The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Friday published the list and particulars of candidates contesting various positions at the federal level in the 2023 general elections with the names of prominent politicians conspicuously missing.
Among those who are not listed by the electoral body are the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, former Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio, and Ebonyi State Governor, Dave Umahi.
The three of them had participated in the presidential primaries of the All Progressives Congress (APC) but failed to win the ticket and resorted to either reclaiming the APC senatorial ticket or becoming the candidate of the party for the legislative seats.
Speaking on Channels Television’s Politics Today on Friday, an INEC National Commissioner, Festus Okoye, said the commission is not obligated to publish the name of candidates that did not emerge from valid party primaries.
“If a political party submits to the Independent National Electoral Commission the name of a candidate that did not emerge from party primaries or did not emerge from valid party primaries, the commission is not obligated to publish the name of such a candidate,” he said.
However, Okoye noted that INEC has not published the final list of validly nominated candidates.
“The final list of validly nominated candidates will be published by the Independent National Electoral Commission on the 20th day of September 2022. And that is for presidential and national assembly candidates.
“What the Commission has published, as of today, complies with Section 29(3) of the electoral act which says that the moment political parties comply with the provision of Section 29 (1) of the electoral act in terms of the submission of its validly nominated candidates, that the Commission shall publish the personal particulars of such candidates in the constituencies where the candidates intend to contest election.
“In other words, for instance for a senatorial candidate, if a senatorial district covers four local governments, we will publish the personal particulars of such a candidate in the four local governments.
“So that is exactly what we have done. And we published the personal particular of candidates that emerged from valid party primaries. And that’s what the law says we should do.
“So, if the name of any candidate was not published, or if the personal particulars of any candidate was not published today, the implication is that such a candidate did not emerge from valid party primaries.”