Ahead of the 2023 general elections, there are strong indications that the presidential candidates of the All Progressives Congress, Peoples Democratic Party and all other political parties may emerge latest by August 18, 2022, investigations by Sunday PUNCH have shown.
Similarly, lists of governorship candidates of the various political parties are expected to be ready and submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission latest in August, given that the general elections often hold about a week interval.
The INEC Chairman, Prof Mahmood Yakubu, announced on April 28 that the presidential election would be held on February 18, 2023, noting that the commission hoped to release the timetable and schedule of activities for the election immediately after the Anambra State Governorship election, held on November 6.
Meanwhile, the likely dates for the candidates to emerge were premised on the passage of the amendments to the Electoral Bill by the National Assembly. The bill was on Friday transmitted to the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), for his assent any moment from now.
The 2021 Electoral Act amendment Bill was passed by the National Assembly on November 9, 2021.
The Act extended the dates that political parties must submit the names of their candidates to INEC from 60 days to 180 days before the date of the election. If the President assents to the bill, it becomes a law and INEC would be expected to design its timetable in accordance with the provisions.
Section 31 of the old Act had to do with the submission of candidates’ names and their affidavits by political parties.
Section 31 (1) reads, “Every political party shall not later than 60 days before the date appointed for a general election under the provisions of this Act, submit to the commission, in the prescribed forms, the list of candidates the party proposes to sponsor at the elections, provided that the commission shall not reject or disqualify the candidate (s) for any reason whatsoever.”
The section has now been amended by amending subsections 1, 6 and 8.
The amended Section 31 (1) now stipulates that submission of lists of candidates by political parties shall be done not later than 120 days before the date appointed for a general election and candidates must have emerged from validly conducted primaries.
Tinubu, Atiku’s foot soldiers in massive mobilisation
In preparation for the 2022 presidential primaries, loyalists of a former Governor of Lagos State, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and that of former Vice President Atiku Abubakar have started mobilising members of their political parties.
Both candidates have yet to declare their intention to contest the presidency, but indications are rife that they would contest. Supporters of Tinubu, the National Leader of the APC, have opened structures in many parts of the country, while Atiku’s men are also said to be holding meetings.
Meanwhile, the founding chairman of Neimeth Pharmaceuticals and former president of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria, Sam Ohuabunwa, and former Senate President, Anyim Pius Anyim, both of the PDP, have openly indicated interest to run for the presidency.
Meanwhile, none of the political parties has indicated the part of the country they would zone the coveted office to.
Concerning Tinubu’s rumoured interest in the top job, James Faleke, a member of the House of Representatives, is leading his strategic committee whose headquarters is in Abuja.
The group, known as the Tinubu Support Group, is said to have registered about 500 sub-groups in the last few weeks. Its spokesperson, Tosin Adeyanju, told Sunday PUNCH that its members were of the opinion that there was the need to start promoting what he described as “ideals, legacies and values” of the former governor early.
Adeyanju said, “We have registered about 500 groups in the TSG. The groups are all supporting Asiwaju. Our job at TSG is to coordinate and host all the groups.
“Our group is led by members of the National Assembly, stakeholders, friends of the former governor and people he has helped. We have inaugurated all the 36 states steering committees and Abuja chapters, who would inaugurate local government and ward chapters.”
Asked if Tinubu did not jump the gun by politicking when INEC had yet to give its nod, Adeyanju said “Tinubu is not aware of what we are doing.”
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