The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) yesterday released the list and particulars of candidates vying for various positions at the federal level in the 2023 general elections.
Conspicuously missing are the names of Senate President Ahmad Lawan, former minister of Niger Delta Affairs Godswill Akpabio, and Ebonyi State governor, Dave Umahi.
Recall that the trio had contested the presidential primaries of the All Progressives Congress but may have been hoping to reclaim the APC senatorial seats after failing to win the top seat.
However, speaking on Channels Television’s Politics Today yesterday, The INEC national electoral commissioner for Information and Voter Education, Barr Festus Okoye, said the commission was not obliged to publish the name of candidates that did not emerge from valid party primaries.
He explained that if a political party submits to the Independent National Electoral Commission the name of a candidate that did not emerge from party primaries or did not emerge from valid party primaries, the commission is not obligated to publish the name of such a candidate.
Okoye, however, clarified that INEC has not published the final list of validly nominated candidates.
He said, “The final list of validly nominated candidates will be published by the Independent National Electoral Commission on the 20th day of September, 2022. And that is for presidential and national assembly candidates.
“What the commission has published, as of today, complies with Section 29(3) of the electoral act which says that the moment political parties comply with the provision of Section 29 (1) of the electoral act in terms of the submission of its validly nominated candidates, that the Commission shall publish the personal particulars of such candidates in the constituencies where the candidates intend to contest the election.
Lawan, Akpabio Make APC List Of Senatorial Candidates
“In other words, for instance for a senatorial candidate, if a senatorial district covers four local governments, we will publish the personal particulars of such a candidate in the four local governments.
“So that is exactly what we have done. And we published the personal particulars of candidates that emerged from valid party primaries. And that’s what the law says we should do.”
Accordingly, he said, if the name of any candidate was not published, or if the personal particulars of any candidate was not published today, the implication is that such a candidate did not emerge from valid party primaries.
On maybe the commission has the powers to reject the names sent to the Commission by the political parties, citing the Section 285 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria made it very clear, that if a political party complains or is not happy with the INEC relating to the rejection of its candidates the party can go to Court. So the answers are in the Constitution.
“We will continue to act in the best interest of the country and its democracy. Our powers are embedded in the Constitution and we will continue to act based on such powers and we will not act based on powers not in the Constitution,” he added.
…INEC Won’t Recognise ‘Imposed Candidates’—Oyekanmi
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said it would not recognise any candidate that does not meet the Electoral Act 2022 requirements.
The chief press secretary to the INEC chairman, Mr Rotimi Lawrence Oyekanmi, disclosed this in Abuja yesterday.
Oyekanmi said that accepting any candidate that did not contest any of the party primaries would amount to a breach of the Electoral Act 2022.
“Therefore, any candidate not validly nominated at a properly organised primary election monitored by INEC will not be accepted by the commission. Accepting such a candidate will amount to a breach of the Electoral Act 2022,” Oyekanmi said.
He also said there is a difference between ‘publication of personal particulars of candidates’ and ‘publication of the final list of candidates’.