Governor of Cross River State, Prof. Ben Ayade, Senate President Ahmad Lawan, former Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Godswill Akpabio and other politicians who obtained more than one nomination form, risk two years’ imprisonment under the Electoral Act, 2022.
The Resident Electoral Commissioner in Akwa Ibom State, Mike Igini, disclosed this on Tuesday.
Igini stated this while featuring on Channels TV’s Sunrise Daily, quoting Section 115 (D) of the Electoral Act, 2022.
He said, “A person who signs a nomination paper or result form as a candidate in more than one constituency at the same election [commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a maximum term of imprisonment for two years].”
Igini said by “constituency,” the electoral term refers to a separate election whether it is presidential, governorship, senatorial, the House of Representatives or that of state assembly.
He said any candidate who runs afoul of this law is liable to be jailed for two years, and that Section 115 (3) even states that an attempt to obtain multiple forms is an offence.
“Section 115 (D) of the 2022 Electoral Act stipulates that no person shall sign, obtain more than one form as a candidate for different elections.
“And the offence for that under subsection K, beyond the financial, he will go to two years’ imprisonment.
“Some people are claiming that they participated in one election, that they filled two forms; it’s ignorance of the law and it’s not an excuse.
“We are preventing them from being candidates for prison and they are calling our names everywhere,” the commissioner said.
Igini had insisted that INEC did not monitor the primaries that produced Akpabio as the senatorial candidate for Akwa Ibom North-West.
Akpabio had contested the presidential ticket of the All Progressives Congress (APC), but he withdrew from the race on June 7, and asked his supporters to bback Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, a former Lagos State governor who eventually emerged APC presidential candidate.
Prior to the presidential primary, on May 27, Udom Ekpoudom, a former Deputy Inspector-General of Police, had won the primary election for the Akwa Ibom North-west senatorial ticket.
A parallel primary election was conducted and won by Ekperikpe Ekpo. However, it was later cancelled over irregularities, while a rerun was conducted on June 8, with Akpabio declared as winner of the exercise.
Lawan after losing the APC presidential ticket reportedly asked Bashir Machina, winner of the Yobe North Senatorial primary, to relinquish the ticket.
This implies that the senate president and Akpabio might have secretly obtained the nomination form for the senatorial seat of their respective districts while also seeking presidential ticket.
By Igini’s account, other politicians who might have violated the electoral act include Governors Ben Ayade of Cross River State, Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State and Bala Mohammed of Bauchi State.