By Usman Shuaibu
The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC has denied refusing the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Obong Nsima Ekere, access to inspect electoral materials as ordered by the tribunal.
The APC legal team had alleged that the Commission was denying them access to election materials against the order of the tribunal
A statement by Don Etukudo, PAO, INEC Akwa Ibom State, said that, “ The Commission is a law abiding organization. It had at no time denied anyone with a valid order from the tribunal access to election materials.
“With respect to the Governorship and House of Assembly petitions in which inspections are expected, the APC legal team has proposed four to five days for Governorship, five to six days for House of Representatives and five days for House of Assembly maters, all inspections to run concurrently for ten days. Subject to the availability of space and manpower, the Commission will expeditiously oblige this request.”
It said that, “As a serious minded organization, we do not deign to dignify cheap infantile pranks with replies. If the APC legal team is convinced the Commission is denying them access to election materials against the order of the tribunal, as lawyers, they know the proper thing is to report back to the tribunal instead of rushing to the social media.”
The statement explained further that, “The lawyer for the APC governorship candidate, Obong Nsima Ekere, came to the Commission with the order from the tribunal for the first time on Thursday the 25th of April, 2019.
“ He did not come to inspect the materials on that day. He came to inform the Commission of the order and to get it to prepare for the inspection.
“The lawyer was told to return the next day so that the INEC legal team could jointly work out the schedule for the inspection. He did not return. He only came back on Tuesday, the 30th of April, 2019. But between Thursday the 25th of April and Tuesday the 30th of April, 2019, before we could work out the modalities for the inspection, the legal team for Nsima Ekere led by Chief Victor Iyanam had convened a press conference at where they accused INEC of denying them access to election materials and threatened to press for contempt against the Resident Electoral Commissioner. As always, they ensured the social media was awash with the fake story.
“Other than pure mischief or perhaps trying to elicit sympathy from some quarters for political reasons, we do not understand the motive of the APC legal team.”
The Commission therefore assured the general public that it has nothing to hide and will at all times obey valid orders from the tribunal.