FCT Poll: APC, PDP, others battle in councils today as security, infrastructure top campaigns

February 12, 2022
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Improved infrastructure, standard of education, security, skills acquisition for youths and women and construction of feeder roads top campaign promises as 14 political parties go to polls today for Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Area Council election.

The election will be held in the 68 wards spread across Bwari, Abaji, Gwagwalada, Kuje, Kwali and Abuja Municipal Council (AMAC) area councils of the territory.

As published in its final list, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) noted that a total of 473 candidates sponsored by 14 political parties will participate in the poll.

The FCT is the only part of the country where the commission is required by law to conduct local government elections.

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During the campaign period of the poll which is perceived as a microcosm as well as a launch pad to test their strength ahead of the 2023 general elections, the APC and PDP candidates were during the past weeks seen making moves to attain victory.

Boosted by a massive social media campaign and a formidable alliance, the PDP announced a 35-member campaign team for poll last Friday chaired by Benue State Governor Samuel Ortom while Oyo State Governor Seyi Makinde serves as secretary of the high profile committee.

On its part, the APC on Monday also inaugurated 133-member national campaign council led by Ebonyi State Governor David Umahi and Nasarawa State  Abdullahi Sule as co-chair.

In the build-up to the election, the APC and PDP candidates hit the hustings for the campaign season in a chaotic and colourful charm offensive across the streets of the FCT aimed at wooing voters who typically seem to be more interested in personalities than policies.

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According to INEC’s CVR update for Quarter 3, week 5, it has received 186,515 fresh registrants with 429,986 complete registration in the FCT.

Recall that at the end of the election in 2019, the APC emerged winners in four out of the six area councils while the PDP got the remaining two area councils.

Commenting on the exercise, the FCT Resident Electoral Commissioner of INEC, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, said the commission had already deployed all the non-sensitive materials for the conduct of the February 12 FCT Area Council Election to the six area councils in the territory.

According to him, over 12,000 ad-hoc staff had been trained for the conduct of the election in 2,822 polling units across the six area councils of the territory.

Some of the major political leaders in the election, Ahmed Baba of the APC, Yunusa Umar PDP and Philip Chukwudi of APGA said their parties were fully ready for the election.

Despite the readiness of some political parties in some area councils, that can not be said about the APC in Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC) whose candidates were enmeshed in the controversy over who the substantive chairmanship candidate of the party is barely 48 hours to the election.

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However, the Supreme Court struck out the case of Hon. Suleiman Alhassan Gwagwa challenging Hon Murtala Karshi as the substantive candidate of the APC in Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC) area council.

Karshi had approached the Supreme Court for justice challenging the judgment of the Appeal Court which favoured Gwagwa as the substantive candidate of the APC in the February 12 election.

Hon Justice Chima Centus Nweze from Enugu State who read the judgment said all evidence presented by the defendant to challenge the candidacy of Karshi lacked merit.

He then struck out all their cases for lack of merit, while declaring the appellant, Murtal Karshi, as the substantive chairmanship candidate of APC in AMAC.

Prior to the verdict, pundits believe that with barely two days to the elections, AMAC is as good as not having a chairmanship candidate to contest for the election, because the party can not contest for the election without a candidate duly recognised and documented by the INEC.

Speaking on the controversy surrounding the party’s candidate in AMAC, the chairman of the APC in FCT, Abdulmalik Usman, said there was little the party could do as the matter was at the Supreme Court, so the party gave them the nod to go about their campaigns.

Despite all the tension as residents wait to elect their leaders for the next three years, a cross-section of eligible voters in the territory expressed concern about the collection of Permanent Voters Card (PVC).

While calling on INEC to resolve all issues surrounding the collection of PVC, the voters also stressed the need for the Commission to ensure a free, fair, and credible election.

Police Relax Movement Restriction

The Nigeria Police Force has relaxed the earlier restriction on vehicular and human movement during today’s FCT election.

The FCT police command said yesterday it decided to relax the restriction so that people can freely move and cast their votes.

The commissioner of police, Sunday Babaji, assured members of public of the provision of a water tight security before, during and after the election and urged members of the public to come out in their numbers to vote for candidates of their choice.

“Members of the public are hereby advised to go about their normal legitimate businesses without the fear of harassment or molestation of any kind from any security agencies,” he said.

He also called on residents to remain vigilant and report any suspicious or abnormal occurrence to the police through the following emergency lines: 08032003913, 08061581938, 07057337653 and 08028940883.

The various sectors and their corresponding contacts include:  Karshi/Karu: 07031288054,    09051515353; Abaji/ Robochi: 07039025916; Zuba/Deidei: 07069432758; Kwali:  07084460616; Gwagwalada: 08039671340; Kuje: 08099904277, 08060505350; Kabusa: 08034528322; Bwari: 08033543835; HQ Response team: 08061336830.

FCT police PRO, DSP Josephine Adeh said this was  in readiness for the election as the police had  put in place the creation of a “9 sector re-enforcement team “ comprising of the police and other sister agencies.

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