By Emmanuel Oloniruha
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has released the names of all candidates for the November 18 Anambra state governorship election.
The commission said on Wednesday in Abuja that political parties presented candidates.
The Commission, in a statement by its Director of Publicity, Mr Oluwole Osaze-Uzzi, said the candidates included five women, and eight vying for the office of Deputy Governor.
The governorship candidates are Mr Willie Obiano, the incumbent governor, with his deputy Nkemakonam Okeke, on the platform of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA).
Others are Mr Oseloka Obaze of the PDP, with Chidi Onyemelukwe, a woman, as his running mate; Mr Tony Nwoye of the APC, with Dozie Arinze, a woman, as his running mate.
Others on the list are Mr. Nwezi Amechi and his running mate Okeke Njideka, a woman, for All Grand Alliance Party (AGAP).
Ms Oby Okafor and her running mate Mr. Onyekwuluje Uzoma as candidate for Advanced Congress of Democrats (ACD) also made the list.
Former Minister of Aviation, Osita Chidoka, is also carrying the flag of United Progressive Party (UPP), with Okeke Ogbonnaya as his running mate.
The rest of the political parties with candidates on the list include Alliance Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN), African Democratic Congress (ADC), Action Alliance (AA) and Action Democratic Party (ADP).
Others are APDA, African People’s Party (APP), Better Nigeria Progressive Party (BNPP), Democratic Alternative (DA), Democratic Peoples Congress (DPC), Green Party of Nigeria (GPN), Hope Democratic Party (HDP) and Kowa Party.
The Labour Party (LP), as well as Masses Movement Of Nigeria (MMM), Mega Progressive Peoples Party (MPPP), National Democratic Liberty Party (NDLP) and United Democratic Party (UDP) also have candidates.
Candidates of National Conscience Party (NCP), New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP), Nigeria Peoples Congress (NPC), National Unity Party (NUP) and People for Democratic Change (PDC) were also successful.
Also listed as parties with candidates are the Progressive Peoples Alliance (PPA), Peoples Party of Nigeria (PPN), Peoples Redemption Party (PRP), Social Democratic Party (SDP) and United Progressive Party (UPP).
The rest are Young Democratic Party (YDP) and Young Progressive Party (YPP).
The Commission, in the statement, also disclosed that it had approved the applications of 44 observer groups, comprising 38 domestic and six international groups, to observe the election.
The international observer groups are the British High Commission, International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES), American Embassy Abuja, European Union, High Commission of Canada, and African Union Economic Social and Cultural Council.
The domestic groups include African Centre for Leadership, Strategy and Development, Centre for Credible Leadership, Citizens Awareness, and the Initiative for Promotion of Civic Obligation Sustainable.
Similarly, the Commission approved the change of name and adjustment of logo of the All Democratic Peoples Movement (ADPM) to AGAP.
The Commission added that it had also approved the issuance of a Certificate of Registration in the name of AGAP to the party.
Meanwhile the Commission has fixed Thursday for a meeting of the Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) and Sept. 29 for the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Electoral Securities (ICCES) meeting.
Similarly, the Commission would meet with leaders of the political parties on Tuesday and conclude its series of meetings with the media and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) on Wednesday.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the meetings are normally held to brief all critical stakeholders on key activities of the Commission.(NAN)