The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, on Tuesday 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).
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.
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.
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.
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. (Vanguard)