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Udom Sues Electoral Body, INEC For Failing To Release Certified True Copies Of Reports For APC Akwa Ibom North-West Senatorial Primary To Favour Party’s Choice Of Buhari’s Ex-Minister, Akpabio

July 13, 2022

In a suit filed by his lawyers at the Federal High Court, Udom asked the court to compel INEC to avail him of all the documents. Joined in the suit is the ruling party, APC.

The Akwa Ibom North-West senatorial candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Udom Ekpoudom has sued the Independent National Electoral Commission for failing to release the Certified True Copies of reports of the party’s primary despite several letters from his lawyers.
 
Udom won the primary election for Akwa Ibom North-West which was monitored by INEC officials.

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However, Godswill Akpabio was declared the winner of another primary shortly after stepping down for former Lagos State Governor, Bola Tinubu at the APC presidential primary election held in Abuja, on June 8.

Akpabio had resigned from President Muhammadu Buhari’s cabinet as Minister of Niger Delta Affairs to contest the presidential primaries.

Mike Igini, resident electoral commissioner (REC) of Akwa Ibom, had said the exercise which produced the former minister as a candidate wasn’t monitored by the commission.
 
Section 31 of the Electoral Act only allows for substitution when a candidate dies or when they withdraw from the race and inform INEC in writing.
 
The section reads: “A candidate may withdraw his or her candidature by notice in writing signed by him and delivered personally by the candidate to the political party that nominated him for the election and the political party shall convey such withdrawal to the commission not later than 90 days to the election.”
 
Section 29 (4) of the Electoral Act also provides that any person may apply to the Commission for a copy of the 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 the document within 14 days.
 
In a suit filed by his lawyers at the Federal High Court, Udom asked the court to compel INEC to avail him of all the documents. Joined in the suit is the ruling party, APC.
 
The court papers read that Udom is seeking: “AN ORDER directing the 2nd Defendant to produce certified true copies of the following documents and avail the plaintiff/applicant with the same at or before the hearing of the substantive suit. viz
 
“The official report of the Commission (INEC) of the primary election of the All Progressives Congress for the Akwa Ibom North West Senatorial District for the 2023 General Election.
 
“The letter/form of the All Progressives Congress submitting the name of the party’s candidate for the Akwa Ibom North West Senatorial District for the 2023 General Election.
 
“INEC Timetable and Schedule of activities for 2023 General Elections. AND FOR SUCH FURTHER ORDER (S) this Honorable Court may deem fit to make in the circumstances.”
 
SaharaReporters on Thursday, June 23, 2022, reported that aggrieved members of APC had accused INEC of failing to release the Certified True Copies of reports of the party’s primaries despite several letters from their lawyers.
According to them, the Electoral Party Monitoring (EPM) and legal departments of INEC refused to issue the CTC of the primary elections monitored by the electoral body to enable them to proceed to court to challenge the removal of their names from the list submitted by the APC leadership.
 
 
“The Independent National Electoral Commission Electoral Party Monitoring and legal departments are as usual frustrating aggrieved party members of the APC in particular and other individuals whose lawyers have applied for CTC of the election monitored by INEC to enable them to proceed to court to challenge the removal of their names from the list submitted to INEC,” a lawyer representing one of the aggrieved members had said.


“The report of the primary election of Senate President Ahmad Lawan, Godswill Akpabio and other people of interest to some leaders of APC are not being released by the EPM and legal even when the INEC chairman, Prof. Mahmoud Yakubu has directed. However, he does not check if his directive has been carried out typical of a civil servant because of vested interest.
“The commission is now engaging in a hide-and-seek game despite the public declaration of abdication of its power to reject candidates that didn't participate in primaries.


“An umpire in total disregard of the sanctity of its role as an independent umpire has embarked on a policy of deliberate delay in issuing certified true copies of reports of the commission necessary for litigants to approach the courts.
“Our sources in INEC and investigations show that this is in connivance with powerful individuals in the APC who already bought their ways in the commission in order to frustrate the course of justice. Shamefully all of this is happening under the direct watch of the INEC Chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu. There is no gain saying that if this ugly development is not urgently arrested, it portends a great threat to our already faltering democracy.”
 
There have been controversies surrounding the names of some candidates who contested the presidential elections like the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, the Governor of Ebonyi State, David Umahi, and Akpabio, whose names resurfaced on the senatorial list even though they were not the winners of their senatorial primaries.
 
Bashir Machina had won the party’s ticket for Yobe North Senatorial District, while Udom Ekpoudom won the primary for Akwa Ibom North-West which was monitored by INEC officials.


For Lawan, Machina had insisted he would not step down for the senate president.

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