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Nigeria

 KOGI, BAYELSA ELECTIONS: IS INEC READY?

Monday letter1

As elections in Kogi and Bayelsa begin in a couple of weeks from now, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is poised for peaceful and credible election.  The politicians have started campaigns to woo voters. 

The INEC has promised that the two elections would correct the mistakes in the 2019 general election and set a new standard for upcoming elections. The Chairman of the Board of INEC’s Electoral Institute, Prince Solomon Soyebi said, “The election will provide the commission with yet another opportunity to test-run its policies, processes and new initiatives.’’  We can’t wait for the elections to be hitch-free, with early deployment of election materials, personnel and logistics. These aforementioned issues should be sorted out ahead of elections especially in difficult terrain like the riverine areas and creeks where the assistance of helicopters would help greatly.

For the two prominent parties, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the All Progressive Congress (APC), the election is going to be keenly contested, taken into consideration that during the last February/March, 2019 elections, out of the 29 governorship polls held on March 9, the PDP won 15 states while the APC won in 14 states. The remaining seven states are states where there would be off-cycle elections, five controlled by the APC, one by the PDP and one by All Progressive Grand Alliance – Anambra State. In all, it brings the total number of states under APC to 19 and the PDP with Bayelsa under its control to 16. At the moment, the Governor of Bayelsa, Henry Seriake Dickson is serving out his mandatory two terms while in Kogi State, Governor Yahaya Bello is completing his first tenure. Initially, he was between a rock and a hard place as allegation of non-performance was placed before him but he was able to win the trust of his party men. Will he be able to win the trust of his people? The answer lies November 16, 2019.

 As a reminder for the political contestants, Section 91 (3) of the Electoral Act has pegged the ceiling of campaign finance expenditure of governorship candidate at N200m. If any candidate goes contrary they will have to square it up with INEC as men are on ground to track expenses of candidates in the polls.

What should formed the basis of campaign for  the  parties  in the coming elections are issues of state concern, broad policy changes and not pouring vitriol on one another. It is therefore an appeal to the electorate in both states to join me in voting for one man who wants peaceful and credible election. Join me in casting your vote for competence in place of ethnicity.

Come with me to cast your vote for the one man who will provide jobs for the people of his state. Be by my side in casting your vote for one man who will improve the transport system. Ride with me to cast your vote for one man who will support agriculture with action.

Olusanya Anjorin, Lagos

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