3 Days to Polls: Intrigues as govs, others intensify battle for states



Governors, parties, candidates, and other key stakeholders were locked in an intense battle for 28 governorship seats and 993 legislative seats yesterday, three days before the March 18 governorship and state assembly elections.


The massive push by various politicians to gain an advantage at the polls has resulted in a reign of alignments, re-alignments, endorsements, and high-wire intrigues across the states.


In Lagos, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of the All Progressives Congress, APC, who received the support of nine political parties on Monday, received the support of Accord and the Oodua People’s Congress, OPC, yesterday. In essence, Sanwo-Olu now has the support of ten of the 18 registered political parties.

Michael Lana of the Social Democratic Party, SDP, stepped down as Governorship Candidate in Oyo and endorsed Governor Seyi Makinde of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.


In Ogun, Solomon Enilolobo, a PDP House of Assembly candidate for Abeokuta South 1 Constituency, endorsed APC Governor Dapo Abiodun’s bid for a second term.


However, in Kaduna, the Labour Party, LP, refused to align with the PDP and insisted that its candidate will run and win the race to succeed Governor Nasir el-Rufai, just as the Kaduna State chapter of the De-registered Political Parties of Nigeria declared their support for the APC Governorship Candidate, Senator Uba Sani.


Meanwhile, 14 governorship candidates, including the ruling PDP’s Pastor Umo Eno and the APC’s Obong Akanimo Udofia, have signed a peace treaty ahead of Saturday’s elections.


Why we supported Sanwo-Olu and APC candidates — Accord


The leadership of Accord in Lagos State has endorsed Governor Sanwo-Olu, his deputy, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat, and all APC candidates in Saturday’s elections.


Dele Oladejo, the Lagos State Chairman of Accord, who announced the endorsements at a media briefing in Ikeja, said the decision was based on Sanwo-performance Olu’s in office since 2019.


Oladeji stated that party members across the state have been told to work for Sanwo-re-election, Olu’s and that the party will also ensure the victory of APC House of Assembly candidates in Lagos.


The OPC concurs.


At a press conference in Lagos, Otunba Wasiu Afolabi, President of the OPC, declared the organization’s support for Sanwo-Olu.


“Today, the OPC declares its full support for Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu. We believe that over the last four years, Governor Sanwo-Olu has had a significant impact on the landscape, life, and governance of the State of Excellence. His undeniable performance demands that he be given another four years in office to further advance the lofty and people-oriented projects and programs he has begun since 2019.”


Afolabi also expressed concern about the breakdown of law and order during the elections and vowed that the OPC would fight electoral violence.


“OPC will do everything to uphold these constitutionally-guaranteed rights and will not fold its hands while anybody or group of persons deprive anyone of these rights.


The OPC will not tolerate electoral violence. We strongly advise anyone planning to disrupt the peace or prevent citizens from exercising their right to vote for candidates and political parties of their choice to abandon their plans,” he said.


SDP candidate resigns in support of Makinde


Lana, the SDP governorship candidate in Oyo, said he was stepping down for Makinde because some SDP leaders in Oyo had sold out for a pittance and declared for the opposition without the consent of other stakeholders.


According to him, as a result of that action, other stakeholders decided to make a decision that will be in the best interests of the neglected, aggrieved party members, the candidates, and the generality of the people of Oyo State.


He concluded that after several consultations, the party stakeholders decided to align with PDP Governor Seyi Makinde.


“During my radio interview on Lagelu FM last Saturday, the 11th day of March 2023, I duly informed the members of the public that whatever step I would take would be determined by the decision of all candidates, particularly the House of Assembly candidates of the Social Democratic Party, of which I am the governorship flag bearer,” the statement read in part.


“We also conducted extensive consultations. We spoke with some national party officers as well as my supporters in trade unions, traditional rulers, market associations, and religious bodies.


“As you are aware, in almost all radio interviews I attended, I was asked whether, as it had become the habit of this party, I too would step down at the end of the day. Knowing I was in the presence of ideologically sound members and knowing myself as a principled person, I always answered in the negative.


“I believed fervently that my gospel of preaching issues and ideas would earn me the victory that the people of Oyo State deserve.


“However, recent events have proven me incorrect. Some people believed only in money politics and winning by vote buying. In fact, I became persona non grata when some members of the party realized that funds raised solely for electioneering would not be distributed among them.


“After several consultations, we resolved that the best thing for Oyo State right now is to align ourselves with a really progressive candidate. We were moved by an emotional statement made by a 70-year-old woman who said Governor Seyi Makinde not only paid her pensions on time, but also took care of the elderly women and men during the COVID-19 Pandemic.


“This is the characteristic of a person who has set out to write his name in history and ensure the upliftment of our state’s downtrodden.


“After talking with him, we decided that Engineer Seyi Makinde needs help from all capable hands within and outside the state to achieve his dreams for our state, and we have resolved to assist him in doing so.” “We have therefore resolved to inform all our throngs of supporters to vote massively for Seyi Makinde of the PDP on Saturday 18th March 2023 and re-elect him as Governor of Oyo State.”


Why we will not work with the PDP in Kaduna — LP Campaign Council


In Kaduna, the LP has reiterated that its governorship candidate, Mr. Jonathan Asake, will not step down for his PDP counterpart, Mr. Isa Ashiru Kudan, as previously implied.


Malachiy Gwatiyap, Coordinator of the LP Presidential Council in the state, told a press conference in Kaduna that the LP’s candidate will contest the governorship election and easily win.


“It has come to our attention that some groups of desperate politicians in the PDP, who are due to retire but are hell-bent on retaining power at any cost, have launched a campaign of calumny against the Labour Party,” he said. They have used false propaganda against our candidate, Jonathan Asake, and it has failed; they have misled some Christian clergy into believing that the Labour Party has agreed to collaborate with the PDP in order to defeat the common enemy (the APC); and they have accused our candidate of being sponsored by the APC, all in an attempt to discredit us in the eyes of the people.


“This particular antic is not only false but also an attempt to insult the person and character of our candidate. We want to be clear that none of these accusations are true.


“It is known by all that our candidate in person Jonathan Asake is the only candidate that has no case to answer in any court of law whatsoever. Our candidate’s qualifications and certificates are unquestionable. Our candidate has worked as a lecturer, a vibrant and vocal member of the National Assembly, and an adviser to former President Olusegun Obasanjo.


“The PDP should stop the manipulation and conspiracy of dragging respectable elders and statesmen to persuade our candidate to negotiate with them. Such an act is deceptive and befitting of a party claiming good intentions. Jonathan Asake will not withdraw from the race. He is in the race to win, as are all Labour Party candidates for the State House of Assembly.”


De-registered parties support APC’s Uba Sani.


Meanwhile, the Kaduna State Chapter of the Amalgamation of De-registered Political Parties of Nigeria has declared their support for APC Governorship Candidate Senator Uba Sani.


The forum’s secretary, Amb. Matoh Hyugene Yakubu, told reporters at the NUJ Secretariat in Kaduna that the decision was reached after extensive consultation with members and a network of stakeholders and opinion leaders.


Senator Uba Sani, he claims, is a civil society activist, a crusader for social justice, an award-winning (ICPC certified) anti-corruption crusader, and a high-performing senator.


“These wide-ranging consultations provided us the mandate to make the declaration of support in this press conference. We are disturbed by the negative signals coming from some political parties that have decided to create a political gimmick called the “Muslim-Muslim” ticket.


“This phrase is a coinage of the opposition in Kaduna State, the APC only gave voice to our women who have been kept in the back-yard for a long; and for the last four years, the performance of Kaduna State women in governance is clear for everyone to see.


“We state clearly that the combination of Sen Uba Sani and Dr. Hadiza Sabuwa Balarabe, is a strategic strike at the political balancing act.


“On this 14th day of March 2023, we the Amalgamation of de-Registered Political Parties Kaduna State chapter, on behalf of our teeming membership in the 23 LGAs, wards, and communities, do hereby declare that we wholeheartedly endorse the candidature of Senator Dr. Uba Sani of the APC as the preferred choice for the Governor of Kaduna State in the election slated for March 18, 2023.”


The PDP, APC, and 12 other parties sign a peace treaty in A/Ibom.


In Akwa Ibom, 14 governorship candidates, including Pastor Umo Eno of the PDP and Obong Akanimo Udofia of the APC, signed a peace accord in front of stakeholders yesterday. The Nigeria Police Force, NPF, Akwa ibom State command, organized the 2023 election signing of the Peace Accord and stakeholder interaction.


Other candidates at the ceremony in Uyo included Senator John James Akpanudoedehe of the New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP), Mr. Iboro Otu of the African Action Congress (AAC), Senator Bassey Akpan of the Young Progressives Party (YPP), Mr Peter Udoh of the Labour Party (LP), and Eyo Ekong of the Allied People’s Movement (APM).


Other candidates included Emem Koffi of the Accord Party (AP), Obong Ita Ekpo of the APGA, and candidates from the Boot Party (BP), Social Democratic Party (SDP), and Zenith Labour Party (ZLP)


Among those present at the ceremony were the state’s security chiefs, the state chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria, the state chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), the state chairman of the National Union of Journalists (NUJ), representatives of traditional rulers, the state chairman of the Civil Liberties Organization (CLO), and state chairmen and representatives of political parties.


Addressing the candidates prior to the signing of the peace pact, the Commissioner of Police, Mr Olatoye Durosinmi, urged them to work with security agencies to ensure fair, free, and credible elections.


Similarly, in his brief remarks, the state’s Resident Electoral Commissioner, Dr Cyril Omorogbe, who was represented by the Admin Secretary, Emmanuel Ogbodu, urged all candidates and supporters to embrace peace.


Meanwhile, YPP Governorship Candidate Senator Bassey Albert Akpan, who spoke at the event, urged security agencies to ensure free and fair elections.


“I am committed to Akwa Ibom State being peaceful. My presence here today clearly demonstrates that we can only achieve our set targets if we have a peaceful society to lead the people, and I can assure you that beyond our victory this weekend, we will build on new foundations in various sectors that will build a renaissance in all sectors of the Positive Impact Agenda for our people,” he said.


APC members in Abia band together to support Emenike.


In Abia, disgruntled APC members resolved to put an end to their squabbling and ensure the success of their Governorship Candidate, High Chief Ikechi Emenike, at the polls.


Leaders of dissident groups in several local governments in Abia South zone announced that they have collapsed their parallel structures in order to work with the party’s governorship candidate, Emenike.


The aggrieved party members under the aegis of the integrity group, comprised of factional ward chairmen and other executives, stated in a communique signed by all the ward chairmen in Aba South Local Government that they have resolved to embrace unity.


They promised to “work harmoniously to ensure the success of the party in the forthcoming governorship/state assembly elections,” adding that “the interest of the party is paramount and supersedes any personal interest.”


While welcoming the estranged party members back, Emenike assured them that their status as Abia APC members had not been diminished in any way.


“We are all APC members. What unites us is greater than what divides us,” he said, adding, “I want all of us to forget the past disagreements in the party and let us work together for the interest of our party,” he added.


PDP Assembly candidate backs Abiodun


Meanwhile, Mr Solomon Enilolobo, the PDP’s Ogun State House of Assembly candidate for Abeokuta South 1 State Constituency, has shelved his ambition in favor of Governor Abiodun’s second term ambition.


Enilolobo, who announced his withdrawal from the House of Assembly race scheduled for Saturday and led his supporters to the governor’s Iperu-Remo residence to decamp to the APC, said the PDP in Ogun is not only lawless but also has a total disregard for the rule of law.


“PDP is a sinking ship, its wake has been completed, and it will be finally laid to rest on Saturday, March 18,” he said.


8 parties convene to support AA candidate


Similarly, eight political parties are said to be forming alliances. According to reports, the Action Alliance’s governorship candidate, Dr Samuel Adeyemi, may be chosen as the state’s consensus candidate.


Members of the Inter-Party Advisory Committee and the Conference of Political Parties are said to have met behind closed doors in Abeokuta to discuss the plan to elect a Governorship candidate.


Apart from the APC, the PDP, and the African Democratic Congress, ADC, 10 other parties were reported to be forming alliances with the AA, APC, PDP, or ADC in the state.


According to a source at yesterday’s meeting, the parties will reveal their consensus candidate on or before Thursday.


The source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, also declined to name the parties involved in the new move.


Confirming the meeting, Dapo Adeyemi, a state AA chieftain, said about eight political parties were already in talks with the Action Alliance’s governorship candidate.


Asked to disclose the parties involved, Adeyemi declined and said: “The leadership of AA has just finished speaking with some of the opposition parties, about eight of them.


“We just finished a meeting with them, and we are hopeful because of the party’s programs and the fact that the candidate is someone to be reckoned with.”


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