‘Court of Appeal is last arbiter for NASS, State Assembly elections,’ Akwa Ibom INEC tells APC
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Akwa Ibom State has accused the Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state, Mr. Ini Okopido, of misinforming the people regarding the post-election decisions of the Appeal Court relating to Essien Udim State Constituency, which held on March 9, 2019.
A statement issued yesterday, in Uyo, by the Commission and signed by the Head of Department, Voter Education and Publicity, Mr. Odaro Aisien, on behalf of the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Mr. Mike Igini, said: “It has come to the Commission’s notice that the Akwa Ibom State Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has been misleading the general public with false information on post-election decisions of the Appeal Court, relating to the Essien Udim State Constituency election held on March 9, 2019.
“On Sunrise Daily, a Channels TV Breakfast programme, Mr. Ini Okopido falsely and dishonestly claimed that the REC refused to issue a Certificate of Return to his party’s candidate, as directed by the Election Petitions Tribunal in Uyo. He deliberately failed to tell millions of Nigerians of a subsequent final judgment delivered by the Court of Appeal, Calabar Division, that “The third Respondent (INEC), did not officially declare a winner in the election, notwithstanding the tribunal reference to Exhibit R138 (video) and the evidence of the second Respondent (Returning Officer).
“If it had, there wouldn’t have been any need for the Tribunal to make an order again for the third Respondent (INEC) consequential or not, to issue a Certificate to the first respondent. The third respondent does not need to be prompted by the Tribunal to do its job. It knows exactly what to do in the circumstances. The order of the Tribunal directing the third respondent to issue a Certificate of Return to the first respondent is, hereby, set aside.”
“The APC chairman is, of course, aware of this judgment. He knows too that the Court of Appeal is the final court in NASS/State Assembly elections, whose decisions override any other judgment…”
“The Commission consequently wishes to set the records straight as to what was directed by the Court and what the Commission did to conclude the election. The Certificate of Return in respect of the election has since been issued by the Commission to the winner.”
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