EIGHTY-SIX of the nation’s 91 political parties were engaged in a last minute rush, last night, to submit their lists of National Assembly and presidential candidates to the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC in order to beat the midnight deadline.
As of 7pm yesterday, 86 political parties had been given tally and were on the queue. Out of the figure, over 50 political parties including the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, and the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, had completed the processes.
No fewer than 89 political parties had notified the Commission of their intention to conduct their primaries and sponsor candidates to the Commission for the 2019 general elections.
This came as aggrieved aspirants in the APC protested the substitution or otherwise of their names by the leadership of the party in the final list it submitted to the INEC.
At the venue, former governor of Ondo State and presidential candidate of the Zenith Labour Party, ZLP, Dr Olusegun Mimiko advised INEC to be thorough with the process to guarantee the confidence of the leadership of the political parties.
On his part, National Chairman of the Advanced Peoples Democratic Alliance, APDA, Shittu Mohammed, expressed satisfaction over the exercise.
The national secretariat of the APC was tension-soaked yesterday as many of the aspirants besieged the premises trying to have a glimpse of the names to be submitted to the electoral body. APC Director of Organization, Abubakar Kari, led some officials of the party in a branded APC bus to submit the list to INEC at about 2.00pm
In the APC appeal committee report sighted by Vanguard, many aspirants had sufficient grounds to launch their appeals but the committee decided not to uphold most of the appeals because of effluxion of time, the period for political party primaries as scheduled by INEC having lapsed.
Hence, the committee struck out many appeals saying there was no to conduct fresh primaries. Aisha Buhari’s brother, Usani, Abe, Ribadu, others lose out as APC submits list
Former Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Chairman, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu; Senator Representing Rivers South-East, Magnus Abe, and the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Usani Uguru Usani emerged as some of the biggest losers as their appeals were struck out.
Others who also lost out in the governorship race include a brother to the wife of the President, Aisha Buhari, Dr Mahmoud Halilu popularly known as Modi; President of the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) Bala Bobboi Kaigama and Ogun State Governor, Ibikunle Amosun who lost the opportunity to have his choice candidate returned as the party’s governorship flag bearer.
While Prof. Pat Utomi’s petition in Delta was dismissed because it had been “overtaken by events”, the committee urged the national leadership to consult with the president on the choice of governorship candidate for Bornu state.
A summary of the report indicate that all petitions against the Senate and House of Representatives primaries were rejected by the panel, the same position with Bayelsa, Rivers and Cross Rivers states.
However, aspirants whose petitions were not treated have protested against the report of the Panel saying grave injustice has been done to them both in the conduct of the primaries and the outcome of the Appeals Panel.
One of the aspirants Mr. Adaze Wilson Imafidon, who was seeking the party’s ticket to contest the Orhionmwon/Uhunmwonde House of Representatives Federal Constituency seat of Edo, submitted a petition to the appeals committee through his lawyers, describing the purported primary election held in the constituency as a sham.
According to his legal representatives, Imafidon and Imafidon of Eghosa Chambers, the aspirant alleged that none of the accredited members of the APC committee sent to the area was present during the purported election in the Orhionmwon/Uhunmwonde Federal Constituency except in Urhonigbe South where only the INEC went to observe.
Another aspirant, Christopher Ariri, who is an aspirant for the Orhionmwon East State Constituency of Edo State, said,
“Some of the accredited members of the appropriate committee mandated by the party to supervise and conduct the primary election into the Edo state House of Assembly’s Orhionmwon East Constituency, totally hijacked the process when they noticed our huge support by deliberately declining to count votes cast for us so as to foist on us a situation of complete helplessness”.
Another group, the Benue South APC Justice and Equality Movement undertook a peaceful protest to the headquarters of the party, asking the NWC to call the Minister of Agriculture, Chief Audu Ogbeh, to order for allegedly substituting the names of elected candidates with those who did not participate at the primary.
The coordinator of the group, Mr. Akor Ikwuocha, told journalists that they were surprised that after winners have emerged and names were submitted to the approximate authority by the electoral committee,
“the Minister allegedly from overseas, called a meeting of few persons and announced to them that he is substituting names of most of the candidates because they were not his choice. “Today, there is no single campaign bill board of President Muhammadu Buhari in the whole of Benue South Senatorial district despite the fact that the Benue South has a cabinet member in person of Chief Audu Ogbe.”