From Okwe Obi, Abuja
Ahead of the 2023 poll, Abuja taxi drivers endorsed the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) senatorial candidate of the New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP), Mubarak Tijjani.
Painted Abuja Taxi Nigeria Limited Chairman Shehu Yaradua expressed confidence that Tijjani would protect the interests of the union if elected.
He said the union would mobilize more than 8,000 members in its database to campaign and secure victory for the NNPP in the FCT Senate ballot.
Yaradua denounced the attitude of past and outgoing FCT senators who sought the support of the union while seeking votes and abandoned it when elected, adding that this was the reason why its members had defected from their various political parties.
He said the main issues facing painted taxi drivers in Abuja were double taxation where each of the six zonal councils would require payment for daily operational tickets, and demanded a unified daily ticket to allow members to drive freely from one zonal council to another.
In response, Mubarak Tijjani assured the union of effective representation that would meet all their challenges and provide an enabling environment for their business to succeed. He said the issues of double taxation and restricted areas of operation would be resolved if he won the senatorial seat.
The NNPP candidate also pledged to ensure that all cars used for taxis in Abuja are painted, including Uber and Bolt cars, and owned by Painted Taxi Drivers Nigeria Limited under the leadership of the union.
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He urged them to get their NNPP membership and INEC permanent voter cards as a first step towards a new Nigeria that the citizens desire and deserve. He also urged politicians to imbibe issue-oriented campaigning and avoid violence in all its ramifications that have hampered the country’s democratic process.
Tijjani urged the electoral arbiter to provide a level playing field for all political parties and their candidates participating in the elections, saying that the mandate of the electorate is sacrosanct and must be respected because power belongs to the people.
He commended the commission for the introduction of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) designed to replace smart card readers for verification and authentication purposes as part of the enhanced voter accreditation process and for uploading polling station results to the INEC Results Visualization Portal (IReV) on the elections. Day, adding that the electronic transmission of results has enhanced public confidence in the electoral process.
Tijjani urged FCT residents to collect their permanent voter cards and come out and vote en masse for a new Nigeria that the NNPP represents. He promised to attract people-oriented projects and empowerment programs that would transform Abuja if elected in February 2023.