INEC receives court order to issue certificate of return to Uwajumogu
By Jude Orji
Following the declarative judgment of Justice Taiwo Taiwo of the Federal High Court, Abuja on July 4, 2019 compelling the Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC) to immediately issue Certificate of Return to the All Progressives Congress(APC) candidate for Imo North Senatorial District, Senator Benjamin Uwajumogu, the court order was Friday served on the electoral body apparently to ensure its swift compliance to the order, it was gathered.
uwajumogu had approached the court seeking for an order to compel INEC to issue him Certificate of Return having been announced as winner of the Senatorial election by the Returning Officer but INEC refused issuance on the allegation that the electoral process was marred by irregularities.
In the order, the court ruled, “that the INEC does not have power and right under any law in Nigeria to review or otherwise deal with any question related or connected to the declaration and return of the applicant for the Imo North Senatorial District election on the 23rd of February and 9th March 2019 after the returning officer had taken a decision”.
The court among others also ruled “that an order of mandatory injunction is hereby made compelling the Independent National Electoral Commission to immediately issue the applicant Senator Benjamin Uwajumogu a sealed Certificate of Return for the Imo North Senatorial District”.
The issue of INEC refusing to issue Certificate of Return to Senator Uwajumogu has generated a lot of controversy within the polity with some political commentators accusing INEC of bias in the whole episode.
INEC on its part is hinging its decision on the need to ensure fairness by investigating the alleged irregularities before issuing Certificate of Return.
With the service of the court order on INEC, it is expected that the electoral body would waste no time in complying with the court order this week.
In his reaction to the judgement, Senator Uwajumogu expressed satisfaction that justice had been served but regretted that he had to miss being inaugurated alongside his colleagues owing to the legal impediments.
“I am highly elated with the declarative order compelling INEC to issue me Certificate of Return. I give glory to God. However, I would expect INEC to swiftly comply with the order without wasting time to save me more precious time being wasted in serving the good people of Imo North in the Red Chambers.
“Already, INEC,s decision to hold on to my Certificate of Return after the Returning Officer had announced me as winner had caused me incalculable damage but that can be remedied to a large extent if i am issued my Certificate tomorrow monday,” he said.