INEC Withdraws Certificate of Return from Sina Akinwunmi, Ondo Lawmaker, Gives To Gbegudu
June 18, 2019
According to the Politico, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the All Progressives Congress (APC) have withdrawn the certificate of return of a new lawmaker representing Okitipupa Constituency-2 at the Ondo State House of Assembly, Hon Sina Akinwunmi.
Subsequently, the certificate of return has been issued to the real winner of the APC assembly primary election, Hon James Ololade-Gbegudu as the lawmaker representing the constituency in line with the judgement of an Ondo State High Court sitting in Akure which on May 15, 2019 declared Gbegudu as the winner of the party’s primary conducted on October 5, 2018.
Presenting the certificate of return to Gbegudu at the commission’s headquarters, Alagbaka- Akure on Monday, the INEC Chairman, Professor Yakubu Mahmod said a letter had been issued to Akinwumi to vacate the seat with immediate effect while the certificate of return earlier issued to him had since been withdrawn.
Professor Mahmod represented by the Resident Electoral Commissioner in Ondo State, Dr Rufus Akeju disclosed that the Speaker and the Clerk of the state House of Assembly have been ordered through a letter to comply with the judgement and swear-in Gbegudu as a member of the assembly.
Commenting on the development, Gbegudu expressed delight that truth had prevailed after several months of injustice to his ambition to represent his people at Okitipupa Constituency-2 and promised to serve his constituents diligently.
Ololade-Gbegudu had approached the court through his counsel, Mr Femi Emodamori, to seek an order to compel the party and INEC to recognize him as the authentic APC candidate for the constituency and not the lawmaker-elect, Mr Sina Akinwunmi, having won the party’s primary conducted on October 5, last year.
Delivering the judgement that lasted more than two hours on May 15, 2019, Justice Olabode Adegbehingbe held that from all evidence laid before the court by officials of the APC, documentary evidence including the primary election result sheet adduced by Counsel to the plaintiff, Mr Femi Emodamori, showed that Ololade-Gbegudu actually won the APC assembly ticket.
The court also dismissed objection of the defendants that Gbegudu’s case was filed out of time and status barred, noting that the suit was brought on December 22nd, 2018 and was still within 14days allowed by the 1999 Constitution (as amended).
The court agreed with Gbegudu’s lead counsel, Femi Emodamore, that “the claimant (Gbegudu) further avers that the total number of accredited voters at the said direct primary election as recorded by the representatives of the 1st Defendant (APC) were 7,000 while the total valid votes were 6,500, out of which he (Gbegudu) scored 4,000 votes to emerge winner of the primary; the 4th Defendant (Akinwunmi) scored zero (0) as attested to by the APC Ondo State Legislative Primaries Election Committee and the original Summary Result Sheet for State House of Assembly duly signed by Abuh Andrew Abuh and Ahmed Musa Momoh as the Chairman and Secretary of the committee.”
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