JUST IN: Bayelsa: INEC yet to get court order on certificate of return

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The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Thursday said it is yet to receive the Supreme Court enrolled order to issue the Certificate of Return (CoR) to qualified party and candidate after Thursday’s ruling by the apex court.

Mr. Rotimi Oyekanmi, the Chief Press Secretary (CPS) to the INEC Chairman Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, told Daily Trust tonight that the commission was yet to receive the judgement that would have given it the official directive of what to do specifically.

Daily Trust reports that the commission’s Chairman and National Commissioners and other management team met till late Thursday night for regular management meetings, but which was extended for more period apparently due to the Bayelsa State judgement.

“The commission (INEC) was yet to receive the enrolled order of the Supreme Court on what the commission should do specifically.

“As a law-abiding institution, we are bound to obey the judgement and we shall issue the Certificate of Return (CoR) to whoever is qualified afterwards,” Oyekanmi said.

When asked if tomorrow may not be late for the issuance of the CoR and swearing-in of a new governor-elect for the state, Oyekanmi said there would not be any problem as Friday can only elapse after 12am.

His comment was coming on the heels of Daily Trust earlier exclusive report where the commission said that it would give effect to the Supreme Court judgement sacking the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate, David Lyon, as the winner of the November 16, 2019 governorship election in the state.

INEC National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee (IVEC), Festus Okoye, told Daily Trust exclusively that the commission would go back to its Operation Department to determine the party that meet up with the Apex Court’s ruling.

“The Supreme Court has directed the commission to issue the Certificate of Return (CoR) to the political party that placed second in the Bayelsa governorship election and which also has the geographical spread in the election.

“Based on that, we would carry out the judgement of the Supreme Court. We would do that when we get the judgement of the Supreme Court, so that we would know clearly what the Supreme Court want us to do and we would carry it out,” Okoye told Daily Trust.

The Supreme Court had earlier today sacked the Bayelsa State governor-elect, David Lyon, of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and his running-mate, Biobarakuma Degi-Eremienyo 24 hours to their inauguration on February 14.

A five-man panel of the apex court led by Justice Mary Peter-Odili ordered INEC  to withdraw the Certificate of Return (CoR) issued to the APC candidate as the winners of the November 16, 2019 governorship election in the state.

Accordingly, the apex court in its unanimous judgement delivered by Justice Ejembi Eko, also ordered INEC to issue a fresh certificate of return to the governorship candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Senator Diri Duoye, who scored the highest number of votes and the constitutional required geographical spread.

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