The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, yesterday released the list of candidates contesting the 2015 Presidential election.
The Commission also released the names of the running mates of the candidates in the election.
Out of the 26 registered political parties, only 11 have submitted names of candidates to run for the presidency.
The presidential candidates are President Goodluck Jonathan (Peoples Democratic Party, PDP), Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (All Progressives Congress, APC), Prof. Comfort Oluremi Sonaiya (Kowa Party), Ambrose Albert (Hope Democratic Party) and Ganiyu Galadima (Allied Congress Party of Nigeria).
Others are Rafiu Salau (Alliance for Democracy), Godson Okoye (United Democratic Party), Dr. Nani Ibrahim Ahmad (African Democratic Congress), Martin Onovo (National Conscience Party), Tunde Anifowoshe-Kelani (Action Alliance) and Chekwas Okorie (United Progressive Party).
Their running mates are Vice-President Namadi Sambo (PDP); Prof. Yemi Osinbajo (APC); Haruna Shaba (Hope Democratic Party); Balarabe Ahmed (ACPN); Prof. Clinton Cliff Akuchie (AD); Haruna Adamu (United Democratic Party); Obianuju Murphy- Uzohue (African Democratic Congress) and Ibrahim Mohammed (NCP); Others are Saidu Bobboi (Kowa Party); Comrade Paul Ishaka Ofomile (Action Alliance) and Bello Umar (United Progressive Party).
The submission of the names to INEC closed on December 26 as the deadline was extended by 24 hours. Nigerians have seven days to raise any objection on the particulars of the candidates, according to INEC.
“The personal particulars are displayed in all the state and local government offices of the commission in the constituencies of the candidates.
“Any person who has reasonable grounds to believe that any information given by any candidate is false or that the candidate is not qualified or is disqualified from contesting the elections should notify the commission in writing within seven days of this publication,” INEC said.
There are 11 conditions under which any of the presidential candidates or other candidates can be disqualified.
A person is disqualified if he or she:
(i) has declared allegiance to another country;
(ii) has been elected to the office of President or Governor at any two previous elections;
(iii) adjudged to be a lunatic or declared to be of unsound mind;
(iv) is under a sentence of death or is under a sentence of imprisonment or fine for an offence involving dishonesty or fraud Also, a person is disqualified if he or she
(v) has in the last 10 years been convicted and sentenced for an offence involving dishonesty
(vi) has been found guilty of a contravention of the code of conduct;
(vii) is an undischarged bankrupt;
(viii) is employed in the public service and does not resign, withdraw or retire at least 30 days to the election;
(ix) is a member of a secret society;
(x) has been indicted for embezzlement or fraud by a Judicial Committee of Inquiry or an Administrative Panel of Inquiry or a Tribunal and which indictment has been accepted by the Federal or State Government;
(xi) has presented a forged certificate to INEC”.
INEC has also announced the redeployment of all its 37 Resident Electoral Commissioners, RECs in the states.
Although, the commission did not give clear reasons for its decision, our correspondent recalls that this is in line with the usual tradition to reshuffle the RECs ahead of any general election.
The commission, however, said that the redeployment forms part of its preparations for the February 14 polls.
The redeployment was announced in the Commission’s daily bulletin, Volume 1, No. 704, which was issued in Abuja yesterday and obtained by our correspondent. It said the development had earlier been communicated to the RECs in a letter dated December 24, 2014 and signed by the Secretary to the Commission, Mrs. Augusta Ogakwu.
The RECs were directed to conclude all handing and taking over formalities by tomorrow. In the redeployment, the affected RECs were taken closer to their states of origin. Prof. O.E. Onukaogu, a native of Abia state was taken to Enugu; Prof. Tukur Sa’ad of Adamawa State, to Bauchi; Ahmed Makama, a native of Bauchi, now redeployed in Taraba, while Mike Igini, a native of Delta was taken to Edo.
Others are Selina Omaha Oko from Ebonyi to Abia; Edwin Offor Nwatarali from Enugu to Anambra; Sadiq Abubakar Musa from Kaduna to Sokoto; Jibrin Ibrahim Zarewa from Kano to Kebbi; Hussaini Ahmed Mahuta from Katsina to Kaduna and Abubakar Umar Garba Wara fromKebbi to Zamfara.
Also, Emmanuel Onucheyo, a native of Kogi was taken to Kwara; Rufus O. Akeju from Lagos to Oyo; Abdullahi Umar Danyaya from Niger to Nasarawa; Timothy A. Ibitoye fromOsun to Ogun; A.L. Ogunmola from Oyo to Osun; Barito Lenusikpugi Kphagih from Rivers to Bayelsa; Haliru A. Tambuwal from Sokoto to Jigawa; Kassim Gana Geidam fromYobe to Gombe; Ibrahim Bagobiri Marafa from Zamfara to Katsina and Aniedi Ikoiwak from Akwa-Ibom to Delta.
The other redeployments as shown on the chart are Habu Zarma from Gombe to Yobe; Akin Orebiyi from Ogun to Lagos; Hussaini Halilu Pai from FCT to Kogi; Kwanga Godwin Mbatsavbee from Benue to Plateau; Sylvester Okey Ezeani from Anambra to Cross River; Minkaila Abdullahi from Jigawa to Kano; Lawrence Azubuike from Imo to Ebonyi; Sam Olugbadebo Olumekun from Ondo to Ekiti; Istifanus Ishaku Dafwang- Plateau to Benue; Gesila Khan from Bayelsa to Rivers; Samuel Madaki from Taraba to Borno; Gabriel Ada from Cross River to Imo; Jacob Shekwonudu Jatau from Nasarawa to FCT; Baba Abba Yusuf from Borno to Adamawa; Segun Agbaje- Ekiti to Ondo; Nasir Ayilara from Kwara to Niger and Austine Okojie from Edo to Akwa-Ibom.
Meanwhile, the protest against the redeployment of Mr. Rufus Akeju as the new Resident Electoral Commissioner, REC, for Oyo State yesterday continued as hundreds of people believed to be members of the PDP, Accord, Labour Party (LP) and Social Democratic Party, SDP, staged a peaceful protest to the headquarters of INEC in the state rejecting his posting.
The inscriptions on some of the placards carried by the protesters included, ‘Akeju must go’, ‘Don’t bring back the old wild wild west’, ‘Oyo rejects Akeju’, ‘Akeju is not fit to conduct election in Nigeria’, ‘Oyo wants credible elections’, ‘Akeju is an APC man’, ‘We reject him’, ‘Akeju will destroy Oyo election.’
A former member of the House of Representatives, Mr. Moruf Akinwande, who represented Oyo Federal Constituency, said a Federal High Court sitting in Osogbo had ruled that Akeju was a partisan man, adding that the chairman of INEC, Professor Attahiru Jega, should transfer him to the national headquarters of the commission in Abuja instead of Oyo State.
Also, Alhaji Rasheed Rufai, who introduced himself as a member of the Accord Party in Ibadan North-East; Mrs. Mojisola Soyooye, from Labour Party; Mr. Adisa Jelili from the SDP in Oluyole Local Government Area; Mr. Adeniran Adekola from the Youth for Better Society and Mrs. Funke Ale from LP, while speaking with journalists, said they wanted another person as the REC in the state.
But while speaking in a telephone interview with journalists yesterday, Akeju said the protesters have rights to demonstrate but they could not stop him from resuming as the new REC in the state.
He urged them to go to court to press their demands further, stating “they can demonstrate. That is their right. They have no right to say I cannot resume my work. It is as simple as that.”
On the allegation that he’s a card carrying member of APC, he said “they should go to court and prove it. They have been saying that all over. It is the same people.” Responding to the allegation by the protesters that a court of law had ruled that he could not conduct election in any state in connection with the August 9, 2014 governorship poll in Osun State, Akeju said “that is not true.”
The outgoing REC in the state, Alhaji Ayilara, who described the deployment of RECs as a normal administrative routing in the commission, however, appealed to the people of the state not to think that the incoming REC would be partial or do anything that would undermine the process.
He said: “He (Akeju) is a man of integrity and I believe by the time he resumes, he would want to sustain the quality and conduct the exercise in a manner that will accord him the existing respect he has earned within the community.
“I was not around when the protesters came but it was well handled by the officers they met on ground. “Unfortunately for the protesters, they were not organised. There was no letter to really back the protest, meaning that we are not really sure of the groups that were even protesting.
“So, it was not a true gathering that has genuine intentions to really say their views to Nigerians. With that, we regarded them as hoodlums that wanted to disrupt our activities here.
That was why we called the security agents to protect lives and property here. “If there is a court ruling that says he is not competent to be a REC, I know the chairman of INEC would not go ahead and post him.
I believe there is no ruling that restrains him from conducting any election in this country.
“I know the right thing has been done. The people of Oyo State should allow him to do his job in a manner that will be favourable to all of us. It is a national service; one can be posted to any state, except your state of origin.” -NationalMirrow