INEC Makes U-Turn, Presents Certificate of Return to Jarigbe Agom

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By Adedayo Akinwale and Udora Orizu

Barely a week after the Senate President, Dr. Ahmed Lawan, swore in Stephen Odey as the member representing Cross River North senatorial dDistrict in the Senate, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has now issued a fresh certificate of return to Hon. Jarigbe Agom, as the winner and duly elected candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to represent the district in the senate.

The withdrawal of the certificate of return earlier issued to Odey was in compliance with the Appeal Court judgment last Thursday.

The appellate court had affirmed the judgment of a Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court, which had earlier declared Jarigbe as the duly elected PDP candidate for the December 5 Cross River North senatorial seat.

The certificate of return was handed over to Jarigbe by the Director of Voter Education, Mr. Festus Okoye.

By the issuance of the fresh certificate, the one earlier issued to Odey is deemed cancelled and withdrawn.

Meanwhile, the Ethnic Youth Leaders Council of Nigeria has hailed the emergence of Jarigbe as senator-elect, and urged Odey to accept defeat and work with him.

The group also urged the Senate president to swear in Jarigbe immediately in obedience to the court order, adding that government officials should not be seen under any circumstances holding orders of the court with contempt.