INEC lacks power to withhold my certificate of return — Okorocha

Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha
Chidiebube Okeoma and Gibson Achonu
Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha , on Wednesday said the Independent National Electoral Commission lacked power to withhold his certificate of return as the senator – elect for the Imo West .

He described the electoral body’ s decision to withhold his certificate as part of efforts aimed at making him irrelevant ahead of the 2023 presidential election .

Okorocha said this at the Government House , Owerri on while addressing some youths who paid him a solidarity visit .

He said only a court had the power to nullify any election after a winner had been declared .

He denied the allegation that INEC ’ s returning officer declared him winner of the senatorial election under duress , describing the allegation as an insult .

Okorocha said , “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 , the DSS (the Department of State Services ) 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 . ”

The governor said he was not fighting anybody and those who were fighting him would fail.

He added , “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 because of a mere petition written by somebody in a case I was not given the opportunity to present my own side of the story. ”

Okorocha also described the governorship and state house of assembly elections in the state as “a sham and a mockery of democracy. ”

He said he had lost confidence in the nation ’ s democracy .

He accused INEC of complicity in the conduct of the polls .

He insisted that the governorship candidate of the Action Alliance ,

Uche Nwosu , won the governorship election and had the required spread of 25 per cent in 21 out of the 27 local governments in the state .

The governor said , “ It is obvious that INEC in Imo State is not guaranteeing us free , fair and credible elections.

“ Uche Nwosu , the governorship candidate of the Action Alliance actually won the election , but INEC criminally disbanded electoral officers of the commission and introduced people from Abia College of Agriculture who arrived the state midnight.

“ They brought people they had been training for weeks in Anambra before the elections. ”

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