The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says it cannot yet issue certificate of return to Sen. Hope Uzodinma because it has not received the certified true copy of Tuesday’s Supreme Court ruling on the 2019 Imo state governorship election.
Concise News reports that INEC National Commissioner and Chairman, Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, in an interview NAN on Wednesday in Abuja, said that INEC would comply with the judgment once it was served with the enrolled copy of the judgment.
The Supreme Court in a unanimous judgment on Tuesday removed Emeka Ihedioha of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) as the governor of Imo and declared the All Progressives Congress (APC) Uzodinma winner, directing INEC to issue him (Uzodinma) certificate of return.
A seven-man panel of the apex court in its decision held that Ihedioha did not win a majority of votes cast at the March 9, 2019 governorship elections.
Okoye said that the commission had no problem with issuing Certificate of Return in compliance with the court order, but it needed copy of the enrolled court judgment to know clearly what it was ordered to do.
He said that the commission had the responsibility to obey the judgment of the Supreme Court as the final court of the land.
“We have no problem with issuing certificate of return, but we cannot issue the certificate until when we see very clearly a certified copy of the judgment of Supreme Court or an enrolled order of the judgment of the court directing us clearly and unequivocally on what to do.
“The moment we see it, issuing certificate is a mini venture, we will definitely comply. We have the constitutional responsibility to obey the judgment of the Supreme Court.
“The commission has not been served with the copy of the enrolled judgment so that the commission will know clearly and unequivocally what the Supreme court directed us to do.
“The moment we are served with the court order we will issue the certificate immediately,” Okoye said.
In the judgment delivered by Justice Kudirat Kekere-Ekun, the court accordingly ordered INEC to withdraw the Certificate of Return issued to Ihedioha and issue a fresh Certificate of Return to the candidate of the APC on grounds that he won majority of the lawful votes cast at the election.
The court held that the lower court erred in law when it rejected evidence tendered before them to the extent that votes from 388 polling units were not credited to APC and Sen.Uzodinma.
The court also ordered the immediate swearing-in of Uzodinma as lawful winner of the March 9, 2019 governorship election in Imo.
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