Umahi receives INEC’s Certificate of Return, vows to prosecute electoral offenders

Gov Dave Umahi of Ebonyi, and governor-elect in the March 9 governorship election on Tuesday in Abakaliki received his Certificate of Return from the Independent National Electoral Commission, ().

Dr Eric Kelechi-Igwe, the state Deputy Governor and also deputy governor-elect equally received his certificate of return.

Umahi, who expressed delight in the smooth and successful conduct of the general elections in the state, dedicated his victory and the CoR to God, Ebonyi people and all those that lost their lives in the cause of the election.

The governor expressed his determination and commitment at prosecuting all those involved in all forms of electoral offences in the state.

I am committed as the leader of the state and by the reason of our constitution to prosecute in Ebonyi all electoral offenders.

“It does not matter who is involved, it is something I will pursue to achieve better society and for a better Nigeria.

“I have directed the security agencies to give me details of all the electoral breaches, security wise.

“If any of the offences involve , I will move into as a citizen of this country and demand justice and we ought to look at the character of the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) and imitate him.

“I seek not any help, I seek for justice and so, anyone involved in any election breaches, will be prosecuted “, Umahi said.

The governor further called for immediate reform of the nation’s electoral law in the interest of the country’s democracy.

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I want to ask Nigerians to look at our electoral laws; we have to start on time to amend the electoral laws.

“In some advanced countries, you allow the ruling government to have their party’s primaries one year before the election and the opposition to do their own primary election two years before the election.

“This process enables the country to do away with all issues relating to primary elections before going into the main election,” he added.

Umahi also canvassed for the adoption of electronic voting system in future elections to ease tension, killings and other election violence that characterized voting in an election in Nigeria.

So, I believe that the Senate is going to resend the electoral amendment bill back to the states, so that we can make our inputs, so that we can start that on time and reform our nation’s democracy, “.

Earlier, Prof Godswill Obioma, INEC REC applauded the Ebonyi government and the electorate for ensuring that the electoral process including voting in the February 23 and March 9 general elections were peaceful, credible and violence free in the state.

Obioma noted that there was no credible alternative to democracy as it offered the people opportunity to participate in choosing who would lead them.

He explained that the commission offered Ebonyi peaceful, credible, fair and transparent elections compared to most states of the federation.

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The resident commissioner noted that certificate of return was symbolic because it was through the issuance that those who won in election were confirmed and authenticated.

He explained that the certificate was a symbol of the choice of the people as expressed through their ballot to the winner.

What we are here to do today is the peak of democracy, we commend the government and people of the state for ensuring that the elections were peaceful, successful and credible,” Obioma said.

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“The issuance of the certificate to the governor is the peak of the electoral process and to confirm and authenticate him as the true winner in the contest,’’ Obioma said.

The high point of the event was the presentation of the certificates of return to Umahi and his deputy, Kelechi-Igwe by Prof Okechukwu Ibeano, INEC National Commissioner in charge of South-East, represented by Mrs Wendi Kuku, director of legal services, Abuja.

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