The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has asked politicians aggrieved over the conduct of political parties primaries to seek redress in court.
Amongst those aggrieved are Senate President Ahmad Lawan and Godswill Akpabio, former minister of Niger Delta affairs.
Lawan and Akpabio had contested the APC presidential ticket which they lost to former Lagos governor, Bola Tinubu.
Both had been listed by the All Progressives Congress (APC) as candidates for Yobe north and Akwa Ibom north-west senatorial districts, but INEC didn’t list the duo, citing non-compliance with guidelines for primaries.
However, Festus Okoye, INEC Commissioner for voters education, in a statement on Saturday, said any aggrieved person should seek redress in court.
He noted that the commission excluded the names of candidates for both constituencies and stands by reports on the party primaries from its state officers.
“The attention of the Commission has been drawn to speculations circulating online on the outcome of some of the recent primaries conducted by political parties and related issues. In particular, allegations intended to impugn the integrity of the Commission have been made in respect of the Akwa Ibom North West and Yobe North Senatorial Districts,” the statement reads.
“To set the record straight, the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria mandates the Commission to monitor the organization 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. 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.”
Speaking on the issuance of certified true copies (CTCs) of documents, Okoye said INEC’s staff have been working hard, including weekends, to meet the deluge of requests received.