By Lateef Ibrahim, Abuja
The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has vowed to resist the invitation to be drawn into the debate on the propriety, correctness or otherwise of the decisions of the various Election Petitions Tribunals and the Courts.
The Commission made it pointedly clear that the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) and the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended) have clearly and comprehensively delineated the powers and areas of jurisdiction of various institutions of our democracy.
The Prof Mahmood Yakubu-led INEC stated further that the decisions of courts and tribunal are final, stressing that the rule of law dictates that all authorities and persons give effect to them.
The Commission said these in a statement yesterday by its National Commissioner and Chairman,
Information and Voter Education Committee, VEP, Barr Festus Okoye in Abuja.
The statement explained that the Commission’s code of conduct ensures that all its staff remain non-partisan in the discharge of their official duties.
“This is the only way they can maintain the delicate balance between all the contending political parties and candidates in the political process.
It declared that it is therefore unhelpful and counterproductive to profile senior staff of the Commission operating in any part of the country and paint them with the brush of partisanship just to score political points.
Rather, the Commission made it abundantly clear that it will focus on its efforts and that of other institutions to bring about necessary reforms to give Nigerians comprehensive and robust electoral framework that will take care of perceived and identified flaws and lacunae in the electoral process.
The Commission thus enjoined political parties and candidates to develop the democratic spirit and assist it (the Commission) in the conduct of free and transparent elections.
It assured Nigerians that the it will remain focused and determined to continue with improvements in the electoral process and solidify the sovereign right of the Nigerian people to freely choose their representatives.
The statement reads, “The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) conducted general elections in 2019 to fill 1,558 positions.
“Arising from the conduct of the elections, some of the Political Parties and Candidates filed Petitions before the various Election Petitions Tribunals and Courts to ventilate their grievances and all the Petitions have been determined.
“For the records, a total of 807 post-election petitions were filed, out of which 582 were dismissed, 183 withdrawn by the petitioners and only 30 petitions, representing less than 2% of the total resulted in orders by the Tribunals and Courts to the Commission to rerun the elections.