The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has withdrawn the certificate of return issued to Sina Akinwumi, a member of the All Progressives Congress, who had earlier been declared the winner of the March 2019 State House of Assembly election in Okitipupa constituency II in Ondo State.
The withdrawal comes after the Ondo State High Court declared James Ololade-Gbegudu, also of the APC, as winner of the ruling party’s primary conducted in October 2018.
Ololade-Gbegudu had filed a suit before the court seeking to be declared the rightful winner of the APC primary and the bona fide candidate of the ruling party in the constituency election.
Ololade-Gbegudu argued that he, and not Akinwumi, won the primary and prayed that the court compels the APC and INEC to recognise him as winner of Okitipupa constituency election.
With the court having ruled in favour of the applicant in July 2018, INEC has re-issued the certificate of return to Ololade-Gbegudu at its headquarters in Abuja.
Yakubu Mahmood, INEC Chairman, who presented the certificate to the new lawmaker, 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seat at House of Assembly with immediate effect while the Certificate of Return earlier issued to him had since been withdrawn.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 at the event by Rufus Akeju, Resident Electoral Commissioner in Ondo State, said: “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.”
Ololade-Gbegudu expressed delight at the development, saying the truth had prevailed after several months of injustice.
He promised to serve his constituents diligently.