APC, PDP Absent as NHRC  Holds Gubernatorial Townhall in Niger

Laleye Dipo in Minna

The ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and the main opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) were conspicuously absent at the gubernatorial town hall that was organised yesterday by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) in Minna, Niger State. 

The parties did not also send any apologies for their absence despite reports that they were invited for the programme almost one month ago.

Nine other political parties including the Labour Party, the Social Democratic Party (SDP), the NNPP the ARM, AA, ACP participated in the programme, which also had in attendance the Niger State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Ogundele Ayodeji, and a representative of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Mr. Zagana Gbagi, as well as that of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), Mr. Hamza Waziri.

Virtually all the gubernatorial candidates decried the level of insecurity in the state, which they claimed has led to a serious decline in economic and social activities in the state.

Specifically the Deputy Governorship Candidate of the NNPP, Mr. Pius Wakili, lamented that most schools in some parts of the state have been closed for several months as a result of insecurity.

Wakili, however, promised that the NNPP would address the situation if voted into office.

The Labour Party Gubernatorial Candidate, Mr. Joshua Bawa, decried the 700,000 out of school children in the state, which he blamed on the bad policy of the APC’s government and promised to correct the situation if elected.

Earlier the Legal Officer of the INEC, Niger State, Mr. Zagana Gbagi, advised politicians to stop manipulating the electoral process, because some Nigerians are out to sabotage the electoral body’s effort to deliver a free, fair and credible election.   

Gbagi also claimed that some ad-hoc staff recruited by the commission sometimes connive with unscrupulous politicians to undermine the electoral process.

He said: “I make bold to say that INEC is not behind rigging of election, our mandate is to deliver free, fair and credible elections, but we have some Nigerians who in their desperation frustrate the electoral commission.” 

But the Niger State Police Commissioner, Mr. Ogundele Ayodeji, in his remarks assured Nigerians that the police and other security agencies would ensure adequate protection of lives and  property before, during and after the general elections.

Ayodeji, however, enjoined politicians and other Nigerians to conduct themselves in orderly manners and display the spirit of sportsmanship by accepting the outcome of election in good faith.

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