Reform electoral system quickly, INEC tasks senators-elect

March 15th, 2019

*As 102 Senators, Reps-elect get Certificate of Return

*Ifeanyi Ubah promises to liberate constituents

*Uwajumogu, Okorocha missing from list

By Nzeh Frankwhite

The Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof Yakub Mahmood, yesterday, presented certificates of return to the newly elected National Assembly members from various parts of Nigeria.

At the event which was held inside the African Hall of the International Conference Centre (ICC), the chairman requested for an urgent attention on the issue of electoral reforms, by the time the new lawmakers are inaugurated. He identified the early passage of electoral reform, as the catalyst for a smoother electoral process among others;

“I want to assure you that we will continue to work with national assembly to review and strengthen our electoral law.

“But, I want to appeal to the senators-elect to please start work early and conclude work on electoral framework in a good time well ahead of the 2023 general elections.

“The tendency to delay electoral reform particularly the review of electoral framework until it is too close to the elections, leave the commission with little time to develop processes including regulations and guidelines, make required consultations with stakeholders, embark on effective voter education including sensitisation, train staff and organize deployment for the elections.

“I am glad that among the senators-elect are senators that we have worked very closely with and some of them have taken initiative or even sponsoring private member bills to advance the cause of electoral reform.

‘’We look forward to working very closely with you in the next senate.

“However all these are matters to be considered. I hope we will do so in earnest, but today is your day. I congratulate you and I wish you well in the service of our dear nation”, Prof Mahmood added.

On his part, the newly elected senator, representing Anambra South, Dr Patrick Ifeanyi Ubah, in a brief chat with media men, said he owes his electoral victory to God and promised to use the unique opportunity to work assiduously towards the liberation of Nigerians. In his words, “I want to thank almighty God, who has made this possible.

“I am also promising to use this opportunity for the benefit of all Nigerians, while ensuring that the people of Anambra State are given a good representation.
“As a good party man, I wish to work with my party’s ideological principle in the senate”, concluded the highly excited business mogul, who was accompanied by his beautiful wife and numerous supporters, who had thronged the ICC from various parts of the country in celebration of his electoral victory from a perceived obscure political party.

Meanwhile, apart from Governor Rochas Okorocha, whose certificate of return was suspended by INEC, Senator Ben Uwajumogu, was also conspicuously absent from the session, fielding speculations that his election could also be having issues.

When the Chief Press Secretary to the Chairman of INEC, Mr Rotimi, was contacted on why another Imo Senator was excluded, he was unable to adduce a specific reason for Uwajumogu’s exclusion.

Some of the Senators that were present to collect their Certificate of Return were; Sen. Ike Ekweremadu, Enugu West (PDP); Mohammed Sabo, Jigawa South West (APC); Philip Aduda, FCT(PDP) and Sen. Dino Malaiye Kogi West (PDP).

Others are: Baba Kaita, Kastina North (APC); Omo-Agege Ovie Delta Central(APC); Ibrahim Gandam, Yobe North (APC); Abdul’Aziz Yari Zamfara North (APC); Kaura Yahaya, Zamfara West(APC) and Ifeanyi Uba, Anambra South (YPP), Orji Uzor Kalu (APC), Theodore Orji (PDP), Eyinnaya Abaribe (PDP), among several others.

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