By ADEYEMI ADELEYE
LAGOS- A political pressure group, Abuja School of Political Thoughts has urged INEC to reject names of candidates from political parties that did not take part in their primaries.
In a statement on Sunday, Director of the group, Dr Sam Amadi said that accepting names of candidates that did not pass through the process of primaries for proper nomination was tantamount to fraud.
Amadi was reacting to alleged INEC acceptance of the name of the President of the Senate, Dr Ahmad Lawan as the candidate for the All Progressives Congress (APC) for Yobe North senatorial district for the 2023 elections, after losing out in the presidential race.
This came even as Bashir Machina who won the APC primary election for the district, refused to step down for Lawan, who contested the APC presidential ticket.
Similarly, Amadi, was reacting to the alleged acceptance of the name of former Minister of Niger-Delta Affairs, Mr Godswill Akpabio for Akwa Ibom North-West Senatorial district, after losing out in the presidential contest.
This also came even as former Deputy Inspector General of Police, Mr Udom EKpoudom (rtd.), vowed not to relinquish the APC senatorial ticket he won at the party’s primaries on May 27, to Akpabio or anyone.
Reacting on this development, Amadi said: ” INEC must reject submission of names of candidates by political parties who want to forcefully and fraudulently replace those who actually emerged as winners in their primaries.
“Nigeria must get it right in 2023 and INEC has a major role to play in this process, beginning with ensuring that those duly elected by delegates and witnessed by INEC are accepted as candidates.”
He said the group was alarmed at the efforts of some politicians and party leaders to undermine the provisions of the electoral law as regards submission of nominated candidates to INEC.
“It is being reported that some high-profile politicians who did not win INEC- monitored primaries of their parities are being submitted by their party leaders, in clear violation of the provisions of the electoral law.
” These politicians contested for other tickets of their parties and lost but are making frantic efforts to get their party’s tickets for other representations from the winners of the primaries.
“If the impunity is allowed, it will send a very wrong signal just as electioneering is about to begin in Nigeria. For our democracy and peace to be preserved, Nigerians must believe in the commission’s ability to ensure fairness.
” If the winners of the duly conducted primaries have refused to give up their tickets. Notwithstanding, the parties should not be allowed to forcefully replace them.
” Submitting names of persons who did not win duly conducted primaries on INEC portals will be contrary to the electoral law and such parties should be punished.
He said that the electoral law required that only persons who won duly conducted primaries should be submitted as candidates.
“It is INEC that determines what is a duly conducted primary, based on its guidelines and the electoral law.
“The practice in the past where the courts will reverse such anomalies has gone with the new Electoral Act,” Amadi said.
According to him, the new Act now empowers INEC to reverse such actions by political parties. (NAN)