21 May 2019

Nigeria: INEC Withdraws Certificates of Return of Nwaoboshi, 24 Others

Enugu — The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) yesterday said it had withdrawn 25 certificates of return earlier issued some winners during this year's general elections.

It stated that the decision was in response to court orders.

Chairman of Information and Voter Education Committee (IVEC), Festus Okoye, made the disclosure at a "Forum on Media Coverage of 2019 General Elections in Enugu. The event was organised in partnership with the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ).

He noted that 20 of the 25 certificates were withdrawn from All Progressive Congress (APC) members and issued to other members of the ruling party while two from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) faithful equally went to another duo within the same political grouping, just as one more was withdrawn from the APC and handed over to an Accord Party candidate.

Okoye said: "Before we left INEC national headquarters on Friday, the commission has withdrawn 25 certificates-of-return from the first owners to their new owners following court orders.

"For instance in Delta State, we withdrew the certificate that was given to Senator (Peter) Nwaoboshi and handed it over to Senator-elect Ned Nwoko based on court order. In Bauchi, a senatorial certificate was withdrawn for the south senatorial district and handed over to another APC candidate. In Imo, we withdrew the certificate of return of an APC candidate and handed it over to the candidate representing Ehime Mbano and Obowo federal constituency under the Accord Party.

"Then we also withdrew certificates relating to Biliri state constituency in Bauchi state and so many others. All these certificates we withdrew were based on court orders."

He stated that the electoral umpire was waiting for more court orders, stressing that they were law-abiding.

Okoye, however, lauded the media for its openness and robust engagement with the commission before, during and after the elections.

The INEC official submitted that the fourth estate of the realm had become the first line of contact for the masses as well as a veritable platform for explanation of political and electoral decisions.

The Enugu State Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) of INEC, Dr. Emeka Ononamadu, noted that evaluation of the elections would strengthen the processes, institutions and stakeholders.

NUJ President, Chris Isiguzo, said the establishments and practitioners enjoyed vast consultations with INEC before, during and after the polls.

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