Nigeria: 2023 – Lawan’s Fate Hangs As Akpabio, Umahi, Others Make INEC Final List

The fate of Senate President Ahmad Lawan is hanging as the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) left blank the space of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for Yobe North senatorial district in the final list of candidates gunning for presidential and National Assembly elections published yesterday.

The electoral body had slated September 20 for the publication of the final list of nominated candidates for presidential and National Assembly elections.

Daily Trust reports that there have been controversies over the tickets of the APC for Yobe North and Akwa Ibom Northwest.

The party leadership has been mounting pressure on Bashir Machina (Yobe North) and Udom Ekpoudom (Akwa Ibom Northwest) to step down for Lawan and the minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, respectively. But they both rejected the pleas, insisting that they won the primaries.

In the final list seen by Daily Trust yesterday, Akpabio’s name was seen while no name was in the space left for APC.

A Federal High court last week ordered INEC to include Akapabio’s name in the final list.

Lawan and Akpabio had contested for the party’s presidential primaries but were defeated by former governor of Lagos State, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

Report from Ebonyi State showed that the governor of the state, David Umahi, who had a similar challenge with Lawan and Akpabio made the list.

Daily Trust learnt that the governor’s name was earlier omitted in June owing to the controversy that trailed his emergence as the candidate of the APC for the election.

Records from the electoral body showed that 4,223 candidates are contesting for 469 legislative positions.

The National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee of INEC, Festus Okoye, who disclosed this in Abuja, said all the 18 political parties fielded candidates and their running mates for the presidential election.

He said for the legislative elections, 1,101 candidates are vying for 109 senatorial seats and 3,122 for federal constituencies, and House of Representatives seats, making a total of 4,223 candidates contesting for 469 legislative positions.

He urged 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 by an affidavit as provided in Section 32(2) of the Electoral Act 2022.

Meanwhile, INEC yesterday recognised the Dan Orbih faction of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), as the authentic candidates of the party in the state.

Recall that the party has been engulfed in supremacy battle between Governor Godwin Obaseki’s faction and the faction led by the party’s National Vice Chairman South South, Dan Orbih, leading to the conduct of parallel primaries in May this year.

The parallel primaries resulted in litigation and judgement from the lower courts recognising those that emerged from Orbih’s faction primaries.

Both factions are, however, awaiting the judgement of the Court of Appeal where fireworks have been shifted to.

Our reporter, who visited the INEC office in Benin, observed that the electoral body had pasted a comprehensive list on its notice board and all the PDP candidates in the list were those who emerged from the primaries conducted by the Orbih faction.

Daily Trust also observed that the pasted paper reads court order.

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