INEC Withholds Return Certificates of Four Delta Assembly Members-elect

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  • Okowa: We’ll leave state much better than we met it

Omon-Julius Onabu in Asaba

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has withheld its Certificates of Return for four persons earlier declared duly elected members of the Delta State House of Assembly after winning the March 9, 2019 state legislative election in their respective constituencies.

The INEC National Commissioner in charge of Delta State, Dr. Mohammed Lecky, said the certificate of return of the four persons, including three candidates of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and one candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), could not be presented to them owing to “pending legal cases that have kept the consummation of their electoral victory hanging in the balance.”

Lecky statedthis while presenting the return certificates to the state Governor, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, his deputy, Mr. Kingsley Otuaro, as well as 24 out of the 29 members-elect

The elected lawmakers affected include: APC candidates in Ethiope East, Ugheli North 1, and Ugheli North 11, Anidi Innocent Emosivwe, Oniyere Charles Whomrouhu, and Egbo Jaro Morovudu respectively, as well as the PDP candidate in Ukwauni Constituency, Ochor Christopher.

However, he said the exercise was a statutory obligation for INEC, and congratulated the governor and others elected to represent their respective constituencies.

Lecky said: “Today’s event is the highpoint of one of the legal requirements on the journey to assumption of office, after being elected.

“Section 75 (1) of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) provides for the issuance of certificate of return to elected candidates by the INEC and by this event, the commission has complied with the requirement of the law in this regard.”

Responding, Okowa stressed that his reelection meant a greater demand on his administration to redouble its effort to improve on its achievements during his first tenure.

He said with his deputy and team working harmoniously with the legislative arm of government and the Judiciary, they would leave Delta State much better than they met it at the end of their second term in 2023.

He called on all Deltans to actively participate in governance in the next four years, starting from May 29, 2019.

Okowa said: “we cannot do the job alone; with collaborative efforts, partnership, the job will be easier and to the satisfaction of all.

“In the next four years, we will do much more than we have done in the last four years. In 2023, people will judge us based on our performance and we are committed to be accountable to God and our people.”

Okowa who was accompanied to the INEC office by his wife, Dame Edith and a retinue of political office holders, used the occasion to urge Nigerians to be committed to democracy, noting that Nigeria will be better when things are done right.

He added: “There is room for growth in our democracy; we must conduct elections in such a manner that will be appreciated by the world as such will boost the confidence of the people and attract investors to our country.

“Politicians should realise that election is noble and should go out and campaign for votes and ensure that elections are devoid of avoidable deaths.”