The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has presented the certificate of return to the winner of the August 11, 2018 house of assembly bye-election in Obudu, Abbey Ukpukpen widow of the former lawmaker, Stephen Ukpukpen whose death necessitated the bye-election was declared winner after polling 12,712 votes which was over 8,300 more than that of the runner up.
And, while presenting the certificate of return which authenticates her win on Thursday in Calabar, the INEC’s Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in Cross River State, Frankland Briyai explained the importance of the exercise and urged her to reciprocate the goodwill shown to her by her constituents while calling on other candidates to support her in the spirit of good sportsmanship.
“The issuance of Certificate of return is one of the most crucial mandates of the commission as enshrined in section 75 subsection 1 of the electoral act 2010 as amended. This section of the electoral act states, ‘a seal certificate of return at an election in a prescribed form shall be issued to every candidate who has won an election under the act.
“The certificate of return confirms the winner of the election. That is, it is not enough to be declared a winner in an election. Until the certificate is issued, such a person cannot assume office,” Briayi said, and adjudged the bye-elections to be “credible, free, fair and violent free.”
Addressing the lawmaker elect, Briyai urged her to, “exhibit high sense of responsibility in the discharge of her duties while in office in order to uphold the confidence reposed in her by the electorate,” while enjoining the other contestants to, “display the spirit of sportsmanship by working together for the upliftment of the land and people of Obudu.”
In her remarks, Ukpukpen who called for a minute silence in honor of her late husband, commended Cross River State Governor, Senator Ben Ayade and his family for his benevolence towards her family.
Also, she lauded the efforts of stakeholders in the People’s Democratic Party and her constituents for giving her the opportunity to serve them and pledged to live by the ideals of her late husband.
“I want to thank the people of Obudu state constituency for giving me an opportunity to serve them after my late husband passed, and I will reciprocate this gesture with all the ideals and legacies my late husband believed in,” she said and commended INEC for being “a good umpire and for conducting a free and fair election.”
Ukpukpen’s swearing-in will take the number of female representatives in the 25-man assembly to four, making it the highest in the history of the state.
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