The Independent National Electoral Commission INEC has published the final list of Presidential and National Assembly candidates for next month’s general elections with the ruling All Progressives Congress APC missing out in Rivers and Zamfara states.
In the list signed by the INEC Secretary, Rose Orianran-Anthony, the presidential candidate of the Social Democratic Party SDP was also missing. There has been a legal tussle between Dr Donald Duke and Prof. Jerry Gana as to who is the right presidential candidate of the SDP, hence INEC said it could not publish the particulars of either contender as the party has not forwarded it any name following a court order.
The Federal High Court had barred the APC from fielding candidates in Rivers and Zamfara following the inability of the ruling party to resolve its internal challenges and respect its own rules on the conduct of its primaries.
‘Politically Exposed Lecturers’ Meanwhile, INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu has asked Vice Chancellors of federal universities in Nigeria not to give the commission lecturers who are politically exposed. Yakubu spoke Thursday at the opening of a meeting with the Committee of Vice Chancellors CVC in Abuja to intimate them on the commission’s preparations for the general elections.
“As in previous elections, we have requested each University for a specified number of academic staff as contained in my letter to the Vice Chancellors. Staff who are card carrying members or have participated in partisan politics should not be nominated.
Similarly, those who may not be involved in partisan political activities but are known to have obvious political leanings should not be nominated. The Commission will carefully scrutinise the list which must be submitted confidentially in the manner prescribed by Commission in my letter to the Vice Chancellors”, he said.
According to Yakubu, without the involvement of Nigeria’s tertiary institutions, especially the Universities, the Commission will find it extremely difficult to conduct credible elections.
“At the polling unit level, the critical segment of election duty staff is drawn from products of our Universities and polytechnics involved in the mandatory National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) scheme.
For the various collation and declaration centres, the Commission draws the required Collation and Returning Officers from the academic staff of our Universities, including the Vice Chancellors who serve as Returning Officers for Governorship elections and Collation Officers for the Presidential elections.
It has been a happy collaboration which has further enhanced the transparency and credibility of the elections in Nigeria as well as public confidence in the process. The Commission wishes to sustain and deepen this collaboration. “It is less than a month to the 2019 General Elections.
On Saturday 16th February 2019, elections will hold in 470 constituencies nationwide made up of the Presidential, 190 Senatorial and 360 Federal Constituencies. Two weeks later on Saturday 2nd March 2019, elections will hold in 1,088 constituencies made up of 29 Governorship elections, 991 State Constituencies and 68 Area Councils in the Federal Capital Territory.
In summary, there are 1,553 Constituencies for which elections will held this year.
“The 2019 General Elections will involve the highest number of registered voters and a record number of political parties.
The final register of voters now stands at 84.004,084 while 91 political parties are contesting in different Constituencies nationwide. A total of 73 candidates are contesting in the Presidential election, 1,904 in the Senatorial and 4,680 in the Federal (House of Representatives) elections, making a total of 6,657 candidates contesting for 470 seats.
The final list of candidates for Governorship, State Assembly and FCT Area Council elections will be released in two weeks on Thursday 31st January 2019 in accordance with the Commission’s timetable and schedule of activities.
“Collation of results will take place in 8,809 Registration Areas or Wards, 774 Local Government Areas and 36 States and the FCT. In addition, we require Returning Officers for the elections.
For the 2019 General Elections, the Commission would require some 10,603 staff to support the various collation and declaration processes.
It is for this reason that this meeting is of crucial importance. We need the support of our universities to source the requisite number of interested academic staff on the understanding that this is essentially a national service”, he added.