NIGERIA: Politicians Woo Students, Groups with Buses

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With the postponement of the general election, politicians have devised another strategy to woo students to vote for them by donating buses to their unions, according to a source close to one of the leading political parties with national spread.

This is a new strategy being adopted by politicians, following the shift in the date of the general elections by the Independent National Electoral Commission, (INEC) from February 14 to March 28 for the presidential and National Assembly, and from February 28 to April 11 for governors and state Houses of Assembly respectively.

Informed sources revealed that against this backdrop, one of the leading political parties with national spread is planning to re-jig its campaign strategies aimed at appealing to specific spectrums of the society, especially the youths who constitute a significant voting strength.

One of such strategies being considered, it was learnt, is the plan to donate buses to all universities and institutions of higher learning across the country as well as to some non-governmental organisations (NGO).

An official of the party, who did not want to be mentioned, explained thus: “There is no doubting the fact that we are popular with the youths and young Nigerians who are eager to vote, so we are not leaving anything to chance. We want to ensure that we win more young people to our side.

“Don’t forget that these schools, universities, polytechnics, colleges of education, among others, are in dire need of these vehicles, and those of them we have contacted are looking forward to this.”

The NGOs, he added, “Are not to be left out. We are looking at those ones that can add value to the electoral success chain. We are going to touch quite a number of them”.

According to the politician, though his party was not comfortable with the shift in the election dates, it is already exploring all avenues to keep its messages alive in the minds of the electorates.

The practice of donating buses by politicians to students and other bodies is not new on the Nigerian political landscape.

Last year, the Deputy Governor of Kebbi State, Alhaji Ibrahim Aliyu donated a 16-seater bus to the Faculty of Environmental Design and Management, Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife.

Also, the Minister of State for the Federal Capital Territory, Olajumoke Akinjide, had only last year, donated four luxury buses- one to the each of the students’ leadership of The Polytechnic, Ibadan; University of Ibadan; Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH), Ogbomoso and Emmanuel Alayande College of Education, Oyo.

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