On Thursday, the Independent National Electoral Commission stated that it had not yet received the most recent court ruling regarding the former Niger Delta Affairs Minister, Senator Godswill Akpabio.
Earlier, an Abuja Federal High Court had mandated that INEC recognise Akpabio as the All Progressives Congress (APC) ’s a senatorial candidate for the Akwa Ibom North/West constituency in 2023.
Justice Emeka Nwite ruled that INEC violated the law when it refused to accept and publish Akpabio’s name after the APC supplied it.
Festus Okoye, the INEC National Electoral Commissioner for Information and Voter Education, responded to the situation during an appearance on Channels Television’s Politics Today, saying the electoral organisation does not rely on media reports before making judgments.
“As of today, we have not received any court order/judgement,” he said when asked if INEC would obey the verdict.
“Based on our rules, we respect court orders because, under Section 287 of the Constitution, we are a public institution bound to obey orders from adequately 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.