Imo North Senatorial bye-election: INEC to issue Certificate of Return soon

By Harry Awurumibe, Editor Abuja Bureau

The argument about who actually won the Imo North Senatorial bye- will be resolved very soon if the vibes from the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is anything to rely upon.

gathered from sources close to the Commission in Abuja that the issue surrounding the true winner of the Imo North Senatorial bye- of 2020 is being discussed at the highest quarters and will be determined soon.

Multiple cases hanging over the bye- have ensured that INEC has not issued Certificate of Return (CoR) to any of the frontline contestants four months after it was conducted.

While INEC had at the conclusion of the Imo North Senatorial bye-election last year declared the All Progressives Congress (APC) the winner, the Commission failed to issue anyone Certificate of Return as two candidates from APC are locked in bitter battle over who is the authentic APC candidate.

The two gladiators are former Senator representing Imo North Senatorial Zone, Ifeanyi Ararume and Mr. Frank Ibezim with each claiming to be the rightful candidate of APC prior to the by-election.

To prove their claims both have since ran to the law courts to obtain one injunction or another which has put INEC in a quagmire as it does not know which orders it will obey.

Ridiculously, if Ararume obtains orders in the morning compelling INEC to accept him as the rightful candidate of APC in the bye-election, Ibezim will also obtain another order in the evening from a different of concurrent jurisdiction to force INEC to recognise him as the authentic APC candidate in the same election.

It now looks like ‘tales by moonlight’ or at best “Awada Keri keri” of Baba Salah fame kind of political tug-of-war with Ararume and Ibezim holding Imo North Senatorial Zone by jugular.

Yet, there is a third claimant to the Imo North seat in the person of Chief Emmanuel Okewulonu of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) who came third in the 2020 by-election.

Infact, his supporters recently stormed INEC headquarters to demonstrate and called on the Commission to quickly issue Certificate of Return to PDP candidate whom they claim won the by-election fair and square.

Okewulonu supporters also claimed that APC had no candidate in the bye-election hence the party cannot benefit from the outcome of the election, adding that both Ararume and Ibezim were by the orders of the courts not candidates in the 2020 Imo North Senatorial bye-election.

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