By Suleiman Umaru
Professor Mahmood Yakubu, led Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, appears to have forced the 18 registered political parties, including the ruling All Progressive Congress, APC, and the Opposition People’s Democratic Party, PDP, to elect Candidates across board for the 2023 general elections.
Festus Okoye, the agency National Commissioner and Chairman, voter Education Committee may have spoken the mind of the Electoral umpire boss when he said ‘’the 2023 Election Timetable and schedule of activities will not be adjusted’’. There have been pressure by the Leadership of the parties on INEC , to adjust the Elections Timetable and Schedule of Activities that had earlier been prepared by the Commision.
The pressure was so pronounced that Attahiru Jega, a Professor and former Chairman, of the Commission , who could not hide his feelings on Wednesday, May 25, 20222, advised the INEC Chief not ‘’to give in to the pressures from the political parties to adjust the 2023 Electoral Timetable. He had said that it will amount to ‘’Electoral disaster bowing to such pressure from the parties to adjust the 2023 Electoral Time table and Schedule of Activities.
Aware that Yakubu led INEC, are not ready to given to the party pressure to tinker with Election Time table may encouraged the APC and PDP, the two dominant political which were marking time to conduct their primaries across board to elect their Candidates for the 2023, general elections to expedite action to do so.
It was not surprising why the Leadership of the two parties had fastened to hold their Congress to elect delegates that were said to involved in electing its state Assembly. House of Representatives, Senate and governorship Candidates, in the last two weeks.
The primaries, supervised by INEC officials , amidst tight security in the various states of the Federation, and Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, according to political Observers , have had its share of political drama with some aspirants walking out from the venue of the election and some condemning the process have produced clear winners in several states from the APC and PDP. Take for instance, in Lagos, Ogun, Borno, Yobe, Zamfara and Nasarawa, where Governors Babatunde Sanwo-Olu, Dapo Abiodun, Prof. Babagana Munguno, Mai Mala Buni and Bello Matawale, Abdullahi Sule the incumbent governors of the states, respectively, seeking re-election bid for the 2023, general elections bid, were given the ticket, with little or no opposition.
In Kaduna state, Nasir El-Rufai, anointed Candidate that would take over from him after the 2023, general elections, Senator Sani, was said to have been adopted by Consensus by the party delegates as Bashir Jamoh, Director General , Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA and other governorship Candidates, were asked to with draw from the race, thus losing the N50 million paid by each of them to purchase the governorship nomination forms.
The PDP delegates in Katsina, President Muhammadu Buhari home state as were said to have elected Senator Garba Yakubu Lado Damarke as it governorship Candidate while the Opposition APC, in Rivers, home state of Rotimi Amaechi, a former minister of Transportation and Presidential aspirant of APC, had elected Toye Cole, a business mongul, during the primaries, a its governorship Candidate amidst criticisms from Senator Magnus Abbe Camp.
the biggest upset of the states governorship primarimariss was that of the APC governorship primary in Adamawa state. Senator Aishatu Binani, was said to have beaten five other contenders to clinch the party ticket in the state. Notable top contenders that lost lost out were Nuhu Rbadu, a former of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, and Jibrilla Window, a former governor of the state.
The 18 political parties were said to have heeded to the INEC, warning to elect their Candidates, across board without further delay to participate in the 2023, general elections. The last one month had been full of activities in the parties both at state and federal level , with the election of Candidates.
The parties, appear to have entered the last lap of implementation of the INEC Timetable and Schedule of Activities which is to conduct the Presidential primaries. The Iyorche Ayu, led –Leadership of the PDP, were said to have notified Atiku Abubakar, a former Vice President during Olusegun Obaanjo’s Administration, Bukola Saraki, former Senate President, AyimPius Ayim, a one- time Senate President and Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Senator Mao Ohuabunwa, Bala Mohammed, governor of Bauchi state, Mohammed Hayarudeen, a Banker and Economist and other Presidential Candidates of the party that Saturday, May 28, 2023 and Sunday, May 29, 2023, has been fixed for the Presidential primaries at the Moshood Abiola National Stadium, Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory.
Note that Peter Obi, a for governor of Anambra state and and Atiku, running mate , in the 2019, general elections, may have withdrawn from the race , three days to the primaries, when it was not zone to the south east region, but thrown for all interested Contestants by the party Leadership , which could have given him a clear lead over other Presidential aspirants from the region.
As a prelude for the conduct of a hitch-free Presidential primaries by the PDP, the police have beefed security at the FT,at the instance of Usman Alkali Baba, the Inspector General of police. Josephine Adeh, a Deputy Superintendent of Police, and FCT, Police Command spokesperson, had said in a Statement that ‘’to ensure a hitch-free event , ‘’the Command has designed a robust security arrangement defined by a generous deployment within and outside the Election ground and to every nooks and crannies of the Territory.
She noted that the deployment of officers had taken into consideration the protection of lives and property of all and sudry by putting in place counter-security measures, maintenance of clear road access, robust stop and search at strategic points around the suburbs and city center, effective crowd control and intelligence gathering.
Babaji Sunday, the FCT, Police Commissioner, may have sent a warning to the trouble makers to avoid the Abiola National stadium as they will meet stiff opposition the Command various Tactical intelligence Units . The Police Commissioner, who not want to disappoint the IGP, in this national assignment was said to have addressed the Divisional Police Officers, DPs, Heads of various Tactical and Intelligence Units scheduled for the operation to be on top of their games.
The FCT, police boss may not want what happened in Traba, Thephilous Danjuma, a retired Army General and former minister of Defense, during Obasanjo’s Administration, a governorship primary electoral committee member was shot, to repeat itself at the FCT, where the PDP Presidential election will hold. The APC, may follow immediately in organisisng its Covention, to elect its own Presidential Candidate, which must emerge on June 1st, 2022.
Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso, a former governor of Kano, described as the swing state, in political circles, whose third Force, National Movement, had adopted New Nigerian Peoples’ party, NNPP, floated by Bonniface Anniebonam, a Lased based Clearing Agent, as arm of national Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders, NAGAFF, in 2001, has emerged as the party Presidential Candidate, after beating two other Contestants. Kingsley Moghalu, a former Deputy Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, was said to have emerged the Presidential Candidate of African Democratic Congress, ADC, Price Adewale Adebayo, a business mongul,Social Democratic Party while Ardo Ibrahim, had emerged as the Youth Progressive Party, YPP, Presidential Candidate.
There are idications that that the parties, which have not drawn up plans to elect their Presidential Candidates, whose name must public domain by June 1st, 2022, have concluded arrangement to do so by adopting the Consensus model option , outlined in the 2022, Electoral Act, but all the necessary amendment have been made to the National Assembly but yet to assigned into Law by the Katsina state born Nigerian President.