The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has rejected the names of Senate President Ahmad Lawan and former Niger Delta Minister, Godswill Akpabio as senatorial candidates of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for the 2023 election.
Naija News reports INEC rejected Lawan and Akpabio as APC candidates for Yobe North and Akwa Ibom North-west districts, respectively.
This was confirmed on Sunday by INEC spokesperson, Festus Okoye during an interview session with Channels TV.
The electoral umpire said both candidates didn’t emerge from validly conducted party primaries but their names were uploaded on the INEC portal by APC.
He stressed that as things currently stand, the APC has no candidate for both positions.
Both Lawan and Akpabio had contested and lost the APC presidential primaries and had made attempts to pick their constituency’s senatorial tickets thereafter but have been so far unsuccessful.
On the part of Lawan, the winner of the APC senatorial primary for Yobe North, Bashir Machina had refused to give up the ticket, saying the people chose him and not the incumbent Senate President.
Also, former Deputy Inspector-General of Police, Udom Ekpoudom has vowed that he will not relinquish the All Progressives Congress senatorial district ticket which he won on May 27, 2022, to Former Minister of Niger Delta, Senator Godswill Akpabio.
The APC however submitted the names of Lawan and Akpabio as senatorial candidates, despite the controversy trailing their respective primary elections.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has however insisted that it can’t accept the two names as they didn’t emerge through valid party primaries.
INEC insisted that any political party that presents candidates who were not elected at validly-conducted primaries will not contest in the 2023 elections.
The Commission said it won’t plead with the party to present the names of candidates from the valid primaries but warned that the implication is that the APC won’t have any candidate for the positions during elections.
According to Okoye who spoke on Sunday, “the commission has made it very clear that under section 29(1) of the electoral act, it is the responsibility to forward to INEC the list and personal particulars of their members who emerged from validly-conducted party primaries.”
“In these two constituencies, two names were forwarded and the commission made a determination that the names were not persons who emerged from validly-conducted party primaries and we did not publish their names. That is where we are.
“So, the commission will not go out of its way to plead with a political party to forward the name of a candidate that emerged from a validly-conducted primary.
“If a political party does not forward the name of the candidate that emerged from a validly-conducted primary, the implication is that the political party will not have the candidate in the election for that particular constituency and that is just the law.
“Their (referring to Lawan and Akpabio) names were uploaded by the APC to our candidates’ nomination portal, but the commission made a determination that they were not the candidates that emerged from valid party primaries.
“The commission did not publish their names and their particulars in their constituencies. So, the implication is that as of today, the APC does not have candidates in those two constituencies.”