The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said it is yet to receive the recent court judgement on the former Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio.
A Federal High Court in Abuja had earlier ordered INEC to recognise Akpabio as the senatorial candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for Akwa Ibom North/West district in 2023.
Specifically, Justice Emeka Nwite held that INEC acted illegally by refusing to accept and publish Akpabio’s name after it was sent by APC.
But reacting to the development during an interview on Channels Television’s Politics Today, INEC national electoral commissioner for Information and Voter Education, Festus Okoye, said the electoral body does not rely on media reports before making decisions.
“As of today, we have not received any court order/judgement,” he said when asked if INEC will obey the verdict.
“Based on our rules, we respect court orders because under Section 287 of the Constitution; we are a public institution and are bound to obey orders from properly constituted courts of law.
“But we have to receive the judgement, study the judgment, understand what has transpired in relation to the matter, and then make a decision on what the court expects us to do and also make a decision whether the commission will appeal against such a judgement.”
Okoye also defended the commission’s decision to deploy the Bimodal Voter Accreditation Systems (BVAS) for voter accreditation and verification ahead of the 2023 polls.
According to him, the decision to adopt BVAS followed challenges it experienced during the 2015 and 2019 general elections.
On plans by some politicians to challenge the legality of BVAS in court, the INEC National Commissioner explained that the technological device is backed by the Electoral Act.