Subsequent to the refusal of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to recognize him as a Senator-elect, Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha, Wednesday asked the commission to hand him over his certificate.
Okorocha, who had been declared winner Imo West senatorial election on the platform of the All Progressives Congress, noted that the commission cannot seize his certificate because of a mere petition against him.
The Returning Officer for the election, Prof Francis Ibeawuchi, declared Okorocha as the winner of the poll, having polled 97,762 votes ahead of his closest rival, Jones Onyereri of the Peoples Democratic Party, who had 68,117 votes.
However, Ibeawuchi later claimed he was forced to declare Okorocha as the winner to save his life, hence the commission’s decision not to issue a certificate of return to him.
Some of Okorocha’s supporters marched to the government house to protest.
The Imo state Governor speaking said, “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.”