The Independent National Electoral Commission has responded to the accusation by Senator Shehu Sani, representing Kaduna Central senatorial district, that it hired a lawyer for Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State to represent it at the national and state assembly election petition Tribunal in Kaduna.
“The Independent National Electoral Commission has a 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,” INEC said in a statement.
Senator Sani, of the Peoples Redemption Party (PRP), had expressed hope of getting justice in his petition challenging the result of the National Assembly election in the state after he lost his Senate seat in the 2019 elections to Uba Sani of the All Progressives Congress, El-Rufai’s party.
“We have enough evidence that A.U Mustapha is a personal lawyer to Nasiru El-Rufa’i, Governor of Kaduna State,” Senator Sani said in a press conference on Monday.
“As a personal lawyer to El-Rufa’i now hired by INEC in a case where El-Rufai is a party is not acceptable.
“It is suspicious that the governor of the state and INEC are using A.U. Mustapha and Co, who remains El-Rufa’i personal lawyer,” the senator said.
INEC insisted that its solicitors are selected through the highest standard of ethics and are guided by the Commissions Code of Conduct for External Solicitors.
The Commission noted that in the assignment of cases to the external solicitor for the petition filed by Senator Shehu Sani, Governor El-Rufai could not have been a major consideration and issue because he did not contest the senatorial election in Kaduna State.
“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,” INEC said.
INEC urged all individuals to have faith in the Commission and accord the Commission the necessary cooperation to deliver on its mandate.
“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.”