THE Independent National Electoral Commission on Thursday in Abuja released what it called the final list of candidates for the Edo State governorship election.
The election is scheduled to hold on Saturday, September 10.
In a document signed and issued by the Secretary to the commission, Mrs. Augusta C. Ogakwu, the commission said that 19 political parties and their candidates had been cleared to contest the election.
The release of the list, the commission said, was in furtherance of the Electoral Act which stipulates that it must publish the list, at least, 30 days before the election.
Section 34 of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) provides that, “The commission shall, at least 30 days before the day of the election, publish by displaying or causing to be displayed at the relevant office(s) of the commission and on the commission’s website, a statement on the full names and addresses of all candidates standing nominated.”
Surprisingly, the commission again picked Mr. Osagie Ize-Iyamu and John Yakubu as the governorship and deputy governorship candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party.
This shows that the commission has rejected the candidate of the factional National Chairman of the party, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff for the position.
Sheriff, who is in court fighting his alleged removal from office, equally forwarded the name of Mr. Mathew Idorioyekemwen as the candidate of the PDP for the election.
Sheriff had on Tuesday said he was planning to storm the state five days before the election, to campaign for his candidate.
While reacting to the release of the list by the commission, Sheriff said he expected INEC to be law abiding in its actions.
Speaking through the spokesperson for his faction, Mr. Bernard Mikko, the former governor of Borno State said that it was possible that INEC was waiting for the Court of Appeal to make a pronouncement on the issue before “correcting the error.”
Mikko said, “The commission has promised to be law-abiding in its dealings with political parties and other institutions.
“We have nothing to worry about concerning the release of the list, because at the end of the day, we will come out as winners.
“The commission could be waiting for the Court of Appeal to make a pronouncement on the issue and correct the error. We are waiting patiently on it.”
The commission had claimed that the Sheriff faction of the PDP did not give it the mandatory 21-day notice to monitor its primary.
It also said that it was relying on the judgment of the Federal High Court, Port Harcourt, Rivers State, which recognised the Ahmed Makarfi-led national caretaker committee of the party as the authentic leadership.
The list of other candidates and their parties released by the commission are Ishaka Paul Ofemile and Ewemade Osagie (AA), Andrew Igewmoh and Osagie Andrew (ACD), Cosms Irabor and Fredrick Odegua (ACPN), Godwin Obaseki and Philip Shaibu (APC), Onaiwu Osaro and Okpebholo Gladys (APGA) while David Okoror and Ekhorotomwen Smile will be the candidates of the CPP.
Also on the list are Tobi Adeniyi and Ibolo Julius (ID), Thompson Osadolor and Florence Okundaye (KOWA), Amos Areloegbe and Jane Osagie (LP), Oronsaye Richard and Omijie Ehinor (MPPP), Peter Omoragbon and Ahmed Haruna (NCP) and Ukonga Onaivi and Emodogo Eweha (NNPP).
Also listed are Akhalamhe Amiemenoghena and Efosa Osarobo (PDC), Thomas Sadoh and Onaiwu Ogbeide (PPA), Agol Tracy and Osayomore Clement Osazee (PPN), Omorogieva Gbajumo and Isaac Ogona (SDP), Adviser Efogie and Okosun Davies Roseline (UPP) and Nurudeen Inwanefero and Dakpokpo Georgina are the governorship and deputy governorship candidates of YDP.
Meanwhile, INEC on Thursday announced that a total of 1,924,072 residents had been registered as eligible voters for the election.
It explained that the figure comprises 132,559 persons captured during the Continuous Voters Registration exercise in June and 1,791,513 voters registered prior to the 2015 general elections across 2,627 polling units.
The National Commissioner (South-South), Dr. Muhammed Lecky, who spoke during the presentation of the official register of voters in Benin, noted that the number of registered voters dropped from 136,038, indicating that some individuals attempted multiple registrations and were purged from the system.
Lecky explained that of the 18 local government areas, Oredo has the highest number of registered voters pegged at 279,270 while Igueben has the lowest.