The Independent National Electoral Commission ‘INEC’ has confirmed that no aspirant violated the law and provisions of the Electoral Act 2022 ‘Section 115’ concerning the appointment of candidates.
This is as the electoral commission had explained that it is not bestowed with the authority to arrest and investigate criminal matters.
The Independent National Electoral Commission’s National Chairman and Commissioner, of the Information and Voter Education Committee, Mr Festus Okoye, stated this in an interview.
Festus Okoye who was reacting to the reports that President of the Senate, Sen. Ahmad Lawan; the Governor of Cross River State, Ben Ayade; and Governor Dave Umahi of Ebonyi State and some prominent individuals who obtained multiple presidential aspirant forms should have been detained as defined in the Electoral Act of Section 152.
Ahmed Lawan, Ben Ayade and Dave Umahi who were presidential aspirants on the All Progressives Congress ‘APC’ platform were said to have obtained senatorial forms in the process.
The Section 115(1) (d) of the Electoral Act states that “any individual who signs a recommendation ‘nominee’ paper or result form as a candidate in more than a constituency at the same poll or election, has committed a crime and is accountable to conviction to a term of imprisonment.
Reacting to the claims, Festus Okoye said those who obtained and signed multiple forms were not candidates but aspirants, as stated by Section 152 of the Electoral Act.
He also stated that, “Before anyone will come within the scrutiny of the law as a contender, the political party of the individual must conducted effective primaries and all the funding party must have uploaded the list or data relating to the candidates they intend to back and sponsor to the Electoral commission’s candidate’s nomination portal which is in agreement with the Electoral Act of Section 29(1), 2022”.
“Thereafter, all of the candidate’s personal particulars will be displayed in their various constituencies where they plan to contest the election and this is done for claims and protests.