With less than 48 hours to the 2019 governorship elections in Nigeria, political parties are consolidating their alliances in preparation for the crucial polls.
Before campaigns ended last night, there were realignment of forces, last-minute defections and judicial interventions in some of the states.
The Federal High Court in Abuja dismissed a case against Ogun State All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate Dapo Abiodun, saying an NYSC certificate is no constitutional requirement for an electoral office.
The Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja ruled that Sen. Ayogu Eze is the authentic candidate of the APC. Here is a report of events in the various states:
Former Governor and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chieftain Gbenga Daniel endorsed Abiodun. Though Daniel did not defect to the APC, he urged his supporters to vote for Abiodun tomorrow.
This endorsement followed a Wednesday night meeting at his Asoludero Court in Sagamu.
With this, Daniel has turned his back on PDP governorship candidate Buruji Kashamu.
Aside Daniel’s endorsement, Abiodun also received the backing of six governorship candidates and 14 political parties.
The party chairmen who backed Abiodun include Adeyinka Adeyemi(Alliance For Social Democrats), Olusegun Oluyemi (Better Nigeria Progressive Party), Asimiyu Arisekola(Advanced Allied Party), Kelani Alao (African People’s Alliance), Adekunle Owode (National Action Council), Odejide Radio (Democratic People’s Congress) and Adeshina Abraham (People’s Progressive Party).
Others are Otunba Rasheed Odebude (People’s Trust), Bolanle Bello(People for Democratic Change), Otunba Femi Soluade( Mass Action Junction Alliance), Prince Talabi Abiodun(People’s Coalition Party(PDP) and two others.
The parties, in a statement jointly signed by their chairmen, said they shared the same ideologies and would work with the APC to take the state to a greater height.
The six governorship candidates, in a statement signed under the aegis of the Governorship Candidates Forum, said they decided to support Abiodun because of his plans and programmes.
The governorship candidates are: Olusegun Olufemi of Better Nigeria Progressives Party, Femi Olomu (Alliance of Social Democrats) and Adegbola John (Advanced Allied Party).
The others are Odejide Adio (Democratic People’s Congress), Adeshina Abraham (People’s Progressives Party) and Lanre Banjo (People’s Trust).
Also, a House of Representatives candidate of the Social Democratic Party, Yewa-South/Ipokia Federal Constituency and a House of Assembly candidate of the Alliance for Democracy, Yewa South State constituency, Olukayode Idowu and Boluwatife Salako, adopted Abiodun.
Abiodun also received a legal victory when a court yesterday ruled in his favour in a case over his National Youth Service Corp (NYSC) certificate.
The APC governorship hopeful’s rival, Adekunle Akinlade of the Allied Peoples Movement (APM), got the backing of the Sikirulai Ogundele-led faction of the PDP.
Ogundele announced the endorsement at a news conference in Abeokuta. The governorship candidate of the faction, Hon. Ladi Adebutu, on Wednesday failed in his legal bid to nullify Kashamu’s nomination.
Ogundele directed its members across the state to come out en-masse tomorrow and vote for Akinlade.
“Ogun is an important state in Nigeria and our decision has been informed by the need to sustain the state in the area of development, which the current administration has initiated.
“Politics is about credibility, responsiveness and integrity, among others, and we have found all these qualities in Akinlade.
“We believe that this development will enhance his chances of winning the governorship polls in the state,” he said.
The chances of APC governorship candidate Adebayo Adelabu received a major boost with his adoption by 13 political parties under the aegis of the Forum of Political Parties.
Former Governor Adebayo Alao-Akala also urged Ogbomoso people to rally behind the APC governorship candidate to enhance the historic city of warriors’ growth.
The chairmen of the 13 political parties conveyed their adoption of the APC candidate in a joint March 6 letter addressed to the APC State Chairman, Chief Akin Oke.
The signatories include Mr. Abimbola Azeez of the Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN); Otunba A. Fagbemi, Allied Peoples Movement (APM); United Progressive Party (UPP), Sunday Badejo; Grassroots Development Party of Nigeria (GDPN), Mr. Abass Oladimeji; and Young Democratic Party (YDP), Mr. Chris Ayanniyi.
Others are the Northern People’s Congress (NPC), Akin Adelekan; Independent Democrats (ID), Chief Wasiu Are; Mr. Bolaji Olugbode of the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) as well as the chairmen of Mass Action Joint Alliance (MAJA), Nigeria Elements Progressive Party (NEPP), Peoples Democratic Movement (PDM), Re-Build Nigeria Party (RBNP) and Democratic People’s Party (DPP).
The ex-governor, who sacrificed his second term prospect under the Action Democratic Party to support Adelabu, addressed a tumultuous crowd of party supporters at a mega rally held at the façade of Soun Ogunlola Hall, Ogbomoso, on Wednesday.
Also on the campaign trail were prominent leaders of Ogbomoso, including a former local government chairman, Chief Dayo Lawal and a Fourth Republic Senator, Gen. Brimmo Yusuf (retd.)
Alao-Akala visited the Soun of Ogbomoso, Oba Jimoh Oyewumi, with Adelabu and his running mate, Samuel Egunjobi. He said that his alliance with the APC was in the best interest of the city.
After perusing the blueprint of the two governorship candidates jostling for his endorsement, Alao-Akala said that he settled for the APC candidate based on what he called his superior credentials, track record, pedigree and ability to deliver on electioneering promises.
Urging Ogbomoso residents to cast their vote for Adelabu, the ex-governor assured them that they would not regret it.
He added that the enormity of the task ahead had made it imperative for a coalition of interests and the coming together of political parties desirous of making appreciable impact at the governorship election.
Alao-Akala said: “You know we are not new in this game of politics. I have carefully assessed the credentials of the people seeking my support and I have no equivocation in settling for Bayo Adelabu of the APC.
“My alliance with the APC for the governorship election is in our best interest in Ogbomoso. I have never misled you and I will not mislead you on this. The alliance will be of tremendous benefit to us. I have told the APC leadership, up to the national level, what Ogbomoso wants.
“I told them that Ladoke Akintola University of Technology is our own heritage here, that the hospital needs attention and we want them to bring it up to the admirable standard we dreamt of it. Ilorin-Ogbomoso Road has suffered inexplicable neglect over the years and I have also secured assurances that it will receive the needed attention, if the APC candidate wins.
“Therefore, I urge you to vote for Bayo Adelabu of the APC as governor on Saturday. We stand to gain a lot from an APC government at the state and national levels. I’m not in this for myself, but in the interest of Ogbomoso.”
Adelabu expressed gratitude to Alao-Akala for backing him.
Noting that the Ilorin-Ogbomoso road is the gateway to the North, he promised to collaborate with the Federal Government to ensure its completion, if he is elected as the governor.
In Ilorin, the Kwara State capital, a group, known as O2 Liberation Movement, marched through major streets to rally support for the APC governorship candidate AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq in tomorrow polls.
The group was confident that the APC would repeat the feat of the February 23rd presidential and National Assembly elections in the Governorship and States’ House of Assembly elections.
Speaking with reporters, Chairman of the movement, Alhaji Hassan Owoyale said: “We are organising one million-man march in solidarity for the APC governorship candidate in Kwara State and we are calling on all Kwarans to support and vote en masse just as they did two weeks ago for the party and all its candidates at the polls.
“We believe in the ideology of APC, President Muhammadu Buhari and Alhaji AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq. We are confident that if Alhaji
Abdulrazaq becomes the governor, he will govern differently. Nothing is working in Kwara. We believe that Alhaji Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq is bringing in change. His government will work and be for the people. Not the government that will take our commonwealth to another part of the country.
“The entire people of Kwara State are tired of this administration. They want change and that is what we are clamouring for. This liberation struggle has been on for the 10 years and we have been talking to people that we want a government that will give us free education, free health for our people and many things that we deserve in democracy.
“The Liberation movement group at the last weekend visited some APC stalwarts to celebrate the party’s victory during the presidential and National Assembly elections.”
Some chieftains visited included former governorship candidate Mohammed Dele Belgore, Alhaji Olosasa, Alhaji Musa Maiyaki, Dr Saliu Ajia, Lanre Sulyman, Dr Amuda Aluko among others