2023: Controversy as INEC issues two certificates of return to two different candidates 

There is drama currently ongoing in Nasarawa State in the just concluded governorship and State’s Houses of Assembly election that was just held in Akwanga-North constituency over who is the genuine member elect waiting to be inaugurated on May 29, 2023.


The drama was obvious on Thursday, May 4, 2023 when the Head of Department Election and Political Parties monitoring, Mr. Shemsundeen Oyeyemi, who represented the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) issued another certificate of return to Honourable Larry Ven Bawa, as the authentic member-elect of Akwanga-North constituency after the INEC had issued the same to deputy speaker Honourable Nehemiah Tsentse Dandaura a serving member in the same constituency.


The controversy arising from the outcome of the party primary led to litigation from the appeal court to the Supreme Court.


The supreme court finally ruled that” this appeal succeeds in part and is hereby allowed in part.


“That the court of Appeal correctly held that the suit was not statute-barred. But it lacked the jurisdiction to determine the merit of the substantive suit.


“That the exercise of jurisdiction to determine it, as well as the decision to grant all the reliefs, claimed for in the originating summons is a nullity.


“That the grant of the reliefs is hereby set aside; that no order as to cost; and that this judgment abides SC/ CV/ 316/2023.


It will be recalled that Honourable Nehemiah Tsentse Dandaura was issued with the Certificate of Return by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on April 20, 2023.


It is also recalled that the deputy speaker who is the candidate of the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) polled 8688 votes to defeat his closest rival PDP candidate who secured 7317 votes.


Meanwhile, the same certificate of return was presented to Hon. Larry Ven-Bawa, by the Head of the Department of Election And Political Party Monitoring Mr Shemsundeen Oyeyemi who was represented by the Resident Electoral Commissioner.


Presenting the certificate of return to Honourable Larry Ven Bawa Shemsundeen, Oyeyemi said that with the certificate presented, it means Hon. Larry Ven-Bawa is the authentic Member-elect of Akwanga North Constituency.


According to him, “In as much as another certificate has been issued today, this is a valid certificate, this nullifies whatever certificate that has been early given, because there cannot be two certificates.


Certificate issued was based on the court judgment, court judgment supersedes whatever, the first has been issued this is the authentic certificate.” Shemsundeen Oyeyemi said.


Meanwhile, the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has issued interlocutory injunction retraining INEC from issuing a certificate of return to the Honourable Larry Ven Bawa, that there was no valid court to the effect.


“That the certificate of return issued to the plaintiff who won the election for the Akwanga-North constituency we write as counsel to the plaintiff in the above referred suit and whom we hereinafter referred as “our client.


“This is to bring to your attention the pendency of a suit field by our client and which seeks to determine whether your commission can administratively issue a certificate of return to Mr. Larry Ven Bawa who was never returned winner of an election, he did not participate in all stages of election and who do not have a valid judgment nullifying the certificate of return issued to our client.


“The suit seeks basically the interpretation of the provision of section 72 (1) and (2) of the electoral act 2022 and section 285(13) of the 1999 constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria as amended,” the interlocutory injunction read.


(Daily Independent)


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