The Independent National Electoral Commission has reacted to a statement by Shehu Sani accusing the commission of hiring a personal lawyer to governor Nasiru Ahmed El-rufai as its lawyer at the National Assembly election petition tribunal in Kaduna.
Sani had on Monday alleged that a personal lawyer to governor Nasiru Ahmed El-Rufai, Barrister A. I. Mustapha is being hired by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, as its a lawyer at the National Assembly election petition tribunal in Kaduna.
But, reacting INEC in a statement signed by Festus Okoye, the National Commissioner, assured Shehu Sani that justice will not be subverted, adding that the lawyer in question is an external solicitor.
According to him, “El-rufai is not a respondent or party in the Petition and the Commission has no reason to believe that the solicitor appointed by the Commission will subvert the cause of justice.”
The statement read: “The list of External Solicitors that it engages for the prosecution of pre and post-election matters. These solicitors are based in different parts of the country and must have represented a variety of clients and interests in the past.
“However, the External Solicitors engaged by the Commission for the prosecution of pre- and post-election matters are guided by the Commissions Code of Conduct for External Solicitors. In selecting External Solicitors, the Commission is guided by the highest standard of ethics in recommending solicitors to represent it.
“The Petition in this matter was filed by Distinguished Senator Shehu Sani against the election of Uba Sani. The Governor of Kaduna State did not contest the senatorial election in Kaduna State and could not have been the major consideration and issue in the assignment of cases to external solicitors. The Governor of Kaduna State is not a respondent or party in the Petition and the Commission has no reason to believe that the solicitor appointed by the Commission will subvert the cause of justice.
“The External Solicitor appointed by the Commission is obligated to defend the election conducted by the Commission and the Declaration and Return made thereafter. The Commission will put forward the facts at its disposal and allow the Tribunal to adjudicate on the issues. The present Commission has been upfront in the provision of documents to all the political parties engaged in election petitions and will continue to do so.
“The Commission is a responsible institution and a public trust and is not and will not be in any illicit liaison with any individual or group to subvert the cause of justice.
“We urge all persons and individuals to have faith in the Commission and accord the Commission the necessary cooperation to deliver on its mandate.”