What Akwa Ibom REC told lawyers representing INEC at Election Tribunal
The Resident Electoral Commissioner for Akwa Ibom State, Mr Mike Igini, has charged lawyers to the Independent National Electoral Commission at the Election Petitions Tribunal to represent the commission as the umpire of the 2019 general elections, and not as an aggrieved party.
He gave the charge in Uyo yesterday when he addressed all external solicitors that would represent the commission at the Election Petitions Tribunal in Akwa Ibom State.
He said the commission was willing to give an account of how the elections were conducted and returns made at the tribunal.
Iginisaid, “As the tribunal commences hearing of the various petitions and as lawyers appointed by the commission to represent it as respondents, you must be mindful that INEC remains an umpire and not an aggrieved party that must defend at all costs the returns made at the expense of its status and role as an unbiased umpire.
“Your role as counsel for the commission in election petition proceedings is to ensure electoral justice by explaining the processes and procedures for how the returns were made through documentary evidence used in the 2019 general elections.
“The statutory role of the commission, even at election petitions proceedings, remains one of an umpire in the conduct of elections.
“As a commission that conducted the 2019 general elections in Akwa lbom State, we are committed to electoral accountability and ready to give a full account of how elections were conducted and returns made.”
Igini also cautioned the legal team of the All Progressives Congress against attempting to tarnish the image of the commission after it had failed to inspect election materials used for the 2019 elections.
The APC legal team, led by Victor Iyanam, had threatened to charge INEC for contempt of court over its alleged refusal to allow it to inspect election materials as ordered by the election petitions tribunal chairman, Justice W. Akanbi.
But Igini said the commission gave a date to the APC legal team to return for inspection but before the said date, Iyanam had gone to address the press.
He described the action as mischievous.