INEC finally issues Okorocha certificate of return

Rochas Okorocha
Rochas Okorocha

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has finally issued former Imo governor, Rochas Okorocha, a certificate of return for winning the February 23 senatorial election in Imo West.

Festus Okoye, INEC National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee confirmed this to PREMIUM TIMES in a phone interview Tuesday evening.

The presentation came barely hours after the ninth National Assembly was inaugurated.

Without a certificate of return, Mr Okorocha could not take part in the inauguration or voting of the new leadership of the Senate.

Mr Okorocha was declared the winner of the February 23 senatorial election of Imo West zone but the returning officer, Innocent Ibeabuchi, said he was forced to make the declaration.

Mr Okorocha then approached the High Court in Abuja, seeking an order compelling INEC to issue him a certificate of return.

In response, the commission refused to issue him one, saying it was reviewing the situation.

The former governor also accused his estranged party, the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, and INEC of plotting to frustrate his senatorial ambition.

PREMIUM TIMES on Friday reported how Justice Okon Abang upturned the commission’s decision not to acknowledge Mr Okorocha’s victory.

The judge described INEC’s decision as “lawlessness and a complete nullity.”

Mr Abang said INEC had no power to act as it did. He said such an action implied the creation of new laws by INEC.

In response, INEC said it would do the ‘needful’ after studying the ruling.

Meanwhile, Mr Okoye said the commission would issue a statement on the presentation “soon”.

More to come….

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