….As 2019 campaign begins today
Major political parties in Nigeria have expressed their preparedness to kick-start political campaigns beginning from today ahead of next year’s elections as the Independent National Electoral Commission, (INEC) officially lifts its ban on electioneering.
INEC had on January 9, 2018 released the timetable and schedule of activities for the 2019 elections in accordance with the Constitution and the Electoral Act.
The Electoral Act, as amended, states in 99(I) that “For the purpose of this Act, the period of campaigning in public by every political party shall commence 90 days before polling day and ends 24 hours prior to the day.”
APC‘ll campaign on achievements
Festus Keyamo, Spokesperson of Buhari Campaign Organisation in an interview with Sunday Sun expressed the readiness of the ruling All Progressives Party (APC) to officially commence campaigns for next year’s elections.
Keyamo, who disclosed that APC’s campaigns would showcase the achievements of the party in the last three and half years, pointed out that the ruling party is no longer running on promises.
“We have always been very prepared from day one. At the appropriate time, the schedule of activities will be revealed to Nigerians. However, because this campaign has to do with achievements of government, we are no longer running on promises, we are running on achievements. We are also going to make projections into the future from the angle of government tomorrow not from the angle of campaign organization. By 5 o’clock today in Abuja, they will be unveiling what they call the next level, which is more or less policy documents, achievement of government so far and projection into the next four years. These two documents will be launched from the angle of government. And that, of course, will set the tune for the campaign. As for the party’s schedule of activities, we are going to make them known to the public in no distant future,” he said.
PDP’ll organize productive campaigns
A former deputy national chairman and Board of Trustee (BoT) members of People’s Democratic Party, PDP, Shuaibu Oyedokun, expressed the readiness of the leading opposition party for the 2019 campaign.
“We are fully prepared. We are ready to organize very successful and productive campaigns to market our product which, we believe, is sellable.
He noted further that the unity which the party has continued to enjoy after its presidential nomination convention was a further demonstration of the party’s readiness for the 2019 elections. “The PDP is fully prepared and that is already manifested in the fact that we had a wonderful, well organized and successful presidential nomination convention where we all came together and chose one candidate without any rancour. Again, all other aspirants agreed to work with the candidate, with a solid, coherent, strong party national executive and with a formidable presidential candidate, whom all others are cooperating with.
NCP to kick-start campaign in Kano
The Presidential candidate of National Conscience Party (NCP) Tanko Yinusa, said NCP would kick start its campaign from Kano, his home state, adding that the party’s campaigns would showcase NCP’s concerns about the plights of Nigerians which he promised to address if elected.
“We have made arrangements to kick start our campaign programmes. We are going to kick off the campaign from my state, Kano State. Then, we are going to visit Benue State. From Benue, we are going to Ekiti State where my vice presidential candidate is from. We are going to start zonal campaign from Maiduguri where we will be visiting traditional leaders for them to know that we have identified with our people who have lost so much to Boko Haram attacks. We have to let them know that Nigerians are with them. We are going to visit the governor and the Emir himself. We have to let them know that we are concerned about their plights and if I am elected as president, we are going to look into them.
RBNP‘ll convince Nigerians
Also on the preparedness of his party, the National Chairman of Rebuild Nigeria Party (RBNP), Chief Japhet Anyanwu said RBNP is set to officially commence the campaigns for next year’s election.
According to him, RBNP, as a disciplined party, has so far ensured it conducted itself very well without contravening rules and regulations guiding electioneering in Nigeria. He assured that the party’s campaigns would be issues-based.
“We are confident we have the best plans for Nigerians which I believe are enough to convince Nigerians to vote for RBNP. Our slogan is “All hands on deck”, and I can assure you that my party has what it takes to take Nigeria out of the woods. The NEC will be meeting tomorrow (today) to deliberate and map out further strategies for the campaigns,” Anyanwu said.
INEC unserious about elections – NAC
In his own reaction, however, the national chairman of National Action Council (NAC), Dr Olapade Agoro, said there is no sign that INEC is ready for elections following allegation of fraud that trailed some of its personnel after the 2015 elections.
According to him, “one can only prepare himself for a system that is prepared, but I can’t see the system getting ready. The umpire does not know what it is doing. Only two people can be said to be preparing for the election. Only Buhari and Atiku are preparing. Others, to me, are just onlookers. My party is in court with INEC to deregister PDP, APC and SDP for their involvement in fraud in 2015. INEC announced to the nation that these parties were involved in N3 billion fraud after the 2015 elections. How can I say I am serious for a system that is not serious? So, I can’t contest when I am in court. This INEC is not serious and cannot conduct a serious election. We are only deceiving ourselves as a nation.
At state level, parties also expressed similar optimisms in their readiness for the campaign season. The state chairman of PDP in Kebbi State, Alhaji Saidu Haruna in an interview with Sunday Sun explained that the party was fully ready for election and vowed that the party would take over Kebbi State Government House before the 2019 general elections.
Haruna said: “PDP is ready to take over Kebbi State Government House even before 2019 elections. Don’t forget we still have case against APC governor in the Court of Appeal. We have appealed against the judgment of the Federal High Court. Senator Abubakar Atiku is not eligible to be governor of Kebbi State. So, we shall reclaim Government House.”
The party Chairman explained that the people of Kebbi State are tired of APC in the state, stressing that they are optimistic that their party would emerge victorious.
Similarly, the spokesman of APC in Kebbi State, Alhaji Sanni Dododo, said that the ruling party would deliver state and national elections. He noted that the party is fully ready for the forthcoming election and stressed that “our party has done well in the last three years and our works and performances will speak for us.”
The party spokesman argued that Governor Bagudu has spread capital projects across all the 21 local government area of the state, adding that the people of the state are solidly behind President Buhari and Governor Bagudu.
In Rivers State, Felix Obuah, Chairman, Rivers State chapter of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), said the party is prepared to embark on an issue-based campaign.
Obuah, who spoke through his media adviser, Jerry Needam, declared: “We are adequately and sufficiently prepared to embark on a unique, issue-based and decent campaign in Rivers State to sell Atiku Abubakar to all Rivers men and women.
“Rivers people will accept and vote for Atiku Abubakar, because Atiku Abubakar is the only presidential candidate that has solutions to Nigeria’s problems.
“Also, the good works of Governor Nyesom Wike in infrastructural development and good governance will be a boost as we commence campaign in Rivers State.
When Sunday Sun contacted the Campaign Director of the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and former leader of the state House of Assembly, Chidi Lloyd, he simply said, “We are all ready.”
In Delta State, the two major parties, APC and PDP, have expressed their preparedness for the campaign ahead of the 2019 election.
Although no official of the PDP responded to enquiries by Sunday Sun as at the time of filing this report, the state Commissioner for Information, Patrick Ukah, said the state government’s grassroots-oriented programmes and policies were already speaking for the PDP.
State chairman of PDP, Kingsley Esiso, as well as the publicity secretary, Ifeanyi Osuoza, both ignored calls and texts messages to their phones as at the time of filing this report.
Ukah said the campaign flag off is a ceremonial event, disclosing that the PDP-led state government has been engaging the people across the state in discrete campaigns.
“We have always been ready for all the elections, and I hope you are very conversant with our operations in Delta State. First and foremost, we have been interfacing with the people as we have been touring the length and breadth of the state for town hall meetings.
“All campaigns is not only when you have a rally, the fact is that we have been interfacing with the people, we know the needs of the people and we have been responding to their needs. Our town hall meetings which have continued and all the activities we have been doing with the grassroots focus of the government show that we are on ground.”
The APC state chairman, Jones Erue, did not also respond to calls and messages, but the state secretary, Chidi Okonji, said the APC had strategies in place for the campaigns which, he said, were confidential.
“We are preparing for the general elections, not just the presidential campaign only. We are prepared for the campaigns generally for House of Assembly and National Assembly. Our strategy for the presidential campaign is confidential and not for public consumption at the moment. You will begin to see when we start unfolding the plans one after the other,” Okonji said.
In Enugu, political parties that spoke to Sunday Sun said they were ready to square it up with the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state as the presidential campaign opens today.
The state chairman of All Progressives Congress (APC), Dr Ben Nwoye, said that his party is ready to dislodge the ruling PDP in the state. He expressed optimism that his party and President Muhammadu Buhari would win the coming presidential election.
“Enugu state will vote for Buhari massively. We are ready,” Nwoye said.
The chairman of United Progressives Party (UPP) Mr Ken Onyekaonwu said that his party is much more ready, while aligning on the position of his national working committee of his party to adopt President Muhammadu Buhari as their presidential candidate.
Efforts to get the position and readiness of PDP failed as the state chairman, Chief Augustine Nnamani, could not be reached on telephone.
Mr Paul Omotosho, Sate chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), assured that his party is fully prepared and optimistic of winning at the polls in 2019.
His words: “We are prepared anytime, any day. We have resolved to ensure we conduct ourselves properly. We will do what is proper. We will mobilise massively for our party. We are fully prepared. We will work for the success of our party.
“We are determined and we are optimistic that we will win the 2019 elections for our party.”
In the same vein, Gboyega Ogubtuase, a legal practitioner and chairman, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), said though their campaign strategies could not be revealed, the party remains one in spite of recent bickering over who becomes new leader of the party in the state between immediate past governor, Ayo Fayose and a serving Senator, Biodun Olujimi.
His words: “Everything concerning campaign is absolutely confidential for now. The strategies to use for campaigns are secrets.
In Ekiti State, we are doing what must be done to get full support for our party, we are mobilizing massively and we are working in tandem with our national executive as well as the zonal executives of the party,” he said.
The campaign organisation of ACPN said that the party is fully prepared for electioneering which begins today across the country.
“Our party is well prepared for the election and the campaign that is starting tomorrow (today) . Even a coalition of political parties has endorsed our presidential candidate, Dr Oby Ezekwesili, in order to defeat the APC and PDP,” the party said.
The organisation said that the party will run a rigorous campaign as they will engage the people at the grassroots to sell their programme to them.