“The legal implication of the provision is that INEC shall not include the candidate for the particular election. Furthermore, Section 29 (1) of the Electoral Act, 2022 which provides for the submission of lists of candidates and their affidavits by political parties states that “Every political party shall, not later than 180 days before the date appointed for a general election under this Act, submit to the Commission, in the prescribed Forms, the list of the candidates the party proposes to sponsor at the elections, who must have emerged from valid primaries conducted by the political party.
“This means that section 29(1) thereof has imposed a duty on political parties to ensure that the candidates whose names are submitted to INEC have emerged from valid primaries.
“This position is quite different from the provision in Section 31 of the repealed Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) which provided that INEC could not reject the name of any candidate submitted by the parties for any reason whatsoever.
“Thus, in the present law, the parties can only submit for the Commission’s acceptance the names of candidates who emerged from valid primaries conducted by the parties and monitored by INEC. This position is clearly fortified by Section 84(13).
“Thus, INEC having sent a team of monitors across its 36 States offices and the Federal Capital Territory, to monitor the primaries, is legally obligated to check the names submitted to it and ensure they are confirmed by the various reports compiled by its officials.
“If the candidates whose names are submitted to INEC have not emerged from the primaries, the Commission will reject such names in exercise of its power under Section 84(13) of the Electoral Act 2022.”
Falana also urged INEC “not be misled to shirk its statutory duty to sanitise the democratic process”, adding that the only way the APC can present Akpabio and Lawan as its senatorial candidates is if Machina and Ekpoudom “voluntarily” withdraw.