September 24, 2022

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Lawan, Akpabio’s fate uncertain over 2023 senatorial bid

The Independent National Electoral Commission has said that it stands on the election and reports it received from state chapters as regards the primary election conducted in Akwa Ibom North and Yobe North senatorial districts.

The electoral body through a statement signed by its National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, advised candidates who were sidelined by the party to seek redress in court against the decision to disqualify them.

While emphasising that the commission is “funtus officio in the two cases, Okoye said that the attention of the commission had been drawn to speculations circulating online on the outcome of some of the recent primaries conducted by political parties and related issues.

It said, “The attention of the commission has been drawn to speculations circulating online on the outcome of some of the recent primaries conducted by political parties and related issues.

“In particular, allegations intended to impugn the integrity of the commission have been made in respect of the Akwa Ibom North West and Yobe North senatorial districts.

“To set the record straight, the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria mandates the commission to monitor the organisation and operation of political parties, including their finances, conventions, congresses and party primaries.

“In line with its constitutional and legal obligations, the commission deployed monitors to the various constituencies and received reports of such exercise. In relation to the primaries for the Akwa Ibom North West and Yobe North Senatorial Districts, the commission stands by the reports received from our state offices.”

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The electoral body said because it didn’t recognise the names submitted by the party was why he left those spaces blank when it published the names of senatorial candidates about two weeks ago.

INEC added, “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.”

The commission further disclosed that it had received a total of 433 requests of Certified True Copies, involving the certification of 1,662,776 pages of documents.

INEC added, “Its staff has been working hard, including weekends, to meet the deluge of requests received. As at Friday July 8, 2022, the commission has processed 433 requests involving the certification of 1,662,776 pages of documents.

“Many of them are awaiting collection at the INEC headquarters by some of the same applicants complaining of delay in issuance of the CTCs.

“Section 29 (4) of the Electoral Act provides that any person may apply to the Commission for a copy of nomination form, affidavit, and any other document submitted by a candidate at an election and the Commission shall, upon payment of a prescribed fee, issue such person with a certified copy of document within 14 days.

“Persons applying for CTC of documents should endeavor to act timely and within the ambit of the law. The Commission will continue to uphold the integrity of the electoral process, including the deepening of the deployment of technology to enhance the credibility of elections,” the statement stated.

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The PUNCH reports that Machina has been embattled over the senatorial ticket of the Yobe North district as some powers within the All Progressives Congress have been dragging the seat with him.