Confusion as INEC issues 2 certificates of return to 2 lawmakers-elect from same constituency

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

The drama was obvious yesterday when the Head of Department Election and Political Parties monitoring Mr. Shemsundeen Oyeyemi 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, reports Daily Independent.

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 judgement abides SC/ CV/ 316/2023.

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

It was 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 base on the court Judgement, Court Judgement supercede whatever, the first has been issued this is the authentic certificate,” Shemsundeen Oyeyemi said.

Meanwhile 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 judgement nullifying the certificate of return issued to our client.

“The said suit seek 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,” interlocutory injunction read.



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