INEC: We Lack Mandate To Screen Candidates

by on March 21, 2016

As controversy continues to trail the failure of presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, (APC), Muhammadu Buhari, to present his academic qualifications, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), on Tuesday, declared it lacked powers to screen candidates for any election.

The commission said it was the responsibility of political parties to screen candidates and forward those successful in the exercise to it, saying it can only act where there is any objection raised against the candidature of any nominee forwarded to it by any party.

Kayode Idowu, Chief Press Secretary to INEC Chairman, Attahiru Jega, while answering reporters’ questions on Tuesday on the implications of Buhari’s action, insisted that the commission has not seen anything wrong in what Buhari did.

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Asked whether the former Head of State presented certificates in the previous elections he vied for, Idowu bluntly refused to comment, saying he had no answer to it.

It would be recalled that the APC presidential candidate, Buhari, did not submit his academic qualifications to INEC.

When asked if it is the responsibility of the commission to go to the Military Board to verify the authenticity of Buhari’s credentials, Idowu said: “I won’t speak on individual; I can only speak in general term. No, I won’t comment on individual candidate on this issue, you can quote me on that.”

On the implications of failure of candidates of political parties seeking elections to submit or present their academic credentials to INEC, the CPS stated that, “when parties file their nominees, the law requires that INEC should display those nominees for claims and objections.

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“If objections are made to those claims, the commission reverts back to the political parties because the statutory mandate is on the parties to nominate their candidates and not to allow INEC to choose their candidates for them.

“INEC would have to revert back to the political parties to say ‘there is a challenge to the credentials that you have filed to the criteria that you have cited for any particular nominee, so do the needful by addressing it.”

Source: Daily Independent

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