On Tuesday, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) rejected the candidacies of former Niger Delta Affairs Minister Godswill Akpabio and Senate President Ahmad Lawan for the Yobe North and Akwa Ibom North-West Senatorial Districts, respectively.
Additionally, INEC denied disclosing the information on the two politicians as All Progressives Congress (APC) senatorial candidates in their respective states.
Festus Okoye, National Commissioner of the commission and Chairman of the Information and Voter Education Committee, issued a statement denying some online rumors that the electoral umpire has accepted Lawan and Akpabio as candidates for the Senate elections of 2023.
He 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. This is clearly indicated on the title of the Form which was received on 17th June 2022 when the portal closed.
“What follows is the publication of the personal particulars of nominated candidates which was done a week later. The Forms of the two personalities in question were not published by the Commission.”
Following INEC’s judgment, some of the parties involved filed a lawsuit; however, the court has not yet issued a final judgement, according to Okoye.
He clarified that some individuals are erroneously assuming that Lawan and Akpabio have been recognized as party candidates based on the Certified True Copy (CTC) of the Form EC9 provided by the APC that was presented by INEC based on a court order.
The INEC official stated that “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 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”.
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