Nigeria’s electoral body, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has revealed that it will stand by the reports received from its state offices on the conducted primaries while urging aggrieved aspirants to approach the court for redress.
INEC particularly referenced Akwa Ibom North-West where Godswill Akpabio, a former minister, could not win senatorial seat and Yobe North where the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, could not participate in the primary and lost to Bashir Machina.
Akpabio and Lawan – who both participated in the APC presidential primary which they lost – had mounted pressure on the All Progressives Congress leadership to manipulate their names into the list of candidates – a development which has been causing ripples in the respective senatorial districts.
INEC in a statement issued on Saturday, by its National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Mr. Festus Okoye, said it stood by the reports from its state offices which recognised the elected candidates.
Titled, “Clarification On Issues Relating To Candidate Nomination And Release Of Certified True Copies Of Documents,” the electoral body said it advised that anyone applying for CTC of documents should endeavour to act timely and within the ambit of the law.
On the issues of Akwa Ibom North West and Yobe North Senatorial Districts, Okoye advised the parties to go to Federal High Court to seek for redress, adding that the Commission “stands by the monitoring reports received from our State offices.”
The statement partly read, “The attention of the Commission has been drawn to speculations circulating online on the outcome of some of the recent primaries conducted by political parties and related issues. 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 exercise. In relation to 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 this reason, the Commission did not publish the personal particulars of any candidate for the two constituencies at variance with the State reports. Right now, the Commission is funtus officio in the two cases.
“Aggrieved parties are at liberty to approach the Federal High Court and seeks redress as provided in section 285 of the Constitution of the
Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) and sections 2915) and 84114) of the Electoral Act, 2022.”
It added, “On the issuance of Certified True Copies (CTCs) of documents, staff of the Commission have been working hard, including weekends, to meet the deluge of requests received. As at Friday 8th July 20122, the Commission has processed 433 requests involving the certification of One million, Six Hundred and Sixty-Two Thousand, Seven Hundred and Seventy-Six (1,662,776) pages of documents. Many of them are 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 catified copy of document within 14 days. Persons applying for CTC of documents should endeavor to act timely and within the ambit of the law.”
Okoye, however, pledged that INEC would continue to uphold the integrity of the electoral process, including the deepening of the deployment of technology to enhance the credibility of elections.
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