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2023 electionINEC give reasons why Lawan, Akpabio, Umahi are missing on its senatorial list as candidates

Few hours after it was reported that some names submitted by the All Progressives Congress (APC) as senatorial candidates are missing from the list published by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the commission has offered an explanation.

While it was reported that Senate President Ahmad Lawan, Godswill Akpabio, former minister of Niger Delta affairs, and Dave Umahi, Ebonyi governor, had been listed by the APC as candidates for Yobe north, Akwa Ibom north-west, and Ebonyi south senatorial districts, they were however missing on the list published by INEC.

Offering an explanation in an interview on Channels Television, INEC spokesperson, Festus Okoye said they do not publish the names of candidates submitted by political parties if there are questions over the validity of primaries featuring such candidates.

He said;

“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.

Meanwhile, Bashir Sherrif Machina has been recognized by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as winner of All Progressives Congress ticket for Yobe North Senatorial District ahead of the 2023 election.

Daily Trust reported that on Friday June 24, Machina stormed INEC’s office in Yobe State to obtain certified true copy of the primary election, which the commission monitored.

In the document, it was stated that Machina scored 289 votes out of the 300 votes cast by the delegates.

The document certified by the electoral office on June 23, 2022, did not mention Ahmad Lawan, the Senate President.

This is coming amid a controversy surrounding who truly won the ticket. Machina has insisted that Lawan who took a shot at the presidential ticket of the APC did not participate in the primary.

Machina who also claimed that he’s been approached by some people to relinquish the ticket, has also vowed not to relinquish it.

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