The headquarters of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) , Abuja, has confirmed that the All Progressives Congress (APC) primary which produced Akanimo Udofia as a governorship candidate was not monitored by the commission’s officials.
The primary which produced the former minister of Niger Delta Affairs,
Godswill Akpabio , as the APC senate candidate in the state was also not monitored by INEC.
Both primaries were held around midnight on May 26 and June 9, respectively.
It, therefore, means the APC may not have a governorship candidate in Akwa Ibom State for the 2023 general elections, and that Mr Akpabio is not recognised by INEC as a candidate, as previously reported by this newspaper.
Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio.
INEC spokesperson in Abuja, Festus Okoye, said there is no distinction between INEC at the national headquarters and those at the different states in the country.
“There’s only one INEC that operates through its state offices at the state level,” Mr Okoye told PREMIUM TIMES, Monday.
“When a political party wants to organise a primary, what the political party does is that it gives INEC that mandatory 21 days’ notice of its intention to organise the party primary.
“Then it gives INEC the venue and the date of the primary. The commission will constitute a monitoring team for that particular state headed by the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC),” Mr Okoye added.
How INEC monitors primaries
Mr Okoye explained how INEC monitors party primaries.
“There is supposed to be a team from the Election and Party Monitoring (EPM) Department from the headquarters that will go to the state, but the team will report to the REC who will head them because he is the most senior officer.
Only a team monitors party primaries, he said.
“There’s only one team from the commission. We don’t make any distinction between the team from the headquarters and the team from the state,” Mr Okoye said.
“For instance, in a governorship primary, we send an assistant director or deputy director or even a director from the INEC headquarters. The director will report to the REC who is the most senior officer in that particular state and the REC will lead the team that will go and monitor the governorship primary or senatorial primary of a particular political party.”