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2023: Only Way APC Can Present Lawan, Akpabio As Senatorial Candidates, Falana Speaks

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Falana

Rights activist, Mr Femi Falana (SAN) has revealed that the only way the All Progressives Congress (APC) can present Senators Ahmad Lawan and Godswill Akpabio as its senatorial candidates ahead of next year’s election is if Bashir Machina and Udom Ekpoudom “voluntarily withdraw”.

Falana also said that it is “brazen impunity” for the APC to present Lawan and Akpabio as senatorial candidates, urging the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) not to be misled to shirk its statutory duty to sanitise the democratic process.

Recall that Lawan, Senate president, and Akpabio, former minister of Niger Delta affairs, had both contested the APC presidential ticket.

The APC had fixed May 27 for senatorial primaries and June 6 to June 8 as the party’s presidential primary.

Machina won the party’s ticket for Yobe north senatorial district, while Ekpoudom won the primary for Akwa Ibom north-west, which was monitored by INEC officials.

However, Akpabio was declared the winner of another primary, but Mike Igini, Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) of Akwa Ibom, had said the exercise which produced the former minister as candidate was not monitored by the Commission.

For Lawan, Machina had insisted he would not step down for the Senate President.

Meanwhile, according to the list submitted by the APC to INEC, Lawan and Akpabio are listed as senatorial candidates for Yobe north and Akwa Ibom north-west, respectively.

In a statement issued on Wednesday on the development, Falana said he expects INEC to do the needful to make sure that due process is followed on the submission of names of candidates.

The statement read in part, “In the senatorial primaries conducted by the APC and monitored by INEC, rtd. DIG. Udom Ekpoudom and Bashir Machina emerged as the candidates for Akwa Ibom West Senatorial District and Yobe North Senatorial District, respectively. Even though both candidates have not withdrawn from the senatorial race, the APC has submitted the names of Senators Godwin Akpabio and Ahmed Lawan for the two Districts in utter breach of the Electoral Act, 2022.

“Apart from the brazen impunity of the APC, Dr. Ahmed Lawan superintended the passage of the Electoral Act by the national assembly while Senator Godwin Akpabio is a senior lawyer who ought to have familiarised with the provisions of the Act.

“If the candidates whose names are submitted to INEC have not emerged from the primaries, the Commission will reject such names in the exercise of its power under Section 84(13) of the Electoral Act 2022.

“A political party seeking to nominate candidates for elections under this Act shall hold primaries for aspirants to all elective positions, which shall be monitored by the Commission.

“In particular, individuals who contested presidential primaries and lost cannot be permitted to replace candidates who won senatorial primaries. Unless the winners of party primaries voluntarily withdraw from the electoral process, political parties lack the power to engage in any form of substitution. Therefore, INEC should desist from promoting pre-election litigation by failing to exercise its enormous powers under the Electoral Act and the Constitution.”

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Fresh PDP crisis: Why Wike, Ortom Shouldn’t Be Attacked, Omokri Speaks

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A former presidential aide, Reno Omokri, on Thursday said “nobody in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), should disparage” Governors Nyesom Wike and Samuel Ortom.


Recall that according to Omokri, both men “laboured to build” the PDP.

“Stooping to conquer is not weakness. Nobody in the PDP should disparage Wike or Ortom. They should be appealed to and listened to. The PDP ought to seek to understand them. And then to accommodate them. When people who labour to build get angry, you embrace them!” Omokri said via a Twitter post.

The opposition party went into another round of crisis after its presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, picked Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State as his running mate for the 2023 elections.

The development has degenerated into a full-blown disagreement among party leaders with Ortom, the Governor of Benue State, asking Atiku to ‘appease’ Wike, Rivers State governor, who came second in the presidential primary election in May.

In a similar vein, Ayodele Fayose, a former Governor of Ekiti State, and presidential aspirant, also dumped Atiku, and expressed his support for a Southern candidate, increasing speculations that he’ll throw his weight behind the candidature of Bola Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

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2023: Only 6,382 PVCs Collected Out Of 34,242 Registered In Lagos – INEC

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Ahead of the 2023 general elections, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has decried the low rate of Permanent Voter’s Cards (PVCs) collection.

The electoral umpire said only 6,382 Permanent Voter’s Cards (PVCs) out of 34,242, have been collected by their owners from the Commission’s Headquarters in Lagos for the first and second quarters.

Mr Olusegun Agbaje, the INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) for Lagos State, made this disclosure on Thursday at the 8th Annual Constituency Stakeholders’ Meeting organised by the Lagos State House of Assembly, held simultaneously across the 40 Constituencies in the state.

Agbaje, who was a special guest at the meeting held at the Lagos Mainland Constituency 2, expressed concern that the low rate of PVC collection in the state is worrisome.

The Lagos REC, who was represented by Mrs Olamide Dojumo, Electoral Officer, Lagos Mainland LGA, also disclosed that for the old PVCs, a total of 1,091,157 are still uncollected by their owners.

“In view of the foregoing, I want to strongly urge you to continue to assist the Commission in mobilizing the eligible citizens residing in Lagos State that are yet to collect their PVCs to take advantage of the opportunity provided by the ongoing collection of PVCs at the INEC LGA offices where they registered to collect their PVCs, as anyone without the PVC cannot vote during the election. Simply put ‘no PVC no voting’

“You will agree with me that the success of any election depends largely on how relevant stakeholders play their various roles. Therefore, everyone must strive towards ensuring that their contributions are effective, positive and purposeful for the attainment of the Nation’s desired viable, sustainable and enduring democratic culture.

“As the general election draws near, we should properly educate and mobilize the voters in line with the Electoral Act 2022 and the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended). This is a significant area where the Commission needs the positive input of all stakeholders to complement her ongoing efforts toward improving the level of awareness of the citizenry in the democratic process.

“This will no doubt increase the PVC collection rate and avoid voter apathy that has characterized the past elections in the state where only 1,156,590 out of 6,570,291 registered voters (17.6%) participated in the 2019 general election in Lagos State. Similarly, only 104,405 out 1,343,448 registered voters (7.8%) participated in the 2020 Lagos East Senatorial District By-election”.

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2023: Aide Reacts To Allegation That Peter Obi Hates Northerners

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Valentine Obienyem, the media aide to the Labour Party presidential candidate, Peter Obi has denied reports that his principal is a religious bigot that hates northerners.

Obienyem in a statement on Thursday said some faceless groups ben sponsored by political opponents are responsible for spreading falsehood about Peter Obi due to his growing popularity.

His statement comes as a reaction to an earlier article which claimed Obi didn’t respond appropriately to the killing of some northerners in Anambra State back in March 2006.

The article also further alleged that Obi requested the DSS to remove some Hausa traders near his house and ejected some northern traders from their space.

However, Obi’s media aide in his response, said all the allegations are not true. He explained that the incident referenced about the killing of some northerners happened before Obi became the Anambra State Governor and his principal never encouraged the killings or the perpetrators.

Obienyem added that Obi believes in the unity of Nigeria and what each region can contribute to national development based on comparative advantage.

“Our attention was brought to the above campaign of calumny launched by some faceless groups,” Obienyem said.

“Is it by coincidence that it came when we were reliably informed that some political parties have charged their political office holders to hire people to relentlessly attack Obi with falsehoods on all available social media platforms?

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