2023: INEC reveals why it didn’t publish Akpabio, Lawan’s names as candidates

INEC

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Saturday offered an explanation for its reluctance to publish the names of the alleged winners of the ruling APC senatorial candidates in two districts.

Controversially, the names of Senate President Ahmad Lawan, a former Niger Delta Affairs Minister Godswill Akpabio, and two other expected candidates were missing from candidate details released in late June.

Both Bashir Machina and Udom Ekpoudom had emerged in the INEC-monitored Yobe North and Akwa-Ibom Northwest senatorial primaries, but the names of Messrs. Lawan and Akpabio were submitted by the APC to the commission.

Contrary to biased speculation leveled against INEC by part of the public, the commission in a statement on Saturday said its action had been widely misjudged.

In the case of both constituencies, the commission said it fulfilled its constitutionally permitted duties to monitor the finances, conventions, congresses, and primaries of political parties.

INEC stood its ground by acknowledging reports from its state offices regarding APC senatorial elections in the areas in question and challenged aggrieved members to approach the court.

“Regarding the primaries in the Akwa Ibom North West and Yobe North senatorial districts, the Commission supports the follow-up reports received from our state offices.

“For this reason, the commission did not publish the personal data of any candidate for the two constituencies in disagreement with the state reports.

“At this time, the Commission is funtus officio in both cases. The aggrieved parties are free to go to 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 Law, 2022,” INEC spokesman Festus Okoye said in the statement.

Messrs. Machina and Ekpoudom were duly recognized by the commission’s state offices in Yobe and Akwa-Ibom at a time when both Messrs. Lawan and Akpabio were aggressively seeking the opportunity to seize the 2023 APC presidential ticket.

While Akpabio stood down for the eventual winner of the presidential primary, Bola Tinubu, Lawan lost to the former Lagos state governor.

Given the controversies surrounding the published documents of some of the presidential, National Assembly and gubernatorial candidates, INEC has been receiving requests from Nigerians for Certified True Copies (CTCs) of the credentials submitted by the candidates.

Mr. Tinubu, his running mate, Kabiru Masari, and some other candidates failed to submit some documents to the electoral body.

Okoye said that as of Friday, the Commission had processed 433 applications related to the certification of some 1.6 million pages of documents.

By Amos Kalu

A Media Consultant/ICT Expert. Website Developer and CEO/Chief Editor OHAFIA TV News.

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