INEC records 334 pre-election court cases

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The Independent National Electoral Commission on Thursday advised Nigerians to file lawsuits against candidates who they knew submitted false certificates for their eligibility to contest the 2023 elections.

The commission also said it was also involved in 334 pre-election court cases that arose from the conduct of congresses and primaries by political parties for the 2023 general election.

The chairman of INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, stated these at the swearing-in of Dr. Hale Longpet as Resident Electoral Commissioner on Thursday in Abuja.

Yakubu said Longpet who is from Plateau State has been deployed as REC for Kogi State

The INEC chairman said the commission would on Friday publish the personal particulars of candidates nominated by their political parties for governorship and State Assembly elections in all the constituencies nationwide as required by law.

According to him, with the publication of the personal particulars of candidates for governorship, Deputy Governorship and State Assembly elections, the commission expect the number of cases to increase.

He said, “I appeal to all Nigerians (citizens and aspirants) to seize the opportunity to scrutinise the particulars of the candidates and to seek judicial remedy for any observed violation of the law as provided in Sec. 29 of the Electoral Act 2022.

“Already, the commission has been inundated by numerous pre-election cases arising from the conduct of congresses and primaries by political parties for the 2023 General Election.

“So far, 334 pre-election cases have been filed in various divisions of the Federal High Court across the country by aspirants challenging the nomination of candidates or their exclusion from the list submitted to the Commission.”

He said though these are purely intra-party issues, the commission had been joined in all the cases.

Yakubu said the issue of internal democracy in parties remains a sore point in the nation’s electoral process in Nigeria, adding that INEC would continue to engage with them while standing firm against any transgression by strictly enforcing the provisions of the law and extant regulations and guidelines.

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Not an Easy Road for Akpatason’s Fourth Term Bid in Akoko-Edo Federal ConstituencyAdibe Emenyonu writes that the ambition of Hon. Peter Akpatason, member, representing Akoko-Edo Federal Constituency of Edo State to return to the Green Chamber of the National Assembly for a fourth term is currently brewing disaffection in the area The Akoko-Edo federal constituency is currently housing the Deputy House Leader, Hon. Peter Akpatason. Akpatason is in his third term as a member of the Green Chamber of the National Assembly. At the close of June 2023, he would have spent 12 years in the chamber. He was first elected in 2011 and has already spent 11 years in the saddle. In 2019, he was appointed Deputy Majority Leader of the House of Representatives, a position he has used to attract projects to the LGA to the admiration of all. However, those who want to unseat him, have insisted that his performance is less than salutary as it took him 12 years to attract meaningful projects to the LGA compared to first-timers like Dennis Idahosa (Ovia Federal Constituency) and Prof. Julius Ihonvbere (Owan Federal Constituency) who have gone the extra mile to break the sealing for their people within two years of their first term. His opponents have also argued that if those before him decided to over stay, he would not be in the House of Representatives. Notwithstanding, other arguments against Akpatason is that he has breached the rotational arrangement in the local government between north and south of the largest local government in Edo State. A prominent figure in the area who preferred anonymity, noted that the chairmanship and House of Representatives seat rotate between the southern and northern part of the local government, but expressed surprise that only one ward and one person has monopolized the position of the House of Representatives, negating the principles of justice, equity and fairness. He said: “If it’s about performance, Akpatason is doing well after three terms. But if it’s about rotation Akpatason has completely canceled the principles of zoning as was applied during the period of Col. Tunde Akogun (rtd), who spent only two terms. This is why you are seeing other persons irrespective of party affiliation indicating interest instead of just someone from Constituency 1, monopolizing it.” From all indications there are five aspirants who have indicated their interest to take over Akpatason’s job. Prominent among them are Kabiru Adjoto, former Speaker, and three-term member of Edo State House of Assembly. Adjoto who lost out to Akpatason in 2019 through court judgment has vowed to unseat Akpatason this time around. Adjoto’s strength is based on the fact that he is a political ally of Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki. Another advantage is that he is a member of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). With this, it is expected that the governor will use his sagacity to support him. Investigations also indicate that one Joy Billy Akande has thrown her hat into the Akoko-Edo Federal Constituency ring. Akande, as gathered derives her strength from the help she was said to have rendered to a lot of people from the area in terms of job creation. Another Aspirant is Johnson Afegason, who is little known except that he is an Abuja based oil and gas merchant and a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC). It was also learnt that he is in charge of the APC local government council executive having triumphed over Akpatason during the party LGA congress held in 2021. Although he is perceived as a quite aspirant, Afegason is said to be a huge threat especially being the only Okpameri son in APC who has indicated interest to contest the Akoko-Edo Federal Constituency seat. Kabiru Adjoto, Joy Billy Akande and Johnson Afegason are not the only established threats against Akpatason’s emergence in both APC and PDP. Last weekend, Taiwo Akerele, a native of Igarra, headquarters of the local government also indicated his interest in the contest for the federal seat. The World Bank trained Economist and former Chief of Staff to Governor Obaseki, who resigned his appointment before the 2020 governorship election, has declared his intention to contest the APC primary election for the federal house seat. Akerele who made his intention known in a chat with journalists at Igarra, headquarters of Akoko-Edo local government area of the state, said he has been privileged to work closely with key policy makers which has given him the vision and quality to represent his people, adding that Nigeria is ripe for accelerated development and that people like him possess the capacity to contribute their part towards this speedy development. According to him, “Akoko-Edo is blessed and having worked with a state government and other key government actors, my focus will be more on encouraging private sector investments in our divine factor endowments which is solid minerals to enable us engage our youths productively.” He advised those coming into the race to eschew politics of mudslinging and name calling by displaying maturity in engagement and issues-based approach ahead of the APC primaries and subsequently the general elections. He also said: “The Nigerian House of Representatives should be populated with intellectuals; men and women of strong character and solid training that will execute their assignments with all sense of dedication, patriotism and enthusiasm and not otherwise. If given the mandate I intend to focus on those areas that will help grow the Nigerian economy at least five percent per annum starting with my local federal constituency with small scale industries and at the federal level, help advocate for reduce borrowing, budget more for basic education and more investment in commercial agriculture with a view to generating more employment opportunities for our teaming youths. “In my very eventful service in government I have conveniently come to the conclusion that there is so much government and government officials can do at all levels to improve the quality of life of the citizenry. The little intervention I made during this period gives credence to this fact. Government has delivered less than expected.” THISDAY checks reveal that, the Akoko-Edo federal seat may not be available to Akpatason as those calling for his return are mostly from his Uneme ward. Apart from this, it is also on good record that given the quality of aspirants that have indicated interest to slug it out with him in the primaries, the game would be a very difficult one. Sources have also posited that if APC goes ahead to give its ticket to Akpatason or any other person from the south, and PDP gives its ticket to Adjoto or another person from the south (Okpameri) axis of the LGA, it will pose serious threat to APC except the party pacifies those that may lose in the primaries. When asked about the issue of zoning, an acolyte of Akpatason who refused to give his name said there is no cause for alarm. He said “as you can see, zoning is not an issue when it comes to legislative business and ranking.” QUOTE A prominent figure in the area who preferred anonymity, noted that the chairmanship and House of Representatives seat rotate between the southern and northern part of the local government, but expressed surprise that only one ward and one person has monopolized the position of the House of Representatives, negating the principles of justice, equity and fairness

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