Senator Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso’s the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP) has been engulfed in another political dilemma as Senator Ibrahim Shekarau, who defected to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) from the NNPP a month ago is still recognised as the party’s senatorial candidate.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said Shekarau remains the senatorial candidate of the NNPP, despite his defection to PDP.
Revealing why he left the NNPP after three months, he said he was deceived by Kwankwaso, adding that the party failed to meet some of the agreements they reached before he defected.
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Shekarau, a former two-time governor of Kano State, had defected to PDP on August 29, but in what came as a surprise to many, his name was on Tuesday listed as the candidate of the NNPP for Kano Central in the forthcoming general elections by INEC, even though he claimed to have formally notified the commission of his withdrawal from the race.
But INEC National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, said the notice came after the deadline, insisting that Shekarau remained the NNPP candidate for Kano Central Senatorial District.
He said, “By our Timetable and Schedule of Activities released on the 26th February 2022, July 15, 2022, was stipulated as the last day for withdrawal and replacement of National Assembly candidates. The former governor of Kano State allegedly withdrew his candidature on the 26th day of August 2022.
“The implication is that he remains and will remain the candidate of the NNPP. His name will be on the ballot on Election Day as a candidate of the NNPP for his senatorial district.”
We’re not surprised – NNPP
Reacting to the development, the Publicity Secretary of the NNPP in Kano, Abdullahi Ibrahim Rogo, said the party was not surprised that Shekarau’s name appeared on the list, adding that the party had started the process of correcting the anomaly.
Rogo said based on the guidelines issued by INEC, the party was expected to follow some steps in getting the name of Shekarau substituted.
He said since Shekarau voluntarily withdrew, the party had conducted fresh primaries within the time frame provided by the new electoral act.
“All we did is within the stipulated time and we are following the right channels. So, we have gathered all the information and we will throw the issue to the court and after going through all our facts and evidence, we are sure the court will direct INEC to change the name of the previous candidate with the new candidate from us. We are now waiting for a hearing date,” he said.
Shekarau’s stand remains the same – Aide
A media aide to Shekarau, Sule Ya’u Sule, said despite the timetable released by INEC, the senator’s position remains the same.
He said, “You know he had written to INEC withdrawing his candidature. A copy of the letter was presented to the public; that has remained his position.”