Two days before the rescheduled governorship and state assembly elections, incumbent governors and their challengers have been making last minute moves to ensure victory, Daily Trust reports.
The governorship elections, according to the timetable released by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), would be conducted in 28 of the 36 states of the country. There will be no governorship elections in eight states – Anambra, Bayelsa, Edo, Ekiti, Imo, Kogi, Ondo, and Osun – as they are now off-season.
Following the shift in the election by INEC from March 11 to March 18, governors seeking re-election and opposition candidates challenging them are intensifying efforts to retain control of their states.
In Lagos, there is growing anxiety over the second term fate of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu as a result of the defeat of the ruling APC during the presidential poll.
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The victory of the presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Peter Obi, in Lagos has forced Sanwo-Olu and APC to increase the tempo of their political activities, including getting endorsements from various groups such as Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Muslim community among others.
Although some stalwarts of the APC have described 40-year-old Gbadebo, an architect, as inexperienced to lead the commercial centre of Nigeria, the LP candidate has been pushing hard to sell himself to the electorate.
Gbadebo who has maintained that he has the requisite experience to lead the state has been touring some parts of the state, especially areas dominated by non-indigenes. Obi, Afenifere’s leader, Pa Ayo Adebanjo and PDP leader in Lagos State, Chief Bode George, have all enjoined Lagosians to vote for him.
In Rivers State, Governor Nyesom Wike and the former Minister of Transportation, Chibuike Amaechi, are on the warpath over Saturday’s governorship election. The two political gladiators are not contesting for any position but they are sponsoring their respective candidates to occupy the Brick House.
While Wike is backing Sim Fubara of the PDP, Amaechi is sponsoring Pastor Tonye Cole under APC.
With the election described as a direct fight between Amaechi and Wike, the hostile relationship between the two appears to have heated up the polity as their followers toeing the same path in the fight to capture the oil rich state.
Governor Wike had in a campaign rally warned the electorate not to vote for Amaechi’s candidate, saying a vote for Cole will impede the prosecution of both Amaechi and Cole over the sale of the state’s gas turbine.
But the ex-minister during his meeting with Igbo residents in the state accused Wike of destroying businesses owned by the Igbo in the name of construction of flyovers.
In Abia, the incumbent governor, Okezie Ikpeazu, and his party, PDP, are making frantic efforts to ensure the ‘Obi-effect’ doesn’t sweep the election in favour of the candidate of the LP, Alex Otti.
Ikpeazu, who is canvassing votes for the PDP candidate, Chief Okechukwu Ahiwe, warned Abia indigenes that Otti has no similarities in character with Obi.
However, Otti is consolidating on his campaign as it is believed that the momentum is with the LP which won one senatorial seat and six out of the eight representatives’ seats in the state during the February 25 election.
In Kano, Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje has been working hard to contend with the threat posed by the opposition NNPP and the PDP in the state.
The governor recently pardoned 12 inmates on death row and also commuted the death sentences of 6 inmates to life imprisonment. The freed inmates were given N5000 transport fare to enable them to transport. themselves back home and reunite with their families.
Similarly, the state government had flagged up a scholarship scheme of N22, 000 to each student in tertiary across the 44 local government areas who are indigent of the state.
All these were widely believed by prospective voters within and outside the party to have political inclination towards cushioning people’s minds in voting for their candidate, Nasiru Yusuf Gawuna, who is also an incumbent deputy governor in the state.
But the NNPP which is seen as the most rivaled party in the state, having performed very well in the concluded presidential election by winning with a wide margin, is also pushing very hard to consolidate its fortunes in the governorship and state assembly poll next Saturday.
The Action Democratic Party (ADP) has also fielded a strong rival, Sha’aban Ibrahim Sharada, who is said to be rallying the support of rural dwellers to possibly spring a surprise.
In Nasarawa State, Governor Abdullahi Sule has been holding a series of meetings with stakeholders in the three senatorial districts as well as APC stakeholders across the 13 local government areas of the state to canvass for their votes.
But the LP which won the state during the presidential election is equally pushing ahead to maintain its lead in next Saturday’s governorship and state assembly poll.
Similarly, while the ruling APC in Kaduna State has intensified its door-to-door campaign by presenting gifts to women across the metropolis ahead of Saturday’s governorship election, the opposition parties are also deploying their strategies to gain victory next Saturday.
The APC supporters are seen on social media distributing noodles and frozen chickens to electorate in the communities, urging them to vote for the party and its candidates.
Similarly, the opposition PDP and their supporters are busy mobilising the electorate at the grassroots to vote for them, particularly in rural communities considered to be their stronghold.
A chieftain of the party, Senator Shehu Sani, was seen in a video posted on his WhatsApp status urging the electorate, especially women,to reject gifts from the ruling party.
Sensitive materials arrive in states ahead of polls
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Lagos yesterday commenced the distribution of sensitive materials to the 20 local government areas ahead of Saturday’s governorship and state assembly elections.
The distribution started at the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Zonal Head Office in Marina, Lagos. The materials include ballot papers and the BVAS machines.
Resident Electoral Commissioner in the state, Olusegun Agbaje, assured that the late arrival of materials experienced during the February 25 presidential and National Assembly elections would not occur on Saturday.
Our correspondents also report that sensitive materials were distributed in Kebbi and Niger states.
By Fidelis Mac-Leva (Abuja), Abiodun Alade, Abdullateef Aliyu (Lagos), Victor Edozie (Port Harcourt), Salim U. Ibrahim (Kano) Umar Muhammed (Lafia), Mohammed I. Yaba (Kaduna), Ismail Adebayo (Birnin Kebbi), Abubakar Akote (Minna) & Mumini Abdulkareem (Ilorin)
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