Departure Fears Grip Igini, As Group Mocks His Uninformed Interpretation Of 2022 Electoral Act

The embattled out-going Resident Electoral Commissioner of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Akwa Ibom State, Mr Mike Igini, has been carpeted for his uninformed interpretation of the 2022 Electoral Act, thereby, painting the INEC as a body, in bad light.

Addressing the Media in Abuja, on the recent interview granted the Arise and Channels TV stations, by the outgoing REC of Akwa Ibom State, Mr Mike Igini, the National Coalition for Strategic Impact and Unity (NACOSIU) said, “the embattled outgoing REC is afraid of his post appointment era, hence his recent actions of misinterpreting the Electoral Act to satisfy his ego and an indication that Igini is afraid of the Ides of August.”.

The group stated this in a statement jointly signed by Alhaji Abdulrahman Bello and Comrade Bassey Etim, National President and Secretary respectively.

The group noted that “Igini, a supposed lawyer took his ignorant of the law to a very embarrassing level, in a telecast across the globe, where he stated that the Senate President, Ahmed Lawan, Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State, Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi State, Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River State and former Minister, Niger Delta Affairs Ministry, Senator Godswill Akpabio, among numerous others risk two years in prison for obtaining two forms, contrary to the letters of the 2022 Electoral Act.

The statement reads:

For clarity, Section 115 (1)(d) of the 2022 Electoral Act, provides:

“A Person who signs a Nomination paper or result as a CANDIDATE in more than one Constituency at the same time commits an offence and is liable upon conviction to a maximum term of imprisonment for two years.

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“The Akwa Ibom State Resident Electoral Commissioner dissipated energy in expressing his sheer ignorance of the law. He held the skewed and erroneous view of the provision
of Section 115(1)(d) of the Electoral Act to mean that If a person purchased a nomination form for a particular position and thereafter got another nomination form for a different position in the same election year for example those that aspired for president and thereafter turned around to aspire for the senate, the person is liable to imprisonment for 2 years.

“The aforementioned provision of the Electoral Act is premised and anchored on the word: ‘Candidate’ ; the operative word that makes Section 115( 1) self-executory .Thus, the section contemplates where a Candidate signs a nomination form in more than one constituency. The scenario herein is where a candidate files two nomination forms for two constituencies. For instance, if a woman who is married in Constituency A but hails from Constituency B, having purchased two nomination forms for two primary elections emerges a Candidate for both Constituency A and Constituency B; then proceeds to file the two nomination forms as Candidate in both constituencies. The scenario painted will apply in all force and in pari materia with the provisions of the aforementioned section.

“Section 115(1)(d) does not apply where an Aspirant purchases two nomination forms but withdraws from one to contest for the other. In fact, there is no law prohibiting the purchase of multiple forms by aspirants.

“Indeed, there is a clear distinction between an aspirant and a Candidate under the law. The Electoral Act makes a clear distinction between CANDIDATE and ASPIRANT. Thus , Section 152 of the Electoral Act 2022 which is the interpretation section states as follows :

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“Section 152. In this Act-
“ASPIRANT” means a person who aspires or seeks or strives to contest an election to a political office”; whereas a Candidate is a person who has emerged as the nominee of the political party for the contest of a general election.

“Hence, the Akwa Ibom State Resident Electoral Commissioner’s understanding of the law is misconceived. Igini’s prophecies and propositions on the extant law is an embarrassment on INEC as a public institution. Igini as a lawyer surmersaulted when he whimsically applied the law in contravention of the literal interpretation of the provision.

“There is no known rule of interpretation of statutes that admits Mike Igini’s conceited bravado. This approach by an electoral umpire yields bad faith and is tantamount to destroying the spirit of democracy.

“People who hold public offices, hold same in trust and ought to be circumspect in the discharge of their duties .The Akwa Ibom Resident Electoral Commissioner ,Mr Mike Igini must refrain from making unguarded statements that negatively affect the polity. His jaundiced appreciation of the law is embarrassing and totally condemnable; more so as he spoke under the auspices and cover of the Independent National Electoral Commission.”

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