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Nigerians go to polls tomorrow

By Sunmola Olowookere, Jubril Bada Adekola Afolabi & Jimoh Ahmed
Nigerians will tomorrow go to the polls to elect a new President and National Assembly members, just as some notable  people have outlined issues that will likely shape the winner of the elections, considering the circumstances the country has found herself.

The two major contenders in the presidential election are President Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress, APC, and the former vice president, Alhaji Atiku  Abubakar who is the presidential candidate of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.

But in all, there are 59 presidential candidates in the election. The list included Donald Duke of Social Democratic Party (SDP), Kingsley Moghalu of Young Peoples Party (YPP), Omoyele Sowore of Africa Action Congress (AAC), Tope Fasua of Abundant Nigeria Renewal Party (ANRP) and Fela Durotoye of Alliance for New Nigeria (ANN), among others.

Political parties and their candidates had embarked on vigorous campaigns across the country to sell themselves and their candidates to the electorate.

X-raying issues that may shape voters’ decision in the election, a university don, Dr Theo Adebowale said the antecedents of the major contenders would be a major factor in deciding who may win the poll.

Adebowale also harped on the credentials of the candidates, their integrity, trustworthiness and reliability would also play major roles.

He contended that the electorate would look out for a candidate with sound economic policy, regardless of the propaganda by different political parties.

In his own opinion, another university don, Dr Bayo Fasunwon highlighted issues such as party with effective grassroots mobilization, past records and effective campaigns as part of issues that could pose  serious factors on who wins.

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He also noted that the Nigerian factor of vote buying, and under-age voting if not properly checked could however influence the outcome of the election negatively.

Fasunwon explained that any candidate with integrity, vision, and people’s oriented policies stands a good chance of winning the election.

He noted that Nigerians would be looking forward to a president who has the capacity to create jobs, reduce poverty, develop infrastructure, reduce cost of living and above all, run a responsible government.

Meanwhile, an appeal has gone to the electorate on the need to vote wisely by electing credible and reliable candidate, especially as president to pilot the affairs of the country for the next four years.

People who spoke with The Hope called on the electorate to eschew violence and remain peaceful before, during and after the elections.

In his comment, the Olukare of Ikare Akoko, Oba Akadiri Saliu Momoh appealed to the electorate in Akoko land as well as Nigerians across party lines to shun all acts capable of truncating the existing peace in the area.

Oba Momoh specially charged the people to ensure that the prevailing peaceful atmosphere should be maintained during and after the election.

The monarch also charged the people, especially youths, to steer clear of thuggery and avoid being used as thugs by politicians.

He also appealed to parents to warn their children and wards not to fall prey to desperate politicians who might want to use them for their selfish ends.

The monarch, who posited that violence and thuggery are ill wind that blow nobody any good, said Akoko as a place stand to gain nothing from a violent riddled election process.

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In his opinion, a Nigerian political analyst based in Uganda, Dr. Oke Samuel warned that the elections may be marred by vote buying if Nigerians allowed themselves to be hoodwinked.

Oke-Samuel, a Senior Lecturer and Director, Kampala International University Law Clinic, School of Law, KIU, Uganda regretted a situation whereby many Nigerians are motivated by different mundane factors, major of which is money.

He expressed worry that vote buying may still play some ignoble roles in the elections if not checked.

He advised that the Nigerian electorate by now must be alive to their responsibilities of installing a credible leadership that can move the country forward and not allow themselves to be swayed by mundane things.

Oke Samuel expressed that Nigerians’ basic expectation is to have a leader that can address the many challenges that the country is facing which are: security, economy, power, job and others.

“But importantly, performance of the different contestants in the past should be a factor particularly the leading candidates. Job opportunities, power and energy, security are major issues on ground and crucial areas to be considered”.

The state Coordinator of AMICO, Victor Ogunbodede Asara, advised all Nigerians, especially the people of Ondo State to critically examine the candidate to be voted for, to know if he has the interest of the country at heart.

Asara emphasised that Nigerians must insist on electing credible, responsible and committed person as leader of the country and not a selfish and corrupt person who would do Nigeria no good.

“I want to call on all Nigerians to come out in their large numbers and vote peacefully, and make sure they defend their votes in Saturday’s elections. They should not fight or cause violence.

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On her part, Coordinator, Aserere Group, Mrs. Olawoye Adenike, particularly called on women across the state to participate actively and vote wisely.

A legal practitioner, Joseph Aremo, said the election day would afford the electorate another opportunity to choose good leader, just as he urged them to choose wisely so as not to regret in the near future.

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