Few hours after it was reported that some names submitted by the All Progressives Congress (APC) as senatorial candidates are missing from the list published by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the commission has offered an explanation.
While it was reported that Senate President Ahmad Lawan, Godswill Akpabio, former minister of Niger Delta affairs; and Dave Umahi, Ebonyi governor, had been listed by the APC as candidates for Yobe north, Akwa Ibom north-west, and Ebonyi south senatorial districts, they were however missing on the list published by INEC.
Offering an explanation in an interview on Channels Television, INEC spokesperson, Festus Okoye said they do not publish the names of candidates submitted by political parties if there are questions over the validity of primaries featuring such candidates.
“If you look at section 29(1) of the Electoral Act 2022, section 29 says ‘every political party shall not later than 180 days before the date appointed for a general election under this Act, submit to the commission in the prescribed forms, the list of the candidates it proposes to support at the election, who must have emerged from valid primaries conducted by the political parties’,” he said.
“The commission does not submit the list of candidates. It is the political parties themselves that has been given the locus to submit this particular list and in this case, there is no personal interference between the commission and the political parties.
“We open the portal — what we called ‘candidate nomination portal’ — and we give an access code to the national chairman of each of the political parties that conducted primaries with which they upload the list and personal particulars of their nominated candidates.
“So, if a political party has uploaded the list and personal particulars of a candidate that did not emerge from valid party primary, INEC is not under a constitutional and legal obligation to publish the particulars of such a candidate.”
Okoye who noted that the list published on Friday is not the final document for the 2023 polls, added that a candidate who was validly nominated at a primary, but whose name was excluded by the party, can seek redress from a competent court.