By Joy Odor
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has approved and published the full final list of candidates for 2023 general elections ranging from Presidential, Governors, Senatorial and Federal Constituencies pursuant to section 32(1) of the Electoral Act 2022 and item 8 of the Timetable and Schedule of Activities.
The National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Barr. Festus Okoye disclosed this on Tuesday in a press statement in Abuja after the Commission’s regular weekly meeting.
He said the list published contained the names of candidates validly nominated for national elections at the close of party primaries and the period earmarked for withdrawal and substitution of candidates.
According to him, the publication of the full names and addresses of all nominated candidates follows the political parties’ conduct of primaries and completion of the nomination exercise.
INEC National Commissioner explained that all the 18 political parties have fielded candidates and their running mates for the Presidential election, adding that for legislative elections, 1,101 candidates are vying for 109 Senatorial seats and 3,122 candidates for Federal Constituencies i.e. House of Representatives seats, making a total of 4,223 candidates contesting for 469 legislative positions.
In terms of gender distribution, 3,875 candidates are male, made up of 35 for Presidential and Vice Presidential, 1,008 for Senate and 2,832 for House of Representatives.
Similarly, 381 females comprising 1 for Presidential, 92 for Senate, and 288 for House of Representatives are contesting while 11 Persons with Disability (PWDs) are in the race.
Barrister Okoye said the final list of candidates for State elections (Governorship and State Constituencies) will be published on 4th October 2022 as already indicated on the Timetable and Schedule of Activities for the 2023 General Election.
Explaining further, he said, “Nigerians may recall that at the end of the process [party primaries], the personal particulars of all nominated candidates were displayed in their constituencies nationwide as provided by section 29(3) of the Electoral Act.
“Subsequently, validly nominated candidates had the opportunity to voluntarily withdraw their candidature by notice in writing and personally deliver such notice to the political party that nominated them for the election.
“Thereafter, political parties substituted such candidates under section 31 of the Electoral Act for which the last day was 15th July 2022 for national elections and 12th August 2022 for State elections as clearly provided in item 6 of the Commission’s Timetable and Schedule of Activities.
“Thereafter, no withdrawal or substitution of candidates is allowed except in the event of death as provided in section 34(1) of the Electoral Act or pursuant to an order of a Court of competent jurisdiction.
“We note the fact that not all the political parties conducted primaries in all the constituencies, submitted the particulars of candidates that emerged from valid primaries or substituted their candidates after fresh primaries within 14 days as provided in section 33 of the Electoral Act.
“This has led to numerous litigations, some of which are ongoing. Where the Commission was served with Court orders by aggrieved aspirants or candidates before the publication of this list, these have been indicated under the remark column”, he said.
He pointed out that the list for specific constituencies is published in each State where they are located while the comprehensive nationwide list has been uploaded to the Commission’s website.
Barrister Okoye appealed to all political parties to channel any observations on the list of candidates to the Commission and such must be signed by the National Chairman and Secretary of the political party and supported with an affidavit as provided in section 32(2) of the Electoral Act 2022.