Nigeria: By-Elections – Parties Face Voters Amid Economic Hardship

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is conducting re-run and bye-elections for some national and state legislative seats across 26 states of the federation today.

The elections are holding in 80 local government areas in the states to fill the vacancies created by the resignation, death and some court orders.

The re-run elections are taking place at designated constituencies or polling units as ordered by the Election Appeal Tribunals.

On the other hand, bye-elections are being conducted for fresh nine members of the National and State Houses of Assembly.

In these elections, some constituencies stand out due to the political atmosphere and the actors involved just as it also provides another launchpad for the main political parties in the 2023 general elections – the All Progressives Congress (APC), the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Labour Party (LP) and of course, the New Nigerian Peoples Party (NNPP).

Yobe East Senatorial District

Five political parties are fielding candidates for the senatorial seat which became vacant following the appointment of the former occupant, Sen Ibrahim Geidam as minister. Candidate of the ruling party in Yobe State, Mustapha Musa, a former commissioner, is slugging it out mainly with the PDP candidate, Kolomi Aji as well as the NNPP candidate, Muhammad Adamu.

Ebonyi South

Eight political parties have presented candidates to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of Sen David Umahi to take up ministerial appointment. Candidates of the APC, PDP and LP: Ani Anthony Okorie, Silas Joseph Onu, Okorie Linus Abaa respectively are testing their strength on who controls the southern senatorial district of Ebonyi.

Surulere 1 Federal Constituency, Lagos State

This House of Representatives seat became vacant following the appointment of Femi Gbajabiamila as Chief of Staff to President Bola Tinubu shortly after the proclamation of the 10th Assembly. Eleven political parties have candidates on the ballot.

Nonetheless, the race is fierce among APC fielding Laguda Kayode Fuad, LP with Adebanjo Adeola Damilola and PDP’s Afemikhe Jerry.

Akoko North-East/Akoko North-West Federal Constituency, Ondo

Eight political parties are fielding candidates to fill the vacancy created by the appointment of Hon Bumi Tunji-Ojo as ministers. The main contenders for the seat are Ehindero Ifeoluwa Babajide of the APC; Bada Olalekan Oladapo of the PDP and Ibrahim Abass Kola (LP).

Ngaski/Shanga/Yauri Federal Constituency, Kebbi State

Nine political parties have their candidates contesting for this House of Representatives seat which became vacant with the appointment of the former occupant, Hon Tanko Sununu as minister. The major contestants are APC’s Umar Garba Uba, NNPP’s Hassan Mustapha and PDP’s Garba Hassan.

Jalingo/Yorro/Zing Federal Constituency, Taraba

This vacancy occurred when a House of Representatives member-elect, Hon Isma’ila Maihanchi died before inauguration.

Consequently, eleven political parties have fielded candidates for the election. However, the battle seems to be between the APC featuring Ibrahim Aminu Malle, PDP with Tafida Sadiq Abbas and LP presenting Hosea Kaigama.

Guma State Constituency of Benue

The election taking place into Guma State Constituency of Benue State is to replace the former holder of the position, Dr Yanma Ortese, who is now a commissioner in Benue State.

Five political parties have candidates for the election: Uche Terwase Peter (APC), Geoffrey Jimin (PDP), Peter China (LP), Fabian Terna (ADC) and Agu Peter (APGA).

The immediate past Governor Samuel Ortom is from the constituency and has to prove his mettle just as the ruling APC under Governor Hyacinth Alia.

Chibok State Constituency of Borno

Seven political parties are fielding candidates to fill the vacancy created by the death of member-elect for Chibok constituency in Borno State, Hon Nuhu Clark, before inauguration. Prominent among them are APC with Lawan Pagu and PDP’s Habila Bello.

Chikun State Constituency of Kaduna

The election is to fill the vacancy created by the death of a member-elect for Chikun State constituency in the Kaduna State House of Assembly, Hon Madami Garba Madami. Ten political parties are fielding candidates for the seat.

Out of this, APC put forward David Tanko; PDP has Dogo Maria Samuel and LP presented Adamu Solomon. Four candidates, Zipporah Bijeh of the Accord Party, David Sunday, Zenith Labour Party; Idris Inuwa, Social Democratic Party; and David Batholomew of the All Progressives Grand Alliance earlier in the week stepped down for the APC’s Tanko.

Kaduna PDP Alerts INEC, Security Agencies Over Plans To Rig Rerun Elections

Chairman of the Kaduna State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Hon Felix Hassan Hyat has raised an alarm over alleged plans by the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), to indulge in all manner of undemocratic and lawless activities aimed at rigging the rerun elections across seven local government areas.

The LGAS are Kaduna South, Chikun, Kauru, Igabi, Kudan, Kachia and Kagarko where elections will be held today.

The party is worried that the APC is determined to collude with some corrupt officials of INEC and security agencies to subvert the will of the people and declare the APC candidates as winners of the respective elections at all costs in all the areas elections are holding.

Parts of the statement signed by special adviser, Media and Public Affairs to the PDP chairman, Mr Edward John Auta reads:

“We are reliably informed that the APC has perfected plans to buy votes or deploy thugs to unleash mayhem in the circumstances vote buying fails.

“We have confidence in the resolve of the new resident electoral commissioner to organise a credible election and redeem the image of INEC. However, we have uncovered from insider sources that the APC is working with some corrupt INEC staff to obtain fake copies of Forms EC8A which will be used to concoct and enter predetermined polling unit results which will be swapped with the genuine ones in areas where the APC fails to win or is not comfortable with the margin of lead, while the security agencies provide them with the necessary cover.

“This is very true, especially in Makera, Igabi and Kauru Constituencies where the sacked speaker, alongside some senior government officials, are desperately seeking to rob the people of their votes again.

“The commissioner of police and all other heads of the relevant security agencies that will be deployed for the election should take note and direct all their officers and men to be professional, patriotic and impartial in the discharge of their responsibility by stopping and arresting any and all persons found around polling units or collation centres sharing money or trying to manipulate the process or cause mayhem.

“The PDP also calls on INEC to work on all its staff that will be deployed for this election to exercise maximum restraint and shun any acts of manipulation that will further soil the already battered image of the commission.

“The people have become more aware and expect INEC staff to conduct themselves in a very professional manner as any attempt to alter election outcomes will be vehemently resisted by the people.”

He enjoined the general public, especially those in the affected polling units, to come out enmasse and vote for the candidates of their choice without any fear of intimidation, expressing the party’s residence to emerge victorious and that the PDP will only accept the outcome of the election if it is adjudged free, fair, and credible.

Bauchi Places Movement Restriction

Ahead of the re-run elections in three of the 20 local government areas of Bauchi state slated for today, a body saddled with safety matters during the polls, Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES), has put total restriction of persons and vehicular movement across the affected LGAs.

“Bauchi State Police Command wishes to inform the general public that sequel to the deliberation of the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES), a total restriction of persons and vehicular movement has been put in place across the Affected LGAs on the election day”, a statement by the command read.

The statement signed by the command’s police public relations officer (PPRO), SP Ahmed Mohammed Wakil, gave the affected LGAs as Bauchi, Ningi and Katagum where elections will take place in 42 polling units of 16 registration areas or wards.

According to the statement, the step taken is to ensure public order management, and the safety of the electorate as well as assist the security agencies with effective policing and to deter miscreants from disrupting the electoral process.

SP Ahmed Wakil explained that in view of this, the command has placed the following restriction orders, “Restriction of persons and vehicular movement across Bauchi Metropolitan, Katagum, and Ningi LGA of the state.

“No unauthorised vehicular movement on roads, and other means of transportation between the hours of midnight of Friday to 6pm of Saturday, 3rd February, 2024 except essential services; INEC staff, ambulance, firefighter and approved election observers with duly approved means of identification”.

The statement warned that VIP security aids and escorts, important personalities and politicians (VIPs) are equally barred from going to a polling unit with their security details on Election Day, hence they should desist from unnecessary movement from one polling unit to another on Election Day.

INEC Distributes Sensitive Materials In Yobe

Ahead of Senatorial bye and re-run elections for Yobe East and Fika/Fune federal constituency slated for today, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has begun the distribution of sensitive materials across the eight local government areas of Yobe State.

Speaking with journalists at the CBN premises in the state, the INEC resident electoral commissioner (REC) in Yobe, Alhaji Ibrahim Abdullahi, disclosed that the inspection and distribution of the sensitive materials was in line with the transparency policy of the commission.

He said for this reason, they have invited all the stakeholders, particularly, the political parties that have nominated candidates for the contest to come so that they could see for themselves.

“We have started the distribution of sensitive materials to the various electoral offices in wards and polling units across the eight local government areas of the state.

“I want to assure you that all our materials are intact. They will go to their offices under full security escort by the military, police and other security agencies.

“I want to tell you that, people will come out and exercise their freedom to elect their leaders without any fear. Everything is ready for Saturday’s elections.

“This is to ensure that the materials arrived safely for further distribution to the wards and polling units across the affected areas,” he said.

INEC, Security Men, 8 Political Parties Set In Delta

All is set for today’s re-run elections in Burutu North and Ethiope West state assembly by-election in Delta State.

This followed an Appeal Court judgment delivered in November 2023, which affirmed the decision of the Tribunal that nullified the March 2023 election in the two state constituencies.

The sensitive and non-sensitive materials for the by-election have been retrieved from the CBN office in Asaba, and inspected by political parties under the watchful eyes of security agencies, election observers, the media and representatives of civil society organisations.

Eight out of the 15 political parties sponsoring candidates in the by-elections had signed a Peace Accord at the INEC state office where they pledged to abide by the electoral laws and to pursue peaceful disposition in the course of the rerun elections.

Likewise, 15 political parties involved in the election have rounded off their campaigns, and it is now the turn of the electorate to complete the process by casting their votes for candidates to occupy the remaining two vacant seats at the State House of Assembly.

The new state resident electoral commissioner (REC), Etekamba Umoren, said the rerun election in the two constituencies was scheduled for four polling units in two wards namely Ward 4 Siembiri and Ward 7 Ngbilebiri 1.

PDP Denies Colluding With Alia To Rig Guma 1 By- Election

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Benue State Chapter yesterday debunked a petition addressed to President Bola Tinubu by a group of persons alleging that the party has colluded with Governor Hyacinth Alia to rig today’s by-election in the Guma 1 State Assembly Constituency.

This is just as the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) said it has engaged over 400 ad-hoc staff for the exercise.

In a statement, the PDP publicity secretary, Bemgba Iortyom said “the allegations are wholly false and should be dismissed in its totality,” adding that the allegation is the handiwork of opponents of the party who fear an imminent resounding victory for its candidate in the election.

The petitioners had alleged that “the governor has made available the sum of N100 million to PDP and also imported thugs from across the state to help rig the election in favour of the PDP candidate.”

“PDP understands that her opponents in the election have a reason to fear for their impending defeat going by the quality of campaign the party and her candidate have undertaken in the six council wards of Guma 1 State Constituency.”

The party urged people of Guma 1 State Constituency to join hands and work towards ensuring a free and fair conduct of the by-election.

Meanwhile, INEC in the state has said that non-sensitive materials had been sent to Gbajimba, headquarters of Guma local government area in preparation for the by-election.

Public Relations Officer of the Commission, Terkaa Andyar, who disclosed in a telephone interview with our correspondent said, “we had security meeting here under the group of agency consultative forum on election on security, all security chiefs in the state were around and mapped out modalities for security architecture of the election and they met with the Commissioner of Police to finalise issues.”

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