Written by on August 10, 2022

The Independent National Electoral Commission, (INEC), has denied allegations that it had falsified documents endorsing the nomination of the serving President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan as the senatorial candidate of the All Progressives Congress, (APC), in Yobe North.

The electoral body denied a similar endorsement for former Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Godswill Akpabio, as APC Senatorial candidate in Akwa Ibom Northwest.

The National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye in a statement issued on Tuesday, said the allegations have no modicum of truth in them and should be completely disregarded.

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 Ahmed Lawan and Godswill Akpabio. Nothing can be further from the truth.

INEC further explained that it had at no time published the personal particulars of both Lawan and Akpabio and that its action had resulted in a pile of litigations against the commission.

The commission said it makes no sense for anyone to believe that it went back to doctor its documents, purportedly recognizing Lawan and Akpabio, even when the matter is still pending in court.

The statement reads in part:
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 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 recognizing the duo as candidates, when the matter is sub-judice.

INEC explained further that it had in the course of the legal battles, granted the request of a law firm for a Certified True Copy (CTC) of the Form EC9, submitted by APC, as its candidate for Akwa Ibom North West Senatorial District, which it was required by law to do. The Form according to INEC was certified on 15th July 2022.

INEC, however, noted that if the promoters of the spurious allegations had taken their time to look more closely, they would have noticed that it is the Form that is now being mischievously interpreted as INEC endorsement for Lawan and Akpabio.

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 records, the commission has not recognized 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 that can be easily fact-checked.

Contributors: Omor Bazuaye and Ifeanyi Mark

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