From Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa, Mohammed Munirat Nasir, Gusau, Gyang Bere, Jos, Judex Okoro, Calaba
Preparations has peaked on tomorrow’s bye-elections into vacant Assembly seats as the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) yesterday began distribution of sensitive materials.
The Commission has scheduled tomorrow for by-elections in 11 states for both state Houses of Assembly and the National Assembly. Areas listed by INEC for the by-elections include Bayelsa Central; Bayelsa West; Nganzai and Bayo constituencies in Borno State; Cross River North; and Obudu constituency in Cross River State.
Others are Imo North; Lagos East; Kosofe II constituency in Lagos State; Plateau South; Bakura constituency in Zamfara State; and Ibaji constituency in Kogi State.
Meanwhile, the South-South geo-political zone representative of the National Caretaker/Extraordinary convention planning committee of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief David Lyon, has called on electorate in Bayelsa West and Central senatorial districts to vote massively for the candidates of the party.
Lyon, who won overwhelmingly in the November 16 governorship election, called on the state’s party leadership and supporters to rally round the two candidates in the state senatorial elections tomorrow.
He assured that the party, at the national level, is counting on the massive support it enjoyed in the governorship election on November 16, 2019.
Chief Lyon specifically acknowledged the efforts of the women, youths and non-Bayelsans, stressing that the experience has strengthened the collective resolve of his supporters and APC family in Bayelsa State to stand united for future political battles.
•Zamfara: PDP chides APC over 1,000 thugs comment
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Zamfara State has lambasted the APC recent comment that the it had hired 1,000 thugs to disrupt tomorrow’s bye election for the state Assembly in Bakura Local Government Area.
The PDP State Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Faruq Ahmad Gusau, while addressing journalists at the PDP secretariat in Gusau, described the comment by the APC as wolf cries to seek public and electorate sympathy, having realised that it is going to loose the election woefully.
“Imagine the APC, which is known for massive rigging and all sorts of election malpractices, while in power in the state, now shouting that we have hired thugs to win election.
“It is absurd and a sign of political weakness to engage in this kind of destructive propaganda, just because they are afraid of loosing the election. We, in the PDP, believe that all powers belong to Allah and He gives power to whoever He wants,” he said.
The publicity secretary lamented the dirty politics being played by the APC in the state since it lost power to the PDP in 2019.
“When we, the PDP, were in opposition for several years in Zamfara state, we never for once engaged thugs to disrupt election; why would we do it now that Allah has given us the power,” he asked.
•Plateau South: INEC dispatches sensitive materials
Similarly, INEC has distributed the sensitive and none sensitive materials for Plateau South Senatorial bye-election scheduled for tomorrow.
State Resident Electoral Commissioner of INEC, Mallam Halilu Pai, who received the materials yesterday, at the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Branch, Jos, said INEC has nothing to hide.
He noted that the materials received included, Form EC 8A (1), Form EC 8A, Form EC 8B, Form EC8C, Form EC8D, Form EC8E and Form EC60E.
He said: “We are here, today, in line with the policy of INEC, to carry along all the stakeholders in the process of election. We are receiving the sensitive materials of ballots papers and result sheets for the six local government areas and 68 registration areas, 712 polling units for 671209 registered voters in that constituency.
“INEC will always carry the stakeholders along to show its transparency and accountability. This very sensitive materials will be shared in the presence of all stakeholders to the six LGAs and political parties’ agents.”
Representative of the PDP, Pam Gyang, claimed some of the cartons containing the sensitive materials were not properly sealed.
Secretary of the APC, Hon. Bashir Sati, lamented how some political parties brought 10 to 15 agents to the distributing centre against the instruction of INEC .
The Publicity Secretary of IPAC, Akpi Emerson, said agents of all political parties should be carried along in all the processes from the polling units to the collation centre.
•Assures credible poll in Cross River
INEC has assured that the by-election for the vacant Cross River North senatorial district as well as the Obudu state constituency seats will be credible.
Speaking in Calabar, while retrieving the materials from the Central Bank of Nigeria, the National Commissioner for Information and Voter Education, Festus Okoye, said competing parties have been invited to inspect the materials so as to be assured of the integrity of the elections.
The Resident Electoral Commissioner for Cross River State, Emmanuel Hart, said the materials will move in a convoy and will be tracked.
Gabriel Ayodele Oguntuase, CP Elections from Force Headquarters Abuja, said the police have fully deployed security personnel for the elections.
State Chairman of the Young Progressives Party, Anthony Bisong, said they were satisfied with arrangements made by the commission this far.