INEC Lists Akpabio’s Name for Senate as Lawan’s Name is Omitted

-O. Adejo

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has released the names of candidates for the February 2023 Presidential, National Assembly, and House of Representatives elections.

In a subsequent development, Senate President Ahmed Lawan’s name was not among those published in the final list. Earlier in June, Ahmed Lawan contested in the All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential primaries, which he lost. It was widely assumed that after his defeat, he would return to run for the Senate seat of Yobe North, which he has held since 1999.

However, Bashir Machina, the APC senatorial primaries winner in Yobe North, stated that there was no prior agreement about stepping down for Lawan in the event that he lost the presidential primaries. So far, INEC is yet to publish the candidate for the Yobe North Senatorial seat for the APC.

In another development, Senator Godswill Akpabio’s name has been published as a senatorial candidate for Akwa Ibom North West Senatorial District. Akpabio ran in the APC presidential primaries as well but stepped down in favour of the eventual winner, Ahmed Bola Tinubu.

Akpabio’s candidacy was also met with some opposition. A primary election was held in May, where Udom Ekpoudum, a former Deputy Inspector General of Police, emerged victorious. A few weeks later, however, a parallel primary election was held, which Ekperikpe Ekpo won. The parallel primary, however, was cancelled due to irregularities, and a rerun was held on June 8, which Akpabio was said to have won.

Because of the controversies surrounding the elections in Akwa Ibom, INEC refused to publish Akpabio’s name, prompting the APC to sue the electoral body.

Last Thursday, Federal High Court Justice Emeka Nwite ruled that INEC violated the law by refusing to accept and publish Akpabio’s name, despite the fact that the APC had listed him as its candidate. He stated that INEC should publish Akpabio’s name as the genuine candidate for the APC Senate seat.

With campaigns starting off next week, people will be looking forward to who INEC publishes for the Yobe North Senatorial District.

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