The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, yesterday explained that it refused to publish the names of Dr. Ahmad Lawan and Senator Godswill Akpabio, both of the All Progressives Congress, APC, because it didn’t monitor the primary elections that produced the two aspirants.
The Senate President, Lawan, and the immediate-past Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Akpabio, are reportedly planning to replace the initial winners of the Yobe North and Akwa Ibom North-west senatorial tickets, respectively.
Hon. Bashir Sheriff Machina was duly announced as the winner of the APC Yobe North ticket while DIG Udom Ekpoudom (rtd) was duly announced as the Akwa Ibom North-West (Ikot Ekpene) senatorial district ticket on the platform of APC.
In a statement issued Saturday in Abuja by the INEC National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Mr. Festus Okoye, the commission said the allegations of underhand dealings against it regarding the two senatorial tickets were intended to impugn the integrity of the commission
The statement read in part: “In particular, allegations intended to impugn the integrity of the commission have been made in respect of the Akwa Ibom North West and Yobe North Senatorial Districts.
“To set the record straight, the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria mandates the commission to monitor the organisation and operation of political parties, including their finances, conventions, congresses, and party primaries. In line with its constitutional and legal obligations, the commission deployed monitors to the various constituencies and received reports of such exercises.
“About the primaries for the Akwa Ibom North West and Yobe North Senatorial Districts, the commission stands by the monitoring reports received from our State offices.”
For these reasons, Okoye said the commission did not publish the personal particulars of any candidate for the two senatorial districts at variance with the reports, which emanated from the States.
“Right now, the commission is funtus officio in the two cases. Aggrieved parties are at liberty to approach the Federal High Court and seek redress as provided in section 285 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) and sections 29(5) and 84(14) of the Electoral Act, 2022.”
On the issuance of Certified True Copies (CTCs) of documents, he said the staff of the commission has been working hard, including weekends, to meet the deluge of requests received.
As of Friday, July 8, 2022, he said the commission had processed 433 requests, involving the certification of 1,662,776 pages of documents.
He said many of them were awaiting collection at the INEC headquarters by some of the same applicants complaining of delay in issuance of the CTCs.
“Section 29 (4) of the Electoral Act provides that any person may apply to the commission for a copy of nomination form, affidavit, and any other document submitted by a candidate at an election and the commission shall, upon payment of a prescribed fee, issue such person with a certified copy of the document within 14 days. Persons applying for CTC of documents should endeavour to act timely and within the ambit of the law.
“The commission will continue to uphold the integrity of the electoral process, including the deepening of the deployment of technology to enhance the credibility of elections,” he added.
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