Anambra Guber Poll: INEC Deadline for Submission of Candidates’ Name Expires 

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• APC’s Nwoye finally gets ticket

By Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja

The deadline fixed for political parties to submit the names of their candidates to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for the November 18 governorship election expired yesterday.

The management of the electoral umpire met yesterday to formally receive the list of candidates being submitted by the parties.

According to the timetable issued by the commission for the Anambra State gubernatorial contest, submission of candidates was to be completed as at close of work yesterday, September 18.

THISDAY gathered that most of the political parties fielding candidates for the governorship election struggled to beat the deadline by furnishing the commission with completed forms containing the names of the governorship candidates and their running mate.

The list of the parties that have submitted their candidates name include, the All Progressives Congress (APC) Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), United Progressive Party (UPP), Peoples Progressive Party (PPA), Democratic People’s Congress (DPC), Alliance for Democracy (AD) and All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA).

APC summoned the courage after days of apparent indecision to submit the name of the winner of its August 26 governorship primary, Hon. Tony Nwoye.

The National Working Committee (NNC) caved in to pressure, recognise Nwoye candidacy and presented him the certificate of return.

The party which faced a strong protest and lobby from one of the leading contestants, Senator Andy Ubah, to annul the August 26 primary election finally submitted Nwoye’s name.

The NWC of the APC yesterday finally issued certificate of return to Hon. Nwoye as the party’s candidate for the November 18 Anambra State governorship election.

Uba, one of the APC governorship aspirants, among other petitioners, had questioned Nwoye’s emergence at the primary, demanding a repeat of the exercise.

The aggrieved  aspirant petitioned the party, seeking an outright cancelation of the primary and his declaration as winner.

Uba said: “I complained to some members of the Primary Election Committee sent from the headquarters of the party. To be frank, I continued with the exercise in protest after observing all these irregularities. Most of the disgruntled delegates of the primary election have gone to various courts to depose to an affidavit of events that transpired.”

THISDAY however, gathered that the Appeal Panel set up to hear the petitions recommended a repeat of the governorship primary.

But rising from several hours  at a closed door meeting at the party’s national headquarter in Abuja, the party’s NWC resolved to uphold Nwoye’s victory and to forward Nwoye’s name to the INEC in order to meet the deadline for submission.

Confirming the development to journalists on telephone, National Organising Secretary, Osita Izunazo, said the NWC threw out Uba’s petition against Nwoye and also overruled the recommendation of the Appeal panel for total concellation of the primary poll.

“I can confirm to you that the NWC has issued certificate of return to Nwoye as APC governorship candidate forNovember 18, Anambra election.”

Also while confirming the development, the National Publicity Secretary, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi,  said the party did find the allegations in the petition sufficient enough to invalidate the primary election.

Abdulahi who spoke to THISDAY on telephone yesterday, said even though the exercise may not flawless but that it tried its best to ensure a transparent election.

Meanwhile, the Anambra governorship candidate of the United Progressive Party (UPP), Chief Osita Chidoka, has picked economic strategist and multitalented administrator, Chief Marcel Ogbonnaya Okeke, as his running mate.

In a statement issued yesterday by the UPP’s spokesman, Ogbuefi Dike the party said that Okeke’s selection was after extensive consultations among key opinion leaders and stakeholders, in line with the UPP’s determination to enthrone meritocracy, visionary leadership, dynamism, and all-inclusiveness in the governance of Anambra State.

It described the running mate as an intellectual, administrator and philanthropist.

“Okeke, who hails from Ogbunka Town in Orumba South Local Government Area of Anambra State, brings to the race a stellar reputation as a technocrat arising from his problem-solving expertise derived from decades of meritorious

service in the private sector, making his combination with the candidate, Chief Osita Chidoka, an inevitable winning team.  Together, Chidoka and Okeke will deliver the modern economy that is desirous to Ndi Anambra.”