The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has advanced reasons for its decision to issue a Certificate of Return to Mr Uche Ogah who came second at the last Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship primaries in Abia State.
INEC National Commissioner in charge of the South East, Amb. Lawrence Nwuruku said the commission only kowtowed to the lawful order of a court. Nwuruku added that as a citizen, he could go to jail if he flouts a valid court order.
He said if the court tomorrow orders a reversal of the action, INEC would not hesitate to do its bidding. “The situation is that we are simply obeying the court order. The court said with immediate effect without wasting of time, we should issue him Certificate of Return and that is what we have done – to obey the court order.
If the court tomorrow issues another order, we would obey the same. By the grace of God, I am the INEC Commissioner in charge of South East. I’ll do the same thing if the court orders us to do so. If court says we should issue the same certificate to another person.
In this case, court ordered us to issue a Certificate of Return to the person who won the election and that is Uche Ogah. I was the person who gave the Certificate of Return to Gov. Ikpeazu as he was declared winner. Now, the court has said otherwise.
One thing we know is that we are not above the law and we cannot disobey the laws of the land. After the court, another person we obey in our land is God and my conscience is my God. Another thing that guides us is the court and we must obey its order with immediate effect.
If you were in the court that day, and I urge you the media, to go and study the court ruling very well, it was wonderful; it was direct”, he said.
Speaking in the same vein, INEC’s Director of Publicity, Oluwole Osaze-Uzi, had earlier stated that the decision followed an order by an Abuja Federal High Court directing INEC to immediately issue Certificate of Return to Mr. Ogah.
Justice Okon Abang of the court had Monday asked INEC to issue the Certificate of Return issued to Mr Ogah. Justice Abang, had ruled that on the account of fake tax returns during the primaries, Mr Ikpeazu, ab initio was never qualified to run in the PDP primaries as a governorship candidate.
He consequently ordered the Chief Judge of the state to swear in Uche Ogah as the substantive Governor of Abia State.