- Nigeria's electoral body, INEC, has reacted to a report claiming Senate president Lawan and ex-minister Akpabio has been recognised as senatorial candidates
- Festus Okoye, the commission's spokesman, said the report is not true and made some important clarification
- Both Lawan and Akpabio want to return to Senate after losing the APC presidential ticket to Asiwaju Bola Tinubu
FCT, Abuja - The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has denied reports claiming that it has finally recognised Senate President Ahmad Lawan, and former Akwa Ibom state governor, Godswill Akpabio as APC senatorial candidates.
Festus Okoye, national commissioner and chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee of INEC, made this known on Tuesday, August 9, in Abuja, Daily Trust reported.
Okoye said the attention of the commission was drawn to an online report alleging that it doctored, backdated and certified documents to accommodate Lawan and Akpabio as senatorial candidates of the ruling party.
“Nothing can be further from the truth. As evidence of the alleged role played by the commission. A certified true copy of Form 9C uploaded by their political party and received by the Commission on 17th June 2022 when the nomination portal closed was presented,” he said.
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INEC makes clarification
Okoye said that for clarity, the Form EC9 (submission of names of candidates by political parties) is the form uploaded by parties on the INEC nomination portal, and is clearly indicated on the title of the Form which was received on 17th June 2022 when the portal closed.
He also said publication of the personal particulars of nominated candidates was done a week later and that the forms of the two personalities (Lawan and Akpabio) in question were not published by the commission.
The INEC official added:
“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.
“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 recognised any of the two personalities as a senatorial candidate."
Lawan and Akpabio saga: Background
There have been controversies after Bashir Machina won the APC ticket for Yobe North Senatorial District, while Udom Ekpoudom won the party’s primary election in Akwa Ibom North-West.
The two primaries were monitored by INEC officials.
Lawan had contested and lost the APC presidential primaries to Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
He, however, tried unsuccessfully, to reclaim the Yobe North Senatorial District ticket won by Machina.
In Akwa Ibom, Akpabio, who also contested and lost the APC presidential primaries, was declared the winner of another primary.
However, INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) for Akwa Ibom, Mike Igini, said the exercise which produced Akpabio was not monitored by the commission and thus invalid.
Akpabio: INEC's REC Igini says it's punishable offence to obtain multiple nomination forms
Earlier, Legit.ng reported that Akwa Ibom state’s resident electoral commissioner, Mike Igini, said it is a punishable offence under the electoral act 2022 for politicians to obtain multiple nomination forms.
Igini cited section 115 (D) of the electoral act, which stated that a person who signed a nomination paper or result form as a candidate in more than one constituency is liable to be convicted to 2 years imprisonment.
He stated this with respect to Akpabio's situation in Akwa Ibom.