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Breaking: INEC Directs Abia PDP To Conduct Fresh Primary In 14 Days

4 mins read

Following the death of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship candidate in Abia State, Prof. Uche Ikonne, the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has directed the party to conduct another primary within 14 days to nominate new candidate for the 2023 election.

Ikonne was announced dead by his family on Wednesday morning after reports indicated that he suffered heart-related health issues.

Governor Okezie Ikpeazu, who is vying for the Senatorial seat for the Abia South Constituency has since suspended all campaigns for at least one week. He said, in a statement, that the move was to  honour the late gubernatorial candidate of the PDP in the Southeast  state.

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INEC’s directive is in line with Section 34 (1) of the Electoral Act 2022 which says that “If after the time for the delivery of nomination paper and before the commencement of the poll, a nominated candidate dies, the Chief National Electoral Commissioner shall, being satisfied of the fact of the death, countermand the poll in which the deceased candidate was to participate and the Commission shall appoint some other convenient date for the election within 14 days.”

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Following Ikonne’s death, INEC’s National Commissioner and Chairman Information and Voter Education Committee, Barr. Festus Okoye,  in a media chat said that since the election is still one month away, the the Abia PDP chapter still has 14 Days time allowed by the law to conduct a fresh primary.READ ALSO: 

Explaining the conditions stated in the Electoral Act for change of candidate, for an election, Okoye said: “Section 33 of the Electoral Act, 2022 is clear, unambiguous, and unequivocal that a political party shall not be allowed to change or substitute its candidate whose name has been submitted to the commission under section 29 of the Electoral Act except in the case of death or withdrawal provided that in the case of such withdrawal or death of a candidate, the political party affected shall, within 14 days of the occurrence of the event, hold a fresh primary to produce and submit a fresh candidate to the commission for the election concerned.”

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He further clarified that: “if the candidate dies when polls have commenced, section 34(3)(b) of the Act provides that the running mate shall continue with the election and nominate a new running mate.”

He said that since the case of Abia PDP governorship candidate is about death and the election is still one month ahead, the Electoral Act permits the party to organise fresh primary to nominate another candidate.

“The issue at hand is death and the candidate died when the period of election is still a month away. The Electoral Act permits the party that nominated him to conduct fresh primaries for the purpose of replacing him,” Okoye stated.

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He warned that, based on Ikonne’s death,  if the party fails to conduct fresh poll within 14 days as stated in the Act, it will not  have candidate for the election.

“If they fail to conduct fresh primaries within 14 days of the death of the candidate, they will not have a candidate in the election.”

 

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