The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Tuesday categorically denied recognising Senate President Ahmed Lawan and former Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio, as senatorial candidates for Yobe North and Akwa Ibom North-West senatorial districts respectively in the 2023 elections.
The Commission said it rejected the nomination of the duo following controversies that surrounded the primary elections that purportedly produced them as senatorial candidates of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
Both Lawan and Akpabio were presidential aspirants in the primary election.
Reacting to an online report, which claimed that the Commission doctored and backdated documents to accommodate Lawan and Akpabio’s nominations, INEC said it has not recognized any of the two as candidates.
According to a statement by National Commissioner and Chairman Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, the electoral umpire, said: “For clarity, the Form EC9 (submission of names of candidates by political parties) is the Form uploaded by parties on the INEC nomination portal.
“What follows is the publication of the personal particulars of nominated candidates which was done a week later.
“The decision of the Commission triggered legal action which are still ongoing. It therefore defies logic and common sense to go around and submit doctored documents purportedly recognising the duo as candidates when the matter is clearly sub-judice.
“As part of the ongoing case in Court, a law firm requested the Commission for a Certified True Copy (CTC) of the Form EC9 submitted by the All Progressives Congress (APC) as its candidate for Akwa Ibom North West Senatorial District which we are duty bound to oblige them under the law.
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“The Form was certified on 15th July 2022. If minimum care has been exercised by the promoters of the story, they would have seen the two stamps of the Commission bearing different dates on the Form. It is this Form that is now misconstrued as INEC’ s endorsement.
“For the record, the Commission has not recognized any of the two personalities as a Senatorial candidate.
“We call for responsible reportage as against the unwarranted attack on the Commission and its officials over a matter than can be easily fact checked”.