The Independent National Electoral Commission has released the list and particulars of candidates vying for various positions at the federal level in the 2023 general elections.
Conspicuously missing were the names of Senate President Ahmad Lawan, former Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio, and Ebonyi State Governor, Dave Umahi.
The trio had contested the presidential primaries of the All Progressives Congress (APC), but may have been hoping to reclaim the APC senatorial seats after failing to win the top seat.
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, Mr 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 particulrs 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.”