As the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) yesterday Friday 17 June, 2022 shut down its candidate nomination portal for the 2023 general elections, there has been an uneasy calm in the nation following the failure of the Commission to announce the names of the nominated candidates for the polls.
The political parties themselves also made no attempt to present their vice presidential nominees, who are meant to help them win over voters in the presidential election, to the public.
The presidential candidate of the nation’s major opposition party, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, has however shown to be the most organized naming a running after a rigorous process within the party and presenting him to the public in a campaign-style event.
Atiku picked Delta State governor, Ifeanyi Okowa, as his running mate.
The pressure from Northern stakeholders within the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) swayed the presidential running mate position in favour of the Delta State governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, LEADERSHIP Weekend gathered yesterday.
It was learnt that after an advisory committee on Tuesday, leaned in favour of Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike, PDP presidential candidate, former vice president Atiku Abubakar, after a late night meeting with some stakeholders within the party, opted for Okowa.
Besides Okowa and Wike, the Akwa Ibom State governor, Udom Emmanuel, was also in contention for the vice presidential ticket which was unofficial zoned to the South South.
It was learnt that the leaders preferred Okowa because he was considered more acceptable in the North. They also leveraged on his candidacy being appealing to the South East zone.
A source told LEADERSHIP weekend that Wike had won over most of the advisory committee members who were more interested in the political sagacity of the Rivers State governor.
However, for the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and its presidential candidate, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, LEADERSHIP Weekend gathered that it has narrowed down the search for a vice presidential candidate to the North East geopolitical zone. However, the name of the vice presidential candidate of the APC is yet to be determined.
Tinubu has however submitted his duly completed nomination forms to the INEC, with Kabiru Masari’s name as his running mate.
His campaign team confirmed yesterday that Tinubu returned the forms on Wednesday, June 15, two days ahead of schedule, in compliance with the Electoral Law and Guidelines.
“We wish to reiterate that HE Asíwájú Tinubu now stands ready to contest the February 25, 2023 presidential election to deliver progressive good governance to our people”, spokesman to Tinubu, Tunde Rahman stated.
As a chieftain of the APC from Katsina state, Alhaji Kabiru Faskari, also confirmed the name of Ibrahim Kabir Masari as the vice presidential candidate of the party.
Speaking on a Channels Television programme monitored yesterday, Faskari said, “Ibrahim Kabir Masari is our vice presidential nominee and he was the National Welfare Secretary of the APC under Comrade Adams Oshiomhole. He is a well known politician”.
On whether Masari’s name had been uploaded to the INEC candidates nomination portal, Faskari said, “Yes, his name has been submitted”.
Revealing Masari’s identity, he said, “Well, he qualifies as a veteran in terms of politics. He began as a member of the Peoples Democratic Party PDP. He is young and represents the youth. He is grounded in politics because he was even a national officer of the APC.
“He is quiet close to the presidential candidate because because he has been with him for a long time and I believe it is a very informed decision to put out his name”.
Faskari further noted that the decision was entirely that of the presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu having consulted with President Muhammadu Buhari, state governors and the national leadership of the party.
He said though Masari may not have been very popular in the sense of being a state governor or cabinet minister, but that “he is very known to us in the APC”.
Meanwhile, Dr. Michael Kasarachi Enyinna has emerged as the running mate of Prince Malik Ado-Ibrahim. He will be the Vice Presidential Candidate of the Young Progressives Party in the 2023 Presidential election.
The nation’s electoral body earlier warned political parties that its candidate nomination portal for the 2023 general elections would automatically shut down at 6:00 pm on June 17 for national elections and 6:00 pm on July 15 for state elections.
The INEC chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, who gave the warning at the commission’s meeting with Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) added that “all political parties are required to upload the details of their candidates for each constituency to the INEC Candidate Nomination Portal (ICNP).”
Peter Obi picks Okupe as running mate to beat deadline
Apparently to beat the deadline set by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for political parties to submit names of their candidates for the 2023 General Elections, the Labour Party (LP) on Friday named veteran politician, Dr Doyin Okupe as its Vice Presidential candidate.
Speaking to Channels TV on Friday, Okupe who is the director-general of the Peter obi Campaign said: “Choosing the vices presidential candidate is an electoral process and it does not stop until the process and schedule ends.
“INEC allows you to present a candidate and later on, if you want to substitute, you may do so, if necessary. But if it’s not necessary, you may as well continue.
“So the present situation is that we believe that this Labour party government that is essentially going to be about young Nigerians.
“Those of us who have been part and parcel of our sordid past must be prepared to pay the sacrifice, even the personal sacrifice, of allowing a situation we can lift our youths to positions of power and authority.
“I am willing to put down my back, so that young people can stand and come to the top.”
But Okupe who explained the circumstances that threw him up to be the Vice Presidential candidate to the party’s flag bearer Peter Obi, said he is holding the position in trust for the rightful owner.
He insisted that the party took this route to beat the Friday, June 17, 2022 deadline set by INEC for the submission of names of candidates.
He added that LP is open to the formation of a behemoth of political force to fight All Progressives Congress (APC) and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the upcoming presidential election.
However, if Okupe’s candidacy holds, he will run alongside Peter Obi in the 2023 presidential elections.
But the party had announced its Vice President will come from the North.