The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has announced the withdrawal of 25 Certificates of Return from some winners of the just concluded 2019 General Elections on orders from various courts across the country.
INEC, through its National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education, Mr Festus Okoye, at a forum on Media Coverage of the 2019 General Elections in Enugu on Monday, explained to journalists that the withdrawn certificates have been handed to the rightful winners.
“Just before we left the commission on Friday, we had returned the certificate of return of 25 candidates.”
He added that the withdrawals followed court orders after discovering that some political parties conducted ‘crooked’ primaries and ‘substitution of candidates’.
“Why were these certificates withdrawn? Some of the Political parties took their own party constitution on its head; some of the parties conducted crooked party primaries, engaged in substitution of candidates.”
According to him 20 out of the 25 certificates were withdrawn from candidates of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and given to candidates of the same party.
While two were withdrawn from APC candidates and given to candidates of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).
Two were also exchanged between PDP members and one was withdrawn from a candidate of the APC and given to a member of Accord Party.
“20 of those certificates were withdrawn from candidates of the APC and given to other candidates of the APC. One was withdrawn from APC and given to a candidate of Accord Party.
“Two of the certificates were returned from the APC and given to the PDP candidates. Two certificates were withdrawn from the PDP and given to the PDP candidates.”
Mr Okoye also revealed that more certificates of return may be withdrawn as the court is still adjudicating on some cases.
“And the withdrawals will continue because even before I left Abuja, the Federal, State and Appeal courts were still delivering judgments relating to party primary elections and were still giving orders to the commission to withdraw certificates of return and issue to others.”