The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has denied the claim that it has recognised Ahmad Lawan and Godswill Akpabio as senatorial candidates of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Headlinenews.news reports.
Lawan, who is presently the Senate President and Akpabio had both contested in the All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential primary, which was won by Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
However, both of them have picked up Senate tickets for Yobe North and Akwa Ibom North West senatorial districts respectively, sparking controversy over the legality of such a move since most Senate primaries were conducted before the presidential primary.
Headlinenewa.news gathered that Bashir Machina won the party’s ticket for Yobe North, while Udom Ekpoudom won the primary election for Akwa Ibom North West, which was monitored by INEC officials. INEC, thereafter, rejected the substitution of their names with Lawan and Akpabio by the APC.
On Tuesday, an online report had claimed that INEC had “backdated” the certified true copies of its report on the APC primaries to accommodate some aspirants.
Reacting to the report, Festus Okoye, INEC spokesperson, in a statement said it defies logic for the commission to “doctor” documents to recognise Akpabio and Lawan after it had refused to publish their names.
Okoye said “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 Ahmad 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 had 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.”