Labour Party 

… says INEC published his name on both LP, NNPP without consent

By Levinus Nwabughiogu-Abuja

The member representing Gwer East/Gwer West federal constituency of Benue State, Hon. Mark Gbillah has insisted that he’s running for Benue North-West Senatorial District elections on the platform of the Labour Party (LP).

He said that the publication of his name on both Labour Party and the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP) was an error made without his consent by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

In a press conference in Abuja on Friday, the lawmaker vehemently refuted a certain media report that he had been disqualified from the contest on the account of his name appearing on two political platforms.

He said that necessary documents proving his participation in the LP’s primary elections were also submitted to INEC.

Wondering why INEC would make such a mistake, Gbillah said he had since initiated a legal action against the electoral umpire and NNPP to correct the anomaly.

He said: “Except by the order of a court of competent jurisdiction or as is expressly provided for in the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) and or the Electoral Act 2022, INEC cannot disqualify a candidate for an election and therefore did not send any such letter to me informing me of my ineligibility.

“While it is true that INEC’S publication on 20th September 2022 of the list of National (Presidential, Senate and House of Representatives) candidates for the 2023 general elections indicated my name as the candidate for both Labour Party and New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP) for the Benue North-West Senatorial District Elections, this publication was erroneous and without my knowledge and I have since initiated necessary legal action against INEC and NNPP in order to correct this grievous error which is alleged to have occurred because of NNPP’S inability to upload the name of their replacement candidate to the INEC portal within the timeline provided by INEC and INEC’S publication of the last name sent by NNPP without taking into cognizance my resignation of membership and withdrawal as candidate of the NNPP for the Benue North-West Senatorial District election (which was accompanied by an affidavit I deposed to in this regard) on 7th July 2022 and my joining the Labour Party and participating in the Labour Party rescheduled Senatorial primaries for Benue North-West Senatorial District on 11th July 2022 where I was returned elected unopposed as the Labour Party candidate for the election.

“These documents are all in INEC’S possession including INEC’S own report of NNPP’S rescheduled Senatorial primaries to substitute the candidate for Benue North-West Senatorial District which held on 12th July 2022 at the NNPP state secretariat where a certain Ako Aondoaver Francis was returned elected as the NNPP’S new candidate for the election to replace me. It is therefore curious why INEC still published my name as the candidate for both parties when it is privy to all above mentioned facts and accompanying documents.

“I want to reassure members of my family, friends, well-wishers and teeming supporters across the state and country that I remain the Labour Party candidate for the Benue North-West Senatorial election in the 2023 general elections and will definitely and unfailingly be on the ballot for that election. I am fully committed to issue and fact-based campaigns premised on capacity and performance and to free and fair elections and will take necessary action against opponents and detractors who continue this campaign of calumny and attacks against me instead of focusing on their own campaigns and testing their popularity with the electorate who it is alleged they intend to try to buy votes from during the general elections.”

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