Next week, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) will issue certificates of return to governors, deputy governors-elect, and state assembly members-elect. The certificates will be presented to the elected officials in INEC offices in each state of the federation.
The announcement was made by the Commission’s national Commissioner and chairman of the Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, in a statement released on Saturday in Abuja.
Okoye noted that the issuance of the certificate of return is mandated by the provisions of Section 72(1) of the Electoral Act 2022, which requires the Commission to issue a certificate of return within 14 days to every candidate who has been elected under the law.
The statement further revealed that the Commission deliberated on a wide range of issues, including the issuance of certificates of return during a meeting held on Saturday, March 25, 2023. The Commission has therefore scheduled Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, March 29, 30 and 31, 2023 for the presentation of certificates of return to the elected officials.
The statement emphasized that the Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) and Administrative Secretaries of INEC in the various states will communicate specific dates for the issuance of the certificates to those elected. The certificates of return will be issued to the governors and deputy governors-elect, as well as state assembly members-elect who were elected during the Governorship and State Houses of Assembly elections conducted by the Commission on March 18, 2023.
The issuance of certificates of return is a crucial step in the process of confirming the election of any candidate. It confirms that the candidate was duly elected in accordance with the provisions of the Electoral Act 2022