Their electoral woes are not yet over as the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has openly announced that it can no longer take any decisive action as regards the senatorial seats for Akwa Ibom North West and Yobe North Senatorial Districts which is being contended for by the former Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio and Senate President Ahmad Lawan respectively after they had used proxies to vie for the position.
The All Progressives Congress, APC party had submitted the name of Akpabio and Lawan to INEC as its candidates for the two senatorial districts. But reports by INEC offices indicated that both men did not participate in the primaries where candidates for the senatorial districts were elected.
INEC offices in Yobe and Akwa Ibom respectively had in reports which had been submitted to its headquarters indicated that the primaries, as monitored by them, were won by Bashir Machina and DIG Udom Udo Ekpoudom (Rtd) respectively.
Consequently, INEC has refused to publish any the personal particulars of any candidate for the two constituencies.
But the APC had insisted on Akpabio and Lawan, and officials of the party had recently call for sack of Mike Igini, the Resident Electoral Commission for Akwa Ibom over his insistence that the APC ticket for the state’s North West senatorial district belonged to Ekpoudom who won the primary.
But INEC, in a statement by Mr Festus Okoye, its National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, in Abuja on Saturday said it will not yield to allegations intended to impugn the integrity of the commission in respect of the Akwa Ibom North West and Yobe North Senatorial Districts respectively.
“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,” INEC said.
The Commission added that it can no longer do anything to help the two APC preferred candidates.
“Right now, the commission is funtus officio in the two cases,” he said.
Okoye added that 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.