The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has reiterated that all candidates whose results were announced under duress will not be issued certificates of return.
It should be recalled that the Governor of Imo state, Rochas Okorocha was alleged to have compelled the INEC official to declare him winner of the Orlu Senatorial districts Elections.
Also, there are candidates from Bauchi, Benue and Akwa Ibom states who were also denied certificates of return for being declared winners under duress.
Speaking at the Justice Legbo Kutigi international conference centre, Minna, the National Commissioner in charge of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, Niger, Kaduna and Plateau states, Prof. Anthonia Simbine said those affected by the process are free to seek a judicial remedy.
According to her “most of these people who compelled our officials to declare them winners will not get their certificates of return now. They can seek redress in court.
“Unfortunately, the 2019 general elections was marked by a new trend in which some of our parties and candidates forced Returning officers to declare them winners of the election. That has either ended up become inconclusive or other candidates win the elections.
“The Commission views this trend with great concern and has decided that all those who were returned under duress will not for now be issued Certificates of Return. This is a decision that INEC has taken across the country and we all know that there are many examples.”
She said, while the Commission is seriously looking into the matter, affected persons are free to seek judicial remedy if they believe they have real issues to pursue.
Prof. Simbine also decried the level of violence that took place in some states across the country saying “if people can resort to violence to ensure that they are declared, what happens to the whole thing. Why should we bother to do the process.
According to her, “If everybody should pick up arms and asked to be declared it will be a different world altogether; a world probably of hideouts. We don’t want that to continue.”
In his earlier remarks, the Niger state Resident Electoral Commissioner, Prof. Sam Egwu urged stakeholders to shun all vices that will impede the Electoral process.
Accordingly, he said “I look forward to a day where Elections will be like National festivals and not where people will carry arms and kill themselves”.
Also, the Governor, Abubakar Sani Bello while commending the people for their role in reelecting him, called on his main opponent, the Peoples Democratic Party PDP candidate, Umar Nasko to join hands with him in moving the state forward.