Reprieve for Okorocha as court orders INEC to release his Certificate of Return
Victory appeared to have come the way of the immediate past governor of Imo state, Rochas Okorocha as a Federal High Court in Abuja on Friday ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to release his certificate of return with immediate effect.
Okorocha had won the position of a senator in the senatorial election that was conducted in February, but INEC withheld his certificate of Return on the grounds that its Returning Officer who presided over the election allegedly declared the results under duress.
But in his ruling over the case, Justice Okon Abang stated that INEC’s decision to withhold Okorocha’s certificate of return after he was declared the winner of February 23, 2019, National Assembly election in the Imo West Senatorial District was illegal.
“Once the declaration is made under section 68(c) of the Electoral Act, INEC has become functus officio and INEC has no lawful authority to withhold the certificate of return for any reason whatsoever.
“Therefore the issue of duress is unknown to both the Electoral Act and the Constitution”, the judge ruled.
Read also: SENATE PRESIDENCY: No need to see Buhari, I must contest- Ndume
The court held that Okorocha remained elected, subject to the outcome of the ongoing proceedings of the National Assembly Election Petition Tribunal.
He however, ordered, that “INEC shall forthwith publish and circulate the name of the plaintiff as the senator-elect representing Orlu Imo West Senatorial District.
“It is hereby ordered that INEC shall forthwith issue a certificate of return as the senator-elect representing senator-elect representing Orlu Imo West Senatorial District.”
The judge also fined the commission with the sum of N200,000 to the plaintiff, and awarded N100,000 payable to the plaintiff by each of the other seven defendants to the suit.
By this, a total of N900,000 cost is to be paid by the defendants to Okorocha.
The judge ordered the defendants to pay the costs personally to Okorocha before taking any further steps in the case.
Join the conversation
Support Ripples Nigeria, hold up solutions journalism
Balanced, fearless journalism driven by data comes at huge financial costs.
As a media platform, we hold leadership accountable and will not trade the right to press freedom and free speech for a piece of cake.
If you like what we do, and are ready to uphold solutions journalism, kindly donate to the Ripples Nigeria cause.
Your support would help to ensure that citizens and institutions continue to have free access to credible and reliable information for societal development.
SPECIAL REPORT: Untold story of how inconsistent salary payment frustrates Cross River road sweepers
In this report, ARINZE CHIJIOKE chronicles the pains of street sweepers in Cross River State, and how inconsistent salary payment...
INVESTIGATION: How insider abuse, shoddy handling of contracts by non-existent firms hamper teachers’ productivity in Kano
In efforts to improve productivity of teachers in public schools in Kano State, the state’s Ministry of Education, disbursed over...
A tale of Kwara public school where pupils learn under the tree without chalkboards
“You cannot make people learn. You can only provide the right conditions for learning to happen.” – Vince Gowmon But...
SPECIAL REPORT: Indiscriminate waste dumps, open defecation pose threat of epidemic in Kwara as govt slow to act
Forty three-year-old Bilikis Abdulrahman covered her pineapple fruit she is selling inside a white bucket container. This, she does to...
SPECIAL REPORT: Women displaced by conflict in North-Central Nigeria become farm helps to survive
Displaced women finding refuge in Abagena camp for Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camp in Makurdi, Benue State have resorted to...