Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have disagreed over the names of the governorship candidate of the party and his deputy in the state.
While the electoral body said it did not reject or exclude the name of the governorship candidate in Sokoto State, the main opposition party accused the commission of manipulating the list of its candidates in the state.
The name of incumbent Governor of the state, Aminu Tambuwal, was conspicuously missing when the electoral body displayed the list of candidates for the forthcoming governorship in the state last week.
But, the main opposition party through its National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan accused INEC of manipulating the process, while insisting that the party submitted the name of Tambuwal.
However, the National Commissioner of INEC on Voter Education and Publicity, Mr. Festus Okoye, told THISDAY yesterday that the two names published by INEC were the names submitted by the PDP.
He stressed that the said names emanated from the party’s primary elections conducted by the PDP in Sokoto State.
Okoye said, “As at the close of nomination for governorship and State House of Assembly election, the PDP submitted the two names for governorship and deputy governorship, and the name that was submitted to INEC was that of Manir Muhammed Dan’iya and for the deputy governorship candidate for the same position was Abubakar Zaki Bashir.”
“INEC did not reject or exclude any name that was submitted by the national headquarters of the PDP. That is the current situation of things.
“We have made it very clear that we shall only accept names of candidate submitted by the political parties and signed by the National Chairman and National Secretary of the party.
“And the names submitted by the national chairman and national secretary of the PDP are the two names that have just mentioned, that of Manir Muhammed Dan’iya and that of Abubakar Zaki Basir for governorship and deputy governorship for the PDP for Sokoto state.”
Okoye noted that any party can substitute any candidate between now and November 17, 2018 for presidential and National Assembly, and December 1, 2018 for governorship and State House of Assembly, saying the issue of substitution of candidate is a legal matter.
“Every political party that submitted list can substitute those candidates if one; the candidate whose name was submitted died within this particular process or a candidate that was nominated uses his handwriting that he’s no longer indeed in being the candidate of the party,” he explained.
But, Ologbondiyan while featuring on ARISE News on Monday, a sister organisation of THISDAY, said that it was strange if Tambuwal’s name did not make it to INEC.
According to him, “It is strange if his name did not make it to INEC as the candidate of the party. INEC has become very manipulative and they are shopping for candidates from the states. Candidates who didn’t obtain form from the party, candidates who never participated in processes or our primary election are now being enrolled on their list as their candidate.”
He noted that the party would insist and every order that contravenes the party’s position will be vacated in court.