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The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) said it has withdrawn 87 Certificates of Return (CoR) issued to some candidates that won during the 2019 General Elections, following court orders.
The National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee (IVEC), Festus Okoye, said this in a statement on Tuesday.
He was reacting to Monday’s protest by a senator-elect, Chief Benjamin Uwajumogu, who led scores of protesters to the headquarters of INEC to protest the withholding of his CoR by the commission, despite a court order.
The Director General, Benjamin Uwajumogu Campaign Organization (BUCO), Sir Mathew Omegara, who addressed the protesters, accused INEC of overt indiscretion and double standard in relation to the election of Chief Benjamin Uwajumogu in the recently concluded senatorial election in Imo North Senatorial District.
Okoye said INEC has a history and record of obedience to orders and that the commission does not make a distinction between orders made in its favor and orders made against it.
“As at the 22nd July 2019, the commission has withdrawn and re-issued 87 certificates of return. The commission withdrew three CoR from the APC and issued to NNPP, A and NRM. The Commission withdrew 44 CoR from APC and issued to the PDP (arising mostly from the Supreme Court decision on the Zamfara APC Party Primary Election). The commission withdrew 40 CoR from the APC and re-issued to APC candidates,” Okoye said.
He said the commitment of the commission is to the rule of law and due process and the growth of the democratic process and that despite the challenges of the party primary elections, INEC has cancelled, and withdrawn CoR based on the orders of different courts of law.
He said, “However, all Court Orders are subjected to the processes and procedures of the commission. The commission must receive or be served with the court order and if it is represented, it processes the court order and subjects it to its processes and procedures.
“The Legal Department of the commission studies and analyses the orders of courts and fleshes out what the court expects of the commission to ensure full compliance.
“Thereafter, the Legal Department of the commission forwards a memo to the Legal Services, Clearance and Compliance Committee of the Commission which deliberates on the memo from the Legal Services Department and thereafter prepares a memo for presentation to the Commission containing the prayers and actions by the Commission.
“At the end of deliberations, the commission approves the prayer or amends the prayer or rejects the prayer. The commission adheres to these processes and procedures to prevent giving effect to fraudulent court orders or giving wrong interpretation to orders of court,” he said.
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