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Speculations that INEC Released Final List Denied by Commission as they React to Reports of Akpabio’s Name Being on it

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Lawan, Akpabio lose out as INEC publishes candidates' listBy Uche Amunike

There has been speculations widely spread about the  Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC)’s release of final list of candidates for the 2023 general election, which has been outrightly denied by the electoral umpire.

To this end, the Spokesperson to the Commission, Festus Okoye, released a statement, Monday, debunking the falsehood that INEC released a final list. He clearly stated that INEC only posted a statement on its website, stating that it had made amends to the list of candidates in compliance with a court order that was served.

Recall that ThisDay Newspaper published a report, Monday, stating that INEC replaced the name of Retired Deputy Inspector General of Police, Udom Ekpoudom with that of former Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio of the All Progressives Congress (APC), for the 2023 general election.

INEC has debunked the rumour through a statement that partly read: ‘The attention of the Commission has been drawn to reports widely circulated by a section of the media today (Monday) that the final list of candidates was released on our website on 8 January 2023’.

‘The Commission wishes to state categorically that no new publication of the final list of candidates was released as reported. The public should therefore discountenance the story’, the INEC Spokesperson reiterated.

He went on to say that INEC only posted an information about amending the list in compliance to a court order.

It further stated: ‘By virtue of the provision of Section 287 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended), the Commission is bound to enforce the order of the Court on the nomination of candidates by political parties in the affected constituencies.’

‘Consequently, the list of candidates in respect to the attached senatorial districts and Federal Constituencies, Governorship and State House of Assembly elections are amended to the orders of the Court served on the Commission as of 21 December 2022 for upload on the Commission’s website.’

Currently, the commission’s website still has Mr Ekpoudom as the APC candidate representing Akwa Ibom North West District.

Godswill Akpabio was the candidate representing APC in Akwa Ibom North West until the Court of Appeal nullified his election on November 14, 2022. The appellate court set aside an Abuja Federal High Court judgement, which ordered INEC to publish Akpabio’s name as APC candidate for the district.

Akpabio aspired for the APC  presidential primary election in Abuja in June 2022, but however stepped down for former governor of Lagos state, Bola Ahmed Tinubu midway into the exercise. Tinubu eventually emerged winner of the primary election.

Akpabio won the APC Senatorial primary election in Akwa Ibom under controversial circumstances, shortly after the APC Presidential primary election.

He however filed a suit at the Supreme Court, challenging the Court of Appeal judgment, but the apex court has not decided on the appeal.

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