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Polls Postponement: Governors Restrategise, Woo Voters With Jobs, Promotions

The postponement of the governorship and National Assembly elections earlier scheduled to hold tomorrow has provided an opportunity for state governors seeking reelection or who have preferred successors to engage in last minute campaigns.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had postponed the governorship and state house of assembly elections scheduled for tomorrow to Saturday March 18.

It said following the ruling by the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal (EPT) on the reconfiguration of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) used for the February 25 Presidential election, it met to assess its impact on its preparations for the governorship exercise.

LEADERSHIP Friday checks across the states revealed that the state governors have availed themselves of the seven days provided by the postponement to further woo the electorate with promotions, jobs and intervention programmes, all in a bid to entice the voters.

It was learnt that the governors and their political parties are still enveloped in palpable fear in the aftermath of upsets recorded by opposition parties, especially the Labour Party (LP), in the February 25, 2023 presidential and National Assembly polls.

In states like Lagos, Delta, Kano, Kaduna, Gombe, Nasarawa and Katsina where the ruling parties performed abysmally, the state governors have intensified efforts to change the tide in the next elections.

In Cross River, Enugu, Plateau Abia, Benue, Taraba and Kebbi States, the governors who are rounding up their second term in office and hitherto planned to retire to the Senate got the shock of their lives, as they were roundly defeated in the senatorial elections in their respective senatorial district.

As a result of the upsets recorded in the last presidential and National Assembly elections, the governors had in the past few days showered the citizens with incentives ranging from promotions and sudden jobs.

In Rivers State, Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, yesterday announced his administration’s implementation of outstanding promotion in the state civil service and fulfill the promise of employing 10,000 youths into the service.

To make true his promise, the governor said he has forwarded the list of members of the Civil Service Commission immediately to the State House of Assembly for screening, because they will oversee the process to fruition.

Wike spoke yesterday when he received on courtesy visit a delegation led by the chairman of the Rivers State branch of Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Alex Agwanwor, and the chairman of the Joint Negotiating Council (JNC), Emechete Chuku, at Government House, Port Harcourt.

He accused the former NLC Chairman in the state, Beatrice Itubo of peddling lies against his administration that pensioners are owed 15 months of entitlements.

The governor said: “We have been paying pension and gratuities every month. Not less than three point something billion Naira is set aside for that purpose, including payment of benefits.

“In fact, the former Accountant General of the State told me yesterday that those of 2016 and 2017 have cleared, but you hear her (Beatrice Itubo) go to say that we have not paid for 15 months. That is unfair.

“It has never happened in this state which built a secretariat for NLC and TUC to at the same time be anti-labour.”

Wike noted that Itubo was also involved in other antagonistic activities that totally destroyed the cordial relationship that once existed between workers and the State government.

The governor warned Rivers workers against supporting Tonye Cole, the Rivers All Progressives Congress (APC) who in connivance with the former minister of Transportation, Chibuike Amaechi, sold Rivers assets and are currently facing prosecution over $50 million proceeds from that sale.

In Gombe State where the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) defeated the governing APC, Governor Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya has directed the commissioners for Higher Education and Finance to release the sum of N315 million for the payment of outstanding students’ scholarship in the state.

Governor Inuwa called on the students to come out enmasse and vote for the APC in the governorship and state House of Assembly elections in the state.

He thanked the students for their understanding, cooperation and support to the present administration in the state, saying his government will continuously support them to actualize their aspirations.

He explained that the decision by his administration to appoint Special Assistants on Students’ Affairs was to serve as a link between the students and the government for effective service delivery.

The governor recalled that his administration was able to provide an operational vehicle to GOSSA in order to coordinate their activities thereby linking them with the wider world.

In return, the Gombe State Students’ Association (GOSSA) endorsed Governor Inuwa for second term ahead of the governorship poll in the state.

The 72,000-member students’ body also expressed satisfaction with the governor’s friendly disposition to the overall welfare and well-being of students of Gombe State origin.

Speaking during a well-attended solidarity visit on the governor, GOSSA president, Comrade Mohammed Hinna, thanked Governor Inuwa for always prioritising needs of the students with a clear foresight that the youths are the leaders of tomorrow.

He explained that aside from payment of students’ bursary allowances, the governor has equally appointed 3 Special Assistants on Students’ Affairs from the three Senatorial Districts.

In Nasarawa State where Peter Obi of Labour Party won the presidential poll, with smaller parties like the Social Democratic Party (SDP) trouncing candidates of the governing party, national chairman of the APC, Sen Abdullahi Adamu, who hails from the state, personally took the campaign to his domain yesterday.

He declared support for the re-election of Governor Abdullahi Sule, wooing voters to do so as well.

Speaking at a grand rally in support of the Nasarawa State governor, Adamu urged the electorate to turn out en-masse and vote the sitting governor given his giant strides in the last four years.

He said electing the governor for a second term in office would afford him the opportunity to complete the works he started in his first tenure.

Adamu said electing Sule who hails from Nasarawa North senatorial district would ensure fairness and equity before the baton of power is passed to another senatorial district.

He urged supporters to continue to conduct themselves in an orderly manner and avoid breaking the law.

In Lagos, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu is also said to have embarked on a rigorous house-to-house campaign, even as he has deployed civil servants to woo voters to vote for the party.

In Yobe, the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT), Yobe State chapter, have declared their support for the re-election of Governor Mai Mala Buni to continue the good work of making the state better.

The declaration was made during a one day interactive session organised under the leadership of Comrade Ado Idris to thank the governor for the promotion and implementation of the teachers’ salary across the state.

The NUT chairman (NUT) called on all the branch chairmen to mobilize their teachers in all the 17 local government areas of the State to come out en masse to vote for Mai Mala Buni for second term on the 18th March rescheduled elections.

The NUT boss also Directed all members of the Union to go out and mobilize the community on how to cast their vote in their respective polling unit.

He thanked the members of the union for supporting Governor Buni and the APC in Yobe State.

In Borno, a former Ambassador and deputy head of Missions Embassy of Nigeria in Washington DC, Hassan Mohammed Hassan, has joined the call for the re-election of Governor Babagana Umara Zulum and his deputy, Alhaji Umar Usman Kadafur, for a second term of office.

Ambassador Hassan, a member of the APC presidential campaign council, while commiserating with Governor Zulum and people of Borno state over the inferno that gutted the popular Maiduguri Monday Market, charged the people of the state, particularly Southern Borno and Biu Emirate to vote for Zulum en masse at the Saturday governorship elections.

He described Zulum as a workaholic governor who will sustain the current revolution in the state.

According to him, the incumbent governor towers high and above other contestants, including the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) contender in the state given his antecedents.

In a statement he issued, Amb Hassan hinged his call on the various achievements recorded by the governor, including the decimation of the dreaded Boko Haram, building of mass housing, relocation and provision of life support items to the victims of insurgency, road construction and rehabilitation across the 27 LGAs of the state, construction and rehabilitation of public schools to international standard among others.

We Respect INEC’s Decision To Shift Polls – APC

Meanwhile, the governing APC said yesterday that it respects the decision of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to postpone the governorship and State House of Assembly elections from March11, 2023 to Saturday March 18, 2023.

In a statement by its national publicity secretary, Barr Felix Morka, the APC reassured that data from the presidential and National Assembly elections will be properly backed up on its cloud facilities.

The party urged INEC to do everything within its power to preserve and protect the integrity of the extracted data from BVAS as it has committed to do before the court.

Morka stated: “Further, we enjoin INEC to use the opportunity presented by the election postponement to address any gaps or hitches identified in the presidential election in order to avoid a recurrence in the March 18, election.

“Even as Presidential Candidates and their political parties explore and exercise their constitutional liberty to challenge or defend the outcome of the Presidential and National Assembly elections, we must remind ourselves of the overriding duty that we bear to eschew conduct and action capable of undermining the peace of our country or imperil the capacity of INEC to conduct the upcoming Gubernatorial and State Assembly elections.

“Our Candidate, now President-Elect, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, emerged as the overwhelming choice of Nigerians in the presidential election which was free, fair and in substantial compliance with the Electoral Act and INEC Guidelines for the 2023 General Elections.

“We are thankful for our renewed presidential mandate, and urge our supporters and indeed all Nigerians to double down on their support for our great Party, and its candidates in the upcoming Gubernatorial and State Assembly election.”

Similarly, the Inter Party Advisory Council (IPAC) has thrown its weight behind INEC’s decision to reschedule the governorship and the state Houses of Assembly elections from March 11 to March 18, 2023.

The umbrella body of the registered political parties in the country, after its emergency general assembly meeting, held at the council’s national secretariat Abuja, Thursday, called for understanding and maximum support to INEC to discharge the crucial national duty that will redefine the destiny of the nation.

In a statement by its national chairman, Engr. Yabagi Yusuf Sani, IPAC said this was a trying period for Nigeria, even as it called for prayers, understanding and patriotism “as we collectively consolidate our emerging democracy, reaffirm our faith in the fatherland and choose competent, resourceful and visionary Governors and State Legislators in the upcoming elections.”

It said the tasks ahead are enormous but surmountable if Nigerians join hands in unity and tenacity of purpose to build a better and greater Nigeria.

According to IPAC, it is time for Nigerians to demonstrate that democracy has come to stay in Nigeria and show the world that they are lovers of constitutional rule, good governance, due process and rule of law.

The statement further noted: “It is obvious that the integrity, credibility, acceptability and transparency of the electoral process and the elections are essential for enduring democracy. Adequate time is needed to ensure things are properly done as the destiny of over 200 million Nigerians are at stake.

“As a major stakeholder in the political process, IPAC has always urged the electoral umpire to ensure it starts early preparation for elections and seek more time, if necessary to ensure it conducts hitch-free, credible, inclusive and generally acceptable polls as Nigerians will not tolerate any excuse for poor performance as witnessed in the failure to upload results from Polling Units to the INEC Results Viewing Portal(IReV) in real time which led to the ongoing litigations in court by aggrieved political parties and their candidates and the postponement of the Governorship and State Houses of Assembly elections.

“It is indeed a difficult time for all lovers of democratic governance in Nigeria and calls for understanding and maximum support to INEC to discharge the crucial national duty that will redefine the destiny of the nation. IPAC urges all stakeholders in the electoral process, to please bear with the commission as it puts its act together for the March 18,2023 Governorship and State House of Assembly elections”.

IPAC said with the assurance that BVAS will function properly and results uploaded to the INEC Results Viewing Portal (IReV) in real time, Nigerians and the international community expect free, fair, credible, transparent, inclusive and peaceful gubernatorial and legislative elections.

It urged INEC to justify the confidence Nigerians reposed in it and improve on its performance in the disputed Presidential and National Assembly polls.

Source:- Leadership

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