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Published On: Tue, May 28th, 2019

Court rulings: INEC withdraws 64 certificates of returns from initial winners

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  • … Says 809 pre-election cases pending in courts
  • … Vows not to accept submission of candidates list from parties unless…

By Lateef Ibrahim, Abuja

Chairman of Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu has disclosed that there are 809 pre-election cases pending in various courts across the country challenging the conduct of primaries by political parties for the 2019 general elections.This is even as Yakubu revealed that the certificates of return that had been withdrawn and issued to persons declared winners by courts of law by INEC has now risen to 64.
The INEC Chairman made the disclosures on Monday during the presentation of certificates of returns to the Zamfara State governor-elect, Dr. Bello Mohammed Matawale, his deputy, the three elected Senators in the state and the seven House of Representatives members-elect in Abuja.The twenty-four elected members of the State House of Assembly would be presented with their certificates of return on Friday in Gusau, the state capital.Prof Yakubu noted that the 809 pre-election cases pending in various courts across the country are clearly more than the total number of petitions currently before the various election petition tribunals nationwide challenging the outcome of the main elections.
He stressed further that the Commission is studying nine more judgements it was served in the last one week in which primary elections conducted by different political parties were upturned by the courts.In the words of the PDP INEC chairman, “At the moment, there are 809 pre-election cases pending in various courts across the country challenging the conduct of primaries by political parties for the 2019 general elections.
“This is clearly more than the total number of petitions currently before the various election petition tribunals nationwide challenging the outcome of the main elections.
“In our last update, the Commission reported that 25 certificates of return had been withdrawn and issued to persons declared winners by courts of law.
“Since then, three more certificates have been withdrawn by court order. With the Zamfara case, the figure has now risen to 64.
“In addition, the Commission is studying nine more judgements we were served in the last one week in which primary elections conducted by different political parties were upturned by the courts.
“The Zamfara example is not the first pre-election case determined by the Supreme Court arising from the recent party primaries. “Earlier, the apex court had determined the case of Lere Federal Constituency in Kaduna State which the Commission had already complied with and issued the certificate of return to the winner.
“It is therefore important to continue to emphasise to our political parties their obligation to conduct credible primaries for the nomination of candidates.
“Our democracy in particular and electoral process in general can never be virile unless political parties rise to the challenge of internal party democracy.
“It is in this context that the latest judgements of the Supreme Court are crucial steps in strengthening our electoral jurisprudence.
“Going forward, we will not accept the submission of names of candidates by political parties under Sec. 31of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) unless there is evidence, monitored by the Commission, of compliance with the provision of Sec. 87 of the Act.
“Party members interested in contesting elections start as aspirants before they emerge as candidates through the democratic process of direct or indirect primaries enshrined in Sec. 87 of the Electoral Act.
“It is only after they comply with this requirement of the law can their names be submitted to INEC under Sec. 31. We shall continue to work with the political parties to ensure strict compliance”, he said.In his response, the governor-elect of Zamfara state, Dr Matawale lauded President Muhammadu Buhari for allowing the nation’s judiciary to do its job freely without any form of interference whatsoever.He also thanked INEC for ensuring sanity in the conduct of elections in the country.He assured the people of his state that he will not betray the confidence reposed in him.

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