Our decision on Lawan, Akpabio stands, INEC tells APC, others - NEWS FRONTIER DAILY


Saturday, July 9, 2022

Our decision on Lawan, Akpabio stands, INEC tells APC, others

The Independent National Electoral Commission INEC has stated that its decision regarding the none publication of candidates for the Yobe North Senatorial District and Akwa Ibom Northwest Senatorial District remained sacrosanct as it cannot reverse itself again.

Advising aggrieved political parties to approach the Federal High Court for remedial measures, INEC said it has now become "functus officio" in the matter.

It would be recalled that in Mohammed v Husseini 1998 14 N.W.L.R. Part 584 Page 108 at 163-164, the Supreme Court held that the Latin expression ‘functus officio’ simply means 'task performed'.

Simply speaking, when a Judge (in this case INEC), delivers a judgement on its merits, that is, having determined the legal rights of the litigants, he/she has performed his/her task and becomes functus officio in such a case.

Specifically, the ruling All Progressives Congress APC has been making a lot of allegations regarding its primary elections in the two districts.

The party had accused the INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner REC in Akwa Ibom state, Barr. Mike Igini of working against its interests.

For the two districts, Senate President Ahmad Lawan (Yobe North) and Senator Godswill Akpabio (Akwa Ibom Northwest) did not participate in the senatorial primary elections monitored by INEC as they had their sights on the Presidential Convention of their party in which they were both contestants. The APC Presidential Convention held days after the party had concluded its Senatorial Primary Elections in accordance with its own timetable.

While Bashir Machina won in Yobe North, a retired Deputy Inspector General DIG of Police, Udom Ekpoudum won the ticket for the Akwa Ibom Northwest.

APC refused to upload their details into INEC's Candidates' Nomination Portal but instead wrote the commission that Lawan and Akpabio won its ticket in both constituencies.

INEC National Commissioner in charge of its Information and Voter Education Committee, Barr. Festus Okoye in a statement issued Saturday in Abuja said 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 records straight, Okoye said the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria mandates the Commission to monitor the organization 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 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 functus 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.

"On the issuance of Certified True Copies CTCs of documents, staff of the Commission have been working hard, including weekends, to meet the deluge of requests received.

"As at Friday 8th July 2022, the Commission has processed 433 requests involving the certification of One million, Six Hundred and Sixty-Two Thousand, Seven Hundred and Seventy-Six (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", he added.

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