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Odey faults INEC for issuing Certificate of Return to Jarigbe

The Senator representing Cross River North Senatorial District, Dr. Stephen Adi Odey, has faulted the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for hastily issuing Certificate of…

The Senator representing Cross River North Senatorial District, Dr. Stephen Adi Odey, has faulted the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for hastily issuing Certificate of Return to Hon. Jarigbe Agom to replace him in the Senate.

Odey won the September 5, 2020 by-election on the platform of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), received Certificate of Return from INEC and was sworn-in by the Senate President, Senator Ahmed Lawan.

But Jarigbe, who contested the primary election, ran to the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) in Apo, Abuja and asked the court to declare him as the winner of the PDP primary election for Cross River North Senatorial District.

The High Court granted his prayer and ordered INEC to recognise him as the candidate of the party.

Senator Odey appealed the judgement of the High Court but the Appellate Court upheld the decision of the lower court.

Not satisfied, Senator Odey proceeded to the Supreme Court and prayed the apex court to set the judgement of High Court and the Appeal Court aside and affirm him as the winner of the PDP primary election.

However, INEC had issued Certificate of Return to his opponent.

Odey accused INEC of compromise, saying that the electoral body should have exercise restraint and allowed him to exhaust his right of appeal at the highest court in the country before replacing him with Jarigbe

Odey accused INEC of committing the most egregious electoral malfeasance capable of destroying democracy.

He said; “in the most brazen act of illegality in recent memory, INEC issued another Certificate of Return to Hon. Jarigbe Agom on the pretext that he won the PDP primary election.

“I was declared the winner of the primary election and I won the senatorial election and sworn in on the 15th of December, 2020 as the senator representing Cross River North Senatorial District.”

Odey described the situation as a slap on democracy, saying that the INEC chairman had compromised.

He said; “such thing happening through INEC shows that our future election is at risk.”

He pointed out that this is dangerous for the country because such occurrence may continue in the future election if it is not addressed now.

“Honestly, this is a show of shame and I want to say that this kind of a thing has never happened before.

“The implication of this is that our democracy is at risk and this must be properly addressed.

“There is no doubt that INEC, with the support of some people, including a south-south governor, has compromised”, Odey said.

But INEC National Commissioner, Mr Festus Okoye, said Certificate of Return was handed over to Jarigbe based on the judgment of the Court of Appeal which declared him as the substantive candidate of the Party in the election.