Why INEC accepted Lawan, Akpabio as APC senatorial candidates- Mohammed Haruna

Nigerian Concord Newspaper

Malam Mohammed Haruna, one of the national commissioners of the Independent National Electoral Commission, has explained that the electoral body had no right to rejects names of candidates sent by political parties.

Haruna was responding to queries on why the names of Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, and Senator Godswill Akapbio were published by INEC as the candidates of the APC in their respective senatorial zones as against the new Electoral Act.

The INEC commissioner said: “INEC has no powers to reject names sent by political parties. Primaries are the sole prerogatives of parties. INEC’s responsibility is merely to monitor the primaries and make sure they abide by their own regulations, the Electoral Act & the Constitution.

“Our power in that regard rests on the fact that our reports are admissible as evidence whenever an aggrieved candidate petitions his party or the courts. It is therefore up to an aggrieved candidate to apply for the certified true copy (CTC) of our reports for presentation as evidence that his party did not abide by any or all of the three sets of regulations I mentioned.

“In the specific of Lawan & Akpabio, INEC has not picked & chosen as you said, citing media remarks by the Akwa Ibom REC. We merely received their names from the parties as stipulated in Section 29(1) of the Electoral Act.

“This does not automatically mean acceptance. The names submitted by the parties are interim. Section 29(3) provides for the publication, within a week of their submission, of the names submitted by the parties for claims & objections.

“Also note that the final list is not due for publication until September 20th for the national elections & October 4th for the state elections, by which time all petitions by aggrieved candidates to parties or the courts would’ve been addressed”