By Clifford Ndujihe, Dapo Akinrefon, Vincent Ujumadu, Festus Ahon, Omeiza Ajayi, Ozioruva Aliu, Chioma Onuegbu & Steve Oko

ABUJA—The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, yesterday cleared 18 candidates, including a female for the 2023 presidential election as Senate President Ahmad Lawan lost his bid to return to the Senate.

Immediate past governor of Akwa Ibom State, Senator Godswill Akpabio, and Ebonyi State Governor, Dave Umahi were also cleared subject to court order.
This is according to the final list of presidential, Senate and House of Representatives flagbearers published by the electoral umpire.

The presidential candidates cleared include Christopher Imumolen (Accord); Hamza Al-Mustapha (AA); Omoyele Sowore (AAC); Dumebi Kachikwu (ADC); Yabagi Sani (ADP); Bola Ahmed Tinubu (APC); and Peter Umeadi (APGA).
The rest are Princess Chichi Ojei (APM); Osita Charles Nnadi (APP); Oluwafemi Adenuga (BP); Peter Obi (LP), Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso (NNPP); Felix Osakwe (NRM); Atiku Abubakar (PDP); Kola Abiola (PRP); Adewole Adebayo (SDP); Abdulmalik Ado-Ibrahim (YPP) and Dan Nwanyanwu (ZLP).

Lawan out

Senate President Ahmad Lawan may have finally lost out in his bid to return to the Senate following omission of his name from the final list of candidates for next year’s National Assembly elections. After losing presidential primaries of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Lawan sought to retain his Yobe North seat but Bashir Machina, who had won the ticket refused to relinquish the slot, leading to bitter controversies. The INEC, yesterday, left the APC Yobe North senatorial slot blank, an indication that APC will not field a candidate for the position.

Shekarau in

Although he quit the New Nigeria Peoples Party, NNPP, and joined the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, a month ago the INEC still published the name of Senator Ibrahim Shekarau as Kano Central senatorial candidate of the NNPP.

Akpabio scales through

The immediate past Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, and former governor of Akwa Ibom State, Senator Godswill Akpabio also made the final list as APC candidate for Akwa Ibom North-West Senatorial district. Last Thursday, Akpabio secured a court order for the INEC to include his name.

Like Lawan, Senator Akpabio decided to return to the Senate after losing out at the APC primaries where he stepped down for Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

Following the publication of Akpabio’s name, there was unusual quietness in the camp of the APC and among Akpabio’s supporters and loyalists.

Many Akwa Ibom people wondered why they were not jubilant as expected.

Findings by Vanguard showed that the development was not unconnected with the fact that the main judgement over the matter is coming up today, September 21 at the Federal High Court in Abuja.

DIG Udom Ekpoudom, rtd who was the APC candidate before Akpabio’s return dragged Akpabio and the APC to court, challenging Akpabio’s claim to the Senatorial ticket. When contacted on the list, yesterday, Ekpoudom simply responded that he was not aware that the final list had been published.

Why we published list — INEC

The INEC took the decision to publish the lists in tandem with its 2023 election time table at its regular weekly meeting yesterday. The approved list is pursuant to Section 32(1) of the Electoral Act 2022 and item 8 of the Timetable and Schedule of Activities for the 2023 General Election.

INEC National Commissioner in charge of Information and Voter Education Committee, Barr. Festus Okoye, explained that the publication of the full names and addresses of all nominated candidates follows the political parties’ conduct of primaries and completion of the nomination exercise.

“We note the fact that not all the political parties conducted primaries in all the constituencies, submitted the particulars of candidates that emerged from valid primaries or substituted their candidates after fresh primaries within 14 days as provided in section 33 of the Electoral Act.

“This has led to numerous litigations, some of which are ongoing. Where the Commission was served with Court orders by aggrieved aspirants or candidates before the publication of this list, these have been indicated under the remark column.

“In summary, all the 18 political parties have fielded candidates and their running mates for the Presidential election. For legislative elections, 1,101 candidates are vying for 109 Senatorial seats and 3,122 candidates for Federal Constituencies i.e. House of Representatives seats, making a total of 4,223 candidates contesting for 469 legislative positions. In terms of gender distribution, 3,875 candidates are male, made up of 35 for Presidential and Vice Presidential, 1,008 for Senate and 2,832 for House of Representatives. Similarly, 381 females comprising 1 for Presidential, 92 for Senate, and 288 for House of Representatives are contesting. There are also 11 Persons with Disability (PWDs) in the race.”

28 cleared for Senate, 98 for House of Reps in Anambra

In Anambra, 28 candidates were cleared for the Senate and 98 for the House of Representatives.

For the Senate, the wife of the immediate past governor of the state, Mrs. Ebelechukwu Obiano of the APGA, will face Dr. Tony Nwoye of the Labour Party and Senator Stella Oduah of the PDP

In Anambra Central, the incumbent Senator, Mrs. Uche Ekwunife of the PDP will slug it out with Senator Victor Umeh of the Labour Party, Dozie Nwankwo of APGA and Kodilichukwu Okelekwe of the APC.

In Anambra South, the incumbent senator, Chief Ifeanyi Ubah of the Young Progressives Party, YPP, will face Hon Chris Azubogu of APGA, Chukwuma Umeoji of APC, Obinna Uzor of the Labour Party and Chris Uba of PDP. For the House of Representatives, the deputy speaker of the state House of Assembly, Dr. Agbodike will contest against the incumbent member, Hon Ifeanyi Mo

33 senatorial, 81 Reps candidates published in Abia

In Abia 33 senatorial candidates and 81 House of Representatives flag bearers from different political parties made the final list of contestants for the 2023 election.

According to the list, 11 candidates are contesting for Abia North senatorial seat;10 for Abia Central; and 12 for Abia South. The three females in the male-dominated list include: Carol Dike-Okorafor, APGA (Abia North); Nnennaya Nwosu, APM (Abia North); and Blessing Nwagba, APC (Abia South).

Some of the candidates that made the final list include: Gov. Okezie Ikpeazu, PDP, Abia South; Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe; APGA ( Abia South); Senator Orji Uzor Kalu; APC (Abia North); and Senator Mao Ohuabunwa, PDP (Abia North).

Others are Col. Austin Akobundu, PDP (Abia Central); Chief Chuku Wachuku, YPP (Abia Central); and Darlington Nwokocha, Labour Party (Abia Central) who has “ court order” as a remark against his column.
Of the 81House of Reps candidates 12 are females while 69 are males.

16 parties field 133 candidates in Delta

In Delta, the INEC cleared 133 Senatorial and House of Representatives candidates from 16 political parties for the National Assembly election in 2023. While 39 candidates were cleared for the Senatorial election 94 were given the nod for the House of Representatives polls.

In the Delta Central Senatorial District, Chief Ede Dafinone, Omaruaye Peter, Chief Ighoyota Amori and Ekpokpo Oviemunu were cleared as candidates of the APC, APGA, PDP and SDP respectively among others.

In Delta South, Joel Onowakpo-Thomas, of the APC, Timinimi George of APGA, Diden Michael of PDP, and others are to slug it out at the senatorial election.

For the Delta North Senatorial District, incumbent Senator, Senator Nwaoboshi Peter of APC, Obodo Isaac, APGA, Ned Nwoko, PDP, Nwafor Peter, SDP and others were cleared for the election.

Mixed reactions greet PDP list in Edo

Meanwhile, mixed reactions, yesterday, greeted the list of PDP senatorial and House of Representatives candidates in Edo State. Those cleared emerged from the factional primary elections conducted by the leadership loyal to the National Vice Chairman of PDP, South-South, Chief Dan Orbih.

Names of those published were based on court order

Reacting to the development, a very top government official, who is close to Governor Godwin Obaseki simply said “there is no cause for concern”, while the state chairman of the PDP, Mr Tony Azeigbemi said issues were in still court and the candidates would exhaust all available legal means.

Azeigbemi said: “I am sure you know that there are court cases pending, INEC is obeying the court order by publishing these names but until the candidates exhaust all their cases in court, there cannot be a final opinion on this. Until all the parties exhaust their cases in court, we are PDP and we will wait for the final judgment so there is nothing much.”

On his part, the candidate for Egor/Ikpoba-Okha federal constituency, Mr Nosa Adams said: “It is basically a situation of victory for the PDP for me, it is a situation of no victor, no vanquished; all I am concerned about is how we can win the elections for PDP.

Our target is for our party to win the elections; produce the president, the members of Senate and the House of Representatives. Nobody has been defeated.”

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Comments expressed here do not reflect the opinions of vanguard newspapers or any employee thereof.