From Romanus Ugwu, Abuja
The fate of certain National Assembly candidates for the 2023 general elections seems to be hanging in the balance following the confusion trailing those cleared by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Conflicting reports emanating from the constituencies across the country indicate that the commission dropped the names of certain candidates cleared by the political parties.
The commission had on Friday, in line with its timetable and schedule of activities for the 2023 general elections displayed the credentials of the candidates with temporal clearance in their constituencies and Senatorial Districts for claims and objections.
In Yobe State for example, there is serious confusion over who eventually gets the nod of the commission between the President of the Senate, Ahmed Lawan and Bashir Machina as earlier report claimed that the latter might have been cleared by the commission.
The report emanating from the Yobe North senatorial district however indicated that the commission did not publish any candidate for APC to contest the 2023 legislative election in the area.
It was further gathered that only the names of Mohammed Bomoi for Yobe South and Ibrahim Geidam for Yobe East, were mentioned in the list, adding that there is no name for the Yobe North for the APC.
In Akwa-Ibom State, the battle is certainly not over for the former Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio, as he did not make the list of candidates with temporal clearance. It also appeared that the same faith might have befallen the governor of Ebonyi State, Dave Umahi, as he could not also make the list
However, reacting to the development while appearing on a television political programme, INEC’s National Commissioner and Chairman Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, said the commission is not obliged to publish the name of candidates that did not emerge from validly conducted 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.
Okoye however clarified that the commission has not published the final list of validly nominated candidates, emphasising: “the final list of validly nominated candidates will be published by INEC on September 20, 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 particulars 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,” Okoye quipped.