The Independent National Electoral Commission on Thursday advised Nigerians to file lawsuits against candidates who they knew submitted false certificates for their eligibility to contest the 2023 election.
The commission also said that it was also involved with 334 pre-elections that arose from the conduct of congresses and primaries by political parties for the 2023 general election.
The chairman of INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, stated these at the swearing-in-ceremony of Dr. Hale Longpet as Resident Electoral Commissioner on Thursday in Abuja.
Yakubu said Longpet who is from Plateau State has been deployed as REC for Kogi state.
While the commission has set the bar for credible elections very high, Yakubu urged the new REC to “join us in raising the bar even higher”.
The INEC chairman said the commission would on Friday publish the personal particulars of candidates nominated by their political parties for governorship and State Assembly elections in all the constituencies nationwide as required by law.
According to him, with the publication of the personal particulars of candidates for governorship, Deputy Governorship and State Assembly elections, the commission expect the number of cases to rise higher.
“I appeal to all Nigerians (citizens and aspirants) to seize the opportunity to scrutinise the particulars of the candidates and to seek judicial remedy for any observed violation of the law as provided in Sec. 29 of the Electoral Act 2022.
“Already, the commission has been inundated by numerous pre-election cases arising from the conduct of congresses and primaries by political parties for the 2023 General Election.
“So far 334 pre-election cases have been filed in various divisions of the Federal High Court across the country by aspirants challenging the nomination of candidates or their exclusion from the list submitted to the Commission.”
He said though these are purely intra-party issues, the Commission had been joined in all the cases.
Yakubu said the issue of internal democracy in parties remains a sore point in the nation’s electoral process in Nigeria, adding that INEC would continue to engage with them while standing firm against any transgression by strictly enforcing the provisions of the law and extant regulations and guidelines.
The INEC chairman advised the new REC to defend the choice made by voters in all elections and under all circumstances by discharging his responsibilities professionally.
He said, “As you assume duty immediately, let me remind you that you are responsible for the management of human and materials resources in your state of posting. You must immediately interact with your staff, pay attention to their welfare, visit the Local Government offices and assess the various facilities in readiness for the 2023 general election.
“I urge you to bear in mind that in discharging your responsibilities, Nigeria and Nigerians must always come first. You must abide by your oath of office. You must not act to the advantage or disadvantage of any political party or candidate. You must defend the choice made by voters in all elections and under all circumstances. You must protect the sanctity of the vote without which a democratic election is meaningless. I wish you a successful tenure.”