Low-key campaigns herald council elections in Borno, as candidates lament economic hardship
Campaigns are at a low ebb in Borno as the state prepares for the January 20 local government elections.
Barely two weeks into the exercise, many residents of Maiduguri, the state capital, said they were unaware of the election because of the low-key campaigns by participating political parties and their candidates.
Six political parties are participating in the elections. While one is participating fully, the others are participating skeletally.
The parties are the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP), the Social Democratic Party (SDP), the Labour Party (LP), and the Allied Peoples Movement (APM).
The Borno State Independent Electoral Commission (BOSIEC) announced November 28, 2023, as the campaign kick-off date, but candidates have yet to troop out to solicit votes, as was the case in previous elections.
The APC is fielding candidates in all 27 chairmanships and 315 councillorship positions, but some of its candidates said they were too financially handicapped to campaign.
“Many of us are waiting for possible cash support from the party or the government,’’ an APC chairmanship candidate who requested anonymity said.
Candidates or officials of opposition parties in the state also spoke of similar challenges.
The electoral agency charged chairmanship candidates N500,000 to collect declaration of intention forms, while their councillorship counterparts were charged N250,000 for the form.
The publicity secretary of PDP in Borno, Amos Adziba, said the party would field chairmanship candidates only in five local government areas because of the high cost of the forms and the current economic hardship.
“Some of our candidates have had to sell their land, farm produce, or obtain loans to participate in the election because of the high cost of forms and the current economic hardship.
“We hope the election will be free and fair. For now, we are giving BOSIEC the benefit of the doubt,’’ Mr Adziba said.
In his submission, the chairman of NNPP in Borno, Mohammed Mustafa, said it would field only one chairmanship candidate in Jere Local Government Area and one councillorship candidate each in Jere and Dikwa local government areas.
Similarly, the state secretary of LP, Tijjani Goni, said the party would field only one councillorship candidate in Pulka Ward of Gwoza Local Government Area.
“We are fielding only one councillorship candidate in Pulka Ward of Gwoza. Our initial intention to field more candidates was not possible because of some circumstances,’’ Mr Goni said.
The SDP is also fielding one chairmanship candidate and two councillorship candidates in the Jere Local Government Area, while APM has only one councillorship candidate in the same area.
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