By Peter Duru, Makurdi

Despite the row that trailed the conduct of the All Progressives Congress, APC, governorship primary election in Benue state, the party has settled for Rev. Fr. Hyacinth Alia as its gubernatorial candidate.

Though some of the aggrieved aspirants including Chief Barnabas Gemade, Prof. Terhemba Shija and Chief Mike Aondoakaa have already approached the courts to nullify the process that threw up the governorship candidate.

Findings by Vanguard indicated that the APC also opted for the candidacy of Mr. Asema Achado in place of Terhemen Nongo for the Gwer/Gwer West Federal Constituency election after a contest that saw supporters of both candidates still claiming victory at the end of the primary election.

Also Chief Philip Agbese has been confirmed as the candidate that would fly the APC flag in the Ado/Okpokwu/Ogbadibo Federal Constituency and not Mr. Sunday Oche who it was alleged initially laid claim to the ticket.

Meanwhile 14 political parties are featuring governorship candidates who are jostling to succeed Governor Samuel Ortom in 2023.

Prominent among them is the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, which is featuring the Speaker of the Benue state House of Assembly, Mr. Titus Uba as its candidate. And the only female candidate amongst them is Mrs. Ada Chenge, a former Managing Director of Lower Benue River Basin Development Authority, who is running on the platform of the Action Democratic Party, ADP.

Also in the race is the former Executive Secretary, National Human Rights Commission, Prof. Bem Angwe who is flying the flag of the New Nigeria Peoples Party, NNPP.

In the governorship race also is the former Managing Director of Nigerian Export-Import Bank, Robert Orya who is the candidate of the Young Progressives Party, YPP.

Renown Journalist and business man, Joseph Waya is the governorship candidate of All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, while Federal lawmaker, Heman Hembe is flying the gubernatorial flag of Labour Party, LP.

Besides, only 13 political parties are fielding 23 senatorial candidates who would slug it out for the available three senatorial seats while 97 candidates would vie for the available 11 House of Representatives seats.

As for the available 32 State Assembly seats, 266 candidates from 13 political parties would jostle for the seats while the
ADP is the only political party that would not feature any candidate for any position aside its governorship candidate.

It was gathered that the names that have been submitted to Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, by the political parties for the governorship and State Assembly positions are still provisional and subject to change.

According to an INEC official who spoke in confidence, “the political parties still have up to August 12, 2022 which is the last day for the withdrawal by the candidate(s)/replacement of withdrawn governorship and State Assembly candidates. The last day for the Presidential and National Assembly was July 15.

“This is in compliance to Section 32 of the Electoral Act 2022. So for now the names we have from the political parties as regards the governorship and state assembly elections can be withdrawn and changed on or before August 12.”

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