Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State has said the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has no right to withhold his certificate of return.
The governor stated this on Wednesday when some of his supporters marched to the government house to protest the conduct of the just-concluded elections.
INEC had struck out Okorocha’s name from the list of senators-elect who will be presented with certificates on Thursday, saying the governor was declared winner “under duress”.
“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,” he said.
“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 also rejected the declaration of Emeka Ihedioha of the PDP winner of the election, saying his son-in-law, with Uche Nwosu, candidate of the Action Alliance (AA), won by a landslide.
“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.