The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has denied alleged doctoring of documents to accommodate Sen. Ahmed Lawan and Godswill Akpabio to run for Yobe North and Akwa Ibom North West senatorial districts respectively in 2023.
The commission gave the denial in a statement by its National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, in Abuja on Tuesday.
Mr Okoye said that not for the first time, INEC’s attention had been drawn to a story published by an online medium that the commission had doctored, backdated and certified documents to accommodate the nominations of Lawan and Akpabio, from Yobe and Akwa-Ibom respectively.
Mr Okoye said that nothing could be further from the truth.
He said that as evidence of the alleged role played by the commission, a certified true copy of Form 9C uploaded by the duo candidates’ political party and received by INEC on June 17 when the nomination portal closed was presented.
Mr Okoye said that for clarity, the Form EC9 (submission of names of candidates by political parties) was the form uploaded by parties on the INEC nomination portal.
He said that was clearly indicated on the title of the form which was received on June 17 when the portal closed.
“What follows is the publication of the personal particulars of nominated candidates which was done a week later.
“The forms of the two personalities in question were not published by the commission.
“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.”
Mr Okoye said that as part of the ongoing case in Court, a law firm requested for a Certified True Copy, CTC, of the Form EC9 submitted by the All Progressives Congress, APC, as its candidate for Akwa Ibom North West Senatorial District which INEC was duty bound to oblige them under the law.
He explained that the form was certified on July 15, 2022.
“If minimum care has been exercised by the promoters of the story, they would have seen the two stamps of the commission bearing different dates on the form.
“It is this form that is now misconstrued as INEC’s endorsement.
“For the record, the commission has not recognised any of the two personalities as senatorial candidates.”
Mr Okoye called for responsible reportage against the unwarranted attack on the INEC and its officials over a matter than could be easily fact-checked.