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CSO to INEC: Reject Akpabio, Lawan as APC candidates… they didn’t partake in valid primaries

CSO to INEC: Reject Akpabio, Lawan as APC candidates… they didn’t partake in valid primaries
June 19
00:29 2022

The Abuja School of Political and Social Thought (The Abuja School), a civil society organisation (CSO), has asked the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to reject the candidacy of Ahmad Lawan and Godswill Akpabio for the 2023 polls.

The CSO, in a statement issued on Saturday by Sam Amadi, its director, said Lawan and Akpabio did not participate in valid senatorial primaries organised by the All Progressives Congress (APC).

Lawan, senate president, and Akpabio, former minister of Niger Delta affairs, had both participated in the APC presidential primary but lost to Bola Tinubu, former governor of Lagos.

However, Lawan and Akpabio got APC tickets as senatorial candidates for Yobe north and Akwa Ibom north-west, respectively.

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For Akwa Ibom north-west, the resident electoral commissioner (REC) in the state had earlier said INEC officials did not monitor any exercise that produced the former minister as senatorial candidate.

In the case of Yobe north, Bashir Machina who had won the primary unopposed had insisted that he would not step down for Lawan – but in the list submitted to INEC, the senate president was listed as the candidate for the senatorial district.

In the statement on Saturday, Amadi expressed satisfaction on the role of INEC in the political primaries, but said Akpabio and Lawan cannot be approved as senatorial candidates.

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“We want to commend INEC for exercising its oversight functions in a manner that forced the parties to comply with the requirement of democratically electing candidates for elective offices in the 2023 General Elections. Without INEC oversight, many of the parties would have continued the tradition of violating the norms of democracy in the choice of their candidates,” the statement reads.

“As an intellectual and policy thinktank committed to providing insights and evidence-based analyses to assist state institutions to deliver on their mandates, the Abuja School is alarmed at the efforts of some politicians and party leaders to undermine the provisions of the electoral law as regards submission of nominated candidates to INEC.

“It is being reported that some high-profile politicians who did not win INEC-monitored primaries of their parities are being submitted by their party leaders, in clear violation of the provisions of the electoral law. Two notable cases are those of the President of the Senate and the former Minister of Niger Delta Affair, who contested for the APC Presidential Primary and lost, but are making frantic efforts to regain senate seats from the winners of the primaries.

“The winners of the duly conducted primaries have refused to give up their tickets. Notwithstanding, the party reportedly has uploaded the Senate President and the Minister of Niger Delta as senatorial candidates, although they did not participate in a valid primary.

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“Submitting names of persons who did not win duly conducted primaries on INEC portals is contrary to the electoral law. The electoral law requires that only persons who won duly conducted primaries should be submitted as candidates.

“It is INEC that determines what is a duly conducted primary, based on its guidelines and the electoral law. The practice in the past where INEC allowed parties to make wrong and fraudulent entries and hoped that the courts will reverse them has gone with the new Electoral Act which now empowers INEC to reverse such fraudulent and wrong actions by the parties.”

The Abuja School also asked INEC to “discharge its regulatory obligation by rejecting every submission of names of persons who did not emerge from valid primary elections as candidates for elective offices”.

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