24 HOURS TO PRESIDENTIAL POLLS: Gladiators in last-minute pitch as curtain falls on campaigns

  • Lagos, Kano, Kaduna, Rivers top in PVC collections
  • Buhari arrives Daura for presidential polls
  • US, UK, Australia, Japan, Canada, Norway seek credible elections


Uba Group

Political parties and their presidential candidates rounded off their campaigns with a flurry of last-minute pitches on Wednesday and Thursday as the curtain fell on jingles, adverts and other means of campaigns for the presidential and national assembly elections holding tomorrow, February 25.

Apart from the Peace Accord that they signed on Wednesday evening, the individual parties and candidates held several meetings, short audio broadcasts well within the allowed time frame in what is apparently a last-minute appeal to galvanise their supporters ahead of tomorrow.

Presidential candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress, Bola Tinubu, authored a persuasive two-page release to Nigerians.

Titled “Why I want to be your president”, Tinubu said, “Fellow Nigerians, it is with a tremendous sense of history and an immense awareness of the challenges ahead of us as a country that I address you today. For the past few months, my running mate, Senator Kashim Shettima and I and other leaders of our great party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) have traversed the length and breadth of our country in the course of our campaigns for the forthcoming presidential, governorship and legislative elections at all levels.

“I have been overwhelmed by the enthusiastic crowds that have trooped out to receive us in all the states we visited. On Tuesday, we had the grand finale of our rally in Lagos State. It is obvious to me from my interaction with our people across the country that, despite our challenges, the APC enjoys tremendous goodwill among the vast majority of our people.

“In all the states we have visited, there are visible landmarks of the huge impact the President Muhammadu Buhari administration has made in terms of infrastructural development in the form of rural and urban roads and expressways, modern railway tracks, as well as improved airport facilities, among others.

“Millions of our poor and vulnerable people have benefitted from the various social intervention programmes of the Buhari administration. The amounts disbursed to these categories of our people are unprecedented in terms of the sheer transfer of resources to the less privileged sections of the population not only in our country but in Africa.”

Then, Dele Alake, the Special Adviser, Media Communications and Public Affairs of the APCPCC, in a public announcement on Thursday, announced “to the general public that all campaign activities of the party and that of our candidate, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, towards Saturday’s presidential election will come to a conclusive and decisive end by midnight today, Thursday, February 23, 2023, in accordance with the provisions of the Electoral Act.

“As a law-abiding party, we hereby direct all our campaign organs and groups to ensure that no newspaper adverts or placement of any campaign TV or Radio commercials or any other such materials in the print, electronic or social media are done beyond the deadline of 12 midnight today as stipulated by the law.

“We urge all print, electronic and online publications to take note of this announcement and be properly guided in accordance with the law.”

He added that “We state emphatically that any such materials that contravene the laid down regulations and the law are unauthorized. They do not emanate from us and we will take no responsibility for them.”

Labour Party’s candidate, Peter Obi, in lengthy sundry tweets on Thursday declared that “Making the same old choice will yield the same result. We are Nigerians. We are rational citizens. We make rational decisions. Let us keep a date with our destiny. Let us make a new nation for future generations.

“The world is watching. We must take our destined position as the giant of Africa. You and I know the right thing to do. The greatest lie one can tell is a lie to one’s soul. If you are still undecided, please talk to yourself. Allow your conscience to guide you.

Calling on the people to come out and vote for him, he tweeted “Please come out and vote for Labour Party (LP). Please subscribe to success, to the triumph of a tested, trusted, and verified leadership. Do not renew the subscription to suffering, to the sorrow of tomorrow. A new Nigeria is possible. Let’s make it happen like a TEAM: Together, everyone achieves more.”

In Delta State, a chieftain of the PDP and immediate past governor of the state, Emmanuel Uduaghan, called on Nigerians, particularly Deltans, not to see the forthcoming elections beginning with tomorrow’s presidential and national assembly polls as a “do or die affair.”

Uduaghan, who was governor of the oil-rich state between 2007 and 2015, noted that there was a need for all political players to ensure that the elections were violence-free which represent the wishes of the electorate.

In a statement he personally signed on Thursday, Uduaghan said it would be “evil and devilish” for anyone to resort to violence on account of the approaching all-important elections in the country.


He stated that the country and Delta State had experienced enough violence in the past and called on all eligible voters to embrace peace before, during and after the polls.


In Kano, the State Police Command ordered the cancellation of all political rallies in the state following clashes between supporters of the APC and New Nigeria Peoples Party.

The APC and the leading opposition NNPP had planned for their grand finale on Thursday. But supporters of both parties engaged in a fierce battle.

The police authorities had invited the leadership of the APC, PDP and NNPP for an emergency meeting where they were cautioned of possible security threats in the state.

It was learnt that representatives of the APC and NNPP rejected the advice, but the police stood their ground.

Confirming the rally cancellation in a statement, DCP Muhammed said, “You recall that (three) political parties via APC, NNPP, and PDP informed the command of their rallies scheduled for Thursday, February 23, 2023, within Kano metropolis.

“In view of the precarious security situation in the state and the country in general, the commissioner of Police summoned the representatives of the three political parties to an emergency meeting to find a solution to the impasse.

“It is, therefore, advised that all political parties postpone the planned presidential/national assembly rallies to a later date after the February 25 elections.”

Earlier, unidentified hoodlums had attacked supporters of NNPP along Zaria road and set several vehicles ablaze.

The supporters were on their way to Kwanar Dangora to welcome Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, presidential candidate of the NNPP and former governor of the state, who was concluding his campaign rally.

The APC had planned its rally at Club road while the NNPP intended to start its own at Kwanar Dangora and proceed to Kwankwaso’s residence at Miller Road which is off Club road.

Lagos, Kano, Kaduna, Rivers top in PVC collections as Ekiti, Bayelsa, Yobe take the rear

Meanwhile, Lagos State is leading in the collection of Permanent Voters’ Card with 6,214,970 million which is 88%, followed by Kano State with 5,594,193 million being 94.5%, Kaduna State with 4, 164,475 million, Katsina State with 3,459,945 million, Rivers State 3, 285785 million.

Ekiti State retains its position as the least with 958,052 followed by Bayelsa State with 1,009,895 million and Yobe State with 1,437,851 million.

The North West is leading with a total of 21,445,000 million closely followed by the South West with 15,536,213 million.

The North Central states collected 14,603,621 million while the North East total collection is 11,937, 769 million.

The South South is 13, 284, 920 million while the South East collection totaled 10, 401, 484 million.

The total collection of PVC amounts to 87, 209, 007 million which is 93% of those expected to vote in the forthcoming elections nationwide.

Also, the Independent National Electoral Commission has said that it will invoke Section 34 of the Electoral Act to countermind the Enugu East Senatorial election for two weeks following the murder of the Labour Party’s candidate, Oyibo Chukwu by unknown assailants.

INEC Chairman Mahmood Yakubu while fielding questions during the first daily media briefing to herald the 2023 general elections said the law provides for such incidence and the Commission will act accordingly within the ambit of the law.

He, however, said the LP has not officially written to the Commission but assured that as soon as the letter reaches the Commission, action will be taken.

The INEC boss further noted that another case of death occurred in Kano and the party concerned informed the Commission and substituted the late candidate who has been buried since.

Yakubu further stated that the two weeks’ substitution period begins to count from the date the deceased passed on.

He said, “The General Election commences in next 41 hours, with the national elections (Presidential and National Assembly) on 25th February and state elections (Governorship and State Assembly) on 11th of March. The Commission has meticulously prepared and implemented its Election Project Plan, learning from recent elections.

“It is important to keep the sheer magnitude of Nigeria’s general elections in mind. The voter population of 93,469,008 is more than the total number of registered voters in all the other countries of West Africa put together. In addition, we shall be deploying to 176,606 polling units (excluding the 240 polling units without registered voters) simultaneously.”

He said, “This election is a huge logistical deployment. We have painstakingly procured, organised and delivered all the materials to the states for deployment. We commenced the delivery of non-sensitive materials over two months ago and they have been batched down to Registration Area/Ward and Pulling Unit levels. Sensitive materials have been delivered to the states and are presently being delivered to our Local Government Area offices.

“As such, these materials are only between one and two levels away from the Polling Units. We have achieved this by learning from our recent difficult experience with logistics. We have completed arrangements with the transport unions for the final leg of the movement of personnel and materials to the Polling Units. They have assured us of their readiness to provide all the vehicular needs of the Commission for the election.”

Yakubu stated that a major part of the Commission’s preparation for the general election was the establishment of additional 56,872 Polling Units across the country, the first time doing so since 1996.

“With this, we expanded voter access to polling units in Nigeria by over 32%, making it possible for voters to have improved opportunities for casting their votes. Unfortunately, voters have not taken full advantage of this opportunity, resulting in 240 Polling Units without voters, and prompting the Commission to further move some voters out of congested Polling Units to less populated ones.

“I implore all voters to cross-check their Polling Units before the election. However, only 7% of voters are affected by this movement. This means that the vast majority of voters will still vote in their usual Polling Units. We sent bulk phone text messages (sms) to the affected voters, tasked our state offices for publicity in local languages and offered two unique ways by which voters can locate and confirm their polling units before election day by sending a normal text message to dedicated telephone numbers or by visiting our website. The detailed procedure is uploaded to our social media platforms.

“Staff to be deployed for the elections have been trained, the last being Collation and Returning Officers, who will complete their training shortly. An essential part of this training has been the emphasis on the neutrality of staff and the need for them to be committed and dedicated throughout the duration of their assignments. The Commission shall carefully monitor the performance of all staff involved in the election and ensure that both recognition and sanctions are applied wherever applicable.”

Allaying the fears of failure of technology, the INEC boss insisted, “We have completed all the testing of our technologies to be deployed for the election, particularly the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) and the INEC Results Viewing Portal (IReV). On 4th February 2023, we tested the BVAS in a mock accreditation exercise and uploaded the results to IReV.

“We are satisfied with the performance of the BVAS, which has been confirmed by several groups that observed the exercise. Lessons learnt from the exercise have helped us in the training of 10,600 Registration Area Technical Support Staff (RATECHS). They will provide the necessary support to ensure that the deployment of the BVAS is without hitches.”

Buhari arrives Daura for presidential polls

On his part, President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday arrived in Daura, Katsina State, in preparation for the presidential elections on Saturday.

The President, who was received by the Katsina State Governor, Aminu Bello Masari and Director General of the National Intelligence Agency, Ahmed Rufai Abubakar, will be casting his vote at a polling unit close to his country home in Daura, alongside his wife, Aisha Buhari and other family members.

President Buhari, whose helicopter landed at 5:25pm in Daura, preparatory to the elections, will be participating, not as a candidate as he had done since 2003, but as a voter.

Knowing the importance of every single vote, the President makes sure that all members of his family, members of the entourage, including security, protocol and other staff are registered to vote in Daura.

Before heading home for the elections, President Buhari had actively participated in the campaigns of the APC and presented the flag bearer, Bola Tinubu, as his preferred successor, showcasing his record of statesmanship and contributions to economic development and democracy.

.US, UK, Australia, Japan, Canada, Norway seek credible elections

In another development, the United States, European and other governments on Thursday urged Nigerian leaders to ensure a fair and calm election this weekend when the country votes to choose a successor to President Muhammadu Buhari.

“It is vital for Nigeria’s stability and democratic consolidation that the process is conducted and concluded safely, fairly and credibly,” said a joint statement from the diplomatic missions of the United States, Britain, Australia, Japan, Canada and Norway.

“We encourage all actors to intervene proactively to calm any tensions and avoid any violence.”