The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said it would continue to defer to the report of its team which monitored the All Progressives Congress Yobe North senatorial district primary.
Checks revealed that the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan is locked in battle with Bashir Sheriff Machina for the ticket believed to have been won by the latter.
While INEC continued to maintain that Machina emerged as a candidate in the primary monitored by its staff, the APC had claimed that Senate President emerged as a candidate in a rescheduled primary conducted on June 9, 2022.
Checks revealed that Machina had since filed a suit before a Federal High Court, Damaturu to challenge the APC National Working Committee decision.
Machina, is contending that efforts to replace his name with Lawan’s, who did not participate in the primary of the APC, was a breach of Section 84(14) of the Electoral Act, 2022, Article 21.3 of the APC Constitution and Paragraphs 20 (c), 27 (c), (d) and (f) of the APC Guidelines for the Nomination of Candidates for the 2023 General Elections, the suit is not premature, and Section 223 (1) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended).
In an apparent reference to the subsisting case in a statement on Thursday, Festus Okoye, National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, declared that a certain counter affidavit purportedly filed in the Federal High Court, Damaturu Judicial Division relating to the Yobe North Senatorial District primary election was contrary to report of its monitoring team.
The commission restated its earlier position that APC has no candidate for Yobe North since it has refused to submit the name of the candidate that won the primary to the commission.
It said: “Notwithstanding the matter in court and without prejudice to the consideration or likely outcome of the case in court, the commission reiterates its earlier position that it stands by the report of its monitoring team and it was on the basis of that report that the commission did not publish the name and personal particulars of any candidate for the Yobe North Senatorial District.
“Consequently, the commission will review its quality assurance protocols, including the preview by appropriate ranking officials of all processes filed on its behalf to ascertain their correctness in all material particulars with all reports and all information at its disposal before their presentation so that a situation like this is not repeated.
“The commission has also instructed the external counsel briefed to handle this matter to reflect the correct position, which aligns with the report submitted by our monitoring team.”