The All Progressives Congress (APC) in Yobe State yesterday staged a ‘grand rally’ ahead of the December 28 local government elections in the state; even as party chieftains took turns to condemn the recent declaration by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) that elections may not hold in the state as a result of insecurity.
The rally, which was witnessed by who is who of Yobe APC was led by the state governor, Alhaji Ibrahim Gaidam, who also presented the party’s flags to the 17 chairmanship candidates nominated to contest the forthcoming council polls.
Gaidam said the large turnout of Yobe residents at the rally negates the pronouncement of the INEC chairman, Prof. Attahiru Jega that elections might not take place in any state under emergency rule come 2015.
Yobe, Adamawa, and Borno, all controlled by the APC, are currently under a state of emergency.
“We as a people and state are determined to prove the skeptics wrong that we in Yobe state can conduct peaceful and hitch free election, security challenges notwithstanding,” Gaidam said.
He added that “By Allah’s grace, we shall put them to shame, because our resolve to conduct local council elections is geared towards restoring hope and confidence in local governance and to providing grassroots link for our new party, APC”.
The governor also took a swipe at the Peoples’ Democratic Party, PDP-led federal government, saying it was as a result of the failure of the federal ruling party that “people from other parties, including executive governors, senators, members of House of Reps, across the country; as well as notable supporters of PDP here in the state are defecting to APC”.
Similarly, a former governor of the state now Senator, Bukar Abba-Ibrahim, noted that the emergence of APC was a plan that had been in the works since 1998 and that it was a natural course of events that the party is coming out strongly now because it has long been awaited to take Nigeria out of the woods to the promised land.
Abba-Ibrahim declared that the PDP would be replaced at the center by the APC in 2015. He added that the large turnout of party supporters at the rally, which was the first major outing of the new party, is a “clear sign that the APC will continue to rule in the next 100 days”.
On his part, Senator Ahmed Lawan of Yobe Zone C senatorial constituency said APC was a party of necessity.
“The PDP administration in Nigeria has failed. It is a global conclusion that the current President Jonathan’s administration in the centre has not delivered and cannot deliver. Hence it has been a general agreement that it should be pushed out come 2015.
“Our people in Yobe have been supportive and law abiding. We expect the federal government of Nigeria to be supportive of our administration. We have spent so much of our money in maintaining the security situation here in Yobe state. The federal government has owed us a lot and as you have been told earlier, Mr. President, this should be a reminder. Give us a special package so that our governor will continue to develop this state”, he said.
Another Senator, Alhaji Alkali Jajere of Yobe Zone B, argued that INEC had no right to stop elections in Yobe.
“I had responded immediately to Professor Jega that there is never a portion in the Electoral Act where it was written that general elections cannot be conducted in an area that witnessed conflict.
“However, Jega’s declaration is a good development, because by virtue of our prayers as a people, God has exposed the evil plotting of the PDP, which is bent on seeing that they use every means to win elections in Yobe state”, he said.