Senate President Ahmad Lawan may have finally lost out in his bid to return to the red chamber following the omission of his name from the final list of candidates for next year’s Presidential and National Assembly Elections.
This was as the Independent National Electoral Commission INEC published the names of All Progressives Congress APC Presidential Aspirant, Godswill Akpabio as the party’s candidate for Akwa Ibom Northwest Senatorial District, and Ibrahim Shekarau as candidate of the New Nigeria Peoples Party NNPP for Kano Central Senatorial District, despite having defected from the NNPP about a month ago.
Also presidential candidates representing the nation’s 18 registered political parties would be slugging it out in next year’s general election, the Independent National Electoral Commission INEC has stated.
This is in spite of reports that the African Democratic Congress ADC may have suspended its presidential candidate, Dumebi Kachikwu.
However, at its regular weekly meeting , the Commission approved the final list of candidates for national elections (Presidential, Senatorial and Federal Constituencies) pursuant to section 32(1) of the Electoral Act 2022 and item 8 of the Timetable and Schedule of Activities for the 2023 General Election.
INEC National Commissioner in charge of Information and Voter Education Committee, Barr. Festus Okoye explained that the publication of the full names and addresses of all nominated candidates follows the political parties’ conduct of primaries and completion of the nomination exercise.
“Nigerians may recall that at end of the process, the personal particulars of all nominated candidates were displayed in their constituencies nationwide as provided by section 29(3) of the Electoral Act.
“Subsequently, validly nominated candidates had the opportunity to voluntarily withdraw their candidature by notice in writing and personally deliver such notice to the political party that nominated them for the election. Thereafter, political parties substituted such candidates under section 31 of the Electoral Act for which the last day was 15th July 2022 for national elections and 12th August 2022 for State elections as clearly provided in item 6 of the Commission’s Timetable and Schedule of Activities.
“Thereafter, no withdrawal or substitution of candidates is allowed except in the event of death as provided in section 34(1) of the Electoral Act or pursuant to an order of a Court of competent jurisdiction,” he stated.
According to him, the list published contains the names of candidates validly nominated for national elections at the close of party primaries and the period earmarked for withdrawal and substitution of candidates.
He said the final list of candidates for State elections (Governorship and State Constituencies) will be published on 4th October 2022 as already indicated on the Timetable and Schedule of Activities for the 2023 General Election.
“We note the fact that not all the political parties conducted primaries in all the constituencies, submitted the particulars of candidates that emerged from valid primaries or substituted their candidates after fresh primaries within 14 days as provided in section 33 of the Electoral Act.
“This has led to numerous litigations, some of which are ongoing. Where the Commission was served with Court orders by aggrieved aspirants or candidates before the publication of this list, these have been indicated under the remark column.
“In summary, all the 18 political parties have fielded candidates and their running mates for the Presidential election. For legislative elections, 1,101 candidates are vying for 109 Senatorial seats and 3,122 candidates for Federal Constituencies i.e. House of Representatives seats, making a total of 4,223 candidates contesting for 469 legislative positions.
“In terms of gender distribution, 3,875 candidates are male, made up of 35 for Presidential and Vice Presidential, 1,008 for Senate and 2,832 for House of Representatives. Similarly, 381 females comprising 1 for Presidential, 92 for Senate, and 288 for House of Representatives are contesting. There are also 11 Persons with Disability (PWDs) in the race.
“The list for specific constituencies is published in each State where they are located while the comprehensive nationwide list has been uploaded to the Commission’s website.
“We appeal to all political parties to channel any observations on the list of candidates to the Commission and such must be signed by the National Chairman and Secretary of the political party and supported with an affidavit as provided in section 32(2) of the Electoral Act 2022,” the statement added.