An online newspaper, not THE WHISTLER, reported Tuesday that INEC had recognised Lawan and Akpabio as the respective senatorial candidates of the APC for the Yobe North and Akwa Ibom North-West Senatorial Districts.
Quoting sources, the medium claimed that the electoral umpire “caved in to political pressures” by allegedly doctoring and backdating a report by INEC on the conduct of APC’s primary elections to accommodate the Senate President and former Niger Delta Minister as senatorial candidates.
But INEC’s spokesperson, Festus Okoye, in a statement on Tuesday, described the reports as “spurious”.
The statement reads: “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.
“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. 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.
“For the record, the Commission has not recognised 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.”
We recalls that the APC had submitted Lawan and Akpabio’s names to the commission even though Bashir Machina and Udom Ekpoudom had emerged in the Yobe North and Akwa-Ibom Northwest senatorial primaries.
it was reported thatLawan and Akpabio’s names were, however, excluded from the list of candidates participating in the 2023 polls.
In a subsequent statement, INEC explained the reason for its action.
“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. 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,” Okoye had said in a statement issued in July.