Nigerians today return to the polls to elect their state governors and legislators as well councillors for the six Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Area Councils.
The electorate will vote for 1,082 candidates for the various positions, two weeks after the February 23 Presidential and National Assembly elections.
The positions include governors in 29 States and 991 members of state Houses of Assembly as well as the six chairmen and 62 councillors for the Area Councils in the FCT.
The governorship election is taking place in 29 states as the elections in remaining seven other states of Edo, Kogi, Ondo, Ekiti, Anambra, Osun and Bayelsa were staggered and already conducted off-season by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
For the governorship election, no fewer than 1,063 candidates are contesting for the available 29 governorship seats.
These include 64 governorship candidates in Rivers, 44 in Plateau, Kaduna 38, Adamawa 29, Jigawa 18, Delta 50, Cross Rivers 26, Kebbi 31 and Ogun 41 candidates.
For instance, in Lagos State 45 governorship candidates are vying for the governorship seat, while 640 candidates of various parties are eying the 40 seats in the state House of Assembly in the election, also in Sokoto State 51 political parties are contesting for governorship and 462 state House of Assembly candidates are participating in the state election.
The electorate in Adamawa will be voting for 313 candidates for the governorship and state House of Assembly from the 29 political parties participating in the exercise.
The Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in Adamawa, Kashim Gaidam, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that 29 candidates would be contesting for the governorship, while 284 candidates from various political parties are vying for the 25 state House of Assembly seats.
Among the 29 contestants for governorship seat are four women: Lami Musa of People’s Party of Nigeria (PPN), Na’ama Bulama of Progressive People Alliance (PPA), Rukayya Audu of Action People’s Party (APP) and Elizabeth Isa of Change Advocacy Party (CAP).
Also, 25 women are among the 284 candidates for the legislative poll.
In Katsina State 334 candidates, comprising 18 for the governorship and 316 candidates contesting for the 34 state House of Assembly seats, while in Abia 32 candidates are contesting the governorship and 353 candidates vying for the state 24-member legislature.
In Yobe, 163 candidates from different political parties made up of 13 participating in governorship while the rest 157 would feature in the state House of Assembly poll.
Also in Anambra, 23 political parties are contesting for the governorship seat and 518 candidates battling for the 30 assembly positions in the state.
In Kano State, 52 candidates are gunning for the governorship and 769 candidates for the state assembly election; and in Enugu State 42 candidates are in the governorship race, while 310 candidates would be vying for the 24 legislature.
Also in Niger State, 31 candidates are battling for the governorship poll and 395 for the state House of Assembly election, while in Imo 67 candidates are jostling for the governorship slot and 981 are slugging for the 27 seats in the state House of Assembly.
Also in Ogun, 41 candidates are contesting for the seat of governor while, 582 candidates are jostling for the 26 state constituencies.
For the FCT Area Council election, a total of 105 candidates are contesting for the six chairmanship positions while 701 candidates seek to occupy the 62 councillorship seats.
Similarly, 40 females are in the race for the chairmanship positions, while 88 females are seeking to be elected as councilors.
In addition to the state elections into 1,082 constituencies nationwide, INEC is also conducting supplementary elections in 14 States covering seven senatorial districts and 24 federal constituencies, alongside the governorship and state assembly elections.
Elections in the affected areas were disrupted mainly by acts of violence including ballot box snatching, abduction of INEC officials, over voting and failure to adhere to regulations and guidelines in the national elections conducted on February 23.
While cancelling the affected polls, the electoral ombudsman noted that number of registered voters in some polling units involved in each constituency was more than the votes received by some candidates with the highest number of votes, hence the need for supplementary elections to determine the actual winners.
The election will hold at 119,973 polling units across the country, while collation of results will take place in 8,809 Registration Areas or Wards, 774 Local Government Areas, 36 States and the FCT.
The polling units are expected to open by 8 a.m. and close by 2 p.m. with the last person on the line allowed to vote.
INEC maintains that the use of Smart Card Readers and Permanent Voter Cards were compulsory for the elections.
The commission says the total number of registered voters in the country is 84,004,084, with 44,405,439 (52.86 per cent) as male and 39,598,645 (47.14 per cent) as female.
It also said that 72,775,502 or 86.63 per cent of registered voters have collected their Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs).
The INEC Chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, has expressed confidence that all polling units would open at 8 a.m. nationwide.
Mr Yakubu said that the commission had effectively tackled the challenge of logistics as materials for the election have been earlier delivered to all States and the FCT.
Meanwhile, INEC has postponed the House of Assembly Election for the Nasarawa/Binyeri State Constituency of Mayo Belwa Local Government Area in Adamawa following the death of a member of the assembly, Adamu Kwanate, who was the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the election.
Until his death on Wednesday, Mr Kwanate was the member representing the affected state constituency. (NAN)