ABUJA/Nigeria: A coalition of various groups has advised the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to avoid contempt of court by immediately issuing certificate of return to Senator Benjamin Uwajumogu as ordered by an Abuja High Court.
The coalition jointly signed by Dr Amos Shelley of Integrity Africa, Comrade Sani Yusuf Danmasani on behalf of Arewa Youths Movement For Justice and Good Governance and Comrade Idris Abubakar Salanke for Northern APC Youths Vanguard, was made available to newsmen in Kaduna on Sunday July 21, 2019.
“We are disappointed about INEC’s refusal to present certificate of return to Senator Benjamin Uwajumogu of the Imo North Senatorial District almost three weeks after a competent High Court ordered same.
“This disregard for the judiciary by INEC can be considered to contempt of court and we advise that the needful be done without further delays,” the group said.
They informed that in the suit, an Abuja High Court, presided by Honourable Justice Taiwo O. Taiwo on July 4th, 2019 ordered the INEC in his Judgment Order, in the suit filed by Senator Uwajumogu as Applicant, in Suit No FHC/ABJ/CS/395/2018, said that, INEC under Nigeria’s existing laws, lacked powers to review declaration of the applicant returned elected.
“That the Independent National Electoral Commission does not have the power or right under any law in Nigeria to review or otherwise deal with any question related or connected the declaration or return of the Applicant for Imo North Senatorial District Election held on the 23rd of February 2019,” they quoted from the Judgment Order.
They further explained that it is incumbent on the INEC and four others joined in the suit as defendants; Engineer Ndubuisi Emenike, Honourable Patrick Nwabueze, Honourable Chibuike Charles Ohirimba and the All Progressives Congress (APC) to respect the order.
The group further said that the INEC cannot claim ignorance to the order, because a copy of a letter from Senator Uwajumogu’s Counsel Ewere A. Aliemeke Esq which they got a copy of, was received by INEC on July 5, 2019.
“That letter drew the commission’s attention to the High Court Judgment Order in favour of its client, even
Electoral Act 2010 as amended in 2015, gives the Senate President powers to swear in a winner based on subsection 75 (2).
“When commission refuses and or neglects to issue a certificate of return, a certified true copy of Order of Court of competent jurisdiction shall ipso factor be sufficient for swearing in a candidate declared as winner by that court,” they quoted subsection 75 (2) of the electoral act.
They therefore, appealed to the Senate President to swear in Senator Uwajumogu based on sub section 75 (2) of the Electoral Act as amended in 2010.
It would be recalled that other groups like the Okigwe Unity Forum (OUF), in Imo North senatorial district, have threatened to protest at the headquarters of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) if it fails within one week to issue the Senator representing Imo North, Benjamin Uwajumogu, Certificate of Return.
Addressing newsmen in Ehime Mbano Local Government Area, National President of the group, Clement Agbaso, accused INEC of daring them by not complying with the recent Federal High Court judgment ordering the commission to issue Uwajumogu Certificate of Return.