*expresses Confidence in GOSIEC’s Ability to Conduct Credible Poll
*imposes restrictions on non- essential movements on election day
*says election not a do-or-die affair
By KATO P. LADAN, Kaduna
Gombe State Governor, Alhaji Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya has declared Friday December 18 as work-free day to enable eligible voters travel to their respective areas to exercise their franchise in the Saturday, December 19 Local Government Election in the state.
This was contained in a statement signed by his Senior Special Assistant (Media and Publicity), Ismaila Uba Misilli.
Governor Inuwa Yahaya made the government position known in a statewide broadcast to highlight his administration’s preparedness to conduct free, fair and credible Local Government election in the state.
The Governor described election as the most important pillar of democracy and the strongest political mechanism through which people can select their leaders in an atmosphere of freedom and fairness, saying it is this demonstration of popular will that makes democracy a government of the people, by the people and for the people.
“Our administration came to power through the historic elections of March 2019. Ever since, we have not relented in our determination to deliver democratic dividends to our people through the provision of people-oriented programmes and policies. Today, the evidence is clear for all to see as Gombe State is on the path of sustainable progress and an all-inclusive development trajectory”.
“As part of the measures to ensure a peaceful and successful election, Government has declared Friday a work-free day in order to enable our people return to their various local government areas for the election. We are also putting restrictions on all non-essential movements on election day in order to ensure enhanced security and safety. These regulations are in our collective interest. I therefore call on people to abide by them and cooperate with election and security officials”.
He said as the third tier of government and one that is closest to the grassroots, the local governments deserve the highest priority, therefore the decision on who governs them and how they should be governed is a matter of great priority.
The Governor expressed the hope that the upcoming election will usher in competent and trustworthy administrators who would help to manage the affairs of the local governments and the State as a whole.
“In line with the provisions of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), we constituted the State Independent Electoral Commission for the purpose of conducting Local Government Elections in the State. Accordingly, we appointed capable and honorable individuals to run the commission. At the same time, we provided the Commission with necessary financial and institutional support in order to conduct a successful Local Government election”.
He said in order to fulfill its mandate, the State Electoral Commission has drawn up activities and concluded all arrangements to hold the Election on Saturday 19th December, 2020 where Chairmen and Councilors of all our 11 Local Government Areas and 114 electoral wards would be elected to manage the affairs of the people.
“It is worthy of note that the election process does not just start and end with voting on the election day. It is a process that starts with registration of political parties, expression of interests, selection of candidates, election proper, swearing-in and possible post-election litigations. So far, we are satisfied with the conduct of GOSIEC in the provision of a level-playing ground to all political parties”.
“As part of our responsibility to ensure peaceful elections, we have mobilized security agencies to ensure voters and election officials are accorded the necessary protection to vote in peace and tranquility. Our administration has zero tolerance for violence or any election-related crime. I therefore call on all stakeholders to desist from any act that will endanger the lives and property of our people. No political ambition is worth the blood of any Gombe citizen and my administration will deal decisively with any troublemaker no matter how highly placed”. Governor Inuwa Yahaya urged various political parties and their agents to conduct themselves and play the game according to laid down rules and regulations, saying elections, like every other contest, must have winners and losers.
“It is not a do-or-die affair. At the end of the process, every side should respect and accept the will of the people and move on. On our part, we have provided the enabling environment for free and fair participation in the electoral process to all political parties, in line with laid down constitutional provisions. I am confident that the Gombe State Independent Electoral Commission will conduct the election with a remarkable degree of professionalism, fairness, equity and justice”
“As you are aware, there is a resurgence of Covid-19 infections across the country. We are closely monitoring the situation as it unfolds. I therefore urge voters, election officials and the general public to comply with the relevant Covid-19 protocols during and after the elections”.
The Governor said irrespective of the outcome of the local government elections, the ultimate winner is Gombe State and its people who are desirous of good governance and are committed to its progress.
Governor Inuwa Yahaya thanked the people for their unprecedented support so far saying the tremendous successes recorded by the president administration would not have been possible without their support and prayers.
“I want to appeal to all eligible voters to come out en masse and cast their votes without any fear of intimidation. I implore our traditional, community and religious leaders to continue to preach for peaceful co-existence amongst our people before, during and after the elections. I also call on the press to conduct themselves with utmost professionalism, avoid fake news and desist from spreading unverified information that may be capable of disrupting the much-cherished peace and stability that Gombe State is known for”.