Shocks, Upsets Await Parties In Tomorrow’s Polls

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There are indications that shocks, surprises and upsets await political parties across the country tomorrow in states and federal constituencies where the National Assembly election was not postponed by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.

P.M.NEWS investigation has revealed that the parties face shocks in states they had hitherto considered to be their stronghold but where mass decampment had reduced their strength drastically.

In Kaduna State, Vice-President Namadi Sambo has been on the road, trying to cajole influential citizens of the state not to desert the PDP. The state is said to be pregnant with change, with voters swinging their support to the CPC in a lot of constituencies.

In Ogun State, the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has been seriously factionalised and the party will be fielding two governorship candidates in the 26 April poll.

While the Obasanjo faction is backing Chief Adetunji Olurin, Governor Gbenga Daniel’s People’s Party of Nigeria, PPN, will be fielding Prince Gboyega Isiaka-Nasir.

In a similar vein, the party will not be approaching tomorrow’s parliamentary election with a united front. And in the past few days, former president, General Olusegun Obasanjo, who doubles as chairman of the Board of Trustees of the PDP, has been working on disaffected members of the party, who joined other parties, to rejoin the PDP, to strengthen the party as it faces the assault by the Action Congress of Nigeria. Former PDP elements who have joined the Labour Party for instance are being cajoled to dump Labour tickets and back the PDP candidates. ‘’Ogun State is 80 per cent Action Congress’’, said a businessman this morning in Ijebu-Ode, who doubted the success of Obasanjo’s efforts.’’Political observers believe that if the elections to hold in many parts of Ogun State tomorrow were free and fair, the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, will cash in on the factionalisation of the PDP in Ogun State to spring surprises.The senatorial poll will hold tomorrow in the state while election in five of the federal constituencies in the state has been deferred.

In Akwa Ibom State, the persecution of the ACN governorship candidate, Senator John James Akpanudoedehe will draw the sympathy of the electorate to the ACN in tomorrow’s poll, observers believe.

Since Udoedehe was arrested last month following a violent clash between supporters of the PDP and the ACN in Uyo, he had been charged with treason and detained. Over 40 other members of the party have been detained without trial and another 100 have been declared wanted by the police, suspected of doing a hatchet job for the incumbent governor, Godswill Akpabio. Udohedehe’s lawyers are meanwhile battling to secure his freedom.

There will be no senatorial election in Ekiti State, while the election into the House of Representatives in four constituencies has been postponed.

In Lagos State, the ACN leaders have been strategising, holding a series of meetings to counter the propaganda of the little known Labour Party to steal votes by the backdoor, through excoriating campaign against the ACN leadership in the state. The party is populated by many former members of the ACN, claimimg also to be Fashola’s supporters. Part of the house cleaning led to the sack of Lagos State commisioner of housing, Dele Onabokun by Governor Babatunde Fashola yesterday. Yesterday also, Labour took its GSM war to an anti-climactic end by disowning its past campaigns and calling for support to the ACN. The party stalwarts have also been on the road, assauging voters not to be dump the ACN for the masquerading Labour Party, said to be working in tandem with the PDP.

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Meanwhile, reactions have continued to trail the postponement of the NASS elections in 48 federal constituencies and 15 senatorial districts in tomorrow’s election.

For example, there will be no senatorial election in Ekiti State while the election into the House of Representatives in four constituencies have been postponed. But in Ogun, the senatorial poll will hold tomorrow while election in five of the federal constituencies in the state has been deferred.

ACN candidate for the Ijebu Ode Federal Constituency, Mr. Kehinde Olusegun Oduneye agreed with INEC, saying that the commission knows better.

Another candidate, Hon. Jelili Kayode Amusan of the PDP in Abeokuta North opined that INEC has taken the best decision.

Commenting on the postponement of the election, the Olu of Agege, Oba Lateef Adams called on the INEC chairman, Prof. Attahiru Jega to resign his appointment now before he is humiliated.

Oba Adams said the performance of the INEC boss has so far revealed that he was being manipulated from certain quarters.

The Agege monarch, however, urged Lagosians to move out en mass tomorrow to vote in the NASS election.

Hon. Akeem Omoyele Sulaimon, Chairman, Bariga Local Council Development Area, LCDA, of Lagos State has described the postponement of the NASS elections in some states as a welcome development. He noted that parties whose logos are not on the ballot papers have a legitimate right to protest after the elections.

—Ayodele Lawal, Moyo Fabiyi, Paul Sanusi, Yisa Jamiu & Biodun Onafuye