Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo says the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC)’s decision to withhold his Certificate of Return after being declared winner of the Imo West senatorial election is unfortunate and unconstitutional.
The governor made the assertion at the Imo Government House on Wednesday, March 13 while addressing thousands of youths who were protesting over the conduct of the 2019 elections in the state, The Nation reports.
Continentour.com.ng gathers that Okorocha stated that after a winner has been declared, it is only the courts that have the powers to nullify any election. He added that the electoral umpire doesn’t have such powers.
The governor alleged that those fighting to prevent him from going to the Senate ahead of the 2023 presidential election were using the electoral commission.
He said: “In my own case, my Certificate of Return has not been issued and I wonder why INEC will withhold my certificate for a frivolous reason, without hearing from me.
“I am not a violent person and those who know me know that. This is why we have peace in Imo state. The returning officer could not have done that under duress under the watchful eyes of the police, DSS and party agents.
“I am not unmindful of the facts that those who are fighting me from Abuja are anxious to see me removed as a senator. I urge INEC to do the right thing immediately by releasing my certificate.”
He went further: “Let me tell every Nigerian that I fought no one and no one should fight me. If anyone fights me, he will be the loser at the end of it all. My INEC certificate cannot be touched or seized; doing so is belittling democracy in Nigeria.
“It is only the Tribunal that has the right to say otherwise once a result is declared. INEC cannot seize my certificate by mere petition written by somebody in a case I was not given the opportunity to present my own side of the story.”
Recall that Continentour.com.ng previously reported that INEC removed Governor Rochas Okorocha’s name from the list of newly elected senators that was published on its website.
The electoral commission published the list of elected federal lawmakers, ahead of the presentation of the Certificates of Return on Thursday, March 14. Only Senator-elect Onyewuchi Ezenwa Francis (Imo East), who won on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) was listed in the slot for the three Imo senatorial districts.
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