Nigerians will head to the polls again on Saturday, March 18, 2023, to elect governors and state assembly members following a one-week extension.
In all, 18 political parties fielded candidates for the governorship elections slated to hold in 28 out of the 36 states of the federation.
This is so because the governorship elections of eight states, Anambra, Bayelsa, Edo, Ekiti, Imo, Kogi, Osun, and Ondo, are held off-season due to litigations and court judgments that brought the incumbents in.
However, elections for members of the state legislature will hold in all 36 states of the federation.
Thousands of candidates are competing for 993 State House of Assembly seats, according to data from the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
In alphabetical order, the 28 states where governorship elections will hold on March 18, 2023, are Abia, Adamawa, Akwa Ibom, Bauchi, Benue, Borno, Cross River, Delta, Ebonyi, Enugu, and Gombe.
Others are Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Kwara, Lagos, Nasarawa, Niger, Ogun, Oyo, Plateau, Rivers, Sokoto, Taraba, Yobe, Zamfara.
Nigerians will be hoping that issues raised during the presidential and National Assembly elections will be minimal, especially those of disenfranchisement and technological glitches.
On its part, INEC will have to contend with many modalities expected with the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System and its Result Viewing Portal (IReV).
The IReV and the BVAS are new technologies introduced by the electoral body for the accreditation and electronic transmission of votes for this year’s polls, but they had issues during the presidential elections.
On its part, the electoral umpire said it had learned its lessons and will be hoping to salvage its reputation at the gubernatorial and state assemblies polls.
In Lagos, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, the All Progressives Congress (APC) incumbent, will be hoping to align with the centre following the emergence of tough competition from Labour Party’s Gbadebo Vivour-Rhodes. Recall that during the presidential election, APC had lost Lagos, the nucleus of the President-elect, Mr Bola Tinubu, to LP’s Peter Obi.
In Oyo state, Seyi Makinde will be hoping to keep his seat with PDP for another four years as the party continues an internal rebellion that he was involved in with four other governors, including Rivers state Nyesom Wike, Samuel Ortom (Benue), Seyi Makinde (Oyo), Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia), and Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu).
The five governors were consistent in their demand that Mr Iyorchia Ayu steps down as PDP national chairman as a precondition for them to support the presidential ambition of the party’s flag bearer, Mr Atiku Abubakar. He ended up losing the states.
Governor Okezie Ikpeazu might fail in his bid to ensure his party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), retains power after he lost his senatorial bid. An emergent Mr Alex Otti may yet ride on the rising LP force.
In Kaduna, outgoing Nasir el-Rufai may have to contend with tensions that can see his APC lose its base to PDP, which won all three senatorial seats or LP.