INEC Finally Issues Okorocha Certificate of Return

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has issued a certificate of return to Rochas Okorocha, senator-elect of Imo west.

In a statement on Tuesday, INEC said it issued Okorocha the certificate in compliance with the  directive of a federal high court in Abuja.

The electoral umpire had refused to issue Okorocha the certificate after the returning officer for the election was quoted to have said that he declared the former governor winner under duress.

INEC had earlier expressed reservations over the court directive to issue Okorocha a certificate of return.

“If electoral impunity is allowed to flourish, any individual can harass, intimidate and put the Commission’s officers under duress, procure a favourable declaration and be rewarded with a certificate of return,” the commission had said.

Earlier in the day, Okorocha was denied accreditation when he arrived the National Assembly Complex for inauguration of lawmakers.

While the federal high court in Abuja ordered INEC to issue Okorocha his certificate of return, two other courts in Imo state had asked INEC as the senator-elect.

But in the statement issued by Festus Okoye, its director of voter education and publicity, INEC said the two court orders asking it not to issue any certificate of return to Okorocha were interim orders and not the final from the courts.

It, however, said while it is committed to obeying court orders, “the commission must put on record its very profound concerns about the likely consequences of this judgement for our electoral process in particular and democracy in general. Obviously, persons who seek elective offices could perceive in this judgement an irrelevance of due process and acting within the law.”

The Commission said it would appeal the judgment which favoured Okorocha.

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