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INEC withdraws 25 Certificates of Return from lawmakers-elect



INEC withdraws 25 Certificates of Return from lawmakers-elect

…says 23, 316 candidates contested 2019 elections


The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has so far withdrawn 25 Certificates of Return issued to some candidates that won during the 2019 general election, following court orders. Twenty of the 25 certificates of return were withdrawn from All Progressives Congress (APC) members to other APC members; while two from People Democratic Party (PDP) members were withdrawn and issued to other PDP members.

The Chairman of Information and Voter Education Committee (IVEC), Mr. Festus Okoye, said that the other three were withdrawn from APC and PDP; and given to other political parties. Okoye made the disclosure at a ‘Forum on Media Coverage of 2019 General Election’ held in Enugu yesterday and in a statement. The APC has lost one House of Representatives seat each to the PDP and Accord Party respectively, based on the order of the court. Also, the party lost a state constituency seat to the PDP. Okoye, in a statement yesterday, however, disclosed that there are still many cases still pending in various state and Federal High Courts arising from pre-election matters.

“The commission, pursuant to orders of court, is still updating the list of candidates that contested the 2019 elections or deemed to have contested the elections. “As at the 16th May 2019, INEC withdrew the certificates of return issued to 25 candidates of the different political parties in Nigeria and issued fresh ones to other candidates,” Okoye said. Based on the order of court, Okoye disclosed that the commission withdrew certificates of return from the APC candidates in Ekiti North federal constituency and Ehime-Mbano/Ihitte Uboma/Obowo federal constituency of Imo State and issued them to PDP and Accord Party respectively.

“In Darazo state constituency of Bauchi State, the commission withdrew the certificate of a candidate of the APC and issued to the candidate of the PDP,” he further explained. Okoye stated that the commission withdrew a certificate of return from APC senatorial candidate in Bauchi South senatorial district and issued to another APC candidate. “In Delta State, the commission withdrew the certificate of return issued to the candidate of the PDP in Delta North Senatorial District and issued to another candidate of the PDP.

“In Oredo state constituency of Edo State, it is APC to APC,” he added. While in Akko Federal Constituency of Gombe State, a certificate of return was withdrawn from APC candidate and issued to another APC member. It was the same case in Billiri East state constituency of Gombe State, where PDP candidate lost to another PDP member. Other constituencies where certificates of return were withdrawn from APC and issued to other candidates of the party are in Igabi Federal Constituency, Kaduna South federal constituency and Kaduna North II state constituency of Kaduna State; Takai/ Sumaila federal constituency; Gaya state constituency and Gezawa/Gabas Awa federal constituency of Kano State. Others are in Bakori/ Danja federal constituency of Katsina State; Arewa/ Dandi federal constituency of Kebbi State; Esha/ Shawo/Igbo Idum state constituency of Kwara State; Ilorin South state constituency of Kwara State; Niger East senatorial district of Niger State and Kontagora/ Mairiga/Mashegu/Wushishi Federal Constituency. Also, INEC withdrew certificates of return from APC candidates in Suleja/ Tafa/Gurara federal constituency and Magama/ Rijau federal constituency, as well as Lavun state constituency and Suleja state constituency, all of Niger State, and issued to other APC candidates. “The responsibility of the commission is to comply with orders and judgements of courts. “The constitution donates the power of adjudication of pre and post-election matters to the courts and the tribunals,” Okoye said, and assured that INEC would continue “to obey and give effect to clear, positive and unambiguous orders and judgements of courts.”

Meanwhile, Okoye stated that a total of 23,316 candidates contested the various elective positions in the country and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) during the 2019 general election. According to him, the presidential election was contested by 73 candidates, while 1,068 candidates contested the governorship in 29 states of the federation and the 109 Senate seats were contested by 1,904 candidates. He said that 4,680 candidates contested 360 House of Representatives seats; 14,785 candidates contested the 991 State Constituency seats, and 806 candidates contested 68 Area Council seats in the Federal Capital Territory.

“Before we left INEC national headquarters on Friday (May 17, 2019); the commission has withdrawn 25 certificates-of-return from the first owners to their new owners following court orders to do that,” he said. Speaking at the Enugu event, President of the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ), Chris Isiguzo, said that the media and its practitioners enjoyed a vast and robust consultations and meetings with INEC before, during and after the elections. Isiguzo said that INEC performed creditably given the resources and length of cooperation from other stakeholders involved in the electoral processes. “However, we are here to evaluate the entire process and see where we can strengthen our engagement and better the electoral system,” he said. In his address, the Enugu State Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Dr. Emeka Ononamadu, noted that evaluation of processes of the elections would help better the electoral processes as well as strengthen institutions and stakeholders involved in the entire processes.

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