The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Monday, November 28, reassured Nigerians that its allegiance and loyalists are to Nigerians in the 2023 general elections, warning staff against compromise.
The INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, gave this assurance at the opening of a two-day Induction Retreat for the commission’s Administrative Secretaries in Lagos.
The retreat is organised by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
In his opening remarks, Yakubu, who was represented by Mr Sam Olumekun, the INEC National Commissioner, Election and Party Monitoring Committee (EPMC) said the retreat was part of the preparation of INEC for the 2023 general elections.
According to him, over the last 23 years since the return of democratic rule; the commission has recorded steady progress with the nation’s elections getting better and citizens’ confidence in the process increasing.
“Let me repeat once again that the Commission’s allegiance is to Nigeria. Our loyalty is to Nigerians who want free, fair, credible and verifiable elections.
“It is in this respect that I want to warn all members of staff of the commission to be neutral and professional in their conduct during the forthcoming election,” Yakubu said.
He said that since the 2011 general elections; the reliance on new knowledge and experience gathered from the conduct of previous elections; enhancing electoral integrity and improving voter experience through innovations, planning and technology had guided INEC through several elections.
“Consequently, our elections have become better, electoral outcomes less contentious and less stressful, ” he added.
Meanwhile, the re-election bid of Ahmad Lawan seems to be over as Bashir Machina has been validated as the legitimate All Progressives Congress candidate for the Yobe North Senatorial District by the Court of Appeal in Abuja.
The Federal High Court in Damaturu, Yobe State, affirmed its decision on Monday, November 28, 2022; ruling that Senate President Lawan was not the APC candidate for the Yobe North Senatorial District in the 2023 elections.
Justice Monica Dongban-Mensen, who presided over a three-man panel, gave the affirmation in an appeal by Lawan; challenging the decision of Justice Fadimatu Aminu of the Federal High Court Damaturu, which had on September 28, 2022; declared Machina as the winner of the primary election organised by the APC in May 2022; while Lawan opted to contest the presidential primary election organised by the APC on June 9, 2022.
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The law is settled as to the involvement of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in party primaries; which is to monitor, the primaries of 9th June were not monitored by the electoral commission.