Ikonne: Abia PDP Can Conduct Fresh Primary Within 14 Days – INEC

Ikonne: Abia PDP Can Conduct Fresh Primary Within 14 Days – INEC

The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC has stated that the Peoples Democratic Party, Abia State chapter can conduct a fresh primary within 14 days following the death of its governorship candidate, Prof Uchenna Ikonne.


A statement issued on behalf of the family by his son, Dr Uche-Ikonne Chikezie, revealed that the politician died on Wednesday in Abuja at the age of 67 after a brief illness.


Reacting to the death, INEC’s National Commissioner and Chairman Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, said Abia PDP had the window to conduct fresh primary within 14 days of Ikonne’s death.


Speaking to Daily Sun, Okoye said, “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.”

Ikonne: Abia PDP Can Conduct Fresh Primary Within 14 Days – INEC
Ikonne: Abia PDP Can Conduct Fresh Primary Within 14 Days – INEC

The commission, however, warned that should the PDP fail to conduct fresh primary within 14 days of the death of the candidate, the party wouldn’t have a candidate in the election.


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 of withdrawal,” Okoye explained.


He added, “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.


The period, slated in the timetable and schedule of activities for the withdrawal of candidates has lapsed. In the said timetable, the last days for withdrawal by governorship and State Assembly candidates was August 12, 2022.


“Moreover, Section 31 of the Act makes it clear that a candidate can only withdraw his or her candidature by notice in writing submitted to the political party that nominated him and such must be conveyed to the political party not later than 90 days to election.”


Prof Uche Ikonne was formally announced dead by family saying that he passed 4.00am at the National Hospital Abuja “after a brief illness”.


In a three-paragraph statement, the son of the deceased, Dr Uche-Ikonne Chikezie, said that his late father had shown signs of recovery after receiving “proper treatment” abroad but relapsed on return and eventually succumbed to “multiple cardiac arrests”.


“He was recovering after taking proper treatment in the United Kingdom but relapsed a few days ago leading to multiple cardiac arrests for which he didn’t recover from,” he said.


The family spokesman added that “further details and arrangements would be made known to the public after deliberations and meetings are made within the family”.


After months of speculations on the whereabouts of Ikonne,  Governor Okezie Ikpeazu finally admitted during a radio programme last week that the governorship hopeful was “lately indisposed”.


But he had assured the people that the sick candidate was recovering gradually and progressively, adding that he would  “return sooner or later”.

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