The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Tuesday denied accepting Senate President, Ahmad Lawan and former Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio as senatorial candidates for Yobe North and Akwa Ibom North-West Senatorial Districts respectively.
INEC also denied publishing the particulars of the two politicians as candidates of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for senatorial positions in their respective states.
The denial was contained in a statement by the commission’s National Commissioner and Chairman Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye following some trending online reports that the electoral umpire has recognized Lawan and Akpabio as candidates for the 2023 senatorial elections.
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.”
Matter Still In Court
Okoye added that following INEC’s decision, the matter was taken to court by some of the parties involved and the court has not yet given a final ruling.
He clarified that the Certified True Copy (CTC) of the Form EC9 submitted by the APC which was presented by INEC based on a court order is what some people are misconstruing to be that Lawan and Akpabio have been accepted as party candidates.
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”.