause a major upset in the primary election, but the governor got the ticket unopposed.
Mr Goje also got a return ticket to the Senate.
The PDP has presented a former Group Managing Director of Sun Trust Bank, Jibrin Dan-Barde, as its candidate.
The general election is projected to be a tough battle because Gombe used to be a PDP state until 2019.
In neighbouring Bauchi State, a former Chief of Air Staff is the candidate of the APC for the 2023 election.
Mr Abubakar defeated Halliru Jika, the senator representing Bauchi Central, to pick the ticket.
Mr Abubakar should face Ibrahim Kashim, the PDP candidate. However, Mr Kashim is widely believed to be holding the ticket for Governor Bala Mohammed.
Mr Mohammed participated in Saturday’s PDP presidential primary but returned with just 20 votes to clinch the fifth position. Mr Kashim is poised to step down for the governor.
The former Deputy Senate Majority Leader is the governorship candidate of the APC in Taraba State.
His emergence was not without controversy as Lawrence Onuchuwhu, the chairman of the primary election committee, alleged a threat to his life and those of members of the committee.
He, however, declared Mr Bwacha as the winner of the election.
Mr Bwacha will have Kefas Ogbu of the PDP as his main challenger.
The female governorship candidate defeated several heavyweights to win the APC ticket in Adamawa State.
Mrs Ahmad currently represents Adamawa in the Senate under the APC but was in the House of Representatives from 2011 to 2015 under the PDP.
She will seek to unseat the incumbent governor, Ahmad Fintiri of the PDP, who is backed by the PDP presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar.
The governor of Nasarawa State has also gotten the ticket of his party to recontest another term.
The former CEO of Africa Petroleum defeated Fatima Abdulahi, an ex-wife of the National Chairman of the APC, Abdullahi Adamu, to get his return ticket.
He will have to battle, among others, David Ombugadu, a former member of the House of Representatives, who is the PDP candidate.
The CEO of Sahara Energy has once again gotten the governorship ticket of the APC.
Mr Cole was the candidate in the last election but the internal wrangling in the party led to the court barring the APC from fielding candidates across the board in the state in the 2019 general elections.
The party is still facing the same internal crisis as in 2019. Magnus Abe, one of the aspirants, had vowed not to accept the outcome of the primary.
Mr Cole’s major opponent is expected to be Siminialayi Fubara, the candidate of the PDP.
Mr Fubara, who is the choice of the incumbent governor, Nysome Wike, is the subject of an EFCC investigation.
Mr Bassey, a veteran legislator, is the governorship candidate of APC in Cross River State.
The lawmaker has been at the National Assembly since 2003 when he was first elected as a member of the House of Representatives. He moved to the upper chamber in 2011.
His major opponent will be Sandy Onor of the PDP, a fellow senator, in the general election in 2023.
Mr Nnaji emerged unopposed at the APC gubernatorial primary election for Enugu State.
This may not be due to the political strength of Mr Nnaji, but due to the total dominance of the PDP in Enugu State. The PDP has been in control of the state since 1999.
Mr Nnaji will face, among others, Peter Mbah of the PDP. Both candidates are from Enugu East senatorial district.
The Speaker of Ebonyi State House of Assembly is the governorship candidate of the APC.
Mr Nwifuru defeated four others to emerge as the candidate of the APC.
The PDP is yet to conclude its primary election due to a crisis in the state chapter.
Two candidates emerged from the two factional primaries conducted in Abia State. The former Minister of State for Mines and Solid Mineral emerged from the primary held at the APC secretariat in Umuahia.
On the other hand, Ikachi Emenike emerged as the candidate in the other election. However, hours after the election, Mr Emenike was disqualified by the court for lacking the basis to contest the election.
A high court in Abia State, in a suit instituted by Chinedum Nwole and two others, declared that Mr Emenike was earlier suspended by the party.
Ahmed Aliyu, ex- Sokoto State deputy governor and immediate past Secretary of Police Trust Fund, is the APC candidate in Sokoto.
Mr Aliyu’s main opponent will be the immediate former Secretary to the State Government (SSG) of Sokoto State, Sa’idu Umar.

Ogun State Governor, Dapo Abiodun [PHOTO CREDIT: @dabiodunMFR]

The governor of Ogun State, Dapo Abiodun. has the nod of his party to seek another term in office. He will face his main challenger in the PDP candidate. However, the opposition party has produced two candidates, Ladi Adebutu and Segun Sowunmi, and has to sort out which is the authentic one.

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