APC, PDP in close race in FCT – Analysis
With about five days to the presidential and legislative elections slated for February 16 by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, the situation in Nigeria’s Federal Capital Territory, FCT, is at fever pitch as political parties and candidates make last minute efforts to woo voters.
In the National Assembly election there are 30 candidates vying for the single senate seat, but basically, the race is between the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, and the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
If the 2015 elections result are anything to go with, then the PDP stands a better chance of reenacting the feat.
In that election, the PDP emerged victorious polling a total of 157,195, while the APC polled a total of 146, 399 out of the 306, 805 valid votes.
The two top contenders are the incumbent, Philip Aduda, 49, of the PDP who will be gunning for a third term, and his Gbagyi kinsman, Jisalo Zaphaniah, also 49, of the APC, who at present is a member of the House of Reps representing AMAC/Bwari.
Aduda, son of a cleric, was first elected into the House of Reps in 2003 and served two terms before moving up the ladder.
Though he claims in an interview with this correspondent in the past to have had the opportunity to join the ruling APC, he argues that “swim or sink” he will be with the PDP as a sign of his “fidelity to the platform that gave him the opportunity.”
Not particularly liked in the urban areas, he holds a strong appeal in the semi-urban and rural areas of the FCT, an appeal cultivated by his late mother, renowned for her grassroots engagement.
Though of the opposition PDP, Aduda has strong loyalists in the APC as he is considered as a ‘son of the soil.’
However, his popularity will be tested with Jisalo in the field. His main challenger, a former chairman of Abuja Municipal Area Council, AMAC, is banking on federal might to secure victory.
Known more for halting English, Jisalo has a worst record with voters in the urban areas, and is hoping that President Muhammad Buhari’s chances will rub off good on him.
A survey of likely voters in the more cosmopolitan AMAC, Bwari and Gwagwalada areas show that PDP is considered the better of the two ‘worse’.
Another headway for Aduda is the Atiku Abubakar factor of which the more literate voters in the three areas mentioned consider a more amenable candidate than President Buhari.
A third factor in the race is Mrs. Esther Audu of the African Democratic Congress, ADC. Audu, a former council chairperson of AMAC and Nigeria’s envoy to The Gambia, is a potential threat but has been incapacitated by lack of funds.
Her campaigns has not shown much promise but she still wields a lot of clout amongst female voters especially in Gbagyi communities who see her as a forerunner of their own aspirations.
Other renowned candidates include Bishop Leonard Bature Kawas of the Freedom and Justice Party; FJP, Johnson Anene Somadina of the Social Democratic Party, SDP, and Lancaster Okiro Nnenna Ngwamma of the Youth Progressive Party, YPP.