Onyebuchi Ezigbo and Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja and Omon-Julius Onabu in Asaba
Smarting from post-primaries crisis, many parties, particularly the big two, the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), were yesterday still embroiled internal squabbles that had delayed the submission of the list of their candidates for the presidential and National Assembly elections holding in the first quarter of next year.
As the deadline for the submission of the list of candidates for the federal election expires today, only 17 of the 91 political parties had filed their flag bearers applications, the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) said wednesday.
Its National Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, who gave an update on the process, said the parties still had up to 12 midnight today to file their applications.
Saying the commission was committed to enduring progressive improvement in the electoral process, he said the registered number of voters would by 2019 be a little above 80 million, adding that about 20 million PVCs were yet to be collected.
He said, however, that collection of PVCs will continue till one week to the general elections.
The INEC chairman said he hoped the electoral legal framework would be passed by the end of the week and that the bill would probably be transmitted for assent by the president.
But he promised that INEC was working in advance to put things in place based on the provision on the draft.
On funding, Yakubu said there was no discrepancy between the amount submitted by INEC and the submission from the executive to National Assembly, adding that N189. 2 billion was submitted but N189 billion approved.
Also speaking on the submission of list of candidates for the election, the INEC chairman expressed concern that majority of the political parties, including the leading parties were yet to submit a list to the commission as at Wednesday.
He explained that only eight political parties were able to submit its list of candidates for the 2019 elections as at Tuesday.
But by last night, 17 political parties wednesday had submitted the lists of their sponsored candidates for the Presidential and National Assembly to INEC ahead of the 2019 general elections, as submission ends today.
The electoral body had on several occasions insisted that there won’t be extension of dates for the submission of list of candidates by political parties.
“The last day for the submission of lists of their sponsored candidates (Form CFOO2) and personal particulars (Form CF001) remains 18th of October 2018 for Presidential and National Assembly, and 2nd of November for Governorship and State Houses of Assembly,” it said.
As at 8:45p.m yesterday, staff of INEC were still very busy attending to the political parties who were there to submit the lists of their candidates.
However, the major political parties like the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Social Democratic Party (SDP) and African Democratic Congress (ADC) will all submit the list of their sponsored candidates today.
The political parties that submitted the lists of their candidates as at the time of filing this report include; All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Accord Party, Campaign for Change (CC), Labour Party (LP), United Peoples Party (UPP), Liberation Movement (LM), Justice Must Prevail Party (JMPP), Kowa Party.
Others include; Fresh Democratic Party (FDP), Peoples Democratic Congress (PDC),UP, GNPP, ACD, SNC, MDP.
APC NWC Meets over Appeals Committee Report
The National Working Committee of the APC met last night to consider the final list of candidates for the 2019 general elections.
The party leadership considered the report of the five-member Primary Election Appeal Panel headed by former Edo State governor, Prof. Oserheimen Osunbor.
There had been disputes arising from the APC primary elections with aggrieved aspirants inundating the party national secretariat with petitions.
THISDAY, however, gathered that the appeal panel, which was set up after the expiration of the deadline for primaries found its hands tied and could not cancel any of the primary election result.
An APC source said rather the party had asked the appeal panel to recommend palliative measures that would assuage the grievances of the aggrieved aspirants.
THISDAY learnt that based on the recommendations of the appeal committee, the NWC may be compelled to substitute candidates where necessary.
The NWC meeting is to approve names of party candidates for onwards submission to INEC today (Thursday).
Meanwhile APC has inaugurated the North East Zonal Executives Committee members elected during last National Convention.
Those inaugurated include, Alhaji Kashim Haruna, Zonal Legal Adviser; Ms. Amina Manga, Zonal Woman Leader; Mr. Ilya Hamed, Zonal Publicity Secretary; and Mr. Mohammed Abba, Leader of the Special Persons.
Court Bars APC from Submitting Candidates’ List to INEC in Delta
In a related development, the crisis rocking the Delta State chapter of the APC may have taken a turn for worse as a Federal High Court sitting in Asaba yesterday restrained the NWC of the party from submitting the state list of candidates from the recent series of primary elections for the 2019 election to INEC.
The presiding judge, Justice Toyin Adegoke, in her ruling, ordered the NWC not to submit any list of candidates from Delta State from any of the two factions to INEC till the substantive suit filled is heard.
The Chief Cyril Ogodo-led state executive had filed a suit asking the court to restrain APC, its National Chairman, Mr. Adams Oshiomhole, and its agents from submitting the list of candidates from the Jones Erue faction to INEC.
Nonetheless, Justice Adegoke said since pre-election matters require accelerated hearing, the following orders have to be made: “This matter shall be given an accelerated hearing owing to the fact that it is a pre-election matter. All defendants are to take note of the tendencies of this suit.”
She further submitted, “Parties shall maintain status quo as at yesterday the 17th day of October 2018. That is the order of this court.”
The court consequently ordered an accelerated hearing and gave two days to call in witnesses to deal with the case.
Counsel to the applicants, Mr. O.J. Oghenejakpor, said the implication is that, as at today, no list of candidates has been submitted to INEC and none would be submitted until we hear this case.
He said, “Technically, the court has granted an injunction restraining any person to nominate any candidate from Delta State for the 2019 election. The issue will have to await the substantive trial, which is now fixed for November 1 and, 2018.
“Court has also granted us an accelerated hearing so that the facts can be put to rest once and for all. It’s a healing process and I think if the National Executives could take opportunity of this process. This is what will bring the party together in Delta State.”
However, counsel to the first and second respondents, Mr. George Onaho, who challenged the jurisdiction of the court, said,
“The court has done the needful and in the view of the court, our objection challenging the jurisdiction of the court has to wait and be adopted together with our final written address after the substantive suit must have been heard. So that necessitated the adjournment that was taken.”