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As Nigerians Elect Govs And State Legislators
Published Mar 24, 2023 IN Editorial,
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 NIGERIA’s cruise on the democracy highway today gathers another significant momentum as the electorate troop out massively to cast their votes for the candidates of their choice as to who will occupy the 28 governorship seats across the country and the 933 state houses of Assembly constituencies in the states respectively for the next four years. Gubernatorial elections will not hold in Anambra, Bayelsa, Edo, Ekiti, Imo, Osun, Kogi and Ondo . The elections which come on the heels of the February 25 presidential and National Assembly polls was scheduled to hold on March 11, 2023 but was shifted till today following some exigencies. It is unique in many respects. Unlike the Presidential and National Assembly polls, today’s elections will involve 1,021 constituencies made up of 28 governorship seats and 933 state legislative seats as against the February 25 presidential and National Assembly polls with 470 constituencies comprising 1 presidential seat, 109 senatorial and 360 House of Representatives seats respectively. It, therefore, clearly places on the shoulders of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) more task in discharging its duties which requires resilience, dedication to duties and unalloyed patriotism to accomplish. Besides, the elections focus on who steers the ship of governance at state level as governors and lawmakers at the State Houses of Assembly. The governors, in a democratic setting, wield tremendous powers in policy formulation and execution while the legislators make laws for peace, order and good government of the states. Additionally the legislature plays vital role in checkmating government expenditure. From the foregoing, it is crystal clear that today’s pollS for the gubernatorial seats in 28 states of the federation and the legislative counterparts in the states and the federal capital territory respectively is very crucial in our advancement on the democracy landscape. From all indications, the stakes are as high as ever. Here in Delta state about 18 political parties appear to be eyeing the Anwai Road Government House Avenue, seat of governance but political pundits are of the view that the toughest battle for the seat will centre among the People’s Democratic Party candidate, the R.t Hon Francis Oborevwori, Senator Omo Agege of the All progressives Congress(APC) and Deacon Ken Pela of the Labour Party. Rt. Hon oborevwori, who is also the current Speaker of the Delta State House of Assembly has the requisite experience and credentials in addition to the massive support of the leaders of the party and the electorate in the three senatorial district. The massive developmental projects executed across the state by the current government could also work to the advantage of the PDP for a continuity in the governance of the state. While acknowledging these and other vantage points of the PDP, the party has not taken things for granted particularly in view of the inroad of the Labour Party during the presidential and National Assembly polls. Indeed, the PDP, having assessed the last elections has strategised for a better showing today. The APC’s Omo Agege, who currently is the Deputy President of the Senate though seen as coming on strong, he does not have the political support spread across the three senatorial districts that is strong enough to launch him into the Anwai Road Government House. Indeed, his popularity seems to be narrowed down largely to Delta Central Senatorial District. For the Labour Party, the gubernatorial candidate, Deacon Ken Pela, though relatively new on the political race, is relying heavily on the Obidients, the terminology for the party faithful and if the result of the February 25 Presidential and National Assembly polls is anything to go by can spring surprises. Another contender, Chief Great Ogboru of the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) is a perennial contestant with a knack for changing platforms without being able to break the jinx. His platform, this time around, APGA will have to work harder for battle for relevance in the scheme of things. Although there are other contenders in the race like Ken Gbagi of the SDP, a former Minister of Education under Goodluck Jonathan administration, they are not likely to make significant showing in today’s battle for the control of Delta State Government House. As for the lawmakers, the platform, popularity, pedigree, antecedents of the contenders remain the veritable yardstick. Unlike in the past when platform appeared to be the main decisive factor, the tide has changed as voters now x-ray and place greater reliance on the antecedents of candidates as yardstick for the choice of candidates. It, therefore, follows that whoever gets what either as lawmaker or governor today has to scale through the crucible of peoples’ assessment of his ability and willingness to perform. This indeed, signposts, a new dawn that will ensure that only persons, tested, trusted and with a track and verifiable record of performance clinch the keenly coveted seats . For this to materialize, INEC, security operatives should improve on their performances in the previous polls. The ignoble and disgusting issue of failure, neglect or refusal on the part of INEC, to harness fully the benefits of Bimodal Voters Accreditation system(BIVAS) at a crucial stage, especially with regards to electronic transmission of results despite humongous promises to this effect by the commission should be avoided, while security men should be more alive to their responsibilities. In addition timely arrival of men and materials will also go a long way in improving the conduct of the polls.

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