Abuja (Sundiata Post) – Eight days to the release of the final list of candidates for the 2023 general election, the fate of a number candidates is still hanging in the balance due to lingering post-primary crises.
The chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Mahmood Yakubu recently had said the commission would publish the final list of candidates on September 20, while that of governorship and state house of assembly will be released on October 4.
According to him, the exercise is in line with Section 32(1) of the Electoral Act 2022 and Timetable and Schedule of Activities released by the INEC.
Weeks after it unveiled the particulars of all the candidates submitted by the political parties, a plethora of court cases challenging the process that threw up the candidates and their eligibility, coupled with alleged breach of the provisions of the Electoral Act and other extant laws on elections have raged on.
In some states, there are no fewer than 16 cases filed by aggrieved ‘candidates’ claiming to be the authentic choice of their political parties.
Benue APC, PDP, LP in dilemma
In Benue State, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Labour Party (LP) appear to be facing challenges due to cases in court. Findings showed that the APC has several cases in court which have to do with its primary.
In the APC, some aspirants such as a former chairman of PDP, Barnabas Gemade; former Attorney General of Justice of the federation, Mike Aondoakaa, have dragged the party’s candidate, Reverend Father Hyacinth Alia to court over the primary.
Also, the ruling PDP in the state also dragged the guber candidate and other national assembly candidates on the platform of APC to court for not following due process in their primary.
In ‘if you Tarka me I Dabor you’ type of politics in Benue, the APC and its governorship candidate also dragged the PDP governorship candidate, Titus Uba to court over perjury.
Further findings showed that the Labour Party is facing internal wrangling as an aspirant has dragged the party candidate, who is also a serving House of Representatives member, Herman Hembe to court over the party primary.
Hembe who confirmed this to our correspondent on Sunday said: “My opponent in the primary said he couldn’t have secured four votes during the primary and he has gone to court.”
In a similar vein, a PDP serving House of Representatives member representing Ado/Okpokwu/Ogbadibo federal constituency has also dragged the winner of the primary, Aida Ogwuche to court over the election.
In Kano State, PDP is bedeviled by crisis over its governorship ticket, leading to a legal tussle between Alhaji Muhammed Abacha, the son of the late former Head of State, Gen. Sani Abacha and Sagir Wali, also the son of former Ambassador, Alhaji Aminu Wali Both of them emerged from parallel primaries organized by rival camps of PDP in the state.
Ogun APC seeks order to disqualify Adebutu, Akinlade
The APC in Ogun State has approached a Federal High Court sitting in Abeokuta, seeking disqualification of the governorship and deputy governorship candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Honourable Oladipupo Adebutu and Honourable Adekunle Akinlade respectively, over alleged breach of Electoral Act.
The party, in a concurrent originating summons, filed by its counsel, Chief Wale Abeeb Ajayi sued INEC; PDP; Adebutu and Akinlade as first; second; third and fourth respondents.
Counsel argued that the voidness of 4th defendant’s nomination and the defects in the qualification affect the 3rd defendant since they share joint ticket.
The plaintiff told the court that the second defendant failed to comply with the provision of Section 35 of the Electoral Act 2022, in the nomination of Akinlade as its deputy governorship candidate, in the forthcoming general election in the state.
APC sought for an order disqualifying the third and fourth respondents from participating in the 2023 gubernatorial election, having been nominated in breach of Section 35 of the Electoral Act 2022, and for failing to meet the qualification requirements provided in Section 177(c) of the Constitution.
Within Ogun PDP, both Adebutu and Segun Sowunmi are involved in a battle of wits over the ticket of the party.
They are in court over the matter, with both parties vowing to go the long haul to be affirmed the party’s candidate.
PDP, APC in dramatic suits
Parties in Rivers State seem shy of the real contest with preference for court action against one another.
This is because PDP is suing every other party while some others are also at the courts to challenge the eligibility of the PDP to participate in the election.
As of the time of filling this report, the PDP is in court with Accord, Social Democratic Party (SDP), Labour Party (LP) and APC.
In all of the suits the INEC is joined as a party and the grouse of the PDP is the process of the emergence of the candidates for the various positions.
One of the suits instituted by the PDP is against APC NASS candidates in suit no FHC/PH/CS/127/2022, the second is FHC/PH/CS/152/2022 filed by the PDP against APC House of Assembly candidates while the third is suit no FHC/PH/ CS/153/2022 filed by the PDP against the APC governorship candidate, Tonye Cole.
In all of the suits, the PDP is seeking the disqualification of the candidates claiming non-compliance to the electoral law in the process of their emergence. The APC also instituted two separate cases against the PDP.
First is against Siminilaye Fubara, the PDP governorship candidate in suit no. FHC/PH/CS/162/2022 and the second against the 32 House of Assembly candidates of the PDP in suit no FHC/PH/CS/163/2022.
Obaseki, Orbih’s candidates await Supreme Court verdict in Edo
The echoes of the commotion which marred the party primary in May 2022 are still reverberating as the different actors in the feuding factions are laying claim to the party’s tickets for the different offices.
The disagreement between the two camps is showing no sign of abating as the tussle for the party tickets for the three senatorial, the nine House of Representatives and 24 House of Assembly seats are presently the subject of a legal tangle between loyalists of Governor Godwin Obaseki and Chief Dan Orbih, the South-South zonal national vice chairman of the party.
The issue has to do with the parallel primaries of the party for the different positions by the two feuding factions.
Both are insisting that they control the levers of power while the other is counterfeit and of no consequence.
Two candidates lay claim to LP guber ticket in Plateau
The Plateau State chapter of the Labour Party (LP) is embroiled in still in a crisis over who is its candidate for the governorship poll in 2023.
One Ambassador Yohanna Margif said he was legitimately elected as candidate, while the party claims he had been replaced with Dr Patrick Dakum.
Margif is in the court of law, claiming nothing has changed since he picked the ticket of the party at a primary conducted in Jos, the state capital on June 9, 2022 at Retna Suite Multipurpose hall that involved delegates from the 17 LGAs of the state.
However, the state chapter of the LP, in a statement signed by its chairman, Mrs. Grace Zamfara, warmed Margif to stop parading himself as the party candidate. She said Margfi had been substituted with Dr Patrick Sunday Dakum in a validly conducted replacement primary in Jos, adding that Dakum’s name has been sent to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as the authentic Plateau LP candidate.
Kogi Speaker unrelenting over APC ticket
The Speaker of Kogi State House of Assembly, Prince Matthew Kolawole has said that he approached higher court to ensure INEC publishes his name. His name was omitted during the compilation of the names of candidates in the 2023 general election.
The speaker, who is the House of Representatives’ candidates of the (APC) for Kabba-Bunu/Ijumu federal constituency, approached a Federal High Court sitting in Lokoja, to compel the commission to include his name as one of the candidates.
However, the Federal High Court sitting in Lokoja had on Friday, dismissed a suit filed by the speaker, seeking to be recognised as APC candidate for Kabba-Bunu/Ijumu federal constituency.
In a statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Femi Olugbemi and made available to newsmen, he said the speaker had directed his legal team to immediately set in motion all arrangements needed to appeal the outcome of the judgment delivered on Thursday in Lokoja by Justice Mallong Peter.
Litigation galore in Kwara
Among the leading parties contesting in the 2023 elections in Kwara State, the ruling APC has 16 court cases involving aspirants in the party’s primaries. Some of them involved the National Assembly aspirants in the Isin/Oke-Ero/Ekiti/Irepodun federal constituency and the Ilorin South/Ilorin East federal constituency.
The former Commissioner for Education and Human Capital Development, Hajia Sa’adatu Modibbo Kawu, is challenging the election of Ahmed Yinka Aluko, the former Special Assistant (Special Duties), who was declared winner of the House of Representatives’ ticket for Ilorin South Federal Constituency. Also, the APC House of Representatives’ aspirant, Cornelius Adebayo, has dragged the incumbent House member, Hon. Raheem Olawuyi Ajulo-Opin to court over his declaration as the winner of the election. Meanwhile, a member of the Kwara State chapter of the SDP, Comrade Ibadan Mobeleye Yahaya has instituted a case against the Board of Trustees (BoT) over the party’s leadership crisis in the state.
APC candidate kicks in Sokoto
A female aspirant on the platform of APC contesting for House of Assembly representing Bodinga/Denge-shuni constituency expressed her disappointment in the outcome of the primary.
The aspirant, who is a lawyer, Sa’adatu Yanusa Muhammad, however, vowed not to approach court but used internal mechanism of the party in resolving the alleged injustice. (Nigerian Tribune)