Drama as Political Parties merge over Saturday’s Guber elections

Mahmood Yakubu, INEC Chairman
Mahmood Yakubu, INEC Chairman
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Political parties are joining forces for better performance in Saturday’s Governorship and States’ Assembly Elections.


The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is conducting governorship elections in 29 states. The assembly elections are holding in all the 36 states and the six council areas in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

The candidates are outsmarting one another in last-minute moves to sway the electorate’s support ahead of the poll.

Here is a report of events in the states:


LAGOS

In Lagos, 30 candidates are backing All Progressives Congress (APC) flagbearer Babajide Sanwo-Olu.

TARABA


In Taraba, the local chairman of the APC, Alhaji Ibrahim El-Sudi, insisted that Sani Abubakar remained its candidate for the governorship election.

El-Sudi was reacting to a Federal High Court order earlier yesterday in Jalingo which disqualified Abubakar on the grounds of falsification of age. He said that the same case had been determined and dismissed by a superior court in 2007.

The chairman noted that the party’s lawyers had swung into action to appeal the “mischievous judgement”.


He urged the party’s supporters to continue with their campaign.

A Federal High Court sitting in Jalingo, the state capital, presided over by Justice Stephen Pam, had issued an order directing the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and APC not to recognise Abubakar as a governorship candidate.

A copy of the judgment showed that Usman Udi, Joshua Paaku, George Geofrey and Muslim Munkaila, had on January 9, urged the court to disqualify Abubakar for falsifying his date of birth.


“It is hereby declared that the information contained in the affidavit Abubakar supporting his personal particulars that he was born on February 14, 1968 is in conflict with his date of birth contained in the West African Senior School Certificate he submitted to INEC,” the court noted.

NIGER

Governorship candidates were locked in series of meetings to seal the support of their supporters.

Some of the candidates took their campaigns to churches, holding talks with religious leaders to solicit for votes.

The Nation gathered that the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) governorship candidate, Joshua Bawa, had visited three churches between Sunday and yesterday.

The two main contenders – the APC and PDP – have been meeting with various religious leaders and youth groups to strengthen their support bases.

APC candidate and incumbent Governor Abubakar Sani Bello has been meeting with labour, religious leaders, indigenous groups, women, pressure groups and directors in Ministries, Departments and Agencies.

KWARA

No fewer than 37 political parties in Kwara State pledged to support APC governorship candidate Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq.

The parties, under the umbrella of Kwara Like-Minds Political Parties (KLPP), backed all the APC House of Assembly candidates at the poll.

Addressing reporters in Ilorin, the state capital, spokesperson of the parties, Prince Oladele Sunday, directed their members to vote en masse for the candidates all the APC on Saturday.

Prince Sunday said: “We are at a critical stage in our country, but most especially our dear state is already in political labour room and KLPP has joined hands with APC and other stakeholders in taking a successful delivery of liberated Kwara.

“Today is not meant for an unending discussion but to let the whole world know that when the people were dying slowly in the hands of political tyrants, the KLPP showed up. When the people were groaning and gnashing their teeth under bad governance in the state, posterity will be fair to us that KLPP showed up.

“Finally, members of KLPP hereby instruct our numerous members and appeal to the teeming voters in the state to come out en masse on March 9th to vote for all APC candidates. Let us all ‘show up’ so that we can all move from ‘O to gee’ (It’s enough) to ‘O to pe’ (It’s worthy of praise)”.

APC Chairman Bashir Bolarinwa said: “The forthcoming governorship and House of Assembly elections are equally important to the APC. It is important to us as a party and the people of Kwara State.

“I want to say here that out of 55 political parties that are functional in the state, today are above 35 have openly declared to identify with us. What that simply means is that all of them as members of these political parties are directing their members and appealing to the people to vote on Saturday for the governorship candidate of our party.

“Further to that, all the 24 House of Assembly candidates of APC will on Saturday be candidates of their parties as well.”

Also yesterday, a former state lawmaker, Wole Oke, said the victory of the APC candidates “means total freedom for Kwarans”.

ENUGU

In Enugu State, 70 political parties were said to have adopted incumbent Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi as the sole candidate.

The parties, under the auspices of the Coalition of Registered Political Parties (CRPP), unanimously adopted Ugwuanyi of the PDP as their consensus candidate.

The leaders of the political parties, who conveyed their position to the governor when they visited him at the Government House, Enugu, said: “Our mission here tonight is to reaffirm our total, unalloyed, unequivocal and unconditional support for your re-election as governor come March 9, 2019, which is barely five (four) days away.”

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OYO

The Oyo State chapter of the APC berated the PDP candidate, Seyi Makinde, for “his double standards”.

It urged the people not to trust an individual with such a major character flaw with their mandate.

The APC lambasted Makinde on his coalition with the gubernatorial candidates of Africa Democratic Congress (ADC), Senator Femi Lanlehin, Zenith Labour Party (ZLP), Sarafadeen Alli, the leader of ZLP, Rashidi Ladoja and others.

According to the APC spokesman, Dr AbdulAzeez Olatunde, Makinde should explain “to the electorate who Ladoja, Lanlehin and Sarafa are to him as the APC does not want to preempt him by calling them godsons”.

Olatunde felicitated with some members of ADC, ZLP, SDP and others for jumping off the “sinking ships” of the parties to align with the ruling party, stressing that “the APC knows their worth and will accord them their due respect and regard”.

RIVERS

An APC chieftain in Rivers State, Eze Chukwuemeka Eze, restated the people’s determination to sack Governor Nyesom Wike with their ballot on Saturday.

He said the resolution was because of what he called the abysmal performance of the PDP-led administration in the Southsouth state in the past four years.

In an online statement, Eze alleged that Wike was the initiator of the call for his sack by Rivers people.

Eze said: “The failure of Wike’s administration is responsible for why most Rivers people want him to go on May 29 this year. Rivers State is losing out on development, since Wike forced his way into office through the bloody and massively-rigged 2015 elections.

Wike is the arrowhead of the agitation to remove him (Wike) from the Brick House (Government House, Port Harcourt), a project he initiated immediately he assumed office on May 29, 2015, by scaring away investors from the state, through the promotion of insecurity.”

Members of the Coalition of Like-minded Rivers People described March 9 as the state’s day of hope, when Wike will be voted out.

The group, at a news conference in Port Harcourt, as part of the massive protests they started on Monday in the state capital, declared that there was no going back in ensuring that a focused and God-fearing person would be the occupant of the Government House from May 29.

The coalition’s three-page address was read by Azubuike Wanjoku, the President-General of Ikwerre Youth Movement (IYM) International, who is also a member of the House of Assembly, representing Ikwerre constituency.

But Wike, through his Commissioner for Information and Communications, Emma Okah, urged the people to ignore what he called “the propaganda of the APC”.

He insisted that Wike’s impressive performance across the 23 local government areas would earn the PDP re-election on March 9.

Also yesterday, the Police debunked the alleged plan to kidnap the state’s Resident Electoral Commissioner in Rivers State. They urged the public to disregard it as fake news.

Commissioner of Police Usman Belel, who debunked the rumour, described it as unfounded and unverifiable.

The Special Assistant to the Governor on Electoronic Media, Simoen Nwakudu, had in a statment on Tuesday, raised the alarm on the alleged plan by APC members to kidnap the REC ahead of the polls to push for its postponement.

But the Police Commissioner said that his men were on top of the security situation.

The commissioner said there was no cause for alarm.

DELTA

The governorship candidate of the Allied congress party of Nigeria (ACPN) in Delta State, Chief Paul Isamade, urged Deltians to reject Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of the PDP, alleging that his four-year reign has brought nothing but backwardness to the state.

Isamade, who is also the National Secretary of the party, said it was “unfortunate that 20 years into the current democratic dispensation, Delta State is still not working inspiite of the huge revenue that has accrued to it.”

CROSS RIVER

Cross River State Governor Ben Ayade has not been sacked by the Court of Appeal, the governor’s Chief Press Secretary Christian Ita, said yesterday.

Ita described as fake news reports trending on social media claiming the governor has been sacked by the appellate court in Lagos as the candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in Saturday’s election.

In a statement, the spokesman said there was no such pending matter in the Appeal Court.

He maintained that the case instituted in a Federal High Court in Abuja by Mr. Emmanuel Ibeshi was discontinued when he filed a legitimate notice of discontinuance and as such never went on appeal.

He blamed the report on political opponents who have been dazed by the reality that the governor’s re-election bid was a fait acompli.

The statement, therefore, urged members of the public and the governor’s teeming supporters to disregard the fake report.

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