On Wednesday, Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha declared that the
Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, lacks the power to
withhold his Certificate of Return.
Okorocha described the decision of INEC to withhold his Certificate
of Return after being declared winner of the Imo West Senatorial
election as unfortunate and unconstitutional.
Speaking at the state’s Government House in Owerri, the state
capital, Okorocha claimed that INEC was being used by those fighting to
stop him from going to the Senate.
According to the governor, it is only the courts that have the
powers to nullify any election after a winner has been declared,
insisting that the electoral umpire does not have such power.
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.
“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.”