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 INEC Denies Smuggling In  Akpabio  Lawan, Names As Senatorial Candidates
August 9, 2022

INEC Denies Smuggling In Akpabio Lawan, Names As Senatorial Candidates

The Independent National Electoral Commission has denied recognizing Senator Godswill Akpabio and Senate President Ahmad Lawan as candidates of the All Progressives Congress. Both Lawan and Akpabio had contested the APC Presidential primaries.

However, after losing, both of them were listed as senatorial candidates by the APC, but INEC refused to recognize them.

On Tuesday, there were reports that the two had finally been recognized by the commission.

Responding in a statement titled, ‘Spurious Allegations in Respect of Nomination of Candidates in Some Senatorial Districts’, the commission said it had not recognized them.

In the statement signed by INEC National Commissioner, Festus Okoye, the commission said the matter was still in court and it would maintain the status quo.

“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,” the statement read.

The commission said a certified true copy of Form 9C was uploaded by the APC and received by the Commission on June 17, 2022 when the nomination portal closed was presented.

It explained that the Form EC9 submission of names of candidates by political parties is the form uploaded by parties on the INEC nomination portal.

“The forms of the two personalities in question were not published by the commission. The decision of the commission triggered legal actions 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,” it said.

PUNCH

However SaharaReporters had earlier reported moves by the INEC leadership to shred the reports of the Resident Electoral Commissioners in the affected states by backdating them to favour Lawan, Akpabio and others.

that Section 31 of the Electoral Act only allows for substitution when a candidate dies or when he or she withdraws  from the race and informs INEC in writing.

The section reads: “A candidate may withdraw his or her candidature by notice in writing signed by him and delivered personally by the candidate to the political party that nominated him for the election and the political party shall convey such withdrawal to the commission not later than 90 days to the election. ”Adamu claimed that the party is supreme and that it reserves the right to decide who gets its ticket in any election.

In Akwa Ibom, Akpabio was declared the winner of another primary, but Mike Igini, INEC resident electoral commissioner (REC) for the state, had said the exercise which produced the former minister as a candidate was not monitored by the commission.

SaharaReporters reports that “INEC has caved in to political pressures and other forces deployed by the outgoing Senate President, Mr Ahmad Lawan and his backers to shred the report of the INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner that supervised the APC primary Elections in Yobe state by doctoring and backdating it to accommodate the Senate president and others in states where they have an interest,” a source had said.

“Shockingly, the Chairman of INEC Prof. Mahmoud Yakubu is fully part of this plot, making direct telephone calls to state offices.

“Despite the glaring fact that Ahmad Lawan was a principal actor in the APC presidential primary, which saw him lose to Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, he has since mounted relentless pressures on INEC leadership to obtain a senatorial ticket in Yobe state by all means possible.”

A source on Tuesday, confirmed that the certified true copy of reports had been doctored and backdated to accommodate the Senate President and former Akwa Ibom Governor.

“Nigerians will be shocked that despite serial denials by Professor Yakubu-led commission that Lawan and Akpabio names would not be on the ballot as senatorial candidates respectively, INEC is merely deceiving them, signifying a roll back to Professor Maurice lwu-led commission that gave so much hope for the 2007 election which later became the worst election in Nigeria’s electoral history.

“The EPM (Election Monitoring Department) under a very compromised Director, Musa who is about to retire from service and one Barr. Tanimu of the legal department have back-dated documents to include Lawan and Akpabio on the ballot. INEC is now returning gradually to Prof Maurice lwu’s era.

“Just as it was then that there was a notorious National Commissioner named Chukwuani who was the politicians’ hatchet man of that inglorious period, so is Festus Okoye now who is the hand-gun of politicians being used in the emerging efforts to mess up the outcome of party primaries by accepting from political parties names of individuals who didn’t participate in primaries monitored by its states’ offices. “Nigerians will recall that Festus Okoye had been in virtually all television stations granting interviews on Channels TV to prepare the minds of Nigerians to what they are about to make public on the final list when he said ‘RECs are not recognized members of INEC and the commission is not bound by the reports of party primaries monitored by state offices because they also send monitors from Abuja that write reports to INEC Headquarters’.

“The discordant tunes from headquarters and states where party primaries were conducted have created serious doubts about the trustworthiness of Prof Mahmood Yakubu’s headship of INEC to conduct a free fair and credible election in 2023. The brazenness of INEC in forging a document showing that the name of Akpabio was submitted to it is a further confirmation of compromise at the highest level.”

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