The national leadership of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has commended the peaceful and successful conduct of the just concluded general election in Enugu State, describing it as exceptional, one of the best in the country and a demonstration of “good electoral behavior”.
The electoral umpire added that the exercise in Enugu State, unlike in some states, witnessed no case of “violence, snatching of ballot boxes or all sorts of electoral malpractices”.
The INEC commendation was made by the National Commissioner in charge of Information and Voter Education, Barr. Festus Okoye, during the presentation of Certificates of Return to Gov. Ugwuanyi and Governor-elect, his deputy and the Deputy Governor-elect, Hon. Mrs. Cecilia Ezeilo, and the elected members of the State Assembly led by the present Speaker of the House, Rt. Hon. Edward Ubosi.
Barr. Okoye, who congratulated the recipients, on behalf of the Chairman of INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, for their victory at the polls, explained that the exercise “is a formal statutory and confirmatory process that you have won an election in accordance with the constitution and electoral dictates”.
He also congratulated “in a very big way, the people of Enugu State for taking ownership of the electoral process and driving it in a very peaceful and conducive atmosphere that fused power and sovereignty back to them”.
Offering advice to the recipients, he said: “The sealed Certificate of Return that will be presented to you is not a trophy that marks the conclusion of your service. Rather it marks the beginning of your service to the people. The validity of the certificate rests with the people of Enugu State. It is within their constitutional mandate to renew, withdraw and or elevate it. The key word is service to the people”.
Earlier in his opening speech, the INEC State Resident Electoral Commissioner, Dr. Emeka Ononamadu, who rated the peaceful conduct of the elections in Enugu State high, “with all the promises of fairness, openness and neutrality intact”, maintained that the exercise “was a tortuous journey that did not come at zero cost, but it is also a journey that the entire nation is poised to learn from Enugu”.
According to him, “we set out for 2019 general election with clear vision which resulted in one of the best elections in Nigeria. On behalf of INEC, I wish to thank stakeholders, particularly the political parties, security agencies, traditional rulers, civil society organizations, media, voters and my colleagues in INEC, for their painstaking support in conducting an election which today is being evaluated as one of the best and most peaceful of our time”.
In his brief remark after receiving the certificate, Gov. Ugwuanyi, who appreciated God, thanked INEC and the security agencies for their roles towards the peaceful and successful conduct of the elections in Enugu State.
The governor also thanked the people of the state, who he described as “the true heroes of our democracy” for renewing his mandate and reassured them that he “will continue to serve you with the fear of God”.
His words: “We all prayed for peaceful, free, fair, credible and transparent elections, and by the special grace of God, it ended in praise. This means that truly Enugu State is in the hands of God and in all we do in Enugu State we give God due glory, honour and adoration”.