•PDP to present Obaseki-Shaibu ticket
•APC to pair Ize-Iyamu with lawmaker
•INEC insists no room for extension of deadline
By Chuks Okocha, Adedayo Akinwale and Deji Elumoye
The All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and 13 other parties contesting the September governorship election in Edo State were busy yesterday, putting finishing touches to the preparations of their lists of candidates for submission to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) today.
The political parties are also expected to submit the names of the running mates of their candidates for the election.
Already, the electoral commission has ruled out extending the deadline for the political parties to submit the names of their candidates.
INEC’s National Commissioner in charge of Voter Education and Information, Mr. Festus Okoye, yesterday told THISDAY that the deadline would not be extended.
“The deadline said that all political parties must submit the names of their governorship candidates and their running mates. The deadline remains June 29. Once it is 6 p.m, the portal would be shot down. The commission would not extend the deadline,” Okoye said.
When asked why only one day was set aside for submission of the names, Okoye said: “That is the guideline because submission is done virtual; you don’t need to come to Abuja to submit.”
Though 15 political parties are expected to participate in the election, it is largely seen as a straight fight between APC’s Mr. Osagie Ize-Iyamu and the incumbent, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, who is running on the ticket of the PDP.
The PDP and the APC, it was learnt, have concluded plans to submit the names of their candidates and their running mates on time to beat the deadline.
THISDAY gathered that the PDP will submit the name of Obaseki as its governorship candidate, while Obaseki’s deputy, Mr. Philip Shaibu, is his running mate.
Obaseki is from Edo South Senatorial District while Shaibu is from Edo North.
In nominating Shaibu as his running mate, Obaseki said at the weekend that there was no need to change a winning team.
For the APC, the lawmaker representing Etsako West Constituency 2 in the Edo State House of Assembly, Hon. Gani Audu, has emerged as the running mate to Ize-Iyamu.
Audu, a former Chairman of Etsako West Local Government Area (LGA) of Edo State, was strategically unveiled at the weekend.
THISDAY gathered that the choice of Audu as running mate to Ize-Iyamu was to counter the popularity of Shaibu in Edo North.
Ize-Iyamu emerged as the party’s candidate last week after winning the primary.
Following the ratification of the primary conducted in Edo State by the NEC of the APC; the Chairman of the Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee of the party and the Governor of Yobe State, Mr. Mai Mala Buni, will submit the name of Ize-Iyamu as the governorship candidate of the party.
Buni had written INEC informing the electoral body about the composition of a 13-man committee to direct the affairs of the party after the dissolution of the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party.
Meanwhile, the Deputy National Publicity Secretary of APC, Mr. Yekini Nabena, in a statement yesterday, berated the PDP over its criticism of the composition of the 13-man caretaker committee.
He said: “Therefore we make bold to state that our party Constitution’s Article 17 (iv) which the PDP and their hirelings have laboured to stretch its language to the level of the absurd, made specific mention of any officer of the party’s organ and Article 11 (A) mentioned above has clearly defined the organs of the party.
“Therefore, the Caretaker Committee and Extra Ordinary Convention Committee, which is headed by Governor Mai Mala Buni as chairman, is not an organ of the party hence, their appointment is not in contravention of the Constitution of the All Progressives Congress.”
On the holding of the APC NEC virtual meeting at the State House, Nabena stated that no law stopped the president from holding political meetings at his official residence.