The main headlines of mainstream Nigerian newspapers of Monday, March 18, are focused on the supplementary gubernatorial elections in six states on Saturday, March 23, the declaration by the presidency that President Muhammadu Buhari will not comprise the electoral process to favour candidates of the APC during the supplementary polls, among others.
The Guardian reports that the All Progressives Congress said the supplementary governorship elections in Benue, Sokoto, Kano, Plateau, Adamawa and Rivers states would be won by the party.
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) also said it would be victorious in the supplementary elections in the six states.
The APC said in a statement: “Even though the PDP claims a bogus lead of over 81,000 votes, reports strongly establish that this dodgy figure is an aggregate of ‘votes’ obtained by subterfuge not from the numbers recorded by the card reader. There were cases in Logo, Gwer-West, Vandeikya, Guma, Buruku and Gboko Local Governments where the card reader was not used."
The national publicity secretary of the PDP also said: “In Benue, it is clear that the people have rejected the APC as clearly demonstrated even in the presidential election. Benue State has always been home to the PDP. It is incontestable that our party has the largest genuine followership in all the units, wards and local government areas of the state and as such does not need any underhand measure to secure victory in any election in the state."
The Punch reports that candidates of the APC where supplementary elections will hold on Saturday, March 23, were warned that President Muhammadu Buhari would not compromise the electoral process to favour them.
The warning was given on Sunday, March 17, by the presidency.
Political leaders making inflammatory statements were also warned ahead of the polls to desist from such acts immediately.
The presidency said in a statement signed by the senior special assistant on media and publicity to the president, Garba Shehu: “The Presidency also rejects unfair and ridiculous criticisms of President Muhammadu Buhari’s apparent disinterest in the upcoming elections in some states by party members who wrongfully assume that the President will abuse power by changing results to favour them.
“Past presidents of Nigeria were known to interfere in inconclusive elections, and that is why party members appear to be upset that the same thing is not happening now, but President Buhari is a different kind of leader. He swore to defend the constitution and will not veer off from that."
Vanguard on its part reports that Port Harcourt activists and former agitators in the Niger Delta are divided in their choice of gubernatorial candidate ahead of the continuation of the election in Rivers state.
Agitators on the platform of 21st Century Youths of Niger Delta and Agitators with Conscience urged President Muhammadu Buhari to put the minister of transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, under control.
A statement by the ex-agitators read: "There may be a full-blown oil war, if our rights, aspiration and determination as a people to use our Permanent Voters Cards, PVCs, to choose or elect our preferred candidate and representatives are further trampled upon."
The former agitators are supporting Governor Nyesom Wike's re-election, while the Niger Delta Security Watch Organisation of Nigeria (NDSWON) is supporting Amaechi's anointed candidate, Awara Biokpomabo of Africa Action Congress (AAC).
This Day reports that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said it did not request for the deployment of soldiers in its collation centres ahead of the Saturday, March 23 supplementary elections in six states.
INEC national commissioner and chairman of Voter Education and Publicity Committee, Festus Okoye,said: “I am not aware that the commission requested for the deployment of soldiers in collation centres."
According to The Nation, the All Progressives Congress accused the Independent National Electoral Commission of working with the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to deny it is victory in some states.
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Rejecting the commission’s decision on the results from Tafawa Balewa local government area of Bauchi state, APC alleged that its agents were not invited to witness the investigations conducted by the commission.
According to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the APC was playing the victim.
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