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Sunday, February 5, 2023

JUST IN: Ahmad Lawan’s 24 years in Senate ends as INEC releases final list of National Assembly candidates for 2023 election

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), yesterday, released the final list of presidential and National Assembly candidates of all the political parties contesting the February 25 elections.

The publication of the final list of candidates for national elections (presidential, senatorial and federal constituencies) was 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.

The publication of the full names and addresses of all nominated candidates followed the conduct of primaries and completion of the nomination exercise by political parties’.

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It was also sequel to the display of the personal particulars of all nominated candidates in their constituencies nationwide as provided by section 29(3) of the Electoral Act.

INEC National Commissioner in charge of Information and Chairman, Voter Education, Festus Okoye, had earlier said validly nominated candidates had the opportunity to voluntarily withdraw their candidature by notice in writing and personally deliver such notices to the political parties that nominated them for the election.

Okoye said, “Thereafter, political parties substituted such candidates under section 31 of the Electoral Act for which the last day was 15th July 2022 for national elections and 12th August, 2022, for state elections as clearly provided in item 6 of the Commission’s Timetable and Schedule of Activities.

“Thereafter, no withdrawal or substitution of candidates is allowed except in the event of death as provided in section 34(1) of the Electoral Act or pursuant to an order of a Court of competent jurisdiction.”

The list published contains the names of candidates validly nominated for national elections at the close of the parties’ primaries and the period earmarked for withdrawal and substitution of candidates.

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The presidential candidates of PDP, Atiku Abubakar; APC, Bola Tinubu; Labour Party, Peter Obi; and New Nigeria Peoples Party, Rabiu Kwankwaso, were on the final list.

Similarly on the presidential list were Oluwafemi Adenuga, presidential candidate of Boot Party (BP) and the running mate Turaku Mustapha; Daberechukwu Nwanyanwu, presidential candidate of Zenith Labour Party (ZLP) and the running mate, Ramalan Abubakar; Dumebi Kachikwu presidential candidate, African Democratic Congress (ADC) and his running mate, Ahmed Mani; Hamsa Almustafa, presidential candidate, Action Aliance (AA) and his running mate, Chukwuka Johnson, among others.

The list published contained the names of Senator Goodwill Akoabio from Akwa Ibom state and Senator Peter Nwaobishi of Delta State as well as Bashir Machina, who replaced the senate president, Ahmed Lawan.

Akpabio replaced former retired Deputy Inspector General of Police, Ekpuudom, while Nwaoboshi, who was convicted for seven years by the Court of appeal in Lagos, is also on the list.

With the latest development, Senate president Ahmed Lawan will not be on the ballot for the first time in 24 years.

Recall that Justice Fadima Aminu of the Federal High Court sitting in Damaturu, the Yobe State capital in September 2022,  affirmed Bashir Machina, as the authentic candidate of the All Progressives Congress for Yobe North Senatorial District.

Reacting to the verdict the following day, the Senate President said he “has accepted the judgment of the court which disqualified his candidature and participation in the elections.”

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