By Mumini Abdulkareem
All appears to be set for the much awaited local government election scheduled for Saturday in Kwara state following the conclusion of campaigns among political parties across the sixteen local governments.
After the release of the time-table for the election few months back by the Kwara State Independent Electoral Commission (KWSIEC), about 28 parties were expected to take part in the exercise.
But that numbers where however reduced to about 17 with only the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) being the dormant parties in the contest.
While the APC fielded candidates for all the 16 chairmanship positions and 193 local councillors, the PDP where short of 4 chairmanship tickets and about 139 councillors.
The parties have now rounded up their campaigns in line with the constitutional requirement that campaigns must not exceed 48 hours to the day of the election which lapse today.
The APC penultimate Monday in Ilorin West, kicked off its campaign at a colourful ceremony which saw the handing of the party flag to its chairmanship candidate, Hajia Aminat Aromoke Omodara.
The event, which took place at the party secretariat, Agbo-Oba Area, Ilorin, was attended by notable party stalwarts, members and supporters.
The Chief of Staff, Government House, Ilorin, Alhaji Yusuf Babatunde Abdulwahab; former Secretary to the state government, Alhaji Saka Isau (SAN); Kwara Central Senatorial chairman of APC, Alhaji Jimoh Adesina and former chairman of Kwara State Local Government Service Commission, Alhaji Suleiman Kayode Yusuf were among dignitaries at the event.
Others were APC chieftain, Alhaji Saadu Saka; Special Adviser to Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed on Rural Energy and Electrification, Alhaji Musa Abdullahi; ex-APC state woman leader, Hajia Muslimat Ibrahim; Hon Segilola Abdulkadir of the state House of Assembly; Commissioner for Women Affairs, Hajia Ayinke Saka and her Sports and Youth Development counterpart, Pharm Kale Ayo, among others.
Speaking at the flag off, the Chairman of APC in the council, Alhaji Suleiman Bala Olarewaju said the party has fully prepared for the polls and describe the party’s candidates as credible and popular
He urged the people of the council to vote massively for them, assuring that the party would not betray the people’s confidence.
The representative of the Senate President, Alhaji Ali Olola, said the emergence of APC candidates was an indication that the party leadership respects the popular opinion of the people.
He expressed confidence in the victory of all candidates of APC in view of their credibility and competency, assuring that the welfare of the masses would be the priority of all APC candidates if elected.
The programme featured presentation of party flag to the flag-bearers, Hajia Aminat Omodara and her vice, Hon Salihu Yusuf, while about hundred members of opposition parties who defected to APC were also received by the party leaders.
But since that launch, the party had embargoed campaigns across the wards in the local government with Omodara trying to sell her manifestos to the electorates.
For Ilorin West, the PDP candidate comrade Misbaudeen Esinrogunjo said although the campaign has been stressful and hectic, it was worth the sacrifice since the course was about the people.
Esinrogunjo, who flaged his campaign with a visit to the palace of the Emir of Ilorin, Alhaji Ibrahim Sulu Gambari, has also traverse the nook and crannies of the Ilorin West, soliciting for votes which last late into the night in convoys.
In Oke-Ero, the leadership of the APC stated that the party will maintain its victory in the council in the forthcoming local government election.
The Kwara South Senatorial chairman, Alhaji Jimoh Balogun, who led other party officials to the flag off in Oke-Ero, disclosed that the APC will not leave any stone unturned in its quest to produce another outstanding result during the exercise.
The former Commissioner for Agriculture, Barrister Anthony Kayode Towoju pleaded with the party leadership for the consideration of Oke Ero in state appointments.
On his part, the chairman of the party in the council, Chief Joseph Adeniyi said he wants government to give his council its quota in the state and appointment.
“We believe our leader, Saraki who told us not to worry during 2015 election that what is due will be given to us in terms of political appointment. We still believe in that that is why we are pleading for consideration.” He noted
The chairman, who rounded up the exercise yesterday, noted that the party will not let the people down if they are entrusted with their vote.
In Moro, the senatorial chairman of Kwara North, Alhaji Isiaka Oniwa said it entertain no fear over its imminent victory in the coming poll, adding that the APC enjoys majority of the support of the people of the council.
Oniwa, who spoke during the campaign rally for the chairmanship candidate in Moro, Alhaji Saka Mumini Eleyele, his running mate, Alhaja Iyabo AbdulRasaq and the 17 councillors, led other party stalwarts, including the Deputy Speaker of the Kwara State House of Assembly, Hon Matthew Okedare (Jebba), Alhaji AbdulRaheem Adisa, among others to Ajanaku, Arobadi. Megida, Jehunkunu, Malete, Wumiayaki, among others.
They solicited for votes from the electorate and promises to fulfil all the campaign promised if elected.
In Kaiama, the APC campaign, which flag off took place at township field, Kaiama, was well attended by party stalwarts, members and supporters who graced the occasion.
The candidate for the party in the area, Alhaji Abubakar Abdullahi Bata assured the people that he is going to the council if elected, willing to serve and contribute his quota to the development of his people.
Also, the traditional ruler of Kaiama, Alhaji Muazu Omar, urged the people to vote massively for all the candidates of the APC and advised them not to betray the confidence reposed in them.
But while the parties are busying scouting for votes, KWSIEC and the state Police Command have held series of security meetings to make sure that the exercise is hitch free.
Following the hate speech campaign that had allegedly dominated the poll by some politicians, KWSIEC and the police initiated the peace accord, which all the parties signed at its premises.
Addressing the gathering, the Chairman of the state’s Independent Electoral Commission, Dr AbdulRahman Ajidagba, said the signing of the peace accord was to ensure that the Saturday’s councils poll is violence free
According to the Chairman, the signing of the peace accord, which was the first of its kind in the history of the Commission was necessitated by some negative utterances regarding the conduct of the election from politicians.
The Chairman reaffirmed the determination of the Commission to conduct free, fair and trouble free election in the state.
The Chairman of the security Committee for the election and the state Commissioner of Police. Alhaji Lawan Ado, said the security Committee would give a level playing ground for all participating political parties in the election.
Ado advised the leaders of the participating political parties to eschew violence and other negative tendencies that could mar the smooth conduct of the election in all parts of the state.