Court strikes out suit restraining INEC from issuing certificate of return to Ihedioha

A Federal High Court sitting in Owerri, Imo State on Friday struck out a suit restraining the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) from issuing certificate of return to the state governor-elect, Emeka Ihedioha.

The court also ruled that post-election matters belonged to the election tribunals.

The Candidate of the Action Alliance in the March 9, 2019 governorship election, Mr Uche Nwosu, had gone to court to get an order restraining the court from issuing a certificate of return to Peoples Democratic Party’s candidate.

Nwosu had argued that Ihedioha did not meet the required 25 per cent of the votes in 18 out of the 27 local government areas in the state.

Striking the matter out, Justice Tijjani Ringim, held that post election matters are to be handled by the election tribunal.

Ringim said that “the quest for justice must be in line with the constitution. Post-election matters belong to election tribunal”.

Meanwhile, some political parties have asked the Independent National Electoral Commission to withhold the Certificate of Return of the Imo State governor-elect, Emeka Ihedioha.

However, some others have vowed to support him at the state Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal.

At a press conference in Owerri, the state capital, on Thursday, the governorship candidate of Masses Movement of Nigeria, Jerry Iheanacho, who spoke for the aggrieved parties, said that they had individually decided to challenge the outcome of the governorship election at the election petitions tribunal.

This is coming just 24 hours after 10 governorship candidates in the state asked other aggrieved political parties not to challenge the outcome of the governorship election at the tribunal.

Iheanacho said that the declaration of Ihedioha as the winner of the election was “a rape on our constitution”.

The governorship candidate said, “It is not about Ihedioha but it is about what the constitution says. From the results as announced by INEC, the PDP candidate didn’t meet the constitutional requirement to have been declared the governor-elect.”

However, the Forum of 2019 Governorship Candidates of Political Parties in the state has said that it will join Ihedioha at the tribunal to defend his mandate.

Addressing journalists in Owerri, a spokesperson for the group, Kingdom Okere, said that the state’s governorship election had been won and lost.

Okere said the outcome of the governorship election showed that INEC and the security agencies were upright.

According to him, Ihedioha met the requirements of the law and was duly declared governor-elect by INEC.

The governorship candidate said joining Ihedioha at the tribunal to defend his mandate was a patriotic sacrifice the Forum would make in the best interest of the state.

He added that the results as computed by INEC showed that the governor-elect met the required 25 per cent in two-thirds of the LGAs of the state.

 

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