The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Saturday put paid to the ambition of the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, and former governor of Akwa Ibom State, Senator Godswill Akpabio, of returning to the Senate.
This is because the electoral umpire has declined accepting their candidacy.
INEC said it refrained from publishing the names of the candidates submitted by the All Progressives Congress (APC) for Yobe North and Akwa Ibom North-West Senatorial Districts, Lawan and Akpabio, because it didn’t monitor the primary elections that produced them..
The Commission insisted that the Constitution mandates it to monitor congresses and primaries of political parties.
A statement by INEC National Commissioner and Chairman Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye reads: “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 organization 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.”
The Commission urged aggrieved parties to seek redress in Court.
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“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,” the statement noted.
The Commission also disclosed that it is working round the clock to meet the rising requests for Certified True Copies (CTCs) of documents by interested individuals.