Published On: Wed, Apr 17th, 2019

Why INEC won’t reply to PDP’s claim of non release of election materials, Okoye

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By Lateef Ibrahim, Abuja

The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, on Tuesday advanced the reason why it would not engage the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in any argument over the case pending before the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal.
The reason, the commission said, was to avoid running against the law.
According to INEC, arguing over the case would be subjudice.
The Prof. Mahmood Yakubu-led INEC made this known while reacting to PDP’s allegation that it was denying it access to some electoral documents in its custody as granted by the court.
The National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan, had in a statement Monday, claimed that INEC has refused to give the party access to the documents needed to prosecute its case, despite a court ruling to that effect.
He said it was designed to frustrate the efforts by the PDP’s presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, to prove that he won the last presidential election and not President Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress.
While however reacting to the party’s claim, the INEC National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Mr Festus Okoye, in a statement said engaging PDP in argument over the case would be wrong.
According to him, INEC had already responded to the petitions before the tribunal. In the words of Okoye: “The commission is aware that very senior lawyers are representing the petitioners and the respondents in relation to the said petitions.
“The commission is a law-abiding institution and will not argue or canvass in the media, petitions that are sub-judice, and where the presidential election petitions tribunal is firmly seized of the issues.
“The lawyers representing the petitioners are seized of the state of the law and the course to take if they truly believe that the commission is in disobedience of the orders of the presidential election petitions tribunal.
“The commission is a law-abiding institution and will continue to accord the requisite respect to judicial institutions and obey the orders of court”, the statement concluded.

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