Ahead of the 2023 general elections, the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) has warned politicians against frivolous corruption petitions against their opponents.
The ICPC Chairman, Prof. Bolaji Owasanoye gave the warning on Friday in Abuja while hosting the leadership of the Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC) at the Commission’s Headquarters.
Owasanoye said the ICPC will not work on politically motivated petitions.
“Usually when the season for competition comes, there is a spike in politically motivated petitions for wild-goose chase.
“Some are brazen enough to tell you that “we should make sure to stop Mr A from contesting” and they will bring a petition forward.
“That is not our job, and we will not get involved in those things. We pack those type of petitions aside basically.
“Even if there is implication of merit within the complaint, we will say “go and compete first”. We are not going to be the ones to be used to give you fair or unfair advantage.
“When the competition is over, we will decide on the merit or otherwise of what you have brought forward”.
He, however, explained that ICPC has an existing understanding with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on how to go about genuine electoral petitions when the need arises.
“We do have an understanding with INEC that in cases where contestants challenge each other in court and the decision says somebody forged a certificate for example, INEC will send those things to us. We are prosecuting a few of them at the moment.
“Those are ways we will add value without compromising ourselves or exposing our officers to the compromise and desperation of politicians during the contest.” he said.
The ICPC boss challenged political parties to conduct thorough check of their candidates in the interest of the nation, adding that the fortune of any nation depended on the type of leaders it gets.
“The he pruning process should start with political parties, charity should begin at home, he added.
Earlier, Chairman of IPAC, Mr Yabagi Sani, said that the visit was to enhance collaboration with the anti-graft agency in ensuring that politicians with questionable characters were not elected into office.
“The activities that will lead to the emergence of a government that will preside over the affairs of this nation is something that all stakeholders must buy into so as to have a free, fair and credible elections come 2023.
“Politics is management of crisis and we believe that if we can get the recruitment of leadership right, which will come from due diligence we are expected to carry out, the leaders will conduct themselves in a manner that will give this country the kind of respect we expect in the comity of nations.
“That is by ensuring that governance is free from all shades of corruption,” Yabagi said.