Ikonne’s Death: Fear In Abia PDP Over Intrigues That May Trail Fresh Primary
— Plus What The Law Says On Death Of A Candidate
By Our Reporter
Following the death of Abia State’s Governorship Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Prof Uche Ikonne, on Wednesday, January 25, 2023, barely a month to the March Governorship Election, some concerned observers have expressed fear over it’s overall effect on the PDP and the 2023 Elections in Abia State.
In the ruling PDP, insiders expressed fear that the development and the need to get a new Governorship Candidate may further divide the party.
“Yes, we know PDP must quickly get a new governorship candidate, but everybody seems frightened because we all know the issues that must be addressed now before getting a widely accepted candidate.
But we are mourning now and will therefore talk about this later after the governor has lifted the suspension on political campaigns here in Abia,” says an Abia PDP top-notch.
NewsOrient reports that our Electoral Laws are not silent on death of a candidate shortly before elections.
Section 33 of the 2022 Electoral Act 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 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 election to produce and submit a fresh candidate to the Commission for the election concerned.”
Section 34 (1) also states that, “If after the time for the delivery of nomination paper and before the commencement of the poll, a nominated candidate dies, the Chief National Electoral Commissioner shall, being satisfied of the fact of the death, countermand the poll in which the deceased candidate was to participate and the Commission shall appoint some other convenient date for the election within 14 days.”
Given the window of the affected political party to organize a fresh primary within 14 days, analysts say as soon as the suspension of political activities of Abia PDP, ordered by Governor Okezie Ikpeazu, is lifted early next week, the party will likely organise a fresh Governorship Primary.
But considering the intrigues that led to Ikonne’s emergence as PDP Governorship Candidate, some close observers of Abia State politics and even PDP members in Abia told NewsOrient that the current situation is a tricky one that must be handled carefully by PDP if it plans to me a major contender in the forthcoming Governorship Election.
“The disagreements that trailed the emergence of our late candidate, especially the zoning matter had not been satisfactorily resolved. With this unfortunate development, I can’t deny that PDP in Abia State is really in a tight situation. I dare say the party is facing existential trial today in Abia.
“This is because some ugly issues hidden under the carpet before may now be swept out again. For now, no one can say for sure how the fresh primary will impact on the party,” says the top PDP chieftain who pleaded not to be named.