Before campaigns ended last night, there were realignment of forces, last-minute defections and judicial interventions in some of the states.
The Federal High Court in Abuja dismissed a case against Ogun State All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate Dapo Abiodun, saying an NYSC certificate is no constitutional requirement for an electoral office.
The Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja ruled that Sen. Ayogu Eze is the authentic candidate of the APC. Here is a report of events in the various states:
Former Governor and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chieftain Gbenga Daniel endorsed Abiodun. Though Daniel did not defect to the APC, he urged his supporters to vote for Abiodun tomorrow.
This endorsement followed a Wednesday night meeting at his Asoludero Court in Sagamu.
With this, Daniel has turned his back on PDP governorship candidate Buruji Kashamu.
Aside Daniel’s endorsement, Abiodun also received the backing of six governorship candidates and 14 political parties.
The party chairmen who backed Abiodun include Adeyinka Adeyemi(Alliance For Social Democrats), Olusegun Oluyemi (Better Nigeria Progressive Party), Asimiyu Arisekola(Advanced Allied Party), Kelani Alao (African People’s Alliance), Adekunle Owode (National Action Council), Odejide Radio (Democratic People’s Congress) and Adeshina Abraham (People’s Progressive Party).
Others are Otunba Rasheed Odebude (People’s Trust), Bolanle Bello(People for Democratic Change), Otunba Femi Soluade( Mass Action Junction Alliance), Prince Talabi Abiodun(People’s Coalition Party(PDP) and two others.
The parties, in a statement jointly signed by their chairmen, said they shared the same ideologies and would work with the APC to take the state to a greater height.
The six governorship candidates, in a statement signed under the aegis of the Governorship Candidates Forum, said they decided to support Abiodun because of his plans and programmes.
The governorship candidates are: Olusegun Olufemi of Better Nigeria Progressives Party, Femi Olomu (Alliance of Social Democrats) and Adegbola John (Advanced Allied Party).
The others are Odejide Adio (Democratic People’s Congress), Adeshina Abraham (People’s Progressives Party) and Lanre Banjo (People’s Trust).
Also, a House of Representatives candidate of the Social Democratic Party, Yewa-South/Ipokia Federal Constituency and a House of Assembly candidate of the Alliance for Democracy, Yewa South State constituency, Olukayode Idowu and Boluwatife Salako, adopted Abiodun.
Abiodun also received a legal victory when a court yesterday ruled in his favour in a case over his National Youth Service Corp (NYSC) certificate.
The APC governorship hopeful’s rival, Adekunle Akinlade of the Allied Peoples Movement (APM), got the backing of the Sikirulai Ogundele-led faction of the PDP.
Ogundele announced the endorsement at a news conference in Abeokuta. The governorship candidate of the faction, Hon. Ladi Adebutu, on Wednesday failed in his legal bid to nullify Kashamu’s nomination.
Ogundele directed its members across the state to come out en-masse tomorrow and vote for Akinlade.
“Ogun is an important state in Nigeria and our decision has been informed by the need to sustain the state in the area of development, which the current administration has initiated.
“Politics is about credibility, responsiveness and integrity, among others, and we have found all these qualities in Akinlade.
“We believe that this development will enhance his chances of winning the governorship polls in the state,” he said.
The chances of APC governorship candidate Chief Adebayo Adelabu received a major boost with his adoption by 13 political parties under the aegis of the Forum of Political Parties.
Former Governor Adebayo Alao-Akala also urged Ogbomoso people to rally behind the APC governorship candidate to enhance the historic city of warriors’ growth.
The chairmen of the 13 political parties conveyed their adoption of the APC candidate in a joint March 6 letter addressed to the APC State Chairman, Chief Akin Oke.
The signatories include Mr. Abimbola Azeez of the Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN); Otunba A. Fagbemi, Allied Peoples Movement (APM); United Progressive Party (UPP), Sunday Badejo; Grassroots Development Party of Nigeria (GDPN), Mr. Abass Oladimeji; and Young Democratic Party (YDP), Mr. Chris Ayanniyi.
Others are the Northern People’s Congress (NPC), Akin Adelekan; Independent Democrats (ID), Chief Wasiu Are; Mr. Bolaji Olugbode of the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) as well as the chairmen of Mass Action Joint Alliance (MAJA), Nigeria Elements Progressive Party (NEPP), Peoples Democratic Movement (PDM), Re-Build Nigeria Party (RBNP) and Democratic People’s Party (DPP).
The ex-governor, who sacrificed his second term prospect under the Action Democratic Party to support Adelabu, addressed a tumultuous crowd of party supporters at a mega rally held at the façade of Soun Ogunlola Hall, Ogbomoso, on Wednesday.
Also on the campaign trail were prominent leaders of Ogbomoso, including a former local government chairman, Chief Dayo Lawal and a Fourth Republic Senator, Gen. Brimmo Yusuf (retd.)
Alao-Akala visited the Soun of Ogbomoso, Oba Jimoh Oyewumi, with Adelabu and his running mate, Samuel Egunjobi. He said that his alliance with the APC was in the best interest of the city.
After perusing the blueprint of the two governorship candidates jostling for his endorsement, Alao-Akala said that he settled for the APC candidate based on what he called his superior credentials, track record, pedigree and ability to deliver on electioneering promises.
Urging Ogbomoso residents to cast their vote for Adelabu, the ex-governor assured them that they would not regret it.
He added that the enormity of the task ahead had made it imperative for a coalition of interests and the coming together of political parties desirous of making appreciable impact at the governorship election.
Alao-Akala said: “You know we are not new in this game of politics. I have carefully assessed the credentials of the people seeking my support and I have no equivocation in settling for Bayo Adelabu of the APC.
“My alliance with the APC for the governorship election is in our best interest in Ogbomoso. I have never misled you and I will not mislead you on this. The alliance will be of tremendous benefit to us. I have told the APC leadership, up to the national level, what Ogbomoso wants.
“I told them that Ladoke Akintola University of Technology is our own heritage here, that the hospital needs attention and we want them to bring it up to the admirable standard we dreamt of it. Ilorin-Ogbomoso Road has suffered inexplicable neglect over the years and I have also secured assurances that it will receive the needed attention, if the APC candidate wins.
“Therefore, I urge you to vote for Bayo Adelabu of the APC as governor on Saturday. We stand to gain a lot from an APC government at the state and national levels. I’m not in this for myself, but in the interest of Ogbomoso.”
Adelabu expressed gratitude to Alao-Akala for backing him.
Noting that the Ilorin-Ogbomoso road is the gateway to the North, he promised to collaborate with the Federal Government to ensure its completion, if he is elected as the governor.
In Lagos, APC candidate Babajide Sanwo-Olu reiterated his promise of a people-oriented administration. Power, Works and Housing Minister Babatunde Fashola urged the electorate to vote for him and his running mate, Dr. Kadri Obafemi Hamzat.
Fashola said that no one should trade experience for mere desperation to be governor.
Speaking during a live television interview programme on Television Continental (TCV), where he, Sanwo-Olu and Hamzat were guests, Fashola, who is the immediate past Governor of Lagos, noted that voting for the APC candidate will guarantee continuity of the great strides that Lagos has made since 1999.
According to the former governor, the candidacy of Sanwo-Olu and Hamzat is the best that can happen to Lagosians, as the two men are not novices to the workings of government.
“They are not only tested, but have also been part of the process of development that Lagos has witnessed since 1999 till date,” Fashola said.
The former governor said that Lagos cannot afford to experiment at this point in its history, that the people had gone beyond that stage where governance will be left in the hands of, inexperienced individual.
Sanwo-Olu assured Lagosians that their needs have been captured in his planned programme tagged “THEME”.
His running mate said technology will take the centre stage in their administration.
He specifically mentioned education, traffic management, health, the economy and security as the sectors in which technology will play prominent roles.
“But the first step is for you our people to go out on Saturday to vote for the APC. Its then we will be able to fulfil these promises,” Hamzat said.
The Awori Concerned Elders (ACE) in conjunction with Awori Welfare Association of Nigeria have urged all its adults to vote for the APC governorship candidate Babajide Sanwo-Olu on Saturday.
At a conference in Lagos, the spokesperson of the group, Prince Adeniyi Jafojo described Sanwo- Olu as the best of all the candidates, noting that the group would mobilise the indigenes to vote the candidate.
He added that Awori people had been supporting APC right from inception. According to him, voting the APC is not only politically wise, it give room for the entrenchment of the party’s progressives policies.
“The Awori concerned elders have reviewed the political situation in Lagos State since inception, therefore it has been considered expedient that a directive to all Aworis to vote the APC is very appropriate.
“The continuation will facilitate a smooth take-off of the new government and sustain the existing political landscapes.”
The Yoruba Youth Assembly of Nigeria (YAYAN) also endorsed all the governorship candidate of the APC in Lagos, Ogun and Oyo states.
Its president, Prince Adeniyi Olutimehin, said the decision was taken after extensive consultations with major stakeholders.
Enugu State Governor and PDP governorship candidate Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi rounded off his campaign with some leaders commending his achievements. He also declared a public holiday to enable people prepare for the election.
Ugwuanyi embarked on door-to-door campaign at his home local council, Udenu.
Prominent leaders of the PDP in Enugu State at a rally applauded the governor for entrenching peace, tranquility and good governance.
The PDP chieftains include the Deputy President Ike Ekweremadu, former Governor of old Anambra State, Senator Jim Nwobodo, Senator Fidelis Okoro, Senator Hyde Onuaguluchi, and Ambassador Justina Eze. They described Ugwuanyi as a man of history.
Ekweremadu said it was because of the peace in the state that Nwobodo, for the first time in the history of the state, joined other PDP leaders to witness the grand finale of the party’s campaign.
He said: “It has never happened before and I thank you (Ugwuanyi) for the peace and tranquility in Enugu State. There is no bickering or quarrels among the political leaders in the state.”
Describing Ugwuanyi as a son, Nwobodo thanked him for bringing everybody together.
Senator Onuaguluchi eulogised Ugwuanyi for the “uncommon peace” “he brought to the state, noting that “all of us have come to learn from Gburugburu (Ugwuanyi)”.
Ambassador Eze also applauded Ugwuanyi’s “uncommon leadership style” and joined others in urging the people to come out en-masse to vote massively for the governor and other candidates of the PDP tomorrow.
Ugwuanyi appreciated the party’s stalwarts for their kind words and tremendous support for his administration as well as his re-election bid.
He thanked the electorate for the support they gave to the PDP during the Presidential and National Assembly Elections, and urged them to vote massively for him and House of Assembly candidates of the party on Saturday.
Ugwuanyi’s challenger in the APC, Ayogu Eze, received legal backing for his ambition yesterday when the Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja confirmed his candidature. The court set aside the judgment of the Federal High Court which voided the nomination of Eze as the state’s APC governorship candidate.
The appellate court, in a unanimous judgment of a three-man panel, allowed the appeal by Eze and proceeded to affirm him as the rightfully nominated candidate to represent the party in the election scheduled for tomorrow.
Justice Abdul Aboki, in the lead judgment, set aside the judgment of Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court in Abuja, which ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to replace Eze with George Ogara as the APC governorship candidate for the APC in Enugu State.
Ayogu told reporters that he was back and would definitely win the election on Saturday.
He said the judgment that led to the removal of his name suppose not to be adding that it was politically manipulated.
“But come May 29, 2019 your brother who is talking to you now will be sworn in as the governor of Enugu state.
“ They cannot stop it. The will be swept by a tsunami which they can’t explain where it come from,” said Eze.
He thanked his numerous supporters for exercising patience while the judicial process was on.
In Gombe State, the Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP), consisting 39 political parties and 15 governorship candidates, endorsed PDP’s Bayero Nafada as their candidate in Gombe. This came a day after 19 political parties endorsed the APC candidate, Alhaji Inuwa Yahaya.
The coalition, in a statement signed by Mohammed Adamu and Sunday Paris, Chairman and Secretary of CUPP in the state, said the endorsement was done after a critical assessment of the PDP government’s achievements in Gombe.
The statement, which was made available to reporters in Gombe, particularly commended the strides in the educational, health and agricultural sectors, and urged voters to vote for continuity so as to enjoy more dividends of democracy.
“We are endorsing our candidate based on credibility; we want to consolidate on the gains of the present administration,” the statement said.
The Change Nigeria Party (CNP) in Akwa Ibom State aligned itself with the APC and its governorship candidate, Nsima Ekere.
The CNP also said it took the decision because its manifesto tallies with APC’s thrust of providing electricity, construction of refineries, poverty alleviation, regeneration of the political space, economic rejuvenation and other people enhancing policies of the ruling party.
Its governorship candidate, Dr. Anietie Ukpong, said the CNP would support the APC to weed out the remnants of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), adding that ‘’PDP’s 16 years could be best described as 16 locust years in Nigeria’s history’’.
Ukpong went on: ‘’What APC is doing is disintegrating Nigeria from the cobwebs of past failures and dysfunctional economic and political system which the PDP ran for 16 years.
‘’APC is blessed with leaders who have vision for the future prosperity of Nigerians. That is what CNP believes in. Nigeria’s prosperity lies with the youths.
‘’For 16 years PDP concentrated on building roads and all manner of infrastructure but cared less about the youths. CNP is in tandem with APC which is determined to change the narrative.’’
A group of Christians known as Catholic Social Forum yesterday declared support for APC governorship candidate Governor Simon Lalong.
The group, which expressed its support in a statement by Sir Emmanuel Dashe and four others, said: “The Catholic Social Forum in the Shendam, Pankshin and Arch Diocese of Jos in their combined meeting of 7th March 2019 in Shendam Catechist Training Center, discussed the current political situation in Plateau State resolved that in view of the appreciable infrastructural development recorded in the last four years in Plateau State, as well as the appreciable peace experienced in the last four years, the incumbent governor should be returned to continued the good jobs he has initiated.
“Secondly, in order to consolidate on the principle of zoning in Plateau State and in order to ensure the continuous payment civil servants salaries and pensions, and for the interest of an all-inclusive Governance and the need for a smooth transition and continuity.
“We, the Members of the Catholic Social Forum In Shendam, Pankshin and Jos Arch Dioceses do hereby endorse, unconditionally the aspiration of the Executive Governor of Plateau State, the Rt Hon Barr Simon Bako Lalong in the forthcoming Governorship Elections in Plateau State.
“Subsequent upon the above, we hereby call on all Catholics and the peace-loving people of Plateau State to come out en-masse and vote for the inclusive ticket of Governor Simon Lalong and his amiable Deputy, Prof Sunny Tyoden.”
The governor also got the backing of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Elders’ Advisory Council.
The council’s chairman, Chief Joseph Din, in a statement yesterday in Jos, said: “As we go into this Saturday’s election, we want to fully endorse the candidature of the Executive Governor of Plateau State, Rt. Hon. Simon Bako Lalong who remains the most credible and widely acceptable man for the Plateau project among all other contestants of the seat.
“Within the three and half years he has been the governor, he has demonstrated beyond reasonable doubt his love and commitment towards a united and prosperous Plateau, as against the divisive acts of his predecessors.”
The elders said the opposition PDP was showing high level of desperation for power to loot the commonwealth of the state.
He called on security agencies to be vigilant and ensure peaceful, credible, free and fair election and put a searchlight on the PDP in the state which, he said, is bent on winning the poll at all cost.
”We call on agents and supporters of the APC to be watchful to ensure that their votes really count. Going by the last elections experience where many voters were disenfranchised as a result of the slowness and malfunctioning of card readers and late arrival of election materials, we call on INEC to put all strategies in place to ensure a hitch free exercise.
”We call on the electorates to come out en-masse and vote our amiable, humble and promised-keeping Governor who has left no one in doubt about his sincerity to totally rescue Plateau from the hands of self-seeking individuals who do not mean well for the state and the people.”
Forty-three political parties yesterday in Kano declared their support for the APC governorship candidate, Dr Abdullahi Umar Ganduje.
The governorship candidates of the parties, who threw their weight behind governor Ganduje through their spokesman and United People’s Congress (UPC ) governorship candidate Ibrahim Gaya at the African House Government House, directed their members to vote for the APC candidate tomorrow.
Gaya said: “We have dropped our contest and unanimously decided to endorsed the Candidature of Governor Ganduje in order for him to accomplish his mission of staging a comeback and consolidate on socio-economic development of the state.”
APC Chairman Alhaji Abdullahi Abbas hailed the parties for their sacrifice.
He said: “I have personally not witnessed a situation where a gubernatorial candidate will invite fellow colleagues to come dine and wine together in a conducive atmosphere.”
Ganduje said he invited the candidates to the Government House to create mutual understanding between the political parties in the state to demonstrate love and unity of purpose.
President Muhammadu Buhari has been urged to restrain APC National Chairman Adams Oshiomhole from taking steps capable of disrupting peace in Delta during tomorrow’s election.
Leaders of youth organisations from various ethnic nationalities in Delta State also warned Oshiomhole to steer clear of the state tomorrow, adding that his presence would be violating the law.
The leaders of the ethnic nationalities, led by the President-General of the Niger Delta Ethnic Nationalities, who is also the National President of the Ijaw Youths Council (IYC), Pereotubo Oweilaemi, spoke at a news conference in Warri.
They urged security agencies to be neutral in their duties in all parts of the state on the Election Day.
They said: “While we are hopeful that Deltans will again go to the polls without let or hindrance to cast their votes for their choice candidates come Saturday the 9th of March, 2019, we are worried that certain elements from neighbouring states want to ferment trouble in the State during the elections in order that their preferred candidates win the elections by any means necessary.
“Prominent among such characters who are boasting that they will do everything necessary to rig the elections and to subvert the will of the people including coming to Delta State on the election day to coordinate the activities for his Party, is Comr. Adams Oshiomhole, the national chairman of the APC. While Oshiomhole is free to campaign for his Party within the confines of the law, he has a limit in meddling with the affairs of Delta State which is not his State of origin.
“The Electoral Act, 2010 is very clear on where and how Oshiomhole should conduct himself during the elections. Sections 58, 124, 125, 127, 128, 129, 130 and 131 of the Act did not permit Oshiomhole to be in Delta State on the Election Day. We warm him to desist from his desperate act of meddling into Delta State election. The APC National Chairman’s presence in Delta State on the Election Day will be an invitation to anarchy. It will be a recipe for total breakdown of law and order in the State.
“We the Ethnic Nationalities’ Youths Leaders in the State will not fold our arms and allow foreigners to cause an avoidable crisis for us. We will resist Oshiomhole’s desperation to plunge Delta State into a big crisis. We, therefore, appeal to President Buhari and people of goodwill to call Adams Oshiomhole to order before things get out of control. Should there be any breakdown of law and order in the State then Nigerians should hold Oshiomhole responsible.
“We also appeal to all members of the various political parties in the State to be law abiding and refrain from acts that will lead to needless hostilities in our dear State. Let us collectively fight against electoral violence of any kind and resist the undue interference by foreigners who are heating up the polity for us.”
Delta State Governor Ifeanyi Okowa’s reelection bid received a boost after the oil and gas host communities of Nigeria(HOSTCOM) Delta State pledged to cast their votes for the PDP.
The group observed that Okowa has done a lot for Deltans through well-executed projects and programmes to merit second term in office.
Its Chairman, Gabriel Isibeluo, said: “All the oil and gas producing communities in Delta State hereby adopts Governor Okowa as our sole candidate for the Governorship position in the elections coming up on Saturday.
“We will vote for someone who has track records of performance, we are aware that traditional rulers of different ethnic nationalities have adopted our Governor as their candidate too and bearing in mind that for you to be an active member of HOSTCOM that you must have your permanent voters cards, on Saturday, all the members of HOSTCOM will cast their votes for our Governor, Senator Dr Ifeanyi Okowa because, he deserves to be re-elected.
“I assure you, our Governor, we will all enter Asaba for the victory dance, HOSTCOM will vote 100 per cent for you Sir, congratulations in advance.”
Okowa thanked HOSTCOM and all Deltans for believing in equity and partnering with his administration to deliver democratic dividends to the people.
“You (HOSTCOM) are giving me a clear mandate as Deltans; I want to thank you for recognising our achievements in the last four years and for endorsing us for continuity till 2023; in our second term, we will continue to have townhall meetings because, a Governor that is not connected to the people is not a Governor; I like to identify with my people, all Deltans without discrimination; we approved that host communities should monitor Delta State Oil Producing Area Developmental Commission (DESOPADEC) projects and report back to me because of our desire for jobs to be executed to specifications; we are aware that there is no state government in this country that has constructed the number of roads like we have done and in the next four years, we shall continue to move from town to town, village to village to execute projects, so, if it has not gotten to your place, be patient, we will get to you, your happiness as Deltans gladdens our heart as government.”
Rivers State Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) cannot lose the governorship and State Assembly elections. The Rivers people, he noted were firmly with the party.
According to him, tomorrow’s polls would end what he called “the illegal activities of the political monster” in the state.
Read also: 9th National Assembly: Buhari, APC leaders to decide zoning
Speaking during a town hall meeting with leaders of Rivers East Senatorial District in Port Harcourt, Wike charged the people not to be intimidated by soldiers, as they have a duty to cast their ballot.
He said: “There is no way that the PDP will lose Rivers State and they tell the world that the elections are free and fair. Even if we want to play politics, how would they explain to the International community that PDP lost to an unknown party that did not campaign?
In Ilorin, the Kwara State capital, a group, known as O2 Liberation Movement, marched through major streets to rally support for the APC governorship candidate AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq in tomorrow polls.
The group was confident that the APC would repeat the feat of the February 23rd presidential and National Assembly elections in the Governorship and States’ House of Assembly elections.
Speaking with reporters, Chairman of the movement, Alhaji Hassan Owoyale said: “We are organising one million-man march in solidarity for the APC governorship candidate in Kwara State and we are calling on all Kwarans to support and vote en masse just as they did two weeks ago for the party and all its candidates at the polls.
“We believe in the ideology of APC, President Muhammadu Buhari and Alhaji AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq. We are confident that if Alhaji
Abdulrazaq becomes the governor, he will govern differently. Nothing is working in Kwara. We believe that Alhaji Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq is bringing in change. His government will work and be for the people. Not the government that will take our commonwealth to another part of the country.
“The entire people of Kwara State are tired of this administration. They want change and that is what we are clamouring for. This liberation struggle has been on for the 10 years and we have been talking to people that we want a government that will give us free education, free health for our people and many things that we deserve in democracy.
“The Liberation movement group at the last weekend visited some APC stalwarts to celebrate the party’s victory during the presidential and National Assembly elections.”
Some chieftains visited included former governorship candidate Mohammed Dele Belgore, Alhaji Olosasa, Alhaji Musa Maiyaki, Dr Saliu Ajia, Lanre Sulyman, Dr Amuda Aluko among others.
In Sokoto, leaders of the Ardos and Magajis) and thousands of their members Silame, Wamakko, Tangaza, Gudu, Yabo, Shagari, Binji and Tureta local government areas dumped the PDP for the APC.
APC Chairman in the state, Alhaji Shehu Aliyu said that they left their former party sequel to their recurring neglect by the leaders of the PDP.
According to him, the leaders and their followers have resolved to pitch their camps with the APC, as well as assiduously work to ensure the success of its candidates during the forthcoming governorship and assembly polls.
The leader of the APC in Senator and Chairman of the Northern Senators’ Forum, Aliyu Magatakarda Wamakko, yesterday organised special prayers for peaceful polls.
Wamakko said: “God gives and takes leadership and we solely rely on Him to succeed. Fervent prayers are potent armours against any ill-will.
“The prayers are being offered to seek divine protection and to ensure the conduct of the forthcoming polls peacefully. The prayers are also aimed at ensuring sustainable peace, unity and socioeconomic prosperity in the State and Nigeria at large.”
The former governor said the relationship between the APC and the Sultanate remained cordial.
“The Sultan is apolitical and he is a Father to all. We have an excellent and perfect relationship with the Sultan, as well as the Sultanate Council of Sokoto. He is a highly revered leader, whom we all cherish and respect. Our party will also continue to uphold the dignity and exalted status of the traditional rulers.”
In a statement by its Secretary, Mr Umar Faruk Ladan, The Sultanate council also advised voters and members of the public to maintain adequate peace before, during and after the election.
It further urged electorates to continue to cooperate with security agencies at all levels to help them provide peaceful atmosphere during the exercise.