- The Peoples Democratic Party in Abia state have 14 days to conduct a fresh primary election to get a replacement for the last Professor Uchenna Ikonne, a lawyer has said
- Ikonne, the 2023 governorship candidate of the PDP in the state had died after a brief illness few weeks to the election
- According to Frank Tietie, the PDP as a party must conduct a fresh primary in the state in line with the provisions of the Electoral Act 2022 as amended
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The death of Uchenna Ikonne, the Abia governorship candidate for the 2023 general election has come as a shock to many Nigerians.
Ikonne who was contesting the Abia state governorship seat in the forthcoming election under the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) was said to have died after a brief illness.
With the 2023 general election less than five weeks away, the death of the academician-turned-politician has raised many questions regarding the fate of the PDP in the state and the party's next line of action with the polls fast approaching.
Many Nigerians of different walks of life have had their opinions on what is expected of the party, however, the Electoral Act, 2022 as amended has taken into consideration the actions a party is expected to take should such instances occur.
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Speaking on the incident, a human rights & development lawyer, Frank Tietie, told Legit.ng that the Electoral Act is clear in the case of such an incident.
Tietie who commiserated with the family of the deceased - a former vice chancellor of Abia state University (ABSU) Uturu - said Ikonne's passing and PDP's next line of action is not a matter that can be subjected to opinions.
Citing Section 33 of the Electoral Act, 2022 as amended, Tietie said the law is clear in a case where a candidate passes prior to an election.
"This is not a matter that is subjected to opinions or preferences because the law is clear when the facts are that a candidate, not an aspirant has died. That is a candidate whose name has already been submitted to INEC.
"In that case, only a fresh primary election conducted within 14 days of the death of the candidate would solve the problem.
"It cannot be negotiated, there is no easy way out, the only way out is to stick to the provisions of Section 33 of the Electoral Act."
Section 33 of the Electoral Act, 2022 as amended states that:
"A political party shall not be allowed to change or substitute its candidate whose name has been submitted under Section 29 of this Act, except in the case of death or withdrawal by the candidate:
"Provided that in case of such withdrawal or death of a candidate, the party affected shall, within 14 days of the occurrence of the event, hold a fresh primary election and submit a fresh candidate to the commission for the election concerned."
Implications of not conducting a primary election
Contrary to reports and claims that Ikonne's running mate or the aspirant who came second during the primary election can replace him, Tietie said plying such a route would mean double jeopardy for the PDP.
"A fresh primary election must be conducted and not necessary that he can be replace with the person that came second or third or the person he has already picked as running mate can substitute him as a governorship candidate for the party.
"Unless the PDP wants to jeopardise its chances having lost its candidate and then taking a route that is illegal and could virtually lead to barrage of internal crisis and legal challenges afterwards."
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Tears as PDP governorship candidate dies
The PDP governorship flagbearer in Abia state, Professor Uchenna Ikonne, died after suffering from a brief illness.
A statement from his son, Chikezie Uche-Ikonne, said the governorship hopeful just returned from the UK where he had received treatment and was getting better.
However, the professor relapsed and was confronted with multiple cardiac arrests which he did not survive.
Primate Ayodele drops deadly prophesy about 2023, reveals politician that will die
Legit.ng earlier reported that Primate Ayodele has, in another prophecy predicted the death of a prominent politician that Nigerians will massively vote for in the 2023 election.
According to Ayodele, that politician did not need an election but should step down and take care of his health for his survival.
The cleric also urged INEC to ensure that it stands its ground on the issue of BVAS, adding that there is no room for election rigging in the 2023 polls.