• Saturday, June 22, 2024
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End of road for Lawan, Akpabio as INEC remains ‘funtus officio’

Lawan accepts judgment barring him from re-election

It may be the end of road for Ahmad Lawan, president of the senate and Godswill Akpabio, former minister of Niger Delta Affairs in their attempts to return to the Senate after they failed in the bid to be the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

This is as the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) said it is
right now, ‘funtus officio’ in the cases involving them.

The latin expression ‘functus officio’ simply means “task performed” which in law implies that “a judge is not allowed to hand down any other decision on the same case.”

Both Lawan and Akpabio had contested for the APC presidential ticket but while the former lost to Bola Tinubu, the later stepped down for him.

However, the Abdullahi Adamu-led national leadership of the party submitted their names to the INEC as candidates for the Yobe north and Akwa Ibom north-west senatorial election in 2023, respectively.

BusinessDay earlier reported that INEC documents have shown that Bashir Machina is the duly nominated candidate of APC for Yobe north senatorial district which is being claimed by Lawan.

In a certified true copy (CTC) of the report of INEC officials that monitored the primary election and signed by Omale Samuel, dated May 28, 2022, Machina scored 289 votes out of the 300 delegates that participated in the exercise.

For Akwa Ibom north-west, Udom Ekpoudom, a retired deputy inspector general of police had won the ticket before APC leadership substituted him with Akpabio.

INEC had not published particulars of APC senatorial candidates for Yobe north and Akwa Ibom north-west as the space was left blank.

Festus Okoye, INEC national commissioner and chairman of information and voter education committee said the commission stands by the monitoring reports received from its state offices on the primaries for the Akwa Ibom North West and Yobe North senatorial districts.

Read also: Insider conspirators behind Kuje Prison attack- Lawan

Okoye in a statement on Saturday said it is for this reason that the commission did not publish the personal particulars of any candidate for the two constituencies at variance with the state reports.

He said: “right now, the commission is funtus officio in the two cases” and “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.”

The INEC chief spokesperson said the clarification becomes necessary due to the allegations intended to impugn the integrity of the commission in respect of the Akwa Ibom North West and Yobe North senatorial districts.

“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,” he said.

On the issuance of Certified True Copies (CTCs) of documents of candidate for the 2023 general election, Okoye said
staff of the commission have been working hard, including weekends, to meet the deluge of requests received and as at Friday, July 8, 2022, it has processed 433 requests.

He said this involved the certification of 1.662 million pages of documents and many of them are awaiting collection at the INEC Headquarters by some of the same applicants complaining of delay in issuance of the CTCs.

“Section 29 (4) of the Electoral Act provides that any person may apply to the Commission for a copy of nomination form, affidavit, and any other document submitted by a candidate at an election and the Commission shall, upon payment of a prescribed fee, issue such person with a certified copy of document within 14 days. Persons applying for CTC of documents should endeavor to act timely and within the ambit of the law.

“The Commission will continue to uphold the integrity of the electoral process, including the deepening of the deployment of technology to enhance the credibility of elections,” Okoye added.