Friday, 29 March 2019

26 Governors-elect, Assembly members collect INEC Certificate of Return in 36 States

*As APC controls 19 States, PDP 13

* Rivers undecided

*Commission witholds Okorocha’s

By Ezeocha Nzeh (Group Politics Editor) and Angela Nkpolu (Owerri) (,The Authority)

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Wednesday issued Certificates of Return to a total of 26 governors-elect and members-elect of State Houses of Assembly who were elected at the March 23 Governorship and State Assembly elections.

The certificates, which were issued at the various states by INEC National Commissioners, along with the Resident Electoral Commissioners (REC), were in compliance with the provisions of the Electoral Act, which certifies the recipients as been duly elected at the polls to govern their various states.

Based on the list from INEC, while the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) so far got majority of 19 states, the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has 13 states.

Also, while the APC produced elected first term governors in six states (Borno, Gombe, Yobe, Nasarawa, Kwara, Lagos), its incumbent governors won second term tickets in Kaduna, Katsina, Kebbi, Jigawa, Plateau and Niger states.

The APC also controlls Ondo, Ekiti and Kogi states, where governorship elections were not held on March 23, due to political developments that staggered theirs from the normal general election period.

The PDP on its part, recorded an improvement recording upsets in Bauchi, Benue, Sokoto and Oyo, states, where they defeated the ruling APC.

Ahmadu Fintiri of PDP has emerged winner of Adamawa governorship election.
The Returning Officer of the election, Andrew Haruna, who declared the result Thursday in Yola after the supplementary election. Mr Fintiri, born on October 27, 1967 in Madagali Local Government Area of Adamawa, is a graduate of History from University of Maiduguri.
He was the Speaker of Adamawa House of Assembly in 2014 and also served as Acting Governor in July 2014, following the impeachment of the then governor, Murtala Nyako.

The commission had however withheld the Certificate of Return for the Governors-elect of Zamfara State, Muktar Umar, and all the state’s Assembly members, following the judgement of the Court of Appeal, which nullified the APC primary election in the State.

Prof. Ibeanu, while presenting the certificates to the Imo State Governor-elect, Hon. Emeka Ihedioha, congratulated him and others on their victory at the polls and wished them well.

Ibeanu enjoined the governor-elect to be a leader and a representative of the state and not just for his party, for a successful administration.
INEC also reiterated that all the candidates whose results were announced under duress will not be issued their Certificates of Return.

Hon. Ihedioha promised to work to uplift the overall interests of the people of the state and pledged even development to every part of the state.

He reiterated his resolve to assist uplift the youth, who he noted were under the pangs of frustration and depression since their interests and welfare were jettisoned for a long time.

Recall that the Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo state was alleged to have allegedly compelled INEC officials to declare him winner of the Orlu Senatorial Zone elections. He was therefore not issued with any certificate during the ceremonies at Owerri, yesterday.

Also, there were some candidates from Bauchi, Benue and Akwa Ibom states who were also denied Certificates of Return for being declared winners allegedly under duress.

Speaking at the Justice Legbo Kutigi International Conference Centre, Minna, Niger State, the National Commissioner in-charge of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, Niger, Kaduna and Plateau states, Prof. Anthonia Simbine, however said those affected by the process are free to seek judicial remedy.

According to her, “most of these people who compelled our officials to declare them winners will not get their Certificates of Return now. They can seek redress in court.

“Unfortunately, the 2019 general elections were marked by a new trend in which some of our parties and candidates forced Returning Officers to declare them winners of the election.

“The Commission views this trend with great concern and has decided that all those who were returned under duress will not, for now, be issued Certificates of Return. This is a decision that INEC has taken across the country and we all know that there are many examples”.

Prof. Simbine, who spoke while presenting Certificate of Return to the Niger State Governor, Abubakar Sani Bello, his deputy and elected members of the State Assembly on Wednesday, also decried the level of violence that took place in some states across the country saying “if people can resort to violence to ensure that they are declared, what happens to the whole thing. Why should we bother to do the process”?

According to her, “If everybody should pick up arms and asked to be declared ,it will be a different world altogether. We don’t want that to continue.”

In his remarks, the Niger State Resident Electoral Commissioner, Prof. Sam Egwu, called on stakeholders to shun all vices that will impede the electoral process.

Also, Governor Abubakar Sani Bello while commending the people for their role in re electing him, called on his main opponent, the PDP candidate, Umar Nasko, to join hands with him in moving the state forward.

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