1 July 2002

Nigeria: About 110 Queues for Chairmanship Seats in Rivers

Port Harcourt — No fewer than 110 chairmanship aspirants under the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have indicated interest to contest the 23 council seats in Rivers State, just as the state Governor, Dr. Peter Odili has warned against any form of political violence during election.

The state party chairman, Prince Uche Secondus disclosed this shortly after a workshop for PDP chairmanship aspirants and party chairmen on "non-violence and sustainable democratic culture in Nigeria" saying that the number had already collected nomination forms to contest the elections.

According to him, the aspirants are presently under-going screening, dismissing the possibility of any other political party posing a threat to PDP in the state.

Prince Secondus said the orientation workshop was aimed at rewriting the political history of Nigeria as a nation which has been unable to transit from one civil rule to another saying that PDP in the state was well-positioned to win all the chairmanship positions in the state.

He expressed optimism that the local government polls in the country will be a huge success even though leaders of the newly registered political parties doubt the August date for the elections.

The state party chairman called on Nigerians to be patient with President Obasanjo's administration saying that his tenure has witnessed a purposeful leadership. "I think we should still be patient with Mr President. We should allow him to continue in office so that our democracy can survive."

Addressing the chairmanship aspirants, the state governor, Dr Peter Odili, pledged to reward all PDP local government aspirants who admit or grant defeat to the opponents to ensure a smooth transition in the state.

He urged them to abide by the rule of the game and remain loyal and patient for the party to continue to maintain its leading position in the nation's polity.

Dr Odili warned the PDP's aspirants to shun electoral violence and disclosed that plan was in the offing for him to set up a security committee to monitor the behaviour and attitudes of the aspirants before and after the polls.

The governor decried the alleged acquisition of arms by some politicians in the state in attempt to cause violence during the elections, saying the election was not do or die affair.

He warned against attempt to scuttle democracy in the state, indicating that appropriate action will be taken against those involved or caught in the exercise.

Dr Odili maintained that no effort would be spared to ensure that any individual or group found wanting in the nefarous activities is brought to book and place where he rightly belongs.

He said, the orientation workshop organised by the state PDP was appropriate and timely as the participants were those to administer the third-tier government which provides the basis upon which other government structures at both states and federal levels are built.

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