Okorocha: INEC can’t withhold my Certificate of Return

The Imo State Governor, Owelle Rochas Okorocha, has said the Independent National Electoral Commission cannot withhold his Certificate of Return as the senator-elect for Imo West Senatorial District.
Okorocha said this at the Government House, Owerri on Wednesday while addressing some youths who paid him a solidarity visit.
He said the move was unfortunate and unconstitutional.
He said: “Only the court has the power to nullify any election after a winner has been declared.
“The electoral umpire does not have the power.
“In my own case, 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, DSS 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.
“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.”
Okorocha accused the State Resident Electoral Commissioner, Prof. Francis Ezeonu, of bias based on what he termed the worrisome manner he has handled the conduct of the 2019 elections in the state.
He said: “The REC has shown that he was brought to Imo after the 2015 election to return PDP to power in the state.
“The REC had acted illegally by ignoring the provision of the Constitution that makes it mandatory for a candidate to have 25 per cent in two-third of the Local Governments in the State by announcing the PDP candidate, Emeka Ihedioha, who only met the requirement in nine Local Governments instead of 18 local government areas, which is two-third of 27 councils, winner.”
The governor faulted the acceptance of the figures from Aboh Mbaise, Ahiazu Mbaise and Ezinihitte local government areas.
Okorocha said the 64,219 votes secured by the Peoples Democratic Party from Aboh Mbaise Local Government Area alone constituted 50 per cent of the total votes polled by Ihedioha from the state’s 27 councils.
He said the governorship candidate of the Action Alliance and his son-in-law, Uche Nwosu, who he backed against the candidate of his own party, All Progressives Congress, Senator Hope Uzodinma, won the election.
He said based on his own calculation, Nwosu got the required spread by having 25 per cent in 21 out of the 27 council areas.