The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), on Wednesday, presented certificates of return to Ebonyi Governor-elect, Mr Francis Nwifuru, and the Deputy Governor-elect, Mrs Patricia Obila.
The event, held on Wednesday at the collation centre within INEC state headquarters, also had 17 out of the 24 House of Assembly members-elect issued with their certificates of return.
The presentation of the certificates was performed by the INEC National Commissioner in charge of Ebonyi, Enugu and Imo states, Chief Ken Ukeagu.
Earlier, the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in the state, Mrs Pauline Onyeka, in her address of welcome, said that the presentation of the certificates of return was part of the electoral process guaranteed by the law.
“Presentation of certificate of return is an aspect of the electoral process guaranteed by law; a certificate of return issued by the INEC is evidence and authority that shows that one has been duly elected in an election conducted by the commission.
“Hence, it is one of the constitutional requirements in the electoral process.
“We shall, today, be presenting the certificate of return to the governor-elect and the deputy governor-elect as well as the members-elect of the House of Assembly,” Onyeka said.
According to her, the assembly comprises 24 state constituencies, adding, however, that only 17 members-elect would be presented with their certificates of return.
She said that the results of the remaining five constituencies were declared inconclusive, with two members-elect having minor issues.
Onyeka said that the commission had fixed April 15 for supplementary elections in the affected state constituencies.
She urged the winners to be magnanimous in victory and discharge the mandate given to them by the electorate in providing dividends of good governance.
“Now that you have the mandate of the people, I will urge you to see your election as a call to serve.
“Your constituents elected you with the belief that you have the capacity and ability to deliver the dividends of democracy to them, as whom much is given, much is expected.
“As the electioneering and the 2023 general elections are now almost over, the expectation is that both the winners and the losers will come together and work for the common good of the people, no matter the party they belong,” she said.
In his remarks, Nwifuru pledged to run an all-inclusive and open-door administration, even as he paid tribute to the electorate as well as elders and leaders of the state for the mandate given to him to lead the state.
He called on the candidates of the various political parties who participated in the governorship contest to eschew party differences and team up with him to build a better and greater Ebonyi.
“I thank my fellow candidates from other political parties who went on this journey with me and I call on them to join this ‘Divine Mandate’ and eschew all differences so that we can work together for the peace and development of Ebonyi people.
“The campaign was a race to serve our dear people of Ebonyi, Therefore, I invite all of them to join me in building Ebonyi that we all will be proud of,” Nwifuru said.