The names of the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, former Minister of Niger Delta, Godswill Akpabio, and Governor of Ebonyi State, David Umahi have been purportedly excluded from the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) successful All Progressives Party senatorial candidates released on Friday.
For the purposes of claims and objections, forms and particulars of presidential candidates were slated to be published on Friday, at the INEC headquarters in Abuja while those of senatorial candidates were pasted at its offices across the federation.
With the exception of presidential candidates’ particulars missing on the INEC notice board in Abuja as scheduled, names of senatorial candidates nominated by parties were confirmed and published at the state level by Newssphere.
Despite not participating in the senatorial primaries of the All Progressives Congress (APC) held in May, Messrs Lawan and Akpabio, Umahi were controversially nominated as its candidates for Yobe North, Akwa-Ibom North, Ebonyi South ahead of the 2023 poll.
In place of the duo who were then entwined in the race for the APC presidential ticket, Bashir Machina, Udom Ekpoudom and Autin Umahi had emerged for the Yobe North, Akwa-Ibom Northwest and Ebonyi South in primaries respectively supervised by INEC officials.
While there have been some controversies around Mr Akpabio’s ‘backdoor’ emergence, Mr Machina has continuously vowed not to step down for the Senate President, Mr Lawan.
Reacting to the matter on Channels Television’s Politics Today on Friday, an INEC National Commissioner, Festus Okoye, said the commission is not obligated to publish the name of candidates that did not emerge from valid party primaries.
“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,” he said.
However, Mr Okoye noted that INEC has not published the final list of validly nominated candidates.
“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 election.
“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 particulrs of candidates that emerged from valid party primaries. And that’s what the law says we should do.
“So, 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.”