The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Tuesday said it has not accepted the nominations of Senate President Ahmed Lawan and former Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio as senatorial candidates for Yobe North and Akwa Ibom North-West Senatorial Districts respectively.
The commission stated this while reacting to the media report which claimed that INEC had doctored, and backdated documents to accommodate Lawan and Akpabio’s nominations, INEC said it has not recognized any of the two as candidates.
In a statement signed by Festus Okoye, National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, INEC described the media report as being far from the truth.
Okoye’s statement titled, “Spurious Allegations in Respect of Nomination of Candidates in some Senatorial Districts” read in part: “Not for the first time, our attention has been drawn to a story published by an online medium that the commission has doctored, backdated and certified documents to accommodate the nominations emanating from Yobe North and Akwa Ibom North West Senatorial Districts in respect of Senators Ahmed Lawan and Godswill Akpabio. Nothing can be further from the truth.
“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 is 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.
“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.”
Ifunanya Ikueze is an Engineer, Safety Professional, Writer, Investor, Entrepreneur and Educator.