Monday, November 28, 2022

Our hands are tied; Machina should take Lawan to court: INEC

The electoral body in a statement asked Mr Machina to go to court over his dissatisfaction with the refusal of APC to submit his name.

• July 10, 2022
Ahmad Lawan, Mahmood Yakubu, Bashir Machina
Ahmad Lawan, Mahmood Yakubu and Bashir Machina

The Independent National Electoral Commission has released a statement clarifying its stance on the tussle between Senate President Ahmad Lawan and Bashir Machina, winner of the APC primary election for Yobe North Senatorial district.

In a statement by its National Commissioner and Chairman of Information and Voter Education, Festus Okoye, the electoral body asked Mr Machina to go to court over his dissatisfaction with the refusal of the All Progressives Congress to submit his name.

“Right now, the Commission is funtus 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,” the statement said.

INEC had in a certified true report, confirmed that Mr Machina won the APC Yobe North Senatorial district primary elections which were held on May 28. The body declared that Mr Machina garnered 289 votes out of 300 delegates that took part in the election.

However, the ruling APC had instead submitted Mr Lawan’s name as its candidate for the senatorial election slated for February 2023, claiming that a secret primary was held in which the senate president purportedly emerged as the winner.

“I do know in my honour that he did participate within the timeline,” APC national chairman, Abdullahi Adamu, told reporters at the State House three weeks ago. “Go and find out from the person who is responsible for organising the primary,” AIT reported.

The Yobe North Senatorial district dilemma shares similarities with that of Akwa Ibom North West involving former governor Godswill Akpabio. A faction of the APC not recognised by INEC had conducted a primary and announced Mr Akpabio as the winner.

Mike Igini, INEC’s Resident Electoral Commissioner in Akwa Ibom, has insisted that Mr Akpabio could not have won a primary election that was not supervised by INEC.

Although INEC says its hands are tied, it says that it stands by its state officers reports, such as that of Mr Igini. It urged interested parties to apply for a copy of the nomination form, affidavit, and any other document submitted by a candidate at an election.

On the issuance of Certified True Copies (CTCs) of documents, INEC said that as at July 8, 2022, it had “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,” with many of them awaiting collection at its headquarters.

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