We won’t allow withdrawal, substitution of candidates, INEC warns

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Wednesday in Abuja said it won’t allow withdrawal or substitution after publishing the final list of candidates standing for the 2023 general elections.

However, the commission said substitution can be effected only in the event of death as provided in section 34(1) of the Electoral Act or pursuant to an order of a Court of competent jurisdiction. 

The warning was contained in a statement by the National Commissioner and Chairman Information and Voter Education Committee Barrister Festus Okoye in Abuja. 

The statement read: “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, the Commission today 4th October 2022 published the final list of candidates for State Elections (Governorship and State Assembly constituencies).

“The publication of the full names of candidates standing nominated for State Elections follows the political parties’ conduct of primaries and completion of the nomination exercise. 

“It will be recalled that at the end of the process, political parties that conducted valid primaries uploaded the list and personal particulars of all nominated candidates to the Commission’s candidate’s nomination portal and the subsequent display in their constituencies nationwide as provided by Section 29(3) of the Electoral Act.

“Subsequently, validly nominated candidates had the opportunity to voluntarily withdraw their candidature by notice in writing and personally delivered such notice to the political party that nominated them for the election. 

“Thereafter, political parties substituted such candidates under section 31 of the Electoral Act for which the last day was 12th August, 2022 for State Elections as clearly provided in item 6 of the Commission’s Timetable and Schedule of Activities.  

“Thereafter, no withdrawal or substitution of candidates is allowed except in the event of death as provided in section 34(1) of the Electoral Act or pursuant to an order of a Court of competent jurisdiction. 

“The list published today contains the names of candidates validly nominated for state elections at the close of party primaries and the period earmarked for withdrawal and substitution of candidates.

“The summary, the 18 political parties have fielded 837 candidates and their running mates for the 28 Governorship elections that fall due in 2023. For State Assembly elections, 10, 231 candidates are vying for 993 State Assembly seats.

“The list for specific constituencies is published in each State where they are located while the comprehensive nationwide 894-page list has been uploaded to the Commission’s website.

“Political parties are required to channel any observations on the list of candidates to the Commission and such must be signed by the National Chairman and Secretary of the political party.”

Senate Confirms 19 RECs

Meanwhile, the Senate Wednesday confirmed the nomination of 19 Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) for the INEC. 

It also confirmed the nomination of Muhammad Sabo Lamido as Executive Commissioner, Finance and Accounts for the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Agency (NUPRA). 

The confirmations were made sequel to the consideration of the reports of its Committees on Electoral Matters, and that of Upstream Petroleum Sector respectively. 

The Resident Electoral Commissioners confirmed are: Ibrahim Abdullahi (Adamawa); Obo Effanga (Cross River); Umar Ibrahim (Taraba); Agboke Olaleke (Ogun); Samuel Egwu (Kogi); Onyeka Ugochi (Imo); Muhammed Bashir (Sokoto); Ayobami Salami (Oyo) ; Zango Abdu (Katsina), Queen Elizabeth Agwu (Ebonyi) and Agunndu Tersoo (Benue). 

Others are: Yomere Oritsemlebi (Delta); Yahaya Ibrahim Makarfi (Kaduna); Nura Ali (Kano); Agu Uchenna (Enugu); Ahmed Yushau Garki (FCT); Hudu Yunusa (Bauchi); Uzochukwu Chijioke (Anambra) and Mohammad Nura (Yobe). 

Presenting his report, Chairman Senate Committee on Electoral Mattersr Kabiru Gaya (APC Kano South) said: “In determining suitability of  the nominees for  positions which they were nominated for,  they were asked questions that bothered mostly on partisanship, membership of political parties, and how they hoped to improve the electoral process if and when their nominations for appointments are confirmed.”

The nominees, he added, assured the committee of their non-partisanship, non-membership of any political party, and promised to discharge their responsibilities diligently according to the laid down laws. 

He said the committee found no merit in the petitions against four nominees that bordered on alleged membership of political parties, partisanship, compromise and incompetence. 

“The committee did due diligence on the petitions by listening to the defence of the nominees and carried out detailed examination of the petitions to determine the validity or otherwise of the allegations against the four nominees,” he said.

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