While PDP accuses INEC of culpable involvement in the party’s woes at the presidential election that took place in February 2019, INEC on its part has promised not to take sides in the expected legal tussle, INEC says they have their own data that justifies their actions and that they will make documents available to all parties if called upon to do so.
During a chat with the press, the INEC National Commissioner and chairman of its Information and Voter Education Committee, Mr Festus Okoye, said; concerning the preparedness of the commission with respect to Atiku’s intention to go to court; that INEC would defend actions it took during the just concluded 2019 presidential elections.
“The Independent National Electoral Commission is empowered to organise, conduct and supervise elections. The commission is not a political party and does not take a partisan posture in relation to election petitions.
“The commission is the regulator of political parties and the law and the constitution has delineated the jurisdiction of election petitions tribunal and the conditions for activating its jurisdiction.
“The commission conducted the Presidential and National Assembly elections on the February 23, 2019 and the Chief Electoral Commissioner of Nigeria and the Returning Officer for the Presidential election, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, declared the incumbent President as the winner of the election and declared him as duly elected.
“The commission organised a relatively peaceful election and complied substantially with the intendment of the constitution and the law.
“However, it is the constitutional and statutory right of every aggrieved candidate to approach either the National and state Houses of Assembly Election Petitions Tribunal which has the original and exclusive jurisdiction to determine whether any person was validly elected to the National Assembly or the Court of Appeal which has original jurisdiction to hear and determine any question as to whether any person has been validly elected to the office of the President or Vice-President under the constitution.
“INEC will defend the outcome of the election it conducted if it is served with processes from the tribunals or the Court of Appeal.
“The commission will make available all documents used in the conduct of elections to petitioners and respondents if the proper application is made and the processes and procedure for the application are followed.
“The commission has almost completed the reverse logistics in relation to the Presidential and National Assembly elections and the documents used in the conduct of the elections are in safe custody in the various offices of the commission.”
“What petitioners need are the data from the smart card readers which will be available to petitioners and respondents.
“Petitioners and respondents are assured that the commission will be professional and ethical in the handling of election petitions.
“The commission will not take issue with any political party but will respond to and investigate concrete allegations backed by evidence and not general allegations made without any shred of evidence.”