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AC orders candidates to boycott INEC screening

Posted by By FEMI BABAFEMI on 2007/01/09 | Views: 428 |

AC orders candidates to boycott INEC screening


The fate of thousands of Action Congress (AC) candidates across the country appears to be hanging in the balance as the party has directed them to boycott the planned verification of candidatesí claims by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

The fate of thousands of Action Congress (AC) candidates across the country appears to be hanging in the balance as the party has directed them to boycott the planned verification of candidatesí claims by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

The party insisted that INECís plan to verify the claims of political party candidates for the 2007 general election was unconstitutional.

A statement by AC National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, in Abuja, said the party decided to ask its flagbearers at all levels to boycott the verification exercise because it was only created to humiliate its presidential candidate, Vice President Atiku Abubakar.

"As the Action Congress will not be a party to any unconstitutional or illegal act, it has directed all its nominated candidates to ignore the so called verification exercise and has, at the same time, gone to challenge this unconstitutional and illegal act of INEC in court", the party stated.

While accusing INEC of acting out President Olusegun Obasanjoís script to stop Atiku from contesting the April election, the party assured its members and candidates that it had already filed a suit in court to challenge INECís action.
The party called on INEC to immediately disband its verification and claims committees as they lack any constitutional or legal basis.

The partyís statement was based on a press conference addressed in Abuja last week by INECís national commissioner in charge of legal matters, Alhaji M.A. Abubakar, during which he was quoted as saying that INEC would be guided by Sections 65, 66, 106, 131, 177, 107, 137, and 182 of the Constitution in carrying out the verification exercise.

The party said none of the sections quoted by the INEC official confers any verification power on the commission and described the commissionís claim as "totally false, reckless and misleading."
According to the party, "Section 65 of the 1999 constitution deals only with the qualification for membership of the National Assembly, while Section 66 deals with grounds on which a person may be ineligible for membership of the National Assembly.

"Section 106 deals with the qualification for membership of the House of Assembly while Section 107 deals with grounds for disqualification for the same house.
"Section 131 deals with qualification for election as the president while Section 137 focuses only on grounds for disqualification for the same office. Section 182 only deals with grounds of disqualification for the office of the governor.

"If anyone is in further doubt that INEC has no power to conduct verification of candidatesí claims, Section 15 of the 3rd Schedule to the 1999 Constitution puts the matter beyond doubt," it said.
Expatiating further, AC said even under the Electoral Act 2006, INECís obligation was simply to publish received particulars and await petition if any, adding that under the same Electoral Act, only political parties can screen candidates and are liable to pay penalties for presenting unqualified candidates.

"As can be seen from above, INEC set out deliberately to mislead and misinform Nigerians on a matter of very crucial national importance simply to perpetuate an unconstitutional and illegal act," AC stated.
"It is also pertinent to note INECís assault on the collective intelligence of Nigerians when the commission admitted, at the said press conference, that it has no powers to screen, but that it has powers to verify," the party said, adding that INEC cannot pull the wool on the eyes of Nigerians by playing on semantics.







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Fay(Katy, Texas, US)says...

Actually translates to bravehearted.