Details Emerge On Why INEC Excluded Lawan, Umahi, Akpabio From APC’s Senatorial List

Details Emerge On Why INEC Excluded Lawan, Umahi, Akpabio From APC’s Senatorial List

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has explained why the names of President of the Senate, Senator Ahmad Lawan, Governor of Ebonyi State, Dave Umahi and Former Niger-Delta Minister, Senator Godswill Akpabio were excluded from the All Progressives Congress, (APC) Senatorial list published by the commission on Friday.

The electoral commission on Friday released the list of candidates vying for various federal positions in the forthcoming 2023 General Elections.

In the list, the particulars of Lawan and Akpabio, who were contesting Yobe North and Akwa Ibom North-West Senatorial District seats respectively were missing from the list.

Speaking on the development, INEC National Electoral Commissioner for information and Voter Education, Festus Okoye, said the commission released the list of candidates that emerged from valid party primaries.

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According to him, the individuals that failed to make the list are the ones that were not validly nominated. He explained that while political parties are given the right to submit the names of their candidates, the commission is not under any obligation to publish the names of candidates submitted if there are questions over the validity of primaries that produced such candidates.

Okoye made this known while speaking during an interview with Channels TV, monitored by The New Diplomat.

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He, however, said the list published on Friday is not the final document for the 2023 polls, adding that the final list will be published at a later date.

In his words, “So, if a candidate has been validly nominated, and if a candidate has passed through valid party primaries, and the name of the candidate has been submitted by the leadership of the political party concern, then the commission is under a constitutional legal obligation to publish such a name and to publish the particulars of such an individual or candidate.

“But if a political party submits to the Independent National Electoral Commission, the name of a candidate that did not emerge from party primaries, or did not emerge from valid party primaries, the commission is not obligated to publish the name of such a candidate.

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“The commission has not published the final list of validly nominated candidates. The final list of validly nominated candidates will be published by the Independent National Electoral Commission on the 20th of September 2022. And that is for presidential candidates and National Assembly candidates.

“What the commission has published as of today complies with section 29, subsection three of the Electoral Act. We say that “the moment political parties comply with the provisions of Section 29, subsection one of the Electoral Act in terms of the submission of validly nominated candidates, that the commission shall publish the personal particulars of such candidates in the constituencies where the candidates intend to contest the election.”

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“In other words, for instance, for senatorial candidates, if the senatorial district covers three local governments or four local governments, we will publish the particulars of such a candidate in the three or four or five local governments. So that is exactly what we have done. And we published the personal particulars of candidates that emerged from valid party primaries, and that is what the law says we should do.

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“So, if the name of any candidate was not published or if the personal particulars of any candidate were not published today, the implication is that such a candidate did not emerge from valid party primaries.”

It would be recalled that Lawan, Akpabio bought the presidential nomination forms of the ruling party. While Lawan contested during the election, Akpabio withdrew his ambition at the dying minute for Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who later went on to clinch the presidential ticket.

Also, The New Diplomat had reported that Bashir Sheriff Machina was declared the winner of the APC senatorial ticket for the Yobe North Senatorial District after scoring 289 votes at the just-concluded primary election.

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Similarly, Udom Ekpoudom won the primary for Akwa Ibom North-West, the senatorial district of Akpabio.

However, Akpabio was declared the winner of another primary, but Mike Igini, resident electoral commissioner (REC) of Akwa Ibom, had said the exercise which produced the former minister as a candidate wasn’t monitored by the commission.

The ruling party later went on to list Akpabio and Lawan as senatorial candidates for Akwa Ibom north-west and Yobe north, respectively.

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