As expected and following the schedule it announced last year, INEC, the Independent National Electoral Commission, yesterday provided us with the final list of Presidential candidates for February 16 election.
There are 73 Presidential candidates representing 73 political parties registered by the commission.
This means that not all parties are contesting for the post of President if the Federal Republic of Nigeria come Saturday 16th February 2019 because at the last count, there are 91 political parties registered by INEC. This time last year, there were 68 registered political parties but in August, INEC added 23 new parties to the register based on applications it processed, bringing the number to 91.
Some of the parties have deliberately decided not to field presidential candidates.
However, one of them, the Social Democratic Party, SDP, has not fielded a candidate because they did not agree with the decision of the court which asked them to accept Prof. Jerry Gana instead of their preferred candidate, former Cross River State Governor Donald Duke.
Some of the candidates on the INEC list are:
1. Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress, APC.
2. Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
3. Oby Ezekwesili of the Allied Peoples Movement of Nigeria, APMN.
4. Omoyele Sowore of the African Action Congress, AAC.
5. Kingsley Moghalu of the Young Progressives Party, YPP.
6. Sina Fagbenro-Byron of KOWA Party.
7. Fela Durotoye of the Alliance for New Nigeria, ANN.
8. Obadaiah Mailafia of the African Democratic Congress, ADC.
9. Eunice Atuejide of the National Interest Party, NIP.
These are just nine of the 73 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES!
Looking at the big picture of the number of candidates (73), it does not augur well for us that votes for an office as crucial as that of the president should be spread this wide.
Before a voter looks down from top to bottom of the ballot paper, won’t he become tired and frustrated to the point of just dumping his thumb print anywhere? Shouldn’t there have been a short listing system that would not make the whole exercise look like a huge joke.
73 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES!
On the SDP problem, no one is really sure how the Jerry Gana and Donald Duke issue will play out, knowing that the Nigerian electoral system recognises parties and uses the party emblems as recognition icons for voters to cast their ballot.
The big question is what happens in the event SDP wins the election? The party’s name and logo are on the ballot so people will vote for it. A fight-to-finish may ensue for who becomes President in that scenario. This is why it is advisable for all concerned to resolve the issue NOW. There’s no doubt, however, that this impasse will definitely cost the SDP many votes.