The Independent National Electoral Commission on Wednesday August 17th reportedly said that it has no Locus Standi to withdraw the Certificate of Return of a validly elected candidate representing any constituency.
Punch reported that this was stated by the commissioner in a position paper it presented to the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Public Petitions following a petition from a Law firm, J.I Abaagu & Co, on behalf of the people of Ushongo Local Government against the member representing Ushongo State Constituency and Speaker, Benue State House of Assembly.
In the petition, the law firm alleged that INEC refused to obey the order of the Federal High Court which compelled the commission to restore an additional constituency in Ushongo and conduct elections in the two constituencies.
A statement by the Chief Press secretary to the speaker of the state assembly, Mr. Bem Abunde said, INEC insisted that doing so requires compliance with the procedures for delimiting constituencies as contained in Sections 112, 113 and 114 (1) and (2) which clearly outlined four conditions for such an exercise pointing out that the Court did not order the Commission to act arbitrarily.
Mr. Abunde said, the ”umpire body stated that it has no power to nullify the election of the Speaker of the Benue State House of Assembly, Mr. Terkimbi Ikyange on the basis of last November ruling of the Federal High Court which ordered it to restore the suppressed Mbagwa constituency.
According to Abunde, ”there is an elected member representing the constituency to be split into two, the commission opined that the case determined by the Court was neither a Pre- Election matter involving candidate nor one of election petition tribunal or appeal.
He said that the commission made it clear that Section 68 (c) of the Electoral Act (as amended), stipulates that once a declaration is made by the Returning Officer, only a “Tribunal or Court in an election petition proceedings” can set it aside.