By Emmanuel Aziken, Political Editor and Clifford Ndujihe
LAGOS—MOVES by three All Progressives Congress, APC governors Rochas Okorocha (Imo), Ibikunle Amosun, (Ogun), and Abdulazziz Yari, (Zamfara) to sustain their succession plots through their preferred persons may hit a brick wall going by the provisions of the Electoral Act.
Besides the three, the party’s prospects in Delta were also being mired by controversies with many party chieftains alleging underhand substitution of party members who won party primaries by some new chieftains of the party.
The last lobby effort to the presidential villa last weekend by the three governors according to reliable sources was inconclusive it was understood yesterday. President Muhammadu Buhari it was gathered was unwilling to upset the apple cart. The three governors have also been locked into the party with the gift of Senate tickets to all three putting the option of defection a difficult prospect.
Having submitted the list of governorship candidates to the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC ahead of the November 2 deadline, the only option left for the aggrieved governors to change the governorship candidates is the December 1 deadline for substitution of governorship and House of Assembly candidates.
However, the Electoral Act stipulates strong conditions for substitution including the voluntary withdrawal by the submitted candidates.
In Imo State where Senator Hope Uzodinma is the candidate, and in Ogun State where Mr. Dapo Abiodun is the candidate, the prospects of either voluntarily withdrawing from the contest was yesterday said to be out of consideration.
Section 33 of the Electoral Act limiting the ability of political parties to substitute a candidate already submitted states thus:
A political party shall not be allowed to change or substitute its candidate whose name has been submitted pursuant to section 32 of this Act, except in the case of death or withdrawal by the candidate.”
Since the Senate election is holding the same day as the presidential, one option for the three governors it was gathered was for them to support the president’s ticket but turn around to support an alternative ticket in the case of the governorship election which comes up two weeks later.
Nonetheless, the discord that has followed the internal party elections it was understood could lead to mass defection from the ruling party.
With a sizeable chunk of the APC governors ‘losing out” in the quest to get their candidates at various levels to fly the party’s tickets, some of them are said to be chewing various options to realise their ambitions.
The prospects for controversy in Ogun State it was gathered was worsened by the controversy over the nomination of House of Assembly candidates.
Winners of the House of Assembly nomination contests yesterday alleged a plot was hatched to remove their names from the list submitted to INEC.
Speaking at a press conference in Abeokuta yesterday, they said: “We have intensified our enquiries at the State Secretariat of the APC. The only explanation we have received from the state Chairman of the party, Chief Derin Adebiyi, is that on Saturday, November 03, 2018, 24 hours after the deadline for the submission of names of candidates, he received a call from the National Director of Organisation of the APC, requesting for names of candidates for INEC.
“This is a curious request because the National Secretariat constituted the panel that conducted the primary election and declared the results of the exercise. The party is therefore in possession of the list of winners of the election in all 26 State constituencies and we expect CF001 forms to be issued to the winners of the direct primary elections without further ado.”