Rochas Okorocha, the outgoing governor of Imo State has said the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) can’t seize his senatorial certificate of return.
Mr Okorocha who ran for the Imo West Senatorial seat on the platform of the All Progressive Congress (APC) was declared winner of the race.
The returning officer of INEC for the election, Innocent Ibeawuchi, after the declaration, said he made the pronouncement under duress as his life was threatened, alleging he was held hostage by the governor.
When the electoral body got the information, INEC said it won’t be issuing certificate of return to those whose declaration was made under duress.
When it published list of winners due to receive their certificates today, Okorocha’s name was missing in the list.
Reacting to the development, the governor, while addressing supporters who were on solidarity visit to the government house to protest the conduct of the general elections, said anyone who decides to go against him would lose.
Although he mentioned no name, POLITICS TIMES understands that the governor is of the opinion that the national chairman of the All Progressive Congress (APC), Adams Oshiomhole has a hand in what is playing out.
Messrs Okorocha and Oshiomhole are not in good terms despite belonging to the same political party. The face-off between the two began when Senator Hope Uzodimma emerged the gubernatorial candidate of the APC in the state against the wish of the governor who wanted his son-in-law, Uche Nwosu to succeed him.
“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,” Okorocha said on Wednesday.
“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 fact 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,” he added.
The APC senatorial candidate also rejected and called for a supplementary election over the outcome of the governorship election in the state, where Emeka Ihedioha, candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) emerged winner.
Mr Nwosu of the Action Alliance (AA) had trailed Mr Ihedioha, coming second in the gubernatorial race while Mr Uzodimma came fourth.
“Uche Nwosu won the election landslide, if you remove the manipulation results from Mbaise, Uche Nwosu won with over 50,000 votes, if you cannot declare him a winner because you have someone already, then they should go for a rerun because you cannot change the Constitution if the Federal Republic of Nigeria because you want to favour a candidate,” he said.