After months of campaigns and preparations by the various stakeholders, voters in Bayelsa, Imo and Kogi states will on Saturday (today) elect their new governors.
In the three states, the Independent National Electoral Commission had revealed that 5,169,692 voters collected their permanent voter cards out of the 5,409,438 registered voters in the three states.
In Bayelsa State, the data on INEC’s website indicated that there are 1,056,862 registered voters, out of which 1,017,613 collected their PVCs, while 39,249 PVCs remained uncollected.
In Imo State, there are 2,419,922 registered voters, out of which 2,318,919 collected their PVCs, while 101,003 PVCs have not been collected. And in Kogi State, out of the 1,932,654 registered voters, 1,833,160 collected their PVCs, leaving 99,494 PVCs uncollected.
Meanwhile, in Bayelsa and Imo states, incumbent governors, Douye Diri and Hope Uzodimma, are respectively seeking re-election, while 18 candidates are jostling to succeed incumbent Governor Yahaya Bello in Kogi State.
In Imo State, the governor and candidate of the All Progressives Congress is contesting against 17 other candidates, with Samuel Anyanwu of the Peoples Democratic Party, and Athan Achonu of the Labour Party described as the top contenders.
Other candidates include Uchenna Okere of Accord Party; Jack Ogunewe of Action Alliance; Ifeanyi Awulonu of African Action Congress; Otumbadi Okoroma of African Democratic Congress; Steve Nwoga of Action Democratic Party; Anthony Ejiogu of All Progressives Grand Alliance; Chibuike Edoziem of Allied Peoples Movement; Obieze Achilike of Action Peoples Party; and Isaac Iwuanyanwu of Boot Party.
Others are Ben Ofunzeh of New Nigeria Peoples Party; Cole Okwara of National Rescue Movement; Ishiodu Uchechukwu of People’s Redemption Party; Bright Ekwebelem of Social Democratic Party; Chino Opara of Young Progressives Party; and Andy Chibuike of the Zenith Labour Party.
While Uzodimma had expressed confidence that he would win the election based on his performance in the last four years, Anyanwu, Achonu and other contenders boasted respectively that they would defeat the governor, saying he had performed woefully in his first term and did not deserve to be re-elected.
In Bayelsa State, the governor and PDP candidate in the election is also seeking re-election. He is contesting against 15 other candidates, with Timipre Sylva of the APC described as the top contender in the race. Sylva is a former governor of the state and is the immediate past Minister of State for Petroleum Resources under former President Muhammadu Buhari.
Other candidates include Eradiri Udengmobofa of the Labour Party; Oguara Nengimonyo of ADP; Ogege Mercy of APP; Idikio Jones of Accord Party, Bufumoh Alex of AA; Kalango Davies of ADC; Subiri Joseph of APGA; Osharikeni Saturday of APM; and Ben Magbodo of Boot Party.
Others include Azebi Ayabeke of the NNPP; Micah Akeems of NRM; Ozato Erepadei of PRP; Osuluku Binaleyefa of SDP and Simeon Karrioru of ZLP.
While the governor said his performance in the last four years would earn him re-election, the other candidates boasted they would win the election following what they described as the governor’s poor performance.
In Kogi State, the race is said to be between APC’s Usman Ododo, PDP’s Dino Melaye, SDP’s Muri Ajaka, and ADC’s Leke Abejide.
Other candidates are Adejo Okeme of the Labour Party, Fatima Suleiman of the ZLP, Musa Mubarak of the NNPP, Muhammed Umar of Boot Party, Onaji Frank of the APP, Isah Dauda of APM, Ilonah Kingsley of APGA, Elukpo Julius of ADP and Buraimoh Olayinka of Action[ Alliance.
In the three states, there have been incidences of violence with persons killed and some others injured. This had led to anxiety in the states, with the police and other security agencies assuring voters of their safety in the election.
NSA promises security
Meanwhile, the National Security Adviser, Nuhu Ribadu, has assured residents of the three states of their security during the exercise as he warned political actors against any act of violence. He warned that there would be severe consequences for anyone found trying to disrupt the election.
A statement on Friday by the Head, Strategic Communication, Office of the NSA, Zakari Mijinyawa, quoted Ribadu as saying a monitoring system had been established with monitors deployed in the field to collect evidence of violence and irregularities.
The statement noted, “The National Security Adviser assures residents of Kogi, Bayelsa, and Imo states of security preparedness during the elections. He warns against violence by political actors and charges security agencies to adhere to professional code of ethics during the exercise.
“The NSA vows that there will be severe consequences for anyone who is found to have disrupted the conduct of elections or abused his authority. The NSA, who is the Co-Chair of the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security, charged all security, intelligence, and law enforcement officers deployed for election security duties to conduct themselves creditably.” [The Punch]