March 11: PDP Fubara likely to become Rivers State next governor, Anap poll reveals

…….but SDP’s Magnus Abe has momentum

An Anap Foundation statewide opinion poll conducted in collaboration with NOIPolls Limited for River State showed that Siminalayi Fubara, the governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), is most likely to succeed Governor Nyesom Wike as the next governor of the oil-rich state. This comes as the Opobo town-born politician is ahead of the other candidates for the choice of voters for the next governor of Rivers State in the opinion poll carried out.

The poll, which was concluded in February 2023, shortly before the presidential and national assembly elections, discovered that 20 percent of respondents interviewed said that they would vote for the PDP governorship candidate as governor come March 11.

According to a statement released by Anap, “The results showed a significant lead for Mr. Siminalayi Fubara, with 20 percent of voters proposing to vote for him if the governorship elections were to be conducted today.”

The results of the opinion poll, which was released on Monday, also concluded that 11 percent of respondents proposed to vote for former Wike’s ally and Senator representing the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Magnus Abe. Abe is the governorship candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SDP).

Read also: New ANAP Foundation poll gives Peter Obi solid lead

The other candidates are Tonye Patrick Cole of the All Progressives Congress (APC) with 10 percent, Dumo Owukori Lulu-Briggs of the Accord Party with 6 percent, Dawari Ibietela George of the Action Alliance (AA) with 2 percent, Beatrice Itubo of the Labour Party with 2 percent, and Victor Tamie Fingesi of the African Democratic Party (ADP) with 1 percent. They came third, fourth, fifth, sixth, and seventh, respectively.

According to the poll, “Fubara’s 9 percent-point lead at this stage is significant but not sufficient to separate him from a pack of candidates scoring 11 percent, 10 percent, 6 percent, etc.”

It agreed that its observation is by no means final as to the outcome of the actual poll on March 11, as many respondents decided not to disclose their choice among the candidates for governor. The gender split showed that women made up a larger percentage of undecided voters than men.

“This is a severely fragmented race. Undecided voters and those who prefer not to reveal their preferred candidate add up to a whopping 23 percent and 24 percent, respectively. The gender split of undecided voters shows that 27 percent of women are undecided versus 18 percent of male voters,” the report said.

The opinion poll showed that Fubara had the most supporters, or people likely to vote for him as governor, residing in the Rivers East and Rivers South Senatorial Districts, recording 22 percent each from prospective voters in those districts.

Abe’s supporters or voters who are likely to vote for him also come from Rivers East and Rivers South, with 11 percent and 20 percent of respondents saying they are likely to vote for him as governor if the election were to be conducted as at the time they carried out the opinion poll.

Cole of the APC showed that 10 percent of voters in Rivers West and Rivers South were willing to vote for him. The two senatorial districts give him 13 percent and 10 percent of the overall 10 percent of Rivers people willing to vote for him as the next governor of the state.

Lulu-Briggs of the Accord Party, who over the years has built his political career through people-friendly programmes came a distant fourth with an overall rating of 6 percent. His fan base numbers are spread fairly across the three senatorial districts, with 7 percent of respondents who said they would support him as the next governor of the state residing in Rivers East and the remaining 6 percent in Rivers West.

However, Beatrice Itubo of the Labour Party didn’t fare so well, as she came sixth in the overall ranking of the opinion poll. Itubo pulled up 3 percent each from the Rivers West and East senatorial districts of respondents who said that they fancy voting for her as the next governor of the state.

The poll result signed by Atedo Peterside revealed that momentum gained in terms of publicity, campaigns, and general acceptance among Rivers people between the first poll carried out in October 2022 and the second poll carried out in February 2023 showed that Abe of the SDP is clearly taking the lead.

“Senator Magnus Abe of the SDP is clearly the candidate with the greatest momentum,” the report revealed.

Accordingly, Abe’s momentum picked up by a whopping 83.3 percent, which shows that a lot of people may have decided to vote for him or are contemplating voting for him as the next governor of Rivers State.

However, the opinion poll revealed that among the major contenders, only Cole had negative momentum, with a result of -9.1 percent.

The report also stated that “the percentage of registered voters is as follows in each of the districts: 95 percent each in Rivers West and Rivers South and 92 percent in Rivers East.

“The poll shows that almost 8 in 10 registered voters are absolutely certain that they will vote in the next governorship election. If they stay committed, then we could witness a huge turnout in the March 11, 2023, governorship elections.

“Whilst this Governorship Poll result shows some significant trends, again it is key to note that it was concluded before the Presidential elections and that the race is still impossible to call, as undecided/swing voters would ultimately have their say on which candidate emerges as Governor of Rivers State.”

Anap believes that the result of the actual governorship election might change because of current political happenings, including the impact those undecided voters could have.

With the presidential election concluded and a president-elect announced, voters may indeed be influenced to choose otherwise, given the popularity of the Labour Party and the clarion call by its presidential candidate, Peter Obi, to voters and lovers of the party to vote en masse for the party in the March 11 election.

Wike’s antics at the presidential poll could also influence voters’ voting patterns, with the undecided perhaps deciding on the choice of governor.

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