Monday, October 3, 2022

Lawan-Machina: Group urged INEC to remain neutral.

The Transition Monitoring Group on Wednesday urged the Independent National Electoral Commission to maintain neutrality and ensure the actual winner of the All Progressives Congress primary for the Yobe North Senatorial District ticket is recognised.

The group said INEC must refrain from its reported “disregard for the sanity and sanctity of the rule of law” and not upturn the outcome of the APC primary.

The group disclosed this in a statement signed by its Chairman, Auwal Ibrahim Musa. Stating that they monitor with keen interest the emerging development around the electoral sphere ahead of 2023, the group added that they are committed to ensuring full implementation of the provisions of the Electoral Act, to restore electoral credibility and integrity at all levels.

They expressed total displeasure with the latest position of the electoral body over the declaration of Bashir Machina, whose victory it earlier affirmed from the Senatorial primary in Yobe North, giving the INEC-Certified True Copy report of the primary election held on May 28, 2022, when he scored 289 votes out of 300 delegates.

The statement read in part: “We are not unaware of the alleged overall objective triggering the latest position by INEC to upturn the primary in favour of the incumbent Senate President, Ahmed Lawan, whose participation in the Senatorial primary has been disqualified by the provisions of Electoral Act, for his involvement at the same time as a candidate of Presidential Primary, where he contested and lost.

“Just as we are worried by the cross-carpet impunity in some political parties that deliberately reversed victories or allowed dubious re-runs in favour of some candidates who had contested and lost their primaries under separate seats.

“We find the tactical pursuit of injustice and impunity through judicial institution displayed in an Affidavit dated August 11, 2022, filed before the Federal High Court in Damaturu, Yobe state, as tantamount to probable disobedience to the sanity and sanctity of the provisions of Electoral Act and betray of public trust.

“Given the recent development in the electoral sphere, we are more concerned by the readiness of INEC to maintain required competence and neutrality to deliver free, fair and credible elections in 2023.

“We observed with serious condemnation, the deliberately created condition by the Electoral Body to upturn the outcome and victory of a democratically recognized candidate in favour of an individual, who qualifies neither within the context of Electoral Law, nor as a documented contestant in the Senatorial primary.

“We, therefore, call on INEC to maintain absolute neutrality and respect for the rule of law in its activities at all levels, to demonstrate competence and trustworthiness to secure integrity and public trust in the 2023 general elections.

“We also call for the immediate prosecution by relevant authorities, of all upturned primaries of various political parties in favour of selected candidates, who had been disqualified by the Electoral Act for contesting under separate seats.”

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