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2023 general election: Roundup of some major political events for the week

The year 2022 has been quite an interesting one in the political arena with the signing of the all-important amended electoral bill by President Buhari, the commencement of political activities and the emergence of candidates for various offices from the political parties, among others.

It has become quite customary for the months preceding a generation election in Nigeria to be characterized by serious politicking which oftentimes is at the expense of good governance at all levels of government.

As the general election gets closer, the Nigerian political space continues to be characterized by some dramatic and controversial events which might shape the outcome of the 2023 general election.

Meanwhile, Nairametrics in continuation of the series presents a round-up of some of the major political events across the country within the week.

December 12

INEC on Monday commenced the distribution of Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) at its local government offices nationwide.

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According to reports on the monitoring of the exercise in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), the exercise commenced simultaneously at INEC FCT headquarters and its 6 area council offices.

Reports suggest that some of the registered voters in their hundreds were seen in the queue at the gate of the INEC FCT state office for the collection of their cards.

The collection was done in wards in the FCT, depending on the mode of registration, including those who did fresh registration, transfers, requested for replacement and others.

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December 12

Meanwhile, INEC also on Monday confirmed an attack on its state headquarters’ office in Owerri, Imo State, although it says no critical election material was destroyed or casualty recorded.

This disclosure is contained in a statement signed by INEC’s National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, where he lamented that the attack occurred on the day the collection of PVCs commenced nationwide.

Okoye stated that the attack which is the third on the commission’s facilities in Imo State in less than 2 weeks, is a continuation of violence targeted at INEC’s assets across the country.

December 12

Imo State Governor, Hope Uzodimma, condemned the incessant attacks on INEC offices in the state, describing them as “politically contrived”.

The governor made the comment at the Imo Police Command Headquarters in Owerri on Monday in the aftermath of an attack on the INEC headquarters in the South-East state which led to 5 deaths.

Addressing the press after the visit Governor Uzodimma said, “If we collaborate this with the events of the past, we have continuously said that what is happening in Imo State is politically contrived.

  • He said, “Some people think that they can win the election yet they don’t want the election. How would they now win?”

December 12

Ahead of the 2023 general elections, INEC on Monday accused some politicians of buying up PVCs and financially inducing voters to harvest their Voter Identification Numbers.

The commission also said 2 persons have been recently convicted for illegal possession of PVCs in Sokoto and Kano states.

The alarm was raised by the acting chairman of INEC and National Commissioner overseeing the FCT, Nasarawa, Kaduna and Plateau States, Mohammed Haruna, during the launch of the #YourVoteMatters project by an election observer group, NESSACTION, in Abuja.

December 12

The African Action Congress (AAC) and a faction of the Peoples Redemption Party (PRP) announced that they were forming an alliance to liberate millions of Nigerians from the “shackles of corrupt and greedy politicians who have held the country hostage for several years.”

The National Chairman and presidential candidate of the AAC, Omoyele Sowore, disclosed this on Monday at a press conference to formalise the union between his party and the PRP faction, in Abuja.

Sowore said the essence of the alliance was to overthrow and take down the evil system of oppression and injustice in Nigeria and put an end to the reign of deceit that had enslaved Nigerians since independence.

December 12

A former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir Lawal, on Monday insisted that he would not support the PDP presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, in the 2023 election.

According to him, Atiku’s ambition would not fly as it would amount to the transition of government from one Muslim Fulani President to another Muslim Fulani President.

Lawal was reacting to a report that he has abandoned the presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Peter Obi, to work for Atiku.

He warned that Atiku, having his way, would represent ethnic domination by one ethnic group over others, saying “I remain a Peter Obi diehard.”

December 13

A chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party and former Deputy National Chairman of the party, Chief Bode George, has insisted that the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu, is not an indigene of Lagos State.

Bode George who is a heavy critic of the presidential aspiration of Bola Tinubu, said this on Tuesday morning on Arise TV’s Morning Show, where he discussed the candidacy of Tinubu as well as the internal crisis within the PDP.

He said that the APC candidate has yet to prove his Lagos roots beyond a reasonable doubt, having failed to produce any evidence to support his claim.

  • He said, “Tinubu is not from Lagos State. You can quote me. If he says he grew up in Isale-Eko, which school did you attend? I grew up on Evans Street in Lagos. 35 Evans Street was my grandfather’s house. I went to the community school. I played football at the local stadium at Isale-Eko. That’s how people knew me.

December 14

The Labour Party announced the postponement of the presidential campaign rally it planned to hold in Ekiti and Ondo states.

This comes barely a day after its presidential candidate, Peter Obi, and his running mate, Baba Ahmed-Datti, had its campaign rally in Kogi State, which some opponents alleged was poorly attended.

The party in a statement blamed it on unavoidable and unusual circumstances beyond its control. It, however, promised to announce new dates for its rally in the states.

  • The statement reads, “Due to some unavoidable and unusual circumstances beyond control, our earlier scheduled presidential campaign rally in Ekiti and Ondo for 15th and 16th December 2023 is hereby postponed. A new date will be announced. We regret the inconvenience caused by this.”

December 14

The Director, Media and Publicity, APC Presidential Campaign Council, Bayo Onanuga, has denied insinuations that the party’s presidential candidate, Bola Tinubu, was rushed off the stage due to health concerns at his rally in Minna, the Niger State capital.

Onanuga in a statement said that the crowd that turned up to welcome Tinubu at the rally was so massive and unprecedented that the former governor of Lagos State had to address them briefly.

  • The statement partly reads, “A massive crowd of APC supporters welcomed the presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, to Minna on Wednesday, as he arrived for the mega rally.
  • “The cheering crowd was unprecedented, according to journalists at the Trade Fair Complex, venue of the rally.
  • “The crowd was so huge that Tinubu spoke briefly to appreciate the supporters and identified the party candidates seeking elective positions.
  • “Contrary to the rumours that he was rushed off stage because of health concerns, Tinubu cut it short to attend to other programmes of the day.

December 15

Governor Chukwuma Soludo of Anambra State has described Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as one of the two leading candidates for next year’s presidential election.

He made the comment at the Governor’s Lodge in Awka, Anambra State on Thursday when Atiku visited him before attending a campaign rally ahead of the polls.

This appears to be a dig at the presidential candidate of the Labour party, who he had in a lengthy write-up, written off his presidential bid, saying there was no way he could win the election.

Soludo had a few weeks back said there are only 2 contenders for the presidency and described others as “exciting drama!”

December 16

The Northern Elders Forum (NEF) raised the alarm over some politicians allegedly taking advantage of vulnerable persons in the North, especially women, to buy their permanent voter cards (PVCs).

The NEF’s Director of Publicity and Advocacy, Dr Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, made a live appearance on Channels Television’s Politics Today on Friday, where he gave more insight into the Forum’s recent findings on the alleged proliferation of vote suppression in the region.

December 17

President Muhammadu Buhari, in his preview of the forthcoming general election in 2023, once again maintained that his administration would conduct a credible poll that would be acceptable to all candidates participating in the exercise.

The president made this commitment on Friday in Washington DC, the United States capital, at an interactive session.

Buhari, according to a statement issued by his spokesperson, Mallam Garba Shehu, stated that the INEC has no reason not to be ready for next year’s elections, insisting also that no local government area in Nigeria is under the control of Boko Haram.

December 17

Meanwhile, despite Buhari’s assurance that the conduct of the 2023 elections would be acceptable to all the candidates, the National Chairman of the Labour Party, Abure, has raised the alarm that the series of attacks and killing of the party’s leaders and candidates have shown that there might never be hitch-free elections in 2023.

He was speaking against the backdrop of the murder of the party’s candidate for Onuimo Constituency in the Imo State House of Assembly, Mr Christopher Elehu, by gunmen suspected to be hired killers on Friday.

He also recounted the recent killing of a women leader of the party in Kaduna State, pointing out that no one has been charged in court.

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