Bayelsa, Imo & Kogi: Tinubu Calls for Free And Fair Elections

President Bola Tinubu has issued an appeal to all candidates participating in the governorship elections scheduled for November 11 in Bayelsa, Imo, and Kogi states, as well as the electorate, to prioritize and ensure free and fair elections. The President conveyed this message in Abuja during the presentation of the All Progressives Congress’ flags to the party’s standard-bearers for the upcoming elections.

The party flags were formally presented by Tinubu to the respective candidates: Timipre Sylva for Bayelsa State, Governor Hope Uzodimma of Imo State, who is seeking re-election for a second term, and Ahmed Ododo for Kogi State. This gesture serves to symbolize the party’s endorsement of these candidates as they vie for leadership positions in their respective states.

In light of the significance of these elections, President Tinubu’s call for free and fair electoral processes underscores the importance of conducting these elections with transparency and integrity, ensuring that the will of the people is accurately reflected in the final outcomes.

Tinubu declares, “All I am pleading for is for free and fair elections. I believe we will do well.”

The President expressed optimism about the ruling party’s chances of victory in the off-season elections, noting the hard work and records of the candidates, as well as the collective efforts of party officials, members of the APC National Working Committee, and the APC National Chairman, Dr Abdullahi Ganduje.

He said the collective efforts of the party men were factors inspiring his optimism in the forthcoming elections.

“I want to thank the Governor of Kogi State, Yahaya Bello, who is working hard to ensure a handover to our candidate, Ahmed Ododo.”

“We are happy to have Hope Uzodimma, the great hope of our party and chairman of the Progressives Governors Forum. Thank you for the good job you are doing,” Tinubu said.

To the Bayelsa governorship candidate, he stated, “Timipre Sylva, congratulations on what you have achieved as a former governor and former minister.

“We are all facing this crusade for democracy, particularly in this time of elections. It is our hope, and we have Hope Uzodimma as a candidate, that we will always come out victorious.”

Addressing State House Correspondents after the flag presentation, the APC National Chairman, Ganduje, said, “Taking you back memory lane in 1999 when democracy came back to Nigeria, there was a general election which produced the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the governors of the states, but later on, due to litigation and court processes and judgments, a new dimension was created that resulted into off-season elections.

“We visited the three states (Bayelsa, Imo and Kogi) and inaugurated the campaign councils. Today, Mr President has given his endorsements and also provided the flags to the three gubernatorial candidates.”

Meanwhile, the Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Christopher Musa, has said electoral violence would not be condoned in the November 11 governorship polls.

The CDS said the military would enforce the presidential directives ordering it to deal decisively with the perpetrators of electoral violence.

A statement on Thursday by the Director, Defence Information, Brig. Gen. Tukur Guasu, said the CDS spoke during a visit to the Kogi State Government House.

Gusau noted that the CDS assured the Kogi government of the safety of the citizens before, during, and after the election.

“He warned Kogi people to desist from electoral violence and embrace peace and tolerance,” the statement said.

The CDS equally warned troops participating in the election to be professional in their conduct.

In the same vein, the Inspector General of Police, Olukayode Egbetokun, has ordered a clampdown on troublemakers who may wish to disrupt the elections.

Egbetokun gave the order on Thursday when he convened a crucial meeting with political leaders and other relevant stakeholders at the Rockview Hotel, Owerri, to discuss vital election security-related matters.

The Force Public Relations Officer, Olumuyiwa Adejobi, who disclosed this in a statement on Thursday said, “The IGP emphasised that the officers deployed for electioneering processes have undergone rigorous training on election monitoring, guaranteeing robust security at polling units, and protecting the fundamental rights of all well-meaning members of the public as part of the NPF’s thrust in upholding democratic principles.

“The IGP urged all political parties to engage in constructive dialogue and embrace a peaceful atmosphere during the election period in order to foster a harmonious and peaceful environment for a credible and successful electoral process.”