By G9ija

•Candidates battling with litigations omitted

By Okodili Ndidi,

Seventeen of the 28 governors in the states where the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) will conduct governorship election on March 11 next year will be battling to ensure victory for their successors.

Yesterday’s publication of the final list of candidates for state elections by INEC drew the battle line between the governors who are serving out their constitutional eight years of two-term tenure on May 29, 2023 and other candidates.

According to list published by the electoral umpire, 18 political parties will be fielding 837 candidates for the 28 governors’ offices and 10,231 would be seeking elections into 993 Assembly seats in 36 states.

The names of candidates with pending court cases were missing on commission’s final list.

The outgoing governors include: Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia); Nyesom Wike (Rivers); Ben Ayade (Cross River); Udom Emmanuel (Akwa Ibom); Ifeanyi Okowa (Delta); Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu); Dave Umahi (Ebonyi); Aminu Masari (Katsina); Samuel Ortom (Benue) and Nasir El-Rufai (Kaduna).

Others are: Umar Ganduje (Kano); Aminu Tambuwal (Sokoto); Abubakar Sani Bello (Niger); Abubakar Badaru (Jigawa); Dairus Ishaku (Taraba); Atiku Bagudu (Kebbi) Simon Lalong (Plateau).

Governors Babajide Sanwo-Olu and Seyi Makinde are seeking re-election in Lagos and Oyo states respectively. They are among the 11 incumbent states’ executives.

The others are: Ahmadu Fintiri (Adamawa); Bala Mohammed (Bauchi); Babagana Zulum (Borno); Inuwa Yahaya (Gombe); AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq (Kwara), Abdullahi Sule (Nasarawa); Dapo Abiodun (Ogun) and Bello Matawalle (Zamfara).

Keen contests are expected in states where outgoing governors had running battles with their political god-fathers in picking candidates for their battles.

Notable among the states is Delta where Okowa disagreed with James Ibori on the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship ticket. The governor preferred choice is Sheriff Oborevwori.

Governors Ugwuanyi and Ikpeazu also ruffled feathers in Enugu and Abia to secure tickets for their favourites.

In Lagos, 14 candidates will be slugging it out with Babajide Sanwo-Olu and Makinde will contend with 15 challengers to renew his tenancy for another four years at Agodi Oyo State Governor’s House.

Governor Abiodun will be in the race for the Oke-Mosan Government Office, Abeokuta with 12 challengers.

Sixteen greenhorns will battle for votes in Rivers to succeed Wike and in Kwara, incumbent AbdulRahaman AbdulRazaq will slug it out with 14 contenders, including a 74-year-old professor.

In Jigawa, Sule Lamido’s son and nine others have been cleared by INEC.