INEC Succumbs To APC Pressure To Recognise Senate President, Lawan
…As Yobe Senatorial Candidate, Moves To Destroy Electoral Commissioner’s Report
The Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC) appears to be doing the bidding of the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan as the agency is alegedly ready to shred the report of the Resident Electoral Commissioner(REC) that supervised the Yobe North Senatorial District All Progressives Congress (APC) primary by backdating it to favour the Senator.
INEC earlier affirmed Bashir Sheriff Machina as the winner of the Yobe North senatorial ticket of the APC.
A Certified True Copy(CTC) of the commission’s report from the May 28, 2022, election had revealed Machina polled 289 votes out of 300 delegates.
The document was certified by the electoral office on June 23, 2022.
The National Chairman of the APC, Abdullahi Adamu had warned of severe sanctions if Machina refused to relinquish his ticket to the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan.
Adamu claimed that the party is supreme and that it reserves the right to decide who gets its ticket in any election.
“There’s nothing in the law stopping the Senate President from contesting for another nomination just because he lost a presidential bid.” he had said.
Adamu had listed Lawan as the candidate of the APC for the Yobe North senatorial election slated for February 2023, claiming that a primary had secretly held in which Lawan purportedly emerged the winner.
Sahara Reporters has consistently reported the impasse with updates including how Machina claimed his life was under threat for refusing to step down for Lawan after the Senate President failed to clinch the APC presidential ticket.
A source confirmed to Sahara Reporters that there are plans by INEC leadership to doctor and backdate the certified true copy of its report to accommodate the Senate President and others in states where they have an interest.
“INEC has caved in to political pressures and other forces deployed by the outgoing Senate President, Mr. Ahmad Lawan and his backers to shred the report of the INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner that supervised the APC primary Elections in Yobe state by doctoring and backdating it to accommodate the Senate president and others in states where they have an interest.
“Shockingly, the Chairman of INEC Prof. Mahmoud Yakubu is fully part of this plot making direct telephone calls to state offices.
“Despite the glaring fact that Ahmad Lawan was a principal actor in the APC presidential primary, which saw him lose to Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, he has since mounted relentless pressures on INEC leadership to obtain a senatorial ticket in Yobe state by all means possible.
“The tenure of the commissioner ended on Wednesday but while Resident Electoral Commissioner of the State that superintended the primaries was still in office, the INEC leadership sympathetic to Lawan was unable to hand the ticket to him, because the REC insisted on standing by his report. However, since his tenure elapsed, it’s the Administrative Secretary that INEC leadership will now use to backdate the report of the senatorial primary to bring in Ahmad Lawan.
“This is the plot by INEC leadership and Lawan backers to upturn the outcome of the senatorial election and the same template will be used in other states. That is why many lawyers who have applied for CTC of reports of party primaries submitted by INEC state offices particularly CTC for APC have not been given. A lawyer who applied for CTC since last week for his APC aggrieved client who won primary but his name not published was told on Wednesday that until the report of the committee set up by Professor Mahmoud Yakubu to consider all applications are considered, the CTC will not be ready and that the chairman and national commissioners are in Osogbo in preparation for Osun election.
“Meanwhile, the 14 days within which they could file an action in court is running out and this strange committee, the first of its kind according to legal officers of INEC is strange to them and knew because nothing can be added or removed from reports of primaries already signed by various teams and counter-signed by a covering letter of Resident Electoral Commissioners and addressed to the Chairman of the Commission and copies left at the state offices that wrote these reports.
“Lawyers of APC aggrieved members are asking why they are being denied the CTC of the reports whereas those of PDP and other parties are treated with ease but those of APC deliberately slowed down.
“INEC’s compromised leadership is applying unbearable pressure on vulnerable Civil Servants of the Commission in Yobe State who are currently the interim officials in Yobe state to shred the extant report endorsed by the REC before he handed over on Wednesday and departed from the state. With the unethical evolving development in Yobe, there are serious concerns and fears that in many states where RECs tenure has elapsed and exited leaving civil servants who are now in charge, already submitted reports of party primaries would now be doctored by INEC headquarters in Abuja to bring those who will pay millions to the leadership, particularly personnel in both the legal and EPM developments that many lawyers who have applied for CTC are accusing them of corruption and frustrating CTC applicants.
“If the leadership of Professor Mahmoud Yakubu could be so compromised and be working with politicians over the outcome of party primaries that is essentially political party affairs but only required to monitor same and make available its report to aggrieved party members, how can the same INEC be trusted on its internal processes not opened to the public and the commission expects Nigeria to trust it to conduct a free and fair election by 2023?
“This early sign of open compromise is a dangerous sign for the general election next year; Nigerians may be in for a rude shock going by what INEC is doing now with Senate President and others who did not participate in senatorial primaries yet INEC is conniving with APC leadership to foist on candidates that emerged from valid primaries those who participated in presidential primary and failed.
“This developing situation has, therefore, confirmed what many have been saying that the leadership of INEC is not only pliant but fully compromised as a payback time for the reapportionment. This development comes as a disappointing blow to many voters who have resolved to participate in the general election, in the hope that there will be a level playing field. The saga in Yobe state mimics a similar situation in Akwa Ibom state where late-hour failed participants in the APC Presidential primaries such as Senator Godswill Akpabio are trying to confiscate Senate tickets of the APC by foisting their retroactive participation on those who emerged from valid primary.
“If INEC leadership caves in to this pressure in Yobe and possibly Akwa Ibom despite public knowledge of the illegality, it would have damaged its reputation and credibility ahead of the 2023 elections, and would have opened a floodgate of litigation and intra-party crisis that may seriously jeopardise the general election and its free and fair conduct.”
Courtesy : Sahara Reporters