The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has denied recent media reports claiming that it had withdrawn its appeal against the judgement of the Kano Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal.
The reports, which cited a letter dated October 6 and purportedly signed by Suleiman Alkali, the head of the commission’s legal department in Kano, had stated that INEC was retracting its appeal on the grounds of having no reason to contest the tribunal’s decision.
The reports followed the September 20 judgement of a 3-man panel of the Kano tribunal, which invalidated the election victory of Governor Abba Yusuf and declared Nasiru Gawuna, the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), as the winner of the March 18 governorship poll in Kano State.
Reacting, however, Sam Olumekun, INEC’s National Commissioner and Chairman of its Information and Voter Education Committee, refuted the claims in the media and affirmed INEC’s commitment to the legal process in the Kano governorship election petition case.
“The attention of the Commission has been drawn to media reports based on a letter written by the Legal Officer of our Kano State office indicating that the Commission had withdrawn from the appeal process in the ongoing Kano Governorship election petition case.
“We wish to state categorically that the letter was not authorised. It has since been withdrawn and the officer reprimanded.
“The public is therefore advised to discountenance the insinuation that the Commission has withdrawn from the case or even worse abandoned the appeal.
“We wish to state categorically that where litigants join INEC in a case, the Commission is under obligation to respond accordingly. We have therefore instructed our lawyers to proceed in line with extant policy of the Commission. The policy has not changed,” a statement by Olumekun read.