By Abdulwaheed Olayinka Adubi, Kaduna
Former Governor of Kano state, Ibrahim Shekarau’s name appeared on the INEC final list as NNPP’s senatorial candidate for Kano Central District, despite his defection from the party on 29 August.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has explained why it cannot replace the name of Shekarau, as the senatorial candidate of the New Nigeria People Party (NNPP).
Mr Shekarau defected to the main opposition party in the state, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).
Meanwhile, the media widely reported how the former governor announced he was leaving the party at an event attended by the PDP presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, and his running mate – governor of Delta State, Ifeanyi Okowa.
At the event, Mr Shekarau said he had written to inform the leadership of the NNPP of his intention to leave the party.
According to Shekarau, while defecting; “I and thousands of my followers have defected to the People Democratic Party, and are now bona fide members of the PDP,” he said.
“I have formally written to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) that I am no longer a senatorial candidate under the NNPP, ” Mr Shekarau said during his defection to the PDP last month.
But INEC said it was unaware Shekarau left the NNPP which guided its decision to publish his name as one of the party’s senatorial candidates.
The INEC’s head of legal department in Kano, Suleiman Tahir, in a media interaction with reporters recently said they cannot replace Mr Shekarau’s name because the new electoral law did not allow that.
“The new electoral law said once your name was initially displayed, before displaying the final list, a candidate will write INEC officially, attach his photos, notifying the INEC (his/her) withdrawal from the contest, or in the event someone dies. These are the only two instances one can withdraw once his name was initially displayed.
“Mr Shekarau did not do any of the above,” Mr Tahir said.
The official said INEC, as an institution is guided by law, did not know whether Mr Shekarau left the NNPP because there is no official correspondence from either his party (NNPP) or himself notifying INEC of his defection, and withdrawal from the contest.