Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Friday insisted that it would not issue the governor of Imo State Rochas Okorocha of the All Progressives Congress (APC) a return certificate as an elected senator unless a court of competent jurisdiction gives the order.
“The position of the commission has not changed. The position of the commission is that we will not issue certificate of return to Governor Rochas Okorocha in relation to the senatorial election,” INEC’s head of voter education Festus Okoye said at a press conference in Abuja.
“Since the matter is already in court, the best thing to do is not to prejudge the matter that is in court, but to allow the judicial processes to run through. As of today, the matter is pending in court, the best thing to do is to wait for the outcome of the judicial process.”
Okorocha contested the Imo West Senatorial District election on February 23 and was declared the winner of the election.
But INEC refused to acknowledge his victory because the returning officer Innocent Ibeabuchi was made to announce the result under duress.
However, Okorocha has said that the withholding of his certificate of return by the INEC has the potential to stir tension in Imo State.
He insisted that INEC’s action was an insult to his person and a mockery of Nigeria’s democracy. He alleged that he’s aware that INEC has colluded with some of his political enemies to deny him his mandate.
But Okoye said, “If at the end of the day, the court gives an order that we should give him his certificate of return, of course, the commission will obey the order.”
He explained that “If on the other hand, the court takes a different position and makes other consequential orders in relation to the conduct of the elections in Imo West, we will also comply with whatever order the court gives.”