Political Parties Primaries: INEC Vindicates Me – Ikoiwak

*My comment was to diffuse tension

By Ani Michael

Former Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Elder Aniedi Ikoiwak has commended INEC for affirming his recent assertions on the roles of INEC in monitoring of political parties primaries.

He lauded the INEC National Commissioner,
Mallam Mohammed Haruna for allegedly confirming his standpoint that INEC has no powers to reject candidates of political parties sent to the commission after primaries, noting that his comments were not targeted at individuals or any political party but to diffuse tension in the state.

“I conducted over six governorship elections were about four different parties won. My comments was not for the interest of any party or individual but to diffuse the tension that was building up in the political environment of Akwa Ibom”, he said.

Ikoiwak, former INEC REC with records of conducting over six governorship elections in different states in the country, recently opined that INEC, by law has no powers to reject candidates of political parties and that the commission’s duty is to observe and monitor political parties primaries, make reports and tender it in court if there are litigations.

“INEC cannot reject or disqualify candidates of political parties forwarded to her by political parties even if INEC knows that a particular candidate is insane. What can be done at such circumstance is for candidates and political parties that contested the same election with the alleged insane person to approach the court and ask for the disqualification of the person”, Ikoiwak, told Ikpaisong Reporters, an online news platform in an exclusive interview recently.

However, some Nigerians reacted wrongly to Elder
Aniedi Ikoiwak’s interview.

“What I said was legal. Despite the misconceptions by some Nigerians, I knew my assertions were backed up by the provisions of the constitution and electoral act.

INEC National Commissioner, Malam Mohammed Haruna reportedly said the commission has no powers to reject candidates of political parties, rather encouraged political parties and aspirants to go to court for redress in case of non adherence to INEC guidelines, electoral act and party’s constitution and guidelines, a position, Ikoiwak said has vindicated him.

“NEC has no powers to reject names sent by political parties. Primaries are the sole prerogatives of parties. INEC’s responsibility is merely to monitor the primaries and make sure they abide by their own regulations, the Electoral Act and the Constitution.

“Our power in that regard rests on the fact that our reports are admissible as evidence whenever an aggrieved candidate petitions his party or the courts. It is therefore up to an aggrieved candidate to apply for the certified true copy (CTC) of our reports for presentation as evidence that his party did not abide by any or all of the three sets of regulations I mentioned”, Mohammed Haruna, INEC National Commissioner was quoted to have said.

Ikoiwak, the former INEC chief, however, called on Akwa Ibom State indigenes not to attached political sentiments to legal and constitutional issues, noting that his experiences in INEC are enough for him to discuss and contribute valid opinions on INEC and electoral issues.

Elder Aniedi Ikoiwak, ex INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner, served the nation in INEC meritoriously for ten years and conducted over six governorship elections.

Wisdom Bassey

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