The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has formally given recognition to the Senator Ahmed Makarfi-led national leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
The decision by the commission became apparent following its acceptance of Mr. Osagie Ize-Iyamu as the duly elected Edo State governorship candidate of the party, thereby putting paid to the raging controversy over which of the two contending factions led by Makarfi and Senator Ali Modu Sheriff would field a candidate for election.
While confirming receipt of the submission of Ize-Iyamu’s name from the Makarfi-led faction yesterday evening via a text message, the Deputy Director, Publicity and Voter Education of the commission, Mr. Nick Dazang, said INEC had received names of 19 governorship candidates from 19 political parties, including the candidate of the PDP, Ize-Iyamu.
“As at this evening, we received 19 candidates from 19 political parties for the up coming Edo State governorship election. This includes the candidate of the Makarfi-led faction of the PDP. We received the candidate of the Makarfi-led faction because of the Port Harcourt court judgment plus the fact that we monitored its primary,” he said.
A source within the ranks of the Sheriff faction also confirmed to THISDAY yesterday that they had suffered a setback and that INEC had opted to recognise Ize-Iyamu as the PDP governorship candidate.
The spokesman of the PDP caretaker committee, Dayo Adeyeye, told journalists yesterday that the party had submitted the name of Ize-Iyamu as the PDP candidate to INEC for the Edo State governorship election.
Also, the secretary of the committee, Senator Ben Obi, confirmed to THISDAY that the name of the party’s candidate for the state gubernatorial contest, Ize-Iyamu, was submitted yesterday by the Markarfi-led leadership of the party.
Obi said: “Yes, we have submitted Ize-Iyamu’s name to INEC and the commission received it today (Tuesday).”
THISDAY also gathered that INEC, which had been watching the legal wranglings over the leadership of the PDP, took a stance yesterday when it was handed the certified true copies of the various court pronouncements in favour of the Makarfi-led caretaker committee.
Meanwhile, INEC has said it has begun the training of personnel to handle smart card readers for the upcoming re-run legislative elections in Imo and Kogi States.
Dazang told journalists in Abuja that the personnel being trained included those for polls that would also take place in Rivers and Kano States.
The commission had suspended re-run elections in the affected states ordered by the courts due to the violence and massive malpractices when the re-run polls were conducted between February and April 2016.
Dazang said INEC was working hard to ensure that the re-run elections in the four states are successful, adding that the commission was still in talks with stakeholders in the affected states as part of preparations for the elections.
“Our Information and Communications Technology (ICT) staff are already in those states training people on the use of smart card readers.
“In addition, you know we had mobilised for the election before we suspended them, so we have the right complement of staff.
“We are also working with the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) and tertiary institutions on the needed ad hoc staff that will complement our staff,” he said.
According to Dazang, Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) in the various states had also been engaged, as part of the preparations for the elections. (Thisday)