Some aggrieved members of All Progressives Congress have accused the Independent National Electoral Commission of failing to release the Certified True Copies of reports of the party’s primaries despite several letters from their lawyers.
According to them, the Electoral Party Monitoring (EPM) and legal departments of INEC refused to issue the CTC of the primary elections monitored by the electoral body to enable them to proceed to court to challenge the removal of their names from the list submitted by the APC leadership.
“The lndependent National Electoral Commission Electoral Party Monitoring and legal departments are as usual frustrating aggrieved party members of the APC in particular and other individuals whose lawyers have applied for CTC of the election monitored by INEC to enable them to proceed to court to challenge the removal of their names from the list submitted to INEC,” a lawyer to one of the aggrieved members said.
“The report of the primary election of Senate President Ahmad Lawan, Godswill Akpabio and other people of interest to some leaders of APC are not being released by the EPM and legal even when the INEC chairman, Prof. Mahmoud Yakubu has directed. However, he does not check if his directive has been carried out typical of a civil servant because of vested interest.
“The commission is now engaging in a hide-and-seek game despite the public declaration of abdication of its power to reject candidates that didn’t participate in primaries.
“An umpire in total disregard of the sanctity of its role as an independent umpire has embarked on a policy of deliberate delay in issuing certified true copies of reports of the commission necessary for litigants to approach the courts
“Our sources in INEC and investigations show that this is in connivance with powerful individuals in the APC who already bought their ways in the commission in order to frustrate the course of justice. Shamefully all of this is happening under the direct watch of the INEC Chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu. There is no gain saying that if this ugly development is not urgently arrested, it portends a great threat to our already faltering democracy.”
The APC last Friday submitted the list of all candidates in the party to INEC.
There were however controversies around some names of candidates who contested the presidential elections like the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, the Governor of Ebonyi State, David Umahi, and the former Niger Delta Affairs Minister, Godswill Akpabio, whose names resurfaced on the senatorial list even though they were not the winners of their senatorial primaries.
Bashir Machina had won the party’s ticket for Yobe North Senatorial District, while Udom Ekpoudom won the primary for Akwa Ibom North-West which was monitored by INEC officials.
However, Akpabio was declared the winner of another primary, but Mike Igini, resident electoral commissioner (REC) of Akwa Ibom, had said the exercise which produced the former minister as a candidate wasn’t monitored by the commission.
For Lawan, Machina had insisted he would not step down for the senate president.
LAGOS HERALD reports that Section 31 of the Electoral Act only allows for substitution when a candidate dies or when he or she withdraws from the race and informs INEC in writing.
The section reads: “A candidate may withdraw his or her candidature by notice in writing signed by him and delivered personally by the candidate to the political party that nominated him for the election and the political party shall convey such withdrawal to the commission not later than 90 days to the election.”
LAGOS HERALD, new york