by Kolapo Olapoju
Earlier this week, it was reported that the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Muhammadu Buhari, did not submit his school certificates and other credentials to INEC, stating in a sworn affidavit that the documents are with the military.
Ever since, many have called on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to state whether the unavailability of his credentials may prove to be an encumbrance in his bid to contest the presidential elections in 2015.
In response to the calls, Kayode Idowu, the chief press secretary of the INEC chairman, has stated the position of the electoral body regarding the issue.
1. “When parties file the nominees, the law requires that INEC should display those nominees for claims and objections. If objections are made to those claims, the commission reverts to the parties because the statutory mandate is on the parties to nominate their candidates not for INEC to choose their candidates for them.”
2. “INEC will have to revert to the political party and say there is a challenge on the credentials or the criteria that you have cited for any particular nominee and then we ask them to do the needful.
3. “That is either to address the issue or verify to see whether or not it is truth. It is their job so they have to sort it out before they present their candidate. So the commission has no role in disqualifying candidates.”
4. “Don’t put words in my mouth. We don’t have this situation(unavailable certificates) only in INEC. Moreover, it happens everywhere, people submit affidavits. It is not new. You submit affidavits, attestations in place of original certificates. Even for your NYSC certificate, you submit an affidavit where you don’t have the original.”
5. “I cannot speak on individual candidates. It is better for people to abuse me on this one than for INEC to be drawn into partisan squabbles. INEC does not screen candidates because INEC does not reject candidates. INEC sees what they have submitted, displays them for claims and objections if there are any and takes it up with the parties.”