THE Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has announced that successful candidates in the February 23 national assembly elections would be issued their certificates of return on Thursday, March 14.
This is according to a statement signed by Rose Orianran-Anthony, Secretary to the Commission, and made available on the commission’s website on Monday.
The ceremony will be held at the International Conference Centre in Abuja, which also served as the INEC collation centre for the presidential election.
Senators-elect are expected to be seated at the venue of the meeting by 10 am Thursday morning, while members-elect of the House of Representatives should be seated by 2 pm same day.
“All National Assembly members-elect are required to come along with photo-identification, such as Permanent Voter’s Card, Nigerian Driver’s License, National Identity Card or International Passport,” the statement read, adding that “each member-elect is entitled to be accompanied by a maximum of five (5) guests only”.
“The National Chairman and National Secretary of political parties that sponsored members-elect are also invited.”
However, the statement stressed that only successful candidates whose name appear on the INEC website were invited to the ceremony.
The ICIR checked the INEC website for the names of successful national assembly members but the page was down as at the time the check was done.
Recall that the INEC National Chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, had said that in places where the result of the senatorial election was announced under duress, such candidates would not be issued certificate of return.
For instance, in Imo State, while announcing the result of the Orlu Senatorial District election, the returning officer, Innocent Ibeawuchi, said he was making the announcement under duress. He restated that he was under duress just before declaring Rochas Okorocha, the current governor of Imo State, as the senator-elect.
“I was compelled to announce the result which was inconclusive. I am a man of integrity and it is not true that the governor slapped me but I was held hostage by agents working for him. I was manhandled and I thank God I came back alive,” Ibeawuchi told journalists.