Imo State Governor Rochas Okorocha yesterday faulted a decision by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to withhold his Certificate of Return (CoR) as the senator-elect for Imo West District.
He described the move as unfortunate and unconstitutional.
The governor also accused the INEC of allowing itself to be used by those he claimed, were fighting him ahead of the 2023 presidential election by stopping him from going to the Senate.
According to him, “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, who addressed thousands of youths, who came on protest over the conduct of the 2019 elections in the state, Wednesday, at the Government House, accused the State Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Prof Francis Ezeonu, of bias with the worrisome manner he has handled the Conduct of the 2019 elections in the state.”
He added: “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 2/3 of the Local Governments in the State by announcing the PDP candidate, Emeka Ihedioha who only met the requirement in 9 Local Governments instead of 18 local government areas, which is 2/3 of 27 councils winner”.
He wondered why the REC accepted the figures from the three Aboh Mbaise, Ahiazu Mbaise and Ezinihitte local government areas.