By Emmanuel Oloniruha, Abuja.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has distanced itself from a purported final list of candidates for the 2023 general elections, allegedly released on Sunday.
The commission, in a statement by its National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Mr Festus Okoye, in Abuja on Monday, said that INEC did not release any list on Sunday.
“The attention of the commission has been drawn to reports widely circulated by a section of the media today, Monday, Jan. 9, that the final list of candidates was released on our website on Sunday, Jan. 8.
“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.’’
Okoye said that for the record, the final list of candidates for the 2023 general elections was published at least, 150 days before the day of election, in compliance with the provision of Section 32(1) of the Electoral Act 2022.
“Accordingly, the final list for Presidential and National Assembly elections was published on Sept. 20, 2022, while that of Governorship and State Assembly elections was published two weeks later, on Oct. 4, 2022.
“These are clearly indicated as Item Eight on the Timetable and Schedule of Activities for the 2023 General Elections. released by the commission on Feb. 26, 2022.’’
The INEC commissioner said that there could not be a final list of candidates, with just 46 days to the general elections, except for names published as substitutions for candidates nominated earlier, in compliance with court orders.
“Moreover, some of the candidates that allegedly made the new ‘final’ list are still in court and the matter is, therefore, subjudice.
“Political parties, litigants and the public should be guided accordingly,’’ Okoye said.