The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has dismissed reports that it intends to conduct supplementary elections arising from the presidential and National Assembly elections together with the governorship and state assembly elections slated for tomorrow, Saturday, March 18.
National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee of INEC, Festus Okoye, disclosed this in a statement issued Friday in Abuja.
He said: “The Commission has not scheduled the conduct of supplementary elections arising from the presidential and National Assembly elections.
“For clarity, the supplementary elections will take place on a date to be announced by the Commission immediately after the governorship and state assembly elections.
“However, this should not be confused with the two National Assembly elections earlier suspended by the Commission and rescheduled to hold along with the governorship and state assembly elections.
“First is the Enugu East senatorial district election, which was countermanded to allow the Labour Party, LP, conduct a fresh primary election to replace its deceased candidate in line with the provision of Section 34(1) of the Electoral Act 2022.
“The second is the Esan Central/Esan West/Igueben Federal Constituency of Edo State following issues with the ballot paper for the election.
“These are not supplementary but main elections that could not be held earlier.
“The public is advised to disregard any report alluding to the conduct of supplementary elections alongside the governorship and state assembly elections tomorrow, Saturday 18th March 2023,” he stated.
‘Lyon deserves APC ticket'
Meanwhile, the Progressive Consultative Forum, PCF, has made a case for the governor-elect of Bayelsa state, Chief David Lyon, ahead of the November governorship election in the state.
Director-General of PCF, Wilberforce Waribote, in a statement said for Bayelsa, a state with an uncanny voting pattern, the All Progressives Congress, APC, has to come to terms with the political ambition of two main contenders, Chief Timipre Sylva and Chief David Lyon.
He recalled that Sylva, a former governor of the state, failed in his bid to seek re-election.
“He contested and lost. It is on record that the Minister of State, Petroleum Resources, only won in one of the eight local government areas of the state.
“Bayelsa has a reputation for not being a one-party state, as its people vote according to the exigencies of the time.
“In 2007, Sylva, who contested the governorship on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) won to succeed Goodluck Jonathan.
“In 2019, there was a dramatic swing towards the APC, as the party's gubernatorial candidate, David Lyon, won by a large margin but due to an alleged forgery case involving his deputy-elect nominated by “Timipre Sylva, PDP's Douye Diri was declared by the Supreme court and Lyon disqualified before his inauguration.
“Party faithful in the state will attest to the fact that as soon as Lyon's victory was upturned, the Minister tactically played down Lyon's popularity, took over the party and led the party to disunity and crisis.
“One of the many sins of the Minister includes disobedience to court orders on the party executives at the ward-to-state level.
“It is on record that Sylva's leadership style sprang up grievances in the party, members decamped to other political parties and the state gravitated towards the Labour Party (LP).
“This was evident in the presidential election of 25 February 2023. And it explained why all the APC national assembly candidates performed woefully.
“It is in light of this sad development in our party, that we members of the Progressive Consultative Forum (PCF) of Bayelsa state, wish to stem down the tide and reclaim the state back for APC.
“We are also committed to using the November 11 governorship election in the state to get the state back to the progressive camp.
“It is, however, our considered opinion that for the APC to make the desired impact at the polls and win the governorship seat, the party must put forward its best and the most acceptable candidate, while also ensuring that it goes into the elections with a united force to defeat the ruling PDP and the emerging LP.
“It is our candid opinion that Chief Sylva, at this point, could not be considered APC's best choice in the forthcoming gubernatorial election.
“Sylva's political inconsistency in recent times made him unfit for the party's ticket. It will be recalled that he surreptitiously indicated his interest to vie for Nigeria's presidency, and lacking the courage to resign his appointment as Minister and go for it, he buckled at the primaries.
“But his presidential interest was not lost on the party's power brokers and the electorate in Bayelsa who have noted his lack of guts.
“In a similar vein, his refusal to resign from his current position as the Minister of State, Petroleum Resources, a month before the party's primaries as required by the Electoral Act is a legal lacuna.
“Akin to his indecisiveness at the presidential primaries, Sylva has again shown a visible lack of courage to do the needful at the right time but went on to join the power brokers to carry on a spoiler game.
“APC's governorship primary is scheduled to take place on the 10th of April, 2023. All political appointees interested in the party's primary ought to have resigned their appointments on or before the 10th of March, 2023.
“We make bold to say that as of today, 17th of March, 2023, the Minister is yet to turn in his resignation letter.
“That was a legal requirement that must be satisfied, and refusal to act by the provision of the law would be a fatal blow to his ambition and the party's electoral fortune in the state.
“In light of this development, the entire leadership and members of the Progressive Consultative Forum of Bayelsa State wish to strongly warn the National Working Committee (NWC) of the All Progressives Congress (APC) not to make a grievous mistake that will affect the bright prospects of the party at regaining our 2019 mandate.
“The party should not toy with such obvious facts for floating a candidate who has such an open legal deficiency that could be exploited by opposition parties in a court of law.
“In terms of popularity, while Sylva appears to have lost favour with the electorate in Bayelsa, David Lyon has been a philanthropist and a bridge builder who has proved to be at home with the populace including the physically challenged and the fatherless. He is loved and respected by all in Bayelsa state,” he stated.