I N E C Unveils Candidates’ Lists
Another major step towards the April elections was taken last night. The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) released to its state offices lists of the candidates deemed to be eligible to run.
But politicians were disappointed that the lists could not be pasted at the offices as promised. In most of the states, Resident Electoral Commissioners claimed they were unable to sort the lists out on time.
But, in Oyo State, the stage seems set for an epic battle involving Governor Adebayo Alao-Akala of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP); his erstwhile boss, Senator Rashidi Ladoja of the Accord Party, and Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) candidate Senator Abiola Ajimobi.
The AC N senatorial candidates are Chief Femi Lanlehin (Oyo South), Dr. Wale Okediran (North) and Mr. Ayo Adeseun (Central).
The PDP senatorial candidates are Jumoke Akinjide (Central), daughter of Attorney-General and Justice Minister Chief Richard Akinjide, Senator Kamoru Adedibu (South), son of the late Ibadan politician Chief Lamidi Adedibu and Hosea Agboola (North).
The Accord Party is fielding Mr. Bayo Lawal (South), Alhaji Hammed Adedokun (North) and Chief Bisi Ilaka (Central).
In Ondo State, the Labour Party and the PDP have lined up a very strong field for the senatorial race. There will be no governorship election in the state, until 2014.
For the LP are Dr. Ayo Akinyelure (Central), Prof Ajayi Borofice (North) and Boluwaji Kunlere (South).
In the PDP are ex-Governor Olusegun Agagu (South), Senator Bode Olajumoke (North) and Senator Gbenga Ogunniya (Central).
Twelve political parties are fielding candidates for the governorship race in Lagos State. Dr. Ade Dosunmu, the PDP candidate, has Olayinka Eniafe-Olatunji as his running mate. Mrs Joke Orelope-Adefulire is Lagos State Governor and ACN candidate Mr Babatunde Fashola’s running mate.
Other candidates are ANPP: Yomi Tokoya and Vera Chukwueke-Nkechi as running mate; CPC: Mumuni Nuraini and Ajibade Emiabata Balogun as running mate; ADC: Osagiede Lugard as candidate with Sikirat Lawal as running mate.
Bashorun JK Randle is the SDMP candidate but there is no running mate listed. APGA candidate is Adegbola Dominic. Itesi Helen is his running mate.
In Niger State, Governor Babangida Aliyu whose running mate is Ahmed Ibeto, will contend with the AC N candidate Abu Bawa Bwari. His running mate is Abdullahi Ndafogi Nasiru.
The All Nigeria People Party (ANPP) candidate is David Umaru. He has no running mate yet. Ibrahim Bako Shettima is the candidate of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC). Alhassan Mohammed is the running mate.
But INEC said yesterday that the list is not final.
INEC’s National Commissioner in charge of Legal Affairs Mr. Phillip Umeadi, said the list of parties’ candidates is not final because substitutions could still be made on the basis of court orders and other reasons, until a final list is published.
Section 31 (1) of the Electoral Act 2010 states: "Every political party shall, not later than 60 days before the date appointed for a general election under the provisions of this Act, submit to the Commission in the prescribed forms, the list of the candidates the party proposes to sponsor at the elections.
According to Umeadi, the provisions of Section 31 (3) assertively necessitates INEC’s arrangement to publish the list in various states instead of at INEC’s headquarters as it states: "The Commission shall, within seven days of the receipt of the personal particulars of the candidate, publish same in the constituency where the candidate intends to contest the election."
Umeadi said: "It is important for me to make this clarification because there appears to be obvious ignorance of the provisions of the law with regards to what is going on. Section 31 of the Electoral Act says political parties would submit to the INEC the particulars of candidates they intend to sponsor for the election. They are not sponsoring them yet; it is just an expression of intent.
"Under the 2006 Electoral Act, it was our responsibilities to screen the candidates as well as send the list down to the states. Now, our right to screen has been taken away; what we do now is to send the particulars of these candidates to their respective constituencies. "There, people who know them can raise any objection ranging from qualification, to lack of certificate and others. Our responsibilities remain that upon publication of those particulars, we can now receive complaints about arbitrary substitution of names by political parties – that, we can deal with, because we have our reports about the primaries of political parties and the Electoral Act gives us ample rights to refuse to accept candidates emanating from primaries that we feel did not conform with democratic practices.
"What we are doing now is essentially not a compilation of lists of candidates. The political parties have expressed the intention to sponsor these candidates; we received these candidates and pushed them down to the constituencies for people to look at those candidates they intend to sponsor, scrutinise it and raise objections, which we will look at. The actual nomination process starts tomorrow (today) when they will collect forms, in accordance with our guidelines.
"But you will realise that we had given them soft copies of these forms so that when they begin the process of substitution, which will continue till February 24, that is when we will then begin to compile the lists of candidates the political parties have nominated to contest elections. Now, what you have is just an expression of intention."
He said INEC would continue to comply with all court orders.
"We have received court orders and we have complied. we will continue to comply with court orders; the process will have to go on," Umeachi said, adding that it is still possible to say that several of the candidates now on their parties’ lists are not yet the official candidates of their parties.
"In a sense, that is correct because the Act simply says this is an expression of an intent but that expression of intent must emanate from a process and that process is that those candidates must have emanated from primaries adjudged to be democratic. Our responsibility is to look at such arbitrary and invidious substitutions by some political parties and say ‘No, this is improper’, and we are going to correct it because based on our records, Mr A is the one who won the primaries and you ought to have brought his name.
"Some of the lists that have gone out have been corrected. We recognise that it is the right of political parties to nominate candidates for elections but those candidates which the political parties intend to sponsor for elections must emerged from primaries duly conducted by the parties and these primaries must conform to democratic practices.
"It is the statutory obligations of the political parties to issue notice for us to come and monitor. If we monitor and it is not democratic, we will say so. That is our responsibility," Umeadi said.