The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), on Tuesday distanced itself from the allegations of doctoring and backdating documents to accommodate nominations of the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan and Godswill Akpabio as senatorial candidates for the 2023 general elections. INEC also said it is yet to recognise “any of the two personalities as a senatorial candidate.”
Lawan, who is the current Senate President and Akpabio had both contested in the All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential primary, which was won by Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
Both have, however, chosen to pick up Senate tickets for Yobe North and Akwa Ibom North West senatorial districts respectively, sparking controversy over the legality of such a move since most Senate primaries were conducted before the presidential primary.
An online medium had earlier suggested that the two embattled politicians had got waivers to be named as their party’s candidate for the election, alleging that the Commission succumbed to pressure from the ruling APC to doctor and backdate the certified true copy of reports to accommodate the duo, but INEC, in a statement signed by its National Commissioner, Festus Okoye, said the matter is still in court.
“The forms of the two personalities in question were not published by the Commission,” INEC said.
“The decision of the Commission triggered legal action, which are still ongoing. It, therefore, defies logic and common sense to go around and submit doctored documents purportedly recognising the duo as candidates when the matter is clearly sub-judice.”
There have been controversy regarding the nominations emanating from Yobe North and Akwa Ibom North West senatorial districts in respect of Lawan and Akpabio.
It was reported that Bashir Machina won the party’s ticket for Yobe North, while Udom Ekpoudom won the primary election for Akwa Ibom North West, which was monitored by INEC officials. INEC, thereafter, rejected the substitution of their names with Lawan and Akpabio by the APC.