The Independent National Electoral Commission says it stands by the reports received from its state offices in relation to the party primaries for Akwa Ibom North West Senatorial District and Yobe North Senatorial District.
This was made known by the Commission in a statement on Saturday following continued agitation over the two seats.
Recall that for Akwa Ibom North West Senatorial District, the All Progressives Congress had sought to replace the candidature of a former Deputy Inspector General of Police, Udom Ekpoudom, with a former Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio.
The former Minister had while seeking the presidential ticket of the APC failed to partake in the primaries for Akwa Ibom North Senatorial District, which Ekpoudom won.
After stepping down for the eventual winner of the presidential primaries, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Akpabio then emerged winner in another primaries organised by the APC for the senatorial district, which INEC said it does not recognise.
Almost the same scenario played out in Yobe North Senatorial District, where Lawan did not take party in the primaries as he was vying for the presidential ticket.
The only difference was that instead of organising another primary election, the party tried to prevail on the winner, Bashir Manchina, to step down for Lawan.
Manchina has vehemently refused.
But while submitting the list of candidates for the 2023 elections, the APC submitted the names of Akpabio and Lawan instead of Ekpudom and Manchina, a development INEC said it would not accept.
Reacting to recent agitation for the acceptance of Lawan and Akpabio as candidate, INEC’s National Commissioner and Chairman of Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, in a statement on Saturday restated the resolve of the electoral commission to stick by its decision.
Okoye said: “To set the record straight, the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria mandates the commission to monitor the organisation and operation of political parties, including their finances, conventions, congresses and party primaries.
“In line with its constitutional and legal obligations, the commission deployed monitors to the various constituencies and received reports of such exercise.
“In relation to the primaries for the Akwa Ibom North West and Yobe North Senatorial Districts, the commission stands by the monitoring reports received from our state offices.
“For this reason, the commission did not publish the personal particulars of any candidate for the two constituencies at variance with the state reports.
“Right now, the commission is funtus officio in the two cases.”
The commission, however, said there remains a way out for the APC, Lawan and Akpabio.
Okoye said the aggrieved parties were at liberty to approach the Federal High Court and seek redress as provided in section 285 of the 1999 Constitution and the Electoral Act, 2022.