2023 polls: Tinubu’s certificate non-issue if INEC’s record is working – Uzodinma

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By Abdullahi Mohammed, Abuja
Governor Hope Uzodinma of Imo state said Tuesday that there was no need for the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, to make fresh submission of his credentials if the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) record keeping was efficient and its server functional
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The governor said this while fielding questions from State House correspondents after a thank-you-visit to President Muhammadu Buhari for approving the hosting of Army Day celebration in Owerri.“For my presidential candidate, the issue of certificates shouldn’t even arise. In 1999 he contested elections and became the governor of Lagos, in 2003 he contested election as second term governor of Lagos.“He ran and won as a senator in the country. Where record keeping is efficient, and INEC server is functional, he doesn’t need to do fresh submission. 

“However, if whatever he is supposed to submit is not handy, it is not late yet. I’m sure before the time he will submit whatever is required of him,” he said.On the hosting of the 2022 Nigerian Army Day celebration, the governor said the event would help address the security challenges in the state.“Basically I came to see the President to thank him for his gracious approval for Army Day celebrations to be held in Owerri, Imo State, South-East of the country. 

“That of course you know will help strengthen the measures that are already on ground to curtail the effects and excesses of banditry and insecurity in the region.“So for me it is a good thing and for the people of Imo State, we are indeed very delighted over that. Basically that is why I am here and the President is also very comfortable with the visit,” he said.The governor called on bandits and trouble makers in the state to surrender or be dealt with.“Only two days ago I called on the criminal gangs operating in any part of Imo State; the unknown gunmen, bandits who are hiding one way or the other in our forests and the bush to come out.“I granted a 10 day period during which if they lay down their arms, we will grant them pardon. As of this morning, I am told that some people are already surrendering their arms and it is a good development,” he said.

Commenting on the general security of the South-East, he said all the governors in the region are working in synergy to address the problem.He said the sit-at-home order issued by the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) has not been effective in Imo state.“We the governors in the South-East are all working to ensure that security is guaranteed, for people to go about their businesses. The sit at home order is not operational in Imo State neither is it working in Owerri, the state capital.“Really, it is still in operation in some parts of the South-East but the governors are also working in synergy to ensure that it becomes a thing of the past,” he said.On the recent call by the Governor of Zamfara state, Bello Matawalle, on the citizens of the state to acquire guns for self-protection, the Imo State Governor said there was no need for such.

“The situation in Imo is not the same with that in Imo State. However, on the Governor’s call for individuals to apply for licenses, I think the authorities will only give licenses to a qualified and a legible candidate.“I don’t think there is a need for individuals or unauthorized people to carry arms. The situation in Imo state is currently being managed and we have seen relative peace for the past weeks in Imo and normal businesses have incrementally resumed in Imo State.“I am not in Zamfara state to know the situation there but I don’t think that the security situation in Zamfara state or any other part of the country is beyond our security agencies. In Imo State, the security agencies have risen to the occasion, they are working in synergy and the situation has been controlled to a bearest minimum,” he said.

The governor also condemned recent attacks on Churches and the kidnapping of some clergymen.“Regrettably, of recent, some Catholic Priests became victims of the banditry saga in Nigeria. It is an unfortunate incident and condemnable. It is not as if other people being killed are not important but we detest any form of violence or taking of lives.

“The Church condemns that and Islam is also against that, likewise our local traditions and I am calling on security agencies to do everything humanly possible to fish out those who are behind this and bring them to book,” he said.