Alhaji Atiku Abubakar
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Monday said it was not aware of any petition sent to it by the former vice-president and a presidential aspirant in the January 13 primary of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar.
The position of the commission was stated in answer to a question from journalists on what INEC was doing with the former No. 2 man’s petition on the conduct of the presidential primary that produced President Goodluck Jonathan as the ruling party’s flag bearer in the April general election.
The spokesman of the commission, Emmanuel Umenger, said he was not aware of any petition from Atiku and was not in a position to say anything on it.
But when contacted, the Atiku Campaign Organisation said it had evidence that the petition was submitted and acknowledged by an officer of the commission.
Atiku’s spokesman, Garba Shehu, said it would be strange for INEC to deny, adding that the organisation has evidence of receipt of the petition by the commission.
The Atiku Media Office described as worrisome a situation where a petition that was authored and duly sent to INEC should now become a subject of controversy.
According to the Media Office, the petition which was written on January 28, 2011 on behalf of the Atiku Campaign Organisation by its Director General, Senator Ben Obi, was received and acknowledged by INEC on January 31, 2011.
Speaking on the situation as regards the states with problems of candidates, the INEC spokesman said it is the affair of the party to determine who flies their flag unless where court directs the commission otherwise.
On the situation in Kano State regarding the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) and the son of the former Head of state, Mohammed Abacha, Ummenger said the party observed the primary and acted in line with section 31 of Electoral Act but added that the final say as to who flies the flag of the party rests with the parties unless where law courts direct otherwise.