2023: Lawan, Akpabio not APC’s valid candidates for Yobe North, Akwa Ibom North-west, INEC insists

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The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has again warned the All Progressives Congress (APC) against its choice of candidates for the Yobe North and Akwa Ibom North-west Senatorial seats.

The commission said the names of the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, and former Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio, submitted by the party remained invalid until the party followed due process.

Bashir Machina and Udom Ekpoudom had emerged as the party’s candidates in the primaries supervised by INEC officials in both constituencies. However, the party submitted the names of Messrs Lawan and Akpabio in their place.

Speaking on Channels Television on Sunday, INEC spokesperson, Festus Okoye, said the commission rejected the senate president and the former minister because they were not the validly nominated candidates for the two senatorial districts.

He said the commission wiould not persuade any political party to submit names of valid candidates.

He said if the APC continues to put forward names of Messrs Lawan and Akpabio as senatorial candidates for the district in the 2023 election, the party may as well forget having candidates in them.

“The commission has clarified. The commission has made it very clear that under Section 29, subsection one of the Electoral Act, it is the responsibility of a political party to forward to the INEC, the names or the list and personal particulars of their members who emerged from validly conducted party primaries.

“In these two constituencies, two names were forwarded and the commission made a determination that the names forwarded to us and the names are not persons who emerged from validly conducted party primaries and we did not publish their particulars, and that is where we are.

“So, the commission will not go out of its way and plead with a political party to forward the name of a candidate that emerged from a validly conducted party primaries.

“If a political party does not forward the name of a candidate that emerged from valid party primaries, the implication is that that particular political party will not have the candidate in the election. For that particular constituency, that is just the law,” Mr Okoye said.

He also spoke on the position of the commission on the call Socio-Economic Rights And Accountability Project (SERAP) to allow Nigerians who did not complete their voter’s card registration to finish the exercise.

The SERAP, a non-profit legal and advocacy body, earlier on Sunday threatened to sue INEC if it does not allow over seven million Nigerians who have not carried out their voter registration online the time and opportunity to complete the process, or face legal action.

Mr Okoye, in his reaction, said the commission is not scared of the NGO’s legal threats.

He said the Permanent Voter Card (PVC) exercise has ended and will not be reopened until after the 2023 general elections.

 

2023: Lawan, Akpabio not APC’s valid candidates for Yobe North, Akwa Ibom North-west, INEC insists