Peter Obi’s Campaign DG, Akin Osuntokun, Remains ZLP’s Senatorial Candidate – INEC
INEC, Nigeria’s electoral commission, has insisted that Akin Osuntokun, the newly appointed Labour Party (LP) presidential campaign Director-General (DG), remain the senatorial candidate for Ekiti Central Senatorial Zone under a different political party, the Zenith Labour Party (ZLP).
Following the resignation of the previous DG, Doyin Okupe, Mr Osuntokun was appointed as the campaign’s director-general. Mr Okupe resigned after a Federal High Court in Abuja found him guilty of violating the Money Laundering Act.
In an interview with Channels Television on Wednesday, Mr Osuntokun stated that he had dropped his senatorial bid with the ZLP in order to become Peter Obi’s campaign director.
But the electoral commission said neither Mr Osuntokun nor his party can withdraw his candidacy.
INEC’s Commissioner for Information and Voter Education, Festus Okoye, told PREMIUM TIMES that Mr Osuntokun remains ZIP’s Ekiti Central Senatorial candidate.
Mr Okoye said no individual or political party can at this point withdraw, submit or substitute the name of any candidate taking part in the 2023 general elections.
For INEC to amend the names of candidates already submitted at this point, he said, it must be through the order of a court of law.
“The law is very clear,” he said in a telephone interview on Thursday.
“The period for substitution and the period for withdrawal in our (INEC) timetable and schedule of activities as well as in the electoral
act, has elapsed.”
He added that the legality or otherwise of Mr Osuntokun’s appointment as LP’s presidential campaign DG is not within INEC’s purview but the internal structure of the political parties.
Both LP’s Spokesperson, Yinusa Tanko, and ZLP’s party leader, Dan Nwanyanwu, did not respond to our reporter’s calls and text message requests for comment.
Akin Osuntokun is a Nigerian political scientist, strategist, researcher, administrator, journalist and writer, with experience in media advocacy, policy research and implementation and political analysis. Akin Osuntokun was appointed as a Political Adviser to President Olusegun Obasanjo between 1999 and 2007. He was born in 24 November 1961.