INEC explains why Lawan, Akpabio, and Umahi are missing on its senatorial list of candidates for the 2023 election
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) published a list that contained names of senatorial candidates submitted by the All Progressives Congress (APC). It was discovered just hours later.
Although it was reported that Senator President Ahmad Lawan, Godswill Akpabio (ex-minister of Niger Delta affairs) and Dave Umahi (ebonyi governor) had been named by the APC to be candidates for Yobe north and Akwa Ibom west senatorial districts respectively, they were not included on the INEC list.
Festus Okoye, spokesperson for INEC, stated that they don’t publish names submitted by political parties if it is doubtful about the validity of primaries featuring such candidates.
“If you look at section 29(1) of the Electoral Act 2022, section 29 says ‘every political party shall not later than 180 days before the date appointed for a general election under this Act, submit to the commission in the prescribed forms, the list of the candidates it proposes to support at the election, who must have emerged from valid primaries conducted by the political parties’,” he said.
“The commission does not submit the list of candidates. It is the political parties themselves that has been given the locus to submit this particular list and in this case, there is no personal interference between the commission and the political parties.
“We open the portal — what we called ‘candidate nomination portal’ — and we give an access code to the national chairman of each of the political parties that conducted primaries with which they upload the list and personal particulars of their nominated candidates.
“So, if a political party has uploaded the list and personal particulars of a candidate that did not emerge from valid party primary, INEC is not under a constitutional and legal obligation to publish the particulars of such a candidate.”
Okoye who noted that the list published on Friday is not the final document for the 2023 polls, added that a candidate who was validly nominated at a primary, but whose name was excluded by the party, can seek redress from a competent court.