BusinessDay

INEC’s decision on Akpabio over APC senatorial candidacy is final, says Igini

The resident electoral commissioner for Akwa Ibom State , Mike Igini has said that the report of the Independent National Electoral Commission on the Akwa Ibom North West senatorial district ticket is ‘’final and cannot be reopened again,’’ adding that Godswill Akpabio has nothing to do about it.

Akpabio, the immediate past minister of the Niger Delta affairs ministry is said to have emerged winner of a rerun primary election conducted recently and was said to have polled 478 votes out of 512 accredited delegates for the election.

Speaking on a radio programme in Uyo, monitored by our reporter, Igini said the re-run primary that led to the emergence of Godswill Akpabio as the All Progressive Congress candidate for the district is strange and unknown to law.

According to him, the May 27, 2022 primary which produced former deputy Inspector General of Police, Udom Ekpoudom (retd) subsists because it was not cancelled , neither was it rendered inconclusive adding that Akpabio’s emergence is nothing but a “Nollywood fantasy.’’

According to him, what he knows about Akpabio is that he was the presidential aspirant for the All Progressives Congress who stepped down for Bola Ahmed Tinubu, saying that even if there was a re-run, it could only be conducted by aspirants that participated in the first primary.

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He advised politicians contesting the 2023 general election to meticulously study the new provisions of the 2022 Electoral Act as amended so as not to continue with the hope that things were still the way they were with the repealed 2010 and 2012 Electoral Act.

By virtue of section 31 of the 2022 Electoral Act, the only way somebody can be replaced in any form is that we no longer have substitution by political party. What you have now is withdrawal by individual or nominee and or death.

“The law is not saying you should go and kill people so that you can have yourself on the ballot. No. The law is saying that those who have emerged at all levels up to the presidential level, you can decide that you are no longer interested. You can write an application signed by yourself delivered to your party who will now deliver it to INEC but nobody can shave the political head of another person in his or her absence.

“The report of the Akwa Ibom North West Senatorial District APC Primary as submitted to INEC headquarters Abuja is final. It is concluded. The train has left the station. The timeline is clear. All those who are in politics should go and study the 2022 Electoral Act very well.

“I hear people talk about substitution. If you look at Section 31 and Section 34 of the Electoral Act, those of you who are still carrying the old idea of the 2010, 2012 Electoral Act in your head, thinking you can substitute willfully, it is no longer so,’’ Igini said.

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