Zamfara verdict: INEC takes action Monday

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The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, will on Monday take final decision on the Supreme Court judgement that annulled all votes scored by the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, at the last general elections in Zamfara State.

The apex court in the judgement on Friday declared that the candidates of political parties with the second highest valid votes and the requisite spread should be returned as having been elected.

Reacting to the judgement, Festus Okoye, INEC National Commissioner and Chairman Information and Voter Education Committee, said the Commission held an emergency meeting shortly after the judgement and would meet again Saturday.

“Following the Supreme Court’s judgment delivered today 24th May 2019 on the Governorship, National and State Assembly elections held in Zamfara State, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) held an emergency meeting to consider the court’s decision.

“The Supreme Court ruled that the All Progressives Congress (APC) did not hold valid party primaries as required by law. It held that all the votes scored by the APC in the said elections are wasted votes and declared that the candidates of political parties with the second highest valid votes and the requisite spread should be declared as having been elected.

“The Commission will meet again tomorrow Saturday 25th May 2019 to further deliberate on the issues arising from the said judgment, while the final decision on the matter will be communicated to the public on Monday 27th May 2019”, he stated.


James Kwen, Abuja

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INEC obeys court orders, withdraws 25 certificates-of-return

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The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has withdrawn 25 certificates-of-return issued to some candidates that won the 2019 general election in compliance with court orders.

Festus Okoye, chairman of Information and Voter Education Committee (IVEC), made the disclosure yesterday in Enugu at a ‘Forum on Media Coverage of 2019 General Elections.’

According to Okoye 20 of the 25 certificates-of-return were withdrawn from All Progressives Congress (APC) members to other APC members; while two from People’s Democratic Party (PDP) members were withdrawn and issued to other PDP members.

He further said that the other three were withdrawn from APC and PDP; and given to other political parties.

He said: “Before we left INEC national headquarters on Friday; the commission has withdrawn 25 certificates-of-return from the first owners to their new owners following court orders to do that.”

Okoye, however, said that those whose certificate-of-returns were withdrawn could still reclaim them if they appeal the court ruling that ruled against them.

“INEC is not an adjudicatory body, but always obeys court rulings. If by tomorrow the appeal reverses the ruling of the lower court, INEC will comply accordingly. So we are still waiting for more rulings. It is a continuous process,” he said.

Commending the media, Okoye, said the Commission was impressed by the level of openness and robust engagement before, during and after the election, adding that the media had become critical stakeholders for the success of future elections.

The Chairman of IVEC noted that the media had become the first-line of reach of the masses as well as platform for explanation of INEC political and electoral decisions.

He urged the media and its practitioners to dig deep into the Electoral Act to ensure that the import of the recent amended sections are made known to … Read More...

INEC shifts Kogi, Bayelsa guber polls to Nov 16

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The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has shifted the Kogi and Bayelsa states governorship elections earlier scheduled for November 2 to November 16.

The shift is sequel to the request by the government and people of Bayelsa that November 2 is a date for the state’s annual thanksgiving established by an Act of State House of Assembly.

Festus Okoye, INEC National Commissioner in charge of publicity announced the change in date in a statement issued on Thursday in Abuja.

“It will be recalled that on 9th April 2019, the Independent National Electoral Commission (lNEC) released the timetable and schedule of activities for the Kogi and Bayelsa governorship elections. The Commission fixed 2nd November for the elections to hold in both States.

“However, the Commission has received several appeals from the Government, State Assembly, elders, religious leaders, traditional rulers and other critical stakeholders in Bayelsa state, that the election date coincides with the State’s Annual Thanksgiving Day which is backed by the Bayelsa State Thanksgiving Day Law 2012.

“After a careful consideration of the appeals the Commission at its regular weekly meeting held today Thursday 16th May decided to
shift the govemorship elections in Kogi and Bayelsa States to Saturday 16th November 2019.

“The timelines for all other activities leading to the elections have also been adjusted to align with the new date. The amended timetable and schedule of activities for the elections is attached to this press release”, the statement read.

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INEC to meet next week on Okorocha’s Certificate of Return 

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The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC has disclosed it would meet next week to take a decision on the latest letter written by incumbent Governor of Imo State, Rochas Okorocha, challenging its powers to withhold his Certificate of Return.

Okorocha was the candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress in the February 23 Imo West Senatorial election.

The commission withheld his certificate of return after the Presiding Officer had declared him winner of the election. INEC claimed the declaration was made under duress.

In an interview with BusinessDay, Thursday, Festus Okoye, INEC commissioner for information and voter education, stated that though both parties were in court over the issue, the commission’s chairman would meet with commissioners to deliberate on the issue and decide on the next line of action.

“INEC chairman will meet next week with Commissioners to deliberate on the latest letter written by Okorocha and take a look at the issue again. Both parties are in court, but the INEC chairman is outside the country and most of the commissioners are on duty,” Okoye said.

The INEC Commissioner further stated that the commission was not concerned about comments attributed to the Governor on the issue, stressing that it would, however, not take any action that is outside the law.

“The case is in court but we believe what we are doing is in accordance with the law,” Okoye added.

Governor Okorocha, who is completing his second term in office later this month, had insisted recently that going by laws governing elections in the country, INEC had no power not to issue him a Certificate of Return.

He added that if there were issues with an election after the announcement of a winner, the Election Petitions Tribunal would resolve them.

According to him, “Section …