The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has withdrawn the Certificate of Return issued to Sina Akinwumi, an All Progressives Congress (APC) lawmaker following the judgement of the Ondo State High Court.
Akinwumi had earlier been declared the winner of the March 9, 2019, House of Assembly election, in Okitipupa constituency II of Ondo State..
He was sacked by the court last month on the grounds that he did not win the primary of the party. The court, however, declared James Ololade-Gbegudu also of APC as the winner the primary, held in October 2018.
Ololade-Gbegudu had approached the court through his counsel, 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 Sina Akinwunmi, having won the party’s primary.
To this end, the court ordered the electoral commission to issue him (Ololade-Gbegudu) the Certificate of Return as the representative of the constituency.
Presenting the certificate of return to Ololade-Gbegudu at the Commission’s headquarters, Alagbaka-Akure, the INEC Chairman, Professor Yakubu Mahmood said a letter had been issued to Akinwumi to vacate the seat at House of Assembly with immediate effect while the Certificate of Return earlier issued to him had since been withdrawn.
Mahmood, who was represented by the Resident Electoral Commissioner in Ondo State, Akeju, Professor Mahmood 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.”
Reacting to the development, Ololade-Gbegudu, said the truth had prevailed after several months of injustice and promised to serve his constituents diligently.