Political parties, including the All Progressives Congress and the Peoples Democratic Party, are set to battle for 93 legislative seats in federal and state parliaments in Saturday’s supplementary elections.
Supplementary governorship elections will hold in Adamawa and Kebbi states on the same day.
In the general elections, the Independent National Electoral Commission declared winners for 26 governorship, 104 senatorial, 329 House of Reps members and 935 state assembly seats.
INEC had also declared several polls inconclusive, while the electoral umpire cancelled several others due to irregularities and violence.
The commission had scheduled the supplementary polls for April 15 where voters in five senatorial districts, 31 federal and 58 state assembly constituencies will determine the winners.
The senatorial elections will be held in Sokoto, Kebbi and Zamfara. In Sokoto, supplementary elections are to be conducted in Sokoto-North, Sokoto-East and Sokoto-South districts.
The elections will also be held in 389 polling units across all the 23 LGAs of the state. Altogether, about 227,743 eligible voters are expected to participate in the exercise.
In Kebbi and Zamfara, the election would be conducted in one senatorial district each – Kebbi-North and Zamfara-Central.
While the election will be held in 23 polling units in the Kebbi North senatorial district, voters in 83 PUs will be voting in the Zamfara Central senatorial election. They have 13,243 and 47,277 eligible voters, respectively.
Meanwhile, the supplementary election for House of Representatives members will be held in 31 constituencies in 15 states.
They are Akwa Ibom (2), Anambra (1), Bayelsa (1), Edo (1), Imo (1), Kano (2), Kebbi (2), Kogi (1), Oyo (2), Rivers (2), Sokoto (11), Taraba (1), Zamfara (2), Jigawa (1) and Ebonyi state (1).
For the state Houses of Assembly positions, elections will be held in 58 constituencies across 17 states.
The polls will also take place in Adamawa State where Governor Ahmadu Fintiri of the PDP will slug it out with the APC governorship candidate, Aisha Binani in the rerun.
The state collation officer, Prof Muhammadu Mele of the University of Maiduguri, had declared the election in the state inconclusive due to the margin of votes. Fintiri, who is seeking re-election polled 421,524, while Ahmed scored 390,275.
In Kebbi State, the APC, and PDP are also ready to battle it out as they prepare for the governorship rerun.
The electoral commission had declared the election inconclusive citing the cancellation of results in different polling units across the registration areas in 20 of the 21 local government areas of the state.
Speaking with The PUNCH, Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Ibrahim Abdullahi disclosed that the party was ready to explore every legitimate option to coast home to victory even as he expressed optimism on the chances of the party on Saturday.
“We are exploring that option (alliance with other parties) because it is the right thing to do. The chances of the PDP are very bright in the governorship supplementary elections in both Adamawa and Kebbi states.
“These are two states where the PDP is the party to beat but we are not taking anything for granted. We worked very hard on the first ballot, and we are prepared to repeat the feat on Saturday,” he said.
Although the deputy publicity scribe did not disclose the identity of the parties in talks with the PDP, he noted that the main opposition party will give a good account of itself in the polls across the board.
“The PDP is the party for all Nigerians. We are everywhere and this Saturday, Nigerians will again demonstrate their support for the party. We will come out stronger. We would like to use this opportunity to call on the umpire and the security agencies to live above board. Neutrality, competence and professionalism should be their watchwords,” he added.
The New Nigeria People’s Party similarly has confirmed its readiness to align with other parties ahead of the election.
In a telephone conversation with our correspondent, Ladipo Johnson, spokesman of the party presidential campaign council in the recently held election said, “The NNPP will always do anything legally permissible to aid us in our bid to bring good governance to the people of Nigeria. Thus, we will welcome with open arms all those who want to work with us to serve the people.”
But the APC leadership insisted the APC remains the party to beat in the polls.
Speaking with our correspondent, the APC Director of Publicity, Bala Ibrahim, stated that the ruling party foresees no obstacle to its victory at the polls as long as the electoral umpire, security agents and other relevant stakeholders play their role without bias.
He said, “People have been sensitized to use their conscience to see to it that they elect people who will give them the representation they want. I don’t see APC victory being hijacked by an alliance of political parties provided everyone including the agency tasked with electoral assignment does what is expected of them according to the book.
“The APC is the party to beat. Any party seeking alliance now is doing so because it doesn’t see itself as doing it alone. Without sounding immodest, the party has demonstrated strength and fairness to the people. It has also shown that it is a party that respects the law. There is no need for us to shout ‘Come for alliance’ for us to win an election, we expect people to use their conscience.”
Ibrahim, however, stated that they are working hard to ensure they carry the day in the rerun.
APC backs Binani
He also believed that the APC governorship candidate in Adamawa State, Binani, would make history on Saturday because the supplementary election is taking place in her stronghold.
He added, “We are not leaving anything to chance, particularly Kano where the election was robbed. But in areas where there will be election re-runs are where we feel we have an edge.
“So, we are maintaining vigil and at the same time sensitizing and mobilizing people to have a massive turnout. Once there is no apathy, we are confident of victory.
“Adamawa case is peculiar in the sense that we are not just looking for an ordinary win. We are working for history because if we succeed in winning, we are to give Nigeria its first female governor ever.
‘’This is something we are not taking lightly and it is something we are doing mostly because the election is holding in her strongest base. These are areas of her strength.
“This is why we cannot allow anything untoward to happen. Our optimism is however hinged on INEC, law enforcement agents and everyone that has a role to play in the elections doing the right thing.
‘’We hope there is not going to be any arm-twisting and no one will bend the rule to favour someone. If the election is allowed to go free and fair, victory for Binani is fait accompli.”
Chairman of the House Committee on Media and Publicity, Benjamin Kalu, in a telephone interview, stated that it would be bad for the Tinubu-led executive arm of the government not to have a cordial relationship with the legislative arm.
The spokesman, who is a member of the APC caucus from Abia State, and aspiring to be the speaker in the 10th Assembly, noted that the outcome of the polls would determine the leadership of the House.
Kalu said, “Another message that what they have done to the majority party – the ruling party – is that we should not ignore those who still have elections to take. The members of the ruling party who are going through this supplementary election should be overwhelmingly supported.
“They should be seriously supported. They should be encouraged so that when they are coming back with victory, it will add to the numbers of the members of the APC in the House and the Senate.
“Why this is important is that national objectives that would be designed by the executive could only be achievable if the Legislature is on the same page with the executive.
“But if the executive is on a frolic of its own and the legislature is running at a different speed, definitely there will be no convergence. And if there is no convergence, achieving a single purpose or objective for the country will be very difficult.
“So, it is important as anything, that the remaining election that is coming up, the ruling party takes it seriously. They should get out of their comfort zone and support every member of the party that is running in this election.”
He added, “So, this is important to Mr President-elect. This is important to the National Chairman (Abdullahi Adamu) of the APC and the National Working Committee of the party. This is important to those who want to become in the House of Reps, like some of us who are looking for leadership positions. We must all support those who still have elections to contest, who are of our party’s extraction.
“It is actually too early now to conclude that we don’t have a strong majority as a party. It is after the supplementary election that we would be able to have a clearer picture of the numbers and the statistics that would be used to do the negotiations or analysis which would help us to take the strategic steps forward in determining the architecture of the government in the country.”
Lending his support to his party, the PDP standard bearer, Atiku Abubakar has asked voters to give the party overwhelming support during the supplementary elections.
Atiku asked voters in the areas where the supplementary polls will take place to “come out in large numbers” to cast their ballot for the PDP.
This was contained in a statement released on Thursday by Paul Ibe, Abubakar’s media adviser.
Speaking in Yola, the capital of Adamawa, the former vice president specifically asked voters in Adamawa and Kebbi to vote “overwhelmingly” for the PDP governorship candidates.
“In both Adamawa and Kebbi where supplementary elections shall be held on Saturday, I wish to make a special appeal to the voters in the respective polling units where elections shall be taking place to make sure that the PDP enjoys overwhelming support through their votes,” Abubakar was quoted as saying.
“It is an established fact that the APC has failed the people of this country and, especially, in Kebbi state, the more reason it is incumbent on the electorate to vote them out and return the PDP,’’ he added.
Like his PDP counterpart, the Labour Party presidential candidate, Peter Obi, also asked the voters to cast their ballots for the party’s candidates on Saturday.
He said a new Nigeria is possible if the electorate was committed to electing competent leaders.
Obi made it clear that his party is committed to building a new Nigeria by reversing the prevailing poverty and suffering of the people.
He spoke on Thursday when he embarked on a road show campaign in the Ogbaru Federal Constituency, where a rerun has been scheduled to determine the winner of the federal constituency seat.
Obi, who presented the LP candidate in the federal constituency for the re-run election, Afam Ogene, to the people, urged them to vote for him.
But less than 72 hours to the election, the Social Democratic Party candidate for Khana/Gokana Federal Constituency, Rivers State, Friday Nke-ee has raised the alarm over an alleged plot by the PDP candidate, Dumnamene Dekor to mastermind his arrest in order to prevent him from contesting the poll.
Nke-ee accused Dekor of trying to fabricate trumped-up petitions against him.
Speaking with newsmen in Port Harcourt, the SDP candidate also alleged that Dekor was plotting to hire thugs to attack his supporters on the eve of the poll and during the election proper.
Dekor, a member representing Khana/Gokana Federal Constituency in the National Assembly, denied the allegation.
Dekor, who is the Chairmen of, House Committee on Host Communities accused the SDP candidate of being the one plotting evil during the election.
He spoke on a popular Radio station in Port Harcourt (Classic FM, 91.1) monitored by our correspondent.
In Ekiti, the INEC assured that necessary security arrangements had been put in place to ensure a hitch-free supplementary House of Assembly election in the state.
The Resident Electoral Commissioner, Prof Ayobami Salami, said personnel to be deployed to the three polling units where the election would be held in Ido/Osi Council area had been retrained.
This is as the inter-agency committee on election security assured of safety of lives and property during and after the polls.
Salami, in a statement by the Head, INEC Voter Education and Publicity, Temitope Akanmu, said that the supplementary polls followed the inconclusive election of Ido Osi State Constituency 1 caused by the ‘margin of lead principle’ which indicated a need for supplementary elections to be held in three polling units before a clear winner could emerge.
It said, “This was borne out of violent disruption of the voting process in three polling units of PU 003, PU 012 and PU 014 all in Registration Area (Ward) 01.’’
In a bid to ensure a smooth electoral exercise on Saturday, the Inspector-General of Police, Usman Baba, has ordered adequate deployment of personnel and additional logistics for effective election security management.
According to a statement on Thursday by the Force Public Relations Officer, Olumuyiwa Adejobi, the additional support includes the operational vehicles, non-lethal weapons, personal protective equipment (body armour), and anti-riot equipment, among others.
He also noted that the IGP had directed all supervising senior police officers in charge of jurisdictions where the supplementary elections will be held, particularly, the governorship election in Adamawa and Kebbi States, to ensure the distribution of adequate manpower and other resources for effective policing of the electoral process.
Adejobi said, “The IGP while urging all electorates in the affected states to come out en masse to exercise their franchise and be law-abiding while maintaining peace and orderliness, assured that the police is poised to ensure the emplacement of a proper security arrangement for the supplementary polls to ensure that the elections are conducted in a peaceful and secure environment.”
Also, the Defence Headquarters revealed that it had made adequate arrangements to support the Nigeria Police Force during the election.
The Director, Directorate of Defence Information, Brig Gen Tukur Gusau confirmed the development to our correspondent in an interview on Thursday.
Tukur said, “The DHQ has made adequate arrangements to support the Nigeria Police which is the lead agency for election security in Nigeria. The Armed Forces will support the police for the supplementary elections.”