Governorship polls: Fear grips factional candidates as INEC clears Tinubu, Atiku, Obi, others

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Obaseki loses in Edo, Orbih’s faction recognized

Uba Group

The Independent National Electoral Commission, on Tuesday, released the final list of Presidential and Vice Presidential Candidates of all political parties contesting in the 2023 general elections.

The Presidential Candidate of the African Democratic Congress, ADC, Dumebi Kachikwu appears on the list despite being expelled from the party sometime last week.

On the list, the former vice-president, Atiku Abubakar remains the presidential candidate of the People’s Democratic Party, while the Delta State Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa is his running mate.

The former Governor of Lagos, Bola Tinubu is the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress and his running mate is the former Governor of Borno State, Kashim Shettima.

For the Labour Party, Peter Obi is the presidential candidate of the party, while Baba-Ahmed Datti Yusuf remains his running mate.

The presidential candidate of the New Nigeria Peoples Party is Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso and his running mate is Isaac Idahosa.

The publisher of Sahara Reporters, Omoyele Sowore remains the flag bearer of the African Action Congress, while the vice presidential candidate of the party is Magashi Haruna Garba.

The commission has therefore appealed to all political parties to channel any observations on the list of candidates to it, noting that such must be signed by the National Chairman and Secretary of the political party and supported with an affidavit as provided in section 32(2) of the Electoral Act 2022.

Also, the long drawn battle between Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, and Vice Chairman, South-South of the People’s Democratic Party, Dan Orbih, temporarily came to an end on Tuesday as the Independent National Electoral Commission has recognised the candidates produced by the Orbih’s faction in the primary elections conducted in May.

Both factions held different primaries that produced candidates for different elective positions.

A visit to the INEC headquarters in Benin City on Tuesday showed that the electoral umpire had pasted a comprehensive list on its notice board and all the PDP candidates in the list were the ones who emerged winners at the primaries conducted by the Orbih’s faction.

However, INEC in the published list remarked that its action was ordered by the court.

In his reaction, a chieftain of the PDP in the state, Anslem Ojezua, said there was no cause for alarm over the publication of the names of candidates belonging to Orbih.

He assured that the Court is set to deliver judgment on September 27 on which faction is the authentic one.

Ojezua, a former State Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, explained that the electoral body acted in line with a subsisting court order given by a judge in Abuja.

He explained that with the case set for determination next week, there was nothing to worry about, emphasizing that until the September 27 judgment; nobody can claim to be the official or the recognized faction.

There has been no love lost between Governor Obaseki and Orbih since the Governor joined the party in his bid to secure a second term in office. The party has been split down the middle into two factions with the two top politicians leading a faction.

“CBN"

Both factions held different primaries that produced candidates for different elective positions.

INEC, in compliance with the Abuja Court decision, recognized all the PDP candidates in the list who emerged winners at the primaries conducted by the Orbih’s faction.

But speaking to The Point on Tuesday evening, Ojezua who defected with Obaseki to the PDP, said, “If you look carefully at the document released by the INEC, it stated clearly that it was a court ordered release. There is a subsisting case at the Federal High Court. It started in Abuja and the judge gave an order based on hearing from one side. And it even stated the names of those that must be recognized by INEC and so INEC in compliance with what that court said, carried those names.”

Ojezua, a lawyer and community leader, explained that the judgment to be delivered next week would supersede the one upon which INEC based its action.

“But the good news is that the case is before a High Court here. You recall that the National Judicial Council gave an order that cases should go back to where they originated from.

So, that case migrated from Abuja to Benin and judgment has been fixed for September 27, which is next week. That judgment will now supersede every other thing. So we wait for that judgment and so, it is not yet over and there is no cause for alarm. The INEC publication stated clearly that it was based on an interim order given by a judge in his own wisdom by hearing from only one side. He didn’t even bother to hear from the other side or the party itself that conducted the exercise. It was a case where somebody ran to the court and said I won the primary and the court gave an order that INEC should recognize that person pending the determination of the substantive case.”