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Tribunal: INEC allay fears of petitioners

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has allayed the fears of petitioners in the just concluded 2019 general elections concerning the private solicitors the commission has engaged to defend it at the election Tribunal.

The commission noted that  External Solicitors engaged by the Commission for the prosecution of pre- and post-election matters are guided by the Commissions Code of Conduct for External Solicitors.

INEC who was reacting to a statement credited Senator Shehu Sani that the commission hired private solicitors tondefend its cases urged all persons and individuals to have faith in the Commission and accord the Commission the necessary cooperation to deliver on its mandate.

According to Mr. Festus Okoye, National Commissioner in charge of Information and Voter Education the commission is a law-abiding institution.

“The Independent National Electoral Commission has a list of External Solicitors that it engages for the prosecution of pre and post-election matters. These solicitors are based in different parts of the country and must have represented a variety of clients and interests in the past.

Read also: PDP protests INEC’s refusal to release electoral materials

“However, the External Solicitors engaged by the Commission for the prosecution of pre- and post-election matters are guided by the Commissions Code of Conduct for External Solicitors. In selecting External Solicitors, the Commission is guided by the highest standard of ethics in recommending solicitors to represent it.

“The Petition in this matter was filed by Distinguished Senator Shehu Sani against the election of Uba Sani. The Governor of Kaduna State did not contest the senatorial election in Kaduna State and could not have been the major consideration and issue in the assignment of cases to external solicitors. The Governor of Kaduna State is not a respondent or party in the Petition and the Commission has no reason to believe that the solicitor appointed by the Commission will subvert the cause of justice.

“The External Solicitor appointed by the Commission is obligated to defend the election conducted by the Commission and the Declaration and Return made thereafter. The Commission will put forward the facts at its disposal and allow the Tribunal to adjudicate on the issues. The present Commission has been upfront in the provision of documents to all the political parties engaged in election petitions and will continue to do so.

“The Commission is a responsible institution and a public trust and is not and will not be in any illicit liaison with any individual or group to subvert the cause of justice.

“We urge all persons and individuals to have faith in the Commission and accord the Commission the necessary cooperation to deliver on its mandate. ”

Besides, Okoye also noted that as a law-abiding institution, it will not be arguing in the media on petitions that are already before the Tribunal l.

Festus who was speaking on petition pertaining to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) stated, “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.”

He stressed that “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.

 

Source: TheNation

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