Wednesday, 7th June 2023

INEC clears Delta’s Oborevwori, omits Ogun PDP, LP governorship candidates

By Charles Coffie Gyamfi (Abeokuta) and Waliat Musa (Lagos)
05 October 2022   |   4:20 am
The highly anticipated list of nominated governorship candidates by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), was released yesterday in some states with some embattled candidates knowing their fate.

INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu. Photo; FACBOOK/INECNIGERIA

• Showunmi heads to Supreme Court
• Akwa Ibom APC still hopeful
• Edeoga makes list of Enugu guber candidates
• Ikonne, Ibe, Otti, 33 others make guber list in Abia
• Fubara, Cole, Abe, Lulu-Briggs, George, 11 others battle for Rivers guber poll
• We need your support for successful election, INEC tells Action Aid, others

The highly anticipated list of nominated governorship candidates by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), was released yesterday in some states with some embattled candidates knowing their fate.

This is as the Commission sought partnership with Action Aid and other stakeholders to ensure seamless logistics for the 2023 general elections. INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, made this known yesterday at a meeting on election logistics for the general election in Lagos.

Yakubu said with just 143 days to the election, the meeting was timely, noting that the Commission is determined to build on the successes recorded in the recent off-cycle elections in Ekiti and Osun states in the delivery of election materials and early commencement of polls.

The chairman added that INEC has successfully implemented nine out of 14 activities listed in the timetable and schedule for the 2023 general election, adding that the aim of the meeting is to review the perennial challenges associated with electoral logistics and how to address them.

In Ogun State, the names of the governorship candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and that of Labour Party (LP) were conspicuously missing on the INEC list following the release of names of parties’ flag-bearers, 13 political parties and their candidates made the final list.

PDP appeared on the list as number 21, but the names of both the governorship candidate, Ladi Adebutu and his running mate, Adekunle Akinlade, were missing. The Commission cited ‘court order’ as reason for omission.

A Federal High Court sitting in Abeokuta had last week nullified all the primaries conducted by the party in the state. The court also barred INEC from recognising Adebutu as the governorship candidate and ordered the conduct of fresh primaries for all the positions within 14 days.

In the case of LP, neither the party nor its candidate, Kehinde Shogunle and running mate, Dr. Aishat Lawal Keshiro, appeared on the list.

PDP governorship hopeful, Segun Showunmi, has, however, headed to the Supreme Court to seek redress, claiming that the judgment of the Federal High Court did not affect his case.

Showunmi had earlier before the Ogun PDP primaries dragged the Sikirulahi Ogundele-led party executive to an Ogun State High Court sitting in Abeokuta, asking it to dissolve the party officials for alleged bias, but the court said the matter was a party affair, which it could not rule over.

Showunmi proceeded to the Appeal Court, where two of his three prayers were granted; but the appellate court agreed with the lower court that the matter was a party affair.

Meanwhile, Governor Dapo Abiodun has been confirmed as the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for the 2023 election in Ogun. Abiodun is running with his Deputy, Noimot Salako-Oyede, the list confirmed.

The Resident Electoral Commission (REC), Niyi Iyalaje, told newsmen that the list pasted was the one authorised by INEC’s headquarters in Abuja.

Reacting, PDP spokesman, Akinloye Bankole, said: “INEC simply obeyed the court order and that explains why our candidates’ names were missing. We have appealed the judgment and we await the decision of the appeal court on the issue.”

In Delta State, INEC cleared the Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Sheriff Oborevwori, as the PDP governorship candidate. The candidature of Oborevwori was in doubt after the May 25 primary following court case instituted by Mr. David Edevbie, who challenged the academic credentials Oborevwori presented.

While Edevbie won at the Federal High Court, Abuja, the Appeal Court upturned the judgment. The matter is now at the Supreme Court.

Other governorship candidates on the list were the Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege of APC; and former Minister of State for Education, Kenneth Gbagi of the Social Democratic Party (SDP).

Candidate of various opposition parties in previous elections, Great Ogboru also made the final list as candidate of the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA).

It was still a waiting game in Akwa Ibom as INEC was yet to paste the final list of candidates last night. However APC expressed optimism that its governorship candidate, Obong Akan Udofia’s name would be published.

In a statement by the state Chairman, Media and Publicity Committee, Otuekong Iniobong John, the party dismissed reports that Udofia has been disqualified, as it expressed hope that his name will be published.

In Enugu State, Chijioke Edeoga of LP has finally been listed among the 34 governorship candidates that will contest the election. The list has rested the confusion on who is the authentic candidate of LP in Enugu since Evarest Nnaji had insisted that he was the candidate of the party.

Edeoga, however, has some hurdles to cross, as the Federal High Court in Abuja will today, October 5, continue hearing on the matter instituted by Nnaji challenging his exclusion from the repeat primary election that produced Edeoga as candidate.

In the list pasted at the INEC state headquarters in Enugu, on Tuesday evening, Edeoga’s name appeared as candidate for LP with his running mate, Dr. John Nwokeabia.

Other candidates in the list included the candidate for PDP, Peter Mbah and running mate, Ifeanyi Ossai; APC candidate, Uche Nnaji and his running mate Tagbo Ogara, among others.

In Abia State, the governorship candidate of PDP, Prof. Uche Ikonne, and his running mate, Okey Igwe, were among those who made the final list of candidates.

Other candidates who made the 36-man list included the governorship flag-bearer of APGA, Prof. Greg Ibe; his running mate, Obinna Ichita; LP governorship candidate, Dr Alex Otti; and his running mate, Emetu Lekwachi.

On the list also were APC governorship candidate, Chief Ikechi Emenike; his running mate, Gloria Akara; Bishop Sunday Onuoha of the African Democratic Congress (ADC); and his running mate, Ngozi Nwasimuo; Chima Nwafor of the Young Peoples Party (YPP); and his running mate, Chima Anyaso.

In Rivers State, the governorship candidates of PDP, Siminialaye Fubara; APC and 15 others have been cleared by INEC to contest the election. Senator Magnus Abe was also listed as the SDP candidate for the election.

Abe, who left APC for SDP principally to fly the party’s governorship flag, had declared his intentions to campaign for the presidential candidate of APC, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.

Dumo Lulu Briggs, a billionaire oil magnate, was also included in the list published by INEC as the candidate of Accord Party. Dawari George, a former APC chieftain and erstwhile loyalist of the immediate past Transport Minister, Chibuike Amaechi, was listed as the candidate of Action Alliance.

The chairperson of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) in the state, Itubo Beatrice, was listed as the governorship candidate of LP with Agwo Ndubuisi recognised as the NNPP candidate.

SPEAKING on the collaboration with INEC, Country Director, ActionAid, Ene Obi, said the intervention seeks to engage with INEC on the development of innovative approaches towards the smooth conduct of the general elections and to assert the challenges identified in the logistics deployment of election materials for election administration.

She noted that it offers the opportunity to review the logistics value chain for INEC aiming to establish the linkages among the material planning, procurement, storage, delivery of election materials and reverse logistics.

“Logistics during election means everything, because we are talking about election materials to the polling unit, it’s a whole chain of coordination and the use use of technology to enhance logistic planning and delivery as a roadmap established to enhance logistics delivery leveraging on Information Communication Technology (ICT),” she added.

INEC National Commissioner in charge of Voter Education, Festus Okoye, called on Nigerians who registered before the 2019 general elections, between 28th June 2021 and 14th January 2022 to pick their permanent voters card at any INEC local government office assuring those who registered between 15th January to 30th June 2022 that it would be ready in October, while July first to July 31st will be ready in November.

Okoye further said the Commission is totally against vote buying and selling in the 2023 general elections with actions made on changing the architecture and configuration of the polling units to ensure the secrecy of the vote.

In his words: “We have also banned the use of smartphones and other electronic gadgets at the polling units, more importantly, we are collaborating with the various security agencies under the auspices of the Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security to make sure that those who engage in Vote buying are apprehended.”