**Says SDP, 7 others won’t participate due To invalid nominations
By Boluwaji Obahopo – Lokoja
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) said only 23 political parties will be on the Kogi governorship election ballot paper. Social Democratic Party of Nigeria (SDP) and seven other parties are noted would be omitted from the list due to invalid nominations.
INEC National Commissioner, and Chairman, Information and Voters Education Committee, Barr. Festus Okoye stated this on Wednesday in Lokoja at a one day workshop organised for working journalists in Kogi state preparatory to the Guber poll.
Barr. Okoye, however, insisted that the Social Democratic Party, SDP and seven other parties despite conducting primary elections will not feature because their nomination where invalidly presented to the electoral commission.
“The SDP and other seven parties were not disqualified by INEC as it’s been peddled, they presented invalid nominations and so cannot participate in the election.
“The SDP, ANP, APM, APP, ASD, MRDD and UPP deputies governorship nominees presented were underaged. The constitution stated clearly that whatever affected the deputy governor also affects the governorship candidate nominees and vice versa.”
Okoye however described as “conspiracy theorem” the rumour that the SDP governorship candidate, Barr. Natasha Akpoti was disqualified by INEC to pave way for governor Yahaya Bello of APC who hailed from the same senatorial and ethnic group with her, “Why was there fuse with the SDP candidate when there are other seven parties who suffered the same fate in Kogi.
“Also in Bayelsa, both the governorship and deputy governorship candidate of SDP were underaged and were affected. Why is it that it is only in Kogi the party is kicking against their rejection”
Okoye, however, said the commission will only allow her participation in the election if the court, where Natasha is already challenging her removal judged otherwise to their decision.
Okoye also said the agency has recruited 16000 ad hoc staff that will conduct the November election.
He also urged journalists to fact check information before publishing, report not on instincts or rumours and jettisons hate speech and fake news.