In January, Ibom Power, a government-owned company, received an Independent Electricity Distribution Network (IEDN) license to build and operate electricity distribution infrastructure from the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) in Akwa Ibom State. This is one of the many achievements of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), which has positioned it as a really tough one to win in the coming gubernatorial election.

IEDN licenses confer the approval to own and run Independent Electricity Distribution Networks, so Ibom Power will be allowed to build, own and operate distribution infrastructure in unserved rural areas that aren’t directly linked to the national grid. At the moment, Ibom Power has a 100MW power plant that can theoretically power 100,000 homes. The PDP-led government that helped orchestrate this development hopes to use the constant availability of power to achieve more industrialisation and also turn rural areas into semi-rural and urban areas.

Presently, the PDP’s governorship candidate is Umo Bassey Eno, the former Commissioner for Lands and Water Resources, who has not found a worthy opponent in the All Progressives Congress (APC), even though former governor, now federal minister Godswill Akpabio defected to the All Progressives Congress (APC) in 2018.

Despite his influence and support, the APC has failed to be a formidable rival for the PDP because of the prevailing internal strife that has split the party into three factions, which held separate primaries. The ensuing confusion led to INEC ruling that no legitimate primaries were held in the party; therefore, it was kicked out of the Akwa Ibom governorship race.

This event has left the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP) and the Young Progressives Party (YPP) as the PDP’s opponents in the state, and it is unlikely that they will be able to break the PDP’s winning streak in Akwa Ibom, which started in 1999. The absence of the APC in the state contest is an opportunity for the NNPP and the YPP to make some noise and grow, but there is very little chance that they will unseat the PDP in the coming elections.