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PDP, APC Draw Battle Lines For Saturday’s Polls

By Guardian Nigeria
05 April 2015   |   3:46 am
The party National Chairman, Ahmed Adamu Muazu, said: ‎”Next week’s governorship election will certainly provide the Peoples Democratic Party a soft-landing after conceding the Presidency to the All Progressives Congress in the presidential election on March 28.”
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PDP-APC

• We’ll Capture 24 States — Muazu • They Are Dreaming, Says Oyegun • Police: We’re Watching Rivers, Imo, Kano, Kaduna • INEC Will Avert Hiccups

SMARTING from its defeat at the Presidential election, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has promised to win 24 states in the April 11 governorship and states’ Houses of Assembly elections.

The party National Chairman, Ahmed Adamu Muazu, said: ‎”Next week’s governorship election will certainly provide the Peoples Democratic Party a soft-landing after conceding the Presidency to the All Progressives Congress in the presidential election on March 28.”

In a statement he issued yesterday in Abuja, Muazu said: “I urge the PDP faithful to pick up the pieces and ensure that we return quickly to our old winning ways.

There should be no room for voter apathy that was a major factor to our losing the presidential election. While our opponents are savouring their famous victory, we should outflank them and corner at least two thirds of the states of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”

But in a reaction, the National Chairman of the APC, Chief John Oyegun, said yesterday that the PDP is living in the past, vowing that the APC will again spring another surprise. “The PDP can continue living in the past.

Nigerians are getting wise to their antics. They can dream. There is no way we are going to lose Lagos State. I am sure they are getting carried away by certain factors in the state: wait till April 11.

Many of the states that went to them are already seeing the errors in their judgment and are retracing their steps, determined to join the wind of change blowing across the country; a change which has not only excited Nigerians but also the global community.”   Also shedding light on why “the PDP will continue to suffer defeat in the hands of the APC”, the spokesperson of the Buhari campaign organization, Malam Garba Shehu, said: “Even without prompting, the bandwagon effect will be there. Nigerians are good copycats.

Nobody would want to be on the side of the loser. So, we expect a landslide in the governorship election. With what has happened now, there would be a level playing field for all. If the election is free and fair, without undue interference from the security agents and other anti-democratic forces, we will do well in the South South and South East.”

Expressing hope that PDP would win in Lagos, Muazu said that it would not be an impossible target to get a massive victory in the next election “if we return to our elements with immediate effect. We have done it before and we can do it again.

Nothing will be sweeter than PDP taking Lagos, our own Rivers State and Imo. Our candidates in these states are first class materials who have fully penetrated the political structures of those states and are set to win.”

He said: “Our target in this remaining election should be to retain our present states and then sink our teeth into the heart of our political opponents and show that their presidential victory is nothing more than a one-off that won’t be repeated in a long while.” He ruled out the possibility of a bandwagon effect that could swing victory in most of the states in favour of the ‎APC.

“I had assured our gubernatorial candidates that one thing that won’t happen in this gubernatorial race is the so called bandwagon effect. The reason is simple. Our party is used to bouncing back whenever we experience a setback.” The Independent Electoral Commission (INEC), meanwhile, has said it is determined to address challenges that marred the March 28 elections.

The March 28 election had instances of card reader failures, among other shirtfalls, prompting widespread criticism of the electoral body. Chairman of the Commission, Prof Attahiru Jega, last week, assured that INEC would do all it can to address the problems that characterized the use of card readers before next Saturday’s elections.

“INEC is committed to improving elections in the country. We have identified some of the challenges and will ensure that they are addressed before the governorship and state Assembly elections. We hope to continue to work with the National Assembly so that we keep improving the electoral process and deepen our democracy,” Jega said.

The Nigeria Police Force, on its part, has said it will bridge gaps identified in its performance during the March 28 elections. Force Public Relations Officer (FPRO), Emmanuel Ojukwu, said: “Presidential election has just passed.

We intend to improve this time around. The IG (Inspector General of Police) will be meeting with Senior Police officers to brief them on how to improve on our performance. We have reviewed our performance and we intend to make up for the lapses.” A source at Force Headquarters said: “In Rivers, Imo, some parts of Benue, Kano, Kaduna and some other states, it has become expedient to deploy more security operatives, so as to ensure enhanced manpower to forestall a repeat of the last experience.”

Security concerns ahead of the governorship election in Rivers State was heightened over the weekend by the killings and attacks on some All Progressives Congress members in three communities. Worst still, some ex-militants have threatened a show down with the Rivers State governor, Chibuike Amaechi, who is perceived to have played a crucial role in the electoral misfortune of President Jonathan, which saw APC candidate, General Muhammadu Buhari, emerge victorious. ‎

Barely a week to the polls, unknown gunmen stormed the residence of an APC chieftain and former Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni Local Government Area Chairman, Christopher Adube, at Obrikom killing him, his two sons and a brother who was visiting. Sources in Obrikom told The Guardian that the gunmen later invaded the APC secretariat at Obrikom and vandalized it. One person was reportedly murdered there too.

The gunmen also went to Obor, a neighbouring community and killed a security man at the residence of a former councilor, Vincent Ogbagu, and set the building ablaze. Not done, they also went to the home of Ogbagu’s elder brother and killed his security guard.

The gunmen also attacked the home of a top chieftain of the APC in Omoku, Mr. Sambo, and that of Rivers State Commissioner of Power, Mr. Augustine Wokocha. Though Governor Amaechi has given assurance that this week’s election would be peaceful, the security situation in Rivers State remains precarious. The PDP and the APC are determined to win.

With security agencies at odds with the state government, there are fears turnout might be low. “This time, election will be peaceful, free and fair. Last time, we saw policemen thumb printing for them.

This time, they will not. If they do that, take their name, take their number, record them for us,” Amaechi said.  Some ex-militants, particularly of Ijaw extraction, aggrieved over the defeat of President Jonathan, have vowed to deprive the APC of its attempt to retain the governorship position, threatening fire and brimstone.