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. ”