The 2023 elections in Nigeria may not hold due to in-fighting in the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Bellnews Online reports that there is palpable tension within INEC over the continued push by the All Progressives Congress (APC) leadership to ensure the participation of Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, and former Minister of Niger Delta, Godswill Akpabio, in the 2023 senatorial elections of Yobe North Senatorial District and Akwa Ibom North West Senatorial District, respectively.
Sources at INEC disclosed that political parties, particularly the ruling APC, are mounting pressure on Prof. Mahmood Yakubu-led INEC in respect of their anointed candidates, who are deemed ‘powerful’ in the Nigerian political space.
Some of the back and forth that has gone on in recent days about names published by INEC as candidates, some of whom did not participate in primaries at all, or did not even purchase nomination and expression of interest forms, may not be unconnected with underhand moves going on at the Commission.
This newspaper learned that some of INEC’s recent publications containing names of those whose nomination fell short of legal requirement is a “testing of the waters because the Lawan and Akpabio situations have become very delicate”.
Recall that both Lawan and Akpabio had contested for the APC presidential ticket in June but while the former lost to Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the latter stepped down for him.
Despite this, the Abdullahi Adamu-led APC submitted their names to INEC as candidates for the Yobe north and Akwa Ibom north-west senatorial election in 2023, respectively.
Contrarily, INEC documents have shown that Bashir Machina is the duly nominated candidate of APC for Yobe north senatorial district which is being claimed by Lawan.
For Akwa Ibom north-west, Udom Ekpoudom, a retired deputy inspector general of police had won the ticket before APC leadership changed his name and sent Akpabio’s details.
This news medium gathered that reports of INEC officials who monitored some primary elections of both the APC and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) were discarded by some forces within the commission.
This development has reportedly left many well-intentioned INEC staff, especially INEC Commissioners, disappointed, thus lowering morale ahead of the 2023 general elections.