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Saturday, 6 July 2019

Court Orders INEC to Issue Uwajumogu Certificate of Return

A Federal High Court, Abuja has ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission to immediately issue a Certificate of Return to the All Progressives Congress candidate for Imo North Senatorial District, Senator Benjamin Uwajumogu.

Justice Taiwo Taiwo, who served a court order on the electoral body, delivered the judgment on Friday.

Uwajumogu had approached the court seeking for an order to compel INEC to issue him the certificate after the failure of the electoral body to declare him the winner of the senatorial election on an allegation that the electoral process was marred by irregularities.

According to the order, the court ruled that “INEC does not have the power and right under any law in Nigeria to review or otherwise deal with any question related or connected to the declaration and return of the applicant for the Imo North Senatorial District election on the 23rd of February and 9th March 2019 after the returning officer had taken a decision.”

The court, among others, also ruled “that an order of mandatory injunction is hereby made compelling INEC to immediately issue the applicant, Senator Benjamin Uwajumogu, a sealed Certificate of Return for the Imo North Senatorial District.”

The decision of INEC not to issue the certificate of return to Uwajumogu had generated controversy with some accusing the electoral body of bias.

INEC had based its stance on the need to ensure fairness by investigating the alleged irregularities before issuing a Certificate of Return.

In his reaction to the judgment, Uwajumogu expressed satisfaction, saying justice had been served.

He, however, expressed regret that he had to miss being inaugurated alongside his colleagues owing to the legal impediments.

He said, “I’m highly elated with the declarative order compelling INEC to issue me the certificate of return. I give glory to God.

“However, I would expect INEC to swiftly comply with the order without wasting time to save me more precious time being wasted in serving the good people of Imo North in the Red Chamber.

Punch

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