80 women battle 987 men for 29 guber seats


Gen. Useni, Oyo PPN candidate lead the oldest pack at 75
Akwa Ibom deputy governor, the oldest running mate at 76

TRACKING >> A fierce contest is expected to take place on Saturday as 80 female candidates square up against 987 male for 29 governorship seats in the states.

Similarly, that day, elections into the Federal Council Territory (FCT) area councils for chairmen and councillors will also be conducted by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

Just as it was penultimate week in the Presidential and National Assembly elections, the governorship race is largely going to be a straight fight between the candidates of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and those of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

In the 2015 general elections, about 368 candidates vied for the governorship seats in 29 states, 58 of them were APC and PDP candidates.

Governorship elections won’t be taking place in seven states. The states are: Kogi, Anambra, Bayelsa, Osun, Ondo, Edo and Ekiti.

Out of the 1,067 candidates vying for the governorship seats in 29 states on Saturday, 28 of them are APC and 29 are PDP candidates.

The APC is not presenting governorship candidate in Rivers State due to a court ruling on its governorship primaries.

According to New Telegraph findings, only 80 of the 1,067 governorship candidates are female, representing 7.5 per cent of the governorship hopeful.

All of the 29 states have female as their gubernatorial candidates except three states. The states with no female governorship candidates are: Borno, Kastina and Plateau states.

The Change Advocacy Party (CAP) recorded the highest number of female gubernatorial flag bearers by a political party. It has seven women as candidates.

Similarly, two parties in Delta and Enugu states presented female as both governorship candidates and running mates. The DPP in Imo State also made it an all-female affair.

At 69 years, Mrs. Udeagha Rose Uzoaru is the oldest among the female governorship candidates. She is the Abia State governorship candidate of MPN.

A total number of 275 females are in line for running mates in the 29 states. The oldest among the running mates is the deputy governorship candidate of the PDP in Akwa Ibom, Mr. Moses Ekpo, who is 76 years old.

General Jerry Useni (rtd), the PDP governorship candidate in Plateau State is the oldest flag bearer at 75. He shares this position with the PPN guber candidate in Oyo, Mr. Gbadamosi Alagbe, who is also of the same age.

The youngest governorship candidate is 30 and there are four candidates in that mould. However, three deputy governorship candidates are 20 years.

According to INEC’s data, Imo State has the highest number of flag bearers in the race with 70 governorship candidates, while Yobe State, with 13 candidates, has the lowest number of candidates in the poll.

Bauchi State has only one female governorship candidate and only one female deputy governorship candidate. There are 31 governorship candidates and running mates in the state.

Currently, the PDP controls Rivers, Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta, Akwa Ibom, Abia, Ebonyi, Enugu, Ebonyi, Taraba, Gombe, Benue, Sokoto and Kwara.

The APGA controls Anambra while the APC is in control of other states.

The INEC data also revealed that 17 governorship and deputy governorship candidates possessed only the minimum qualification, First School Leaving Certificate. Of the lot are five governorship candidates and 12 deputy governorship candidates.

Breakdown of the number of governorship candidates at the state level is as follows: Abia, Borno, Gombe have 32 candidates each; while Bauchi, Kebbi and Niger are fielding 31 candidates each.

Akwa Ibom and Lagos will have 45 candidates each on the ballot, just as Enugu, Zamfara and Oyo have 42 candidates each.

Others include: Adamawa 29; Benue 33; Cross River 26; Delta 50; Ebonyi 37; Kaduna 38 and Kano 55.

Imo State has a record 70 candidates on the ballot; Jigawa 19; Kwara 35; Nassarawa 29; Ogun 41 while Plateau has 24 candidates.

In Rivers, 64 candidates will be on the ballot paper; Sokoto 51; Taraba 30; Yobe 13 and Zamfara 42.

Similarly, among the female governorship candidates that will be vying with their male counterparts on Saturday in the 29 states are former Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, Hajia Aisha Alhassan, who is the candidate of the United Development Party (UDP) in Taraba State.

Others are 69-year-old candidate of the MPN Party in Abia State, Mrs Udeagha Rose Uzoaru and Hajiya Mahmood Bahejah of the ACD in Bauchi State. The 50-year-old is the only female candidate in the state.

Another female governorship candidate on the ballot in Cross River State is Mrs. Arit Edet Aikpong. She will be flying the flag of the NAC.

In Lagos, 61-year-old Mrs. Omolara Adesanya is the governorship candidate of the PPC.

In Abia State, three women are in the race to become governor, while Adamawa has five women on the ballot.

Other female governorship candidates by states are: Akwa Ibom (2); Ebonyi (3); Bauchi (1); Benue (3); Cross River (2); Delta (8); Enugu (5); Gombe (1); Imo (4); Jigawa (1); Kaduna (2); Kebbi (1) and Kwara (2).

Others are: Kano (9); Lagos (7); Nassarawa (1); Niger (2); Ogun (1); Oyo (6); Rivers (4); Sokoto (2); Taraba (2); Yobe (1) and Zamfara State (2).

Borno, Katsina and Plateau states don’t have any female governorship candidate in the 2019 election.

However, a handful of the governorship candidates have either stepped down for candidates of the major parties, especially the APC and PDP, or went into alliance with them.

On Monday, 32 gubernatorial candidates in Kaduna State, under the auspices of Kaduna State Progressive Governorship Candidates’ Forum, unanimously stepped down for Governor Nasir el-Rufai of the APC. Also on Tuesday, 70 parties adopted Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State. Over 50 governorship candidates have stepped down for Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers.