Okwe Obi, Abuja
A mild drama played out today when Benjamin Nwajumogu, winner of Imo North Senatorial District stormed the headquarters of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), demanding the issuance of his certificate of return.
Nwajumogu was prevented from entering the premises of INEC in his black Sport Utility Vehicle, a situation which led to a protracted shouting match between his supporters and security operatives before he was finally allowed in.
Recall that Justice Taiwo Taiwo of the Federal High Court, in his judgement had compelled INEC to “immediately issue the applicant. Senator Benjamin Nwajumogu, a sealed certificate of return,” saying that “INEC does not have the power and right under any law in Nigeria to review or otherwise deal with any question related or connected to the declaration and Return Of the applicant for the Imo North senatorial district election held on February 23rd March 9, 2019 after the returning officer has taken a decision.”
But addressing journalists in Abuja, Nwajumogu, who said he was yet to get the certificate, accused the opposition of working with the electoral body to bulwark him from getting the return certificate.
He said: “I am here to demand my certificate of return from INEC. You are aware that elections were conducted and INEC refused to issue me a certificate of return.
“As law-abiding citizens we approached the Federal High Court, which about three weeks ago gave judgement in our favour demanding that INEC should do the needful. Up till today, INEC has refused to release the certificate.
“We know that there are people in the opposition who are working closely with INEC to ensure that we do not get the certificate. Other people who have been given certificates did not go through the committee before they gave them; why is my own going through this process? Why is INEC using the excuse of the commission committee to deny us certificate of return when a proper court of competent jurisdiction has give an order, How do you review an order of court?
“INEC must produce my certificate of return today. It should do that to forestall a breakdown of law and order because we are prepared for whatever it would take.”
However, before the arrival of Nwajumogu, a protest letter was delivered to the Chief Security Officer, Safety, Dikko Daniel, on behalf of INEC, which he promised to remit to the chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, assuring the protesters that the impasse would be resolved.