INEC restates June 3 deadline for primaries as Osinbajo, Bakare, Amosun pick nomination forms

 How Jonathan’s candidacy might mar APC in 2023, by group

Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), yesterday, warned political parties that the June 3 deadline to pick candidates for the 2023 elections remains sacrosanct.

The warning followed reports that the commission was under pressure to extend the deadline for the conduct of primaries by some weeks.

INEC National Commissioner and Chairman (Information and Voter Education), Festus Okoye, in a statement, reminded parties they have one month, from today (Thursday), to conclude their primaries.

He said all 18 political parties have served required notices indicating dates for their conventions, congresses and primaries to the commission.

This, according to Okoye, is in compliance with Section 82(1) of the Electoral Act 2022.

THIS was as Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and Serving Overseer of Citadel Global Community Church, Nigeria, Pastor Tunde Bakare, obtained the Presidential Expression of Interest and Nomination forms of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).

Bakare will officially declare his presidential ambition on Monday, May 9, 2022, at the Shehu Musa Yar’Adua Centre, Central Business District in Abuja.

He was a former Vice Presidential candidate to President Muhammadu Buhari during the 2011 elections under the Congress for Progressive Change. He is also the Convener of the Save Nigeria Group.

In a statement, he said: “Having been privileged to serve Nigeria in various nation-building capacities, I intend to take a step further in the service of our beloved country and of you, her worthy citizen, by running for the Office of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”

SPEAKING at the International Conference Centre, Abuja, the coordinator of Osinbajo support groups, Senator Kabiru Gaya, who represented the Vice President, expressed optimism that his principal would emerge victorious at the primary.

He welcomed a large number of aspirants on the APC platform, saying it resonates with tenets of democracy.

He said: “Democracy is a game of numbers. Every aspirant that is contesting is qualified. Nobody is unqualified to contest. But what we are saying is we should look along the line and see who’s the best material. I’m sure, if we put them together, all of them together, they will pick Osinbajo as a candidate.”

On preference for the mode of selecting the party’s candidate, he said: “It is left for the party. If the aspirants say this is what they want, I believe it will be a direct primary, where delegates will come to Abuja and elect a candidate, maybe when you do an indirect primary, it might be more bogus and take more time.

“I believe whatever the party agrees with the aspirants is what we will do. The Electoral Act is very clear. It says either consensus or even direct primary or indirect. Even when consensus is done and all candidates agree, that is fair.

“We just had a share of that when we came to the primary of the national chairman. There was general consensus. All aspirants wrote a letter supporting Abdullahi Adamu, he is the national chairman. So, we just hope that kind of thing happens, by God’s grace.”

ALSO, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, representing Ogun Central Senatorial District, yesterday, joined the race for the presidency, promising Nigerians improved security.

He made the declaration to contest for the APC presidential ticket in Abuja.

“I am formally announcing my candidacy for the presidential ticket of our great party, the APC, and the presidency of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

“I do so, conscious of the immensity of the tasks that lie ahead in our country and the magnitude of the sacrifices that anybody who wishes to lead our country into the next phase must make,” he said.

He promised to consolidate the achievements of Buhari in the area of security.

“To do this, I will prioritise human security as the fundamental principle and ultimate goal of national security. Putting human security at the forefront and as the direct principle of state policy, would imply that the two dominant goals of my leadership would be national security and economic development,” he said.

He added that he had spent the past few months talking to professionals about the security challenges in Nigeria and how they could be better managed.

MEANWHILE, a group, APC North-South Patriotic Coalition (ANSPAC), has warned the ruling party against fielding former President Goodluck Jonathan as its presidential candidate in 2023.

Led by Mr. Toyin Rahim, the group staged a peaceful march to the party’s secretariat in Abuja, arguing that APC stands the risk of suffering defeat at the poll if it makes the mistake of picking Jonathan.

The group expressed concern over rumour suggesting some power players within APC were wooing the former president to join the party and fly its ticket.

It said: “One of the most telling negative implications of such an action is that the APC does not have anyone of electoral value who can win the election for us except we smuggle in a former president we defeated seven years ago for his glaring incompetence as president.

“In APC today, there are presidential aspirants with credible pedigree and humongous electoral value and capacity. It is not only unnecessary to smuggle Jonathan into our great party, it is also self-indicting and meaning that our party’s performance in office has been worse than an administration that Nigerians thoroughly rejected, and voted APC in 2015.”


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