Independent National Electoral Commission, has denied recognising Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, and former Akwa Ibom State governor, Godswill Akpabio as candidates in the 2023 general elections.
The commission’s denial came following a report from an online medium alleging that the commission succumbed to pressure from the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), to doctor and backdate the certified true copy of reports to accommodate the Senate President and former Akwa Ibom Governor.
There has been controversy regarding the nominations emanating from Yobe North and Akwa Ibom North West Senatorial Districts in respect of Senators Ahmed Lawan and Godswill Akpabio.
It was reported that Bashir Machina won the party’s ticket for Yobe North Senatorial District, while Udom Ekpoudom won the primary election for Akwa Ibom North-West which was monitored by INEC officials.
INEC rejected the substitution of their names with Lawan and Akpabio by the APC.
INEC national commissioner and chairman Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, in a statement on Tuesday, said the commission has not recognised any of the two personalities as a Senatorial candidates.
Okoye said: “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 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 July 15, 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 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.”