Stop writing frivolous petitions against opponents, CPIC warns politicians

The Independent Commission on Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offenses (ICPC) has warned politicians to refrain from sending what it described as “frivolous petitions” against political opponents ahead of the 2023 general election.

The commission specifically said that some politicians tended to arm anti-corruption agencies with politically motivated petitions in order to outwit their opponents, warning that such measures would not work with the ICPC.

The chairman of the commission, Bolaji Owasanoye, who said this on Friday as he welcomed the leadership of the Inter-Party Consultative Council (IPAC) to the commission’s headquarters in Abuja, said the work of the commission was not intended to prevent anyone from challenging.

He said: “Usually when competition season rolls around there is a spike in politically motivated petitions for wild goose hunts. Some are cheeky enough to tell you we should make sure we stop Mr. A from challenging and they will petition.

“It’s not our job and we won’t get involved in these things. We’re basically putting aside these types of petitions. Even if there’s a merit implication in the complaint, we’ll say go and compete d ‘on board.

“We’re not going to be the one used to give you the fair or unfair advantage. When the competition is over, we’ll decide whether or not what you came up with is worth it.

The anti-corruption agency, however, noted that the ICPC has an existing agreement with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on how to proceed with genuine electoral petitions when the need arises.

“We have an agreement with INEC that in cases where applicants challenge themselves in court and the decision says someone has tampered with a certificate for example, INEC will send us those things, and we let’s pursue a few for now.

“These are ways in which we will add value without compromising ourselves or exposing our officers to the compromise and desperation of politicians during the contest,” he added.

Owasanoye also challenged political parties to carry out a self-verification of the candidates they put forward, as the fortunes of any nation depend on the kind of leaders they get, noting that the pruning process should start with the political parties so that “charity begins at home”.

Earlier in his remarks, IPAC President Sani Yabagi said the reason for the visit was the effective collaboration and support of the anti-corruption agency to ensure that politicians of dubious character are not not elected.

He said, “Activities that will lead to the emergence of a government to preside over the affairs of this nation are something that all stakeholders must adhere to in order to have free, fair and credible elections in 2023.

“Politics is crisis management and we believe that if we get the leaders right, which will come from the due diligence that we are supposed to do, they (political office holders) will behave in a way that will give to this country the kind of respect that we are supposed to show in the eyes of the committee of nations, that is to say by ensuring that governance is free from all forms of corruption.

Scott R. Banks