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ADC’s participation in 2023 polls doubtful as INEC rejects caretaker committee

By Leo Sobechi, Abuja
14 September 2022   |   4:05 am
Unless a major rapprochement happens within the fold of African Democratic Congress (ADC), its participation in the February 25, 2023 presidential ballot has become doubtful.

Dumebi Kachikwu PHOTO: Twitter/ Dumebi Kachikwu

Unless a major rapprochement happens within the fold of African Democratic Congress (ADC), its participation in the February 25, 2023 presidential ballot has become doubtful.

The party has been enmeshed in leadership squabbles, which culminated in the purported setting up of a national caretaker committee.

But reprieve came the way of the national chairman, Ralphs Nwosu, when the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) refused to recognise the Senator Patricia Naomi Akwashiki-led caretaker committee.

The ADC presidential candidate, Dumebi Kachikwu, had cited his authority as the standard-bearer and leader of the party, named a former deputy national chairman, Akwashiki, as the chairman of the caretaker committee.

Akwashiki had, therefore, through a letter dated September 6, 2022, with reference number: ADC/NH/INEC/0993311, pleaded with INEC to recognise the change of leadership of ADC as well as the relocation of the party’s headquarters.

However, checks by The Guardian revealed that INEC turned down the requests on account of breach of due process and flouting of laid down rules, as well as absence of the chairman and secretary’s signatures.

In a letter from the office of INEC secretary, Mrs. Rose Onaran Anthony, dated September 8, 2022, which was addressed to Akwashiki through her counsel, Benga Benga and Co, the commission said it would not accept the caretaker committee.

According to the reply, with reference number: INEC/DEPM/ADC/271/1/31, the electoral umpire drew her attention “to the fact that the submission was not signed by the chairman and national secretary of the party contrary to the provision of Article 1.13 of the Commission’s Regulations and Guidelines for Political Party Operation 2018.”

Part of the correspondence reads: “We have received series of complaints from you, and after going through all, we have come to the knowledge of the facts. That the proper thing required of you is to follow the outcome of an organised NEC meeting of your party.

“While hoping these issues are noted for compliance, please accept the assurances of the Commission’s warm regards.”

The electoral umpire’s position, therefore, puts paid to the wrangling within ADC.

Although INEC’s rejection of the caretaker committee affirms the party’s leadership under its current national chairman, Nwosu and Secretary, Said Baba Abdullahi, it is left to be seen whether the party would go ahead to field a presidential candidate.

In a telephone chat, Abdullahi stressed that there is no leadership change, adding that what is being reported in the media is just an “attempt by a dangerous set of people to destroy the party.”

It could be recalled that the ADC national leadership, this week, addressed a press conference in Abuja, where it doubted the presidential candidate’s preparedness to take part in next year’s general elections.

Speaking while handing over Certificates of Return (CORs) to the party’s National and State Assembly elections, Nwosu wondered why the presidential candidate was yet to put together a campaign plan barely two weeks to the commencement of electioneering.